Pioneer Hi-Bred is the second largest (to Monsanto) U.S. producer of hybrid seeds for agriculture.
In 1926, farm journal editor and future U.S. Vice President Henry A. Wallace
, along with a group of Des Moines, Iowa
businessmen, founded the "Hi-Bred Corn Company". At the time, most corn farmers saved part of the seed from the harvest and used this to plant a crop the following year. Wallace had been experimenting with hybridization of corn and became convinced that hybrid
would become important. His vision proved accurate; by 1940 more than 90 percent of the corn raised in North America was raised from hybrid seed. During the first year of production, the company produced 1000 bushels of seed and sold 650 bushels.
Important dates in Pioneer history
- 1924 Henry Wallace begins selling 'Copper Cross', the first commercial hybrid seed corn.
- 1926 Hi-Bred Corn Company founded in Des Moines, Iowa, with $7,000 in capital.
- 1931 Roswell Garst agrees to produce/distribute seed. The following year Garst partners with Charles Thomas to form the 'Garst and Thomas Seed Corn Company'.
- 1935 "Pioneer" was added to the name of the company to distinguish it from other hybrid corn companies. The full name is "Pioneer Hi-Bred Corn Company".
- 1936 Pioneer founds Hy-Line Poultry Farms (later Hy-Line International) to produce hybrid egg-laying chickens. Henry B Wallace (son of Henry A Wallace) serves as president of Hy-Line until 1975.
- 1949 Pioneer reaches annual sales of one million units.
- 1952 "The Long Look" business philosophy is written.
- 1964 The first research station outside North America is established in Jamaica.
- 1970 The company name is changed to Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.
- 1973 Becomes a publicly traded company.
- 1973 Pioneer obtains a soybean product line through the purchase of Peterson Seed Company.
- 1975 Purchases Lankhartt and Lockett companies (cotton seed business).
- 1977 Pioneer acquires Microbial Products division to develop bacterial strains for inoculation into silage.
- 1978 Hy-Line International is spun off.
- 1981 Pioneer becomes the market-share leader in North America corn sales.
- 1982 Annual sales pass the US$10 million mark.
- 1983 The name of the soybean product line was changed from Peterson to Pioneer.
- 1991 Pioneer purchases 2 million shares and establishes a partnership with Mycogen Seeds to develop Bt insect resistance in corn, sorghum, soybean, canola, sunflower, and other seeds. Pioneer sold the shares in 1998. Pioneer becomes the number one brand of soybeans in North America.
- 1992 Pioneer paid $450,000 to Monsanto for rights to genetically modified soybean seeds that are resistant to RoundUp herbicide.
- 1993 Pioneer paid $38 million to Monsanto for rights to Bt corn that is resistant to European corn borers.
- 1995 Pioneer stock is listed on the NYSE as PHYB.
- 1996 Pioneer acquires 20% stake in Sunseeds Co. (a hybrid vegetable seed producer) in exchange for Pioneer's vegetable seed operation.
- 1997 DuPont acquires a 20% stake in Pioneer and the companies form a joint venture called Optimum Quality Grains LLC.
- 1999 DuPont purchases the remaining 80% of Pioneer for $7.7 billion.
- 2006 DuPont and Syngenta announce Greenleaf Genetics, a joint venture to market seed genetics and biotech traits.
Headquarters of Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. are located in Johnston, Iowa, with additional offices around the world. Pioneer produces, markets and sells hybrid seed corn in nearly 70 countries worldwide. The company also markets and sells hybrids or improved varieties of sorghum, sunflower, soybean, alfalfa, canola, rice and wheat, as well as forage and grain additives. Worldwide, Pioneer sells products through a variety of organizations, including wholly owned subsidiaries, joint ventures, sales representatives, and independent dealers.
Pioneer has a company philosophy called "The Long Look" that was originally written in 1952. It reflects a business philosophy that had evolved over the 26 years since the company was started in 1926.
Four Statements of Business Policy
- We strive to produce the best products on the market.
- We deal honestly and fairly with our employees, customers, seed growers, sales force, business associates and shareholders.
- We advertise and sell our products vigorously, but without misrepresentation.
- We give helpful management suggestions to our customers to assist them in making the greatest possible profit from our products.