UPDATED 3:40 p.m. | An unknown number of people will lose their jobs after Corteva Agriscience announced Wednesday it is closing its commercial soybean production facility in LeRoy.
The plant was formerly known as the DuPont Pioneer LeRoy Production Plant. The closure is effective Wednesday, with some employees remaining through harvest to complete the closing, said Corteva Agriscience spokesperson Gregg Schmidt.
The closure comes just a month after Corteva Agriscience officially spun off into its own company June 1. It was formerly the agriculture division of the merged DowDuPont, with Pioneer as a marquee seed brand.
“Creating a strong independent agriculture company requires that we establish a streamlined, efficient, built-for-purpose production footprint,” Schmidt told WGLT in an email. “Upon further evaluation of our North America network, we identified an area we could consolidate, which lead to the closing of the LeRoy, Illinois, production location.”
LeRoy Mayor Steve Dean said it was a "sad day for all the employees, and for the people of the City of LeRoy."
"I join with all LeRoyans in expressing my shock and sadness over this morning's announcement of the unforeseen and immediate closure of the Pioneer processing plant in LeRoy," Dean said in a statement.
Dean said the company had done a lot of good for his community, including providing several grants for its police department and other community groups.
"I'm sure this was a business decision by the owning corporation, and such decisions may help the bottom line but cause untold stress for many individuals and families," Dean said. "For this I express sadness and regret, and promise you that the city will do whatever we can to protect and promote the best interests of our citizens, our corporate partners, and our community."
It’s unclear how many employees will be affected. Illinois Farmer Today reported in 2018 that the plant had 60 employees plus additional contract workers.
With a presence in more than 140 countries, Corteva Agriscience generated $14 billion in net sales in 2018. It has over 150 research and development facilities.
The plant paid around $94,000 in property taxes in 2018, according to county records. Most of that went to the LeRoy School District No. 2.
"The impact to property values at this point is unknown, but any constriction to our local economy creates challenges," said LeRoy Superintendent Gary Tipsord.
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