Work progresses on new soybean processing plant in New Madrid

Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Several thousand piers are being driven into the ground at the site for the new Pioneer Hi-Bred New Madrid Production Plant. The work is part of a stabilization process to ensure the plant is safe. The plant is expected to be complete in time for the 2011 harvest. (Jill Bock/Standard Democrat)

NEW MADRID, Mo. -- For weeks, the towers have sprouted above the flat landscape where the new Pioneer Hi-Bred New Madrid Soybean Production Plant is being constructed.

The towers are driving several thousand piers into the ground, explained Brian Catlett, senior product agronomist with Pioneer. Those piers will help stabilize the warehouse and conditioning tower being which will be built on the site, just off U.S. 61 west of New Madrid, the Sikeston Standard Democrat reported in its weekend edition.

The stability is necessary for the sandy-clay ground as well as for the existence of the New Madrid Fault Line.

"Mother Nature gives us things we have to learn to deal with," said Catlett. "We want to ensure the safety for all of our employees in case of a large earthquake."

The seismic work makes the soybean processing plant unique.

The stabilization work should be completed in the next three months then the crews of Alberici Construction of St. Louis will go to work building the offices. These should be completed by mid-February, Catlett said.

Workers will then begin constructing a conditioning tower and the large warehouse capable of holding approximately 600,000-700,00 units of product. This will be where farmers will bring their soybeans in 2011. The soybeans will be cleaned and prepared to serve as seed for the next planting year.

Pioneer has already contracted for several thousand acres of soybeans in Southeast Missouri, Western Kentucky and Northwest Tennessee during this growing season. Catlett said the soybeans from this acreage will be processed in the company's Illinois plant for seed.

According to Catlett, who will be working with plant manager Nathan Bengtson, there will be a number of job opportunities at the local plant.

When operation begins in 2011 it is expected to employ approximately 50 people. Those interested in jobs with the new Pioneer plant should check the company's website at

Surveying the busy construction site, Catlett said Pioneer is very pleased with the progress. "We are on track to meet our completion date," he said, adding, "we look forward to becoming a part of the Southeast Missouri community."

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