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DuPont to Change Name of Decades-Old Seed Company

By Ian Berry E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. (DD) is changing the name of its seed-producing subsidiary to DuPont Pioneer from Pioneer Hi-Bred, retiring what has been one of the most-prominent names in agriculture for decades. The change is intended to more-closely align Pioneer, which produces seeds for major field crops such as corn and soybeans, with DuPont's Nutrition & Health business, which develops food ingredients, and its crop-protection business, Pioneer spokeswoman Jane Slusark said. The change will take effect July 1. "This signals DuPont's continued commitment to grow its presence in the food and agriculture sector," she said. DuPont completed its purchase of Pioneer Hi-Bred in 1999 but maintained the brand name, which dates back to 1926 as the Hi-Bred Corn Company. The company became Pioneer Hi-Bred in 1935. It is one of the world's largest producers of soybean and corn seeds. Ms. Slusark said there would be minor changes to Pioneer's logo to reflect the name change, but that field signs and product packaging wouldn't change. There are no structural changes to Pioneer, which is headquartered outside Des Moines, Iowa. DuPont is headquartered in Delaware. Jeff Windau, an analyst with Edward Jones in St. Louis, said the company clearly didn't want to lose the Pioneer brand name, but wanted to emphasize the association with DuPont. "I think they're building up the DuPont name in the [agriculture] space," he said. Write to Ian Berry at ian.berry@dowjones.com.

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