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DuPont Pioneer to close Mount Pleasant plant

DuPont Pioneer last week announced dozens of layoffs at a seed production plant in Mount Pleasant that will also be closed.

Company spokeswoman Jane Slusark said about 50 employees were given layoff notices.

Slusark said the closing will allow for better use of technology near areas with more seed acres. She said the company is doing a global review of its seed production plants and optimizing around areas with more seed acres.

"Over the past several years, we have added capacity through growing capabilities, capital and process improvement. We are closing Mount Pleasant to better utilize our most modern plants and optimize growing areas," she said in a written statement.

Slusark did not elaborate on what the review could mean for other employees and facilities. "The ongoing steps we are taking will further position the business for growth," she said.

The Mount Pleasant plant opened in 1984. Pioneer, which produces and distributes seeds for agriculture, has 15,000 workers. Pioneer says it has doubled sales from 2008-2013. The company says it has invested about $110 million in recent years in its research centers in Johnston.

Slusark said Pioneer Hi-Bred has been reviewing its contracts with growers and making decisions whether or not to renew the agreements based on their strategic location to a processing and packaging facility.

Among the most recent projects, Pioneer last year received $3.6 million in state tax credits for a $50 million expansion at its headquarters that’s expected to create 105 jobs.