Mycogen facility to close

More than 30 employees will lose their jobs

Pictured is Mycogen Seeds — a division of Dow AgroSciences — facility in the 1500 block of Taylor Avenue. Operations will be closed by DuPont-Dow in the spring of 2018, according to a company spokesperson.

Pictured is Mycogen Seeds — a division of Dow AgroSciences — facility in the 1500 block of Taylor Avenue. Operations will be closed by DuPont-Dow in the spring of 2018, according to a company spokesperson.

A well-known, and home-grown seed company started by a Vienna Township-based family in the 1930s will cease operations sometime in the spring of next year.

Gregg Schmidt of DuPont Corporate Communications confirmed the closing of Mycogen Seeds — a division of Dow AgroSciences — in an email to the Times-Republican earlier this week.

The T-R contacted Dow AgroSciences who referred the T-R onto owner DuPont.

The T-R inquiry was motivated by readers sharing concerns about Mycogen’s future.

“Specifically to the closure of the Marshalltown site – no exact date has been given,” said Schmidt “The site will close after shipping in the spring concludes. The corn production facility grows, conditions and packages corn. it employs 35 full-time and three temporary employees.”

Schmidt cited a number of factors which resulted in the decision.

“Creating a strong independent agriculture company requires we integrate our operations and establish a streamlined, efficient, built-for-purpose organization. Through this integration and with greater focus, we will capture the synergies we have previously communicated over the next few years. While there will be near term site consolidation and job impacts as we address duplicative sites and facilities and relocate certain capabilities, we will also expand facilities and add jobs aligned with the division’s business strategy.”

The nearly 18-acre facility is in the 1500 block of Taylor Avenue.

The Mycogen announcement followed closely on the heels of DuPont’s decision earlier this month to shutter its Nevada, Iowa corn-stover facility after only two years of operation.

Approximately 90 employees were released from employment at the Nevada facility according to media reports.

The decision also impacted many Central Iowa farmers who supplied the facility with corn stover.

Reaction to the Mycogen and Nevada closings was mixed.

“This (Mycogen closing) is a big deal,” said Allen Burt, a Marshall County farmer and an active member in Farm Bureau. “It is a consolidation … and I am sorry for the employees, but also for schools and loss of tax revenue.”

When told Central Iowa agribusiness was taking a one-two punch from DuPont on the Nevada plant and Mycogen closings, Burt said: “This is disgusting … nothing but big business letting us hang out to dry … I have nothing good to say.”

“We are disappointed to hear the news of the anticipated plant closure,” said President Tom Deimerly of Marshall Economic Development. “This has been a trend within the industry as further agricultural supplier consolidations occur. We hope to work with the company to identify a new owner and potential employer for the facility. We will also work to connect the impacted employees with workforce assistance and job placement services.”

Origins of the mammoth Mycogen facility can be traced back to the entrepreneurial spirit of Seymour Lynk and his four sons, Kenneth, Dwight, Lester and Elvis, and son-in-law Earl Baird (husband of Hulda Lynk) who farmed in the Green Mountain area, according to a section devoted to Lynks Seed Co. in The Continuing History of Marshall County, Iowa 1997.

“The Lynks were cousins to Charles Thomas of Garst and Thomas of Coon Rapids — an established seed corn company, and in agreement with Pioneer of Des Moines, began producing and marketing hybrid seed corn. The Lynks wanted to buy some hybrid seed corn and Roswell Garst delivered it. The Lynks planted and harvested the hybrid variety and found it far superior to open pollinated corn previously grown. Later, Garst and Thomas advised the Lynks to produce their own seed. By buying parent seed from the then Iowa State College, the Lynks began producing hybrid seed corn and soon formed Lynk Brothers and Baird Hybrid Seed Corn Co.

In 1956, Lynks decided to pursue seed corn sales more aggressively. They incorporated and took more co-owners.

More sales people were hired as well as farmer dealers in Iowa and adjoining states.

The business continued to grow and prosper.

In 1976, with the Lynk brothers and Earl Baird considering retirement, the owners sold to International Multifoods of Minneapolis, Minn., and continued to operate the company as the Lynks had done.

In January, 1996, Lynks announced a strategic alliance between DowElanco and Mycogen Corp.

The deal made Mycogen the majority stockholder.

Previously, Lynks had completed a $7.1 million expansion, the largest in its 55-year history.”

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com