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Iowa Will Not Be Home for HQ of New Ag Company after Dow-DuPont Merger

Photo by Amy Mayer
DuPont Pioneer employees attend the opening of the company's cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada last year.

The new agriculture company founded in the wake of the merger of industry titans Dow and DuPont will not be headquartered in Iowa, as local politicians had hoped, the companies announced Friday.

Iowa's Congressional delegation pushed for the companies to put the newly-formed agriculture business in Iowa, but it will be headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware. Still, Johnston, Iowa, where DuPont Pioneer is based, and Indianapolis will serve as what the companies call "Global Business Centers."

The majority of the agricultural efforts would likely remain in Johnston, thanks to the expertise and large historical investments in agricultural technology in the area, according to Iowa State University College of Business professor David King.

"The functions that they have there would continue to exist and be more co-located with other agricultural activities, and leadership more focused on that," King said, "than the other divisions that they currently have to worry about with DuPont."

The company that became Pioneer was founded in Iowa in 1926. DuPont purchased it in 1999.

The Dow-DuPont merger will inevitably create redundancies in some positions.

"They're going to want to do some savings and that may be one of the reasons they’re keeping all the headquarters in Wilmington, is that the people in the headquarters positions may be the ones that will be losing some of their jobs," King said.

King says the announcement of future office locations is part of the companies' efforts to win over regulators concerned about the consolidation of power and market share the merger would create, as well as to placate shareholder and public sentiment.

DowDuPont will split itself into three companies following the merger. In addition to the agricultural business, the new company says it will spin off existing businesses focused on material science and specialty products.

Amy Mayer is a reporter based in Ames