Tax break prompts local industry expansion

By Terri Ferguson Smith - [email protected]

LAURINBURG — A local industry is investing $10 million to expand its operations in Scotland County.

DuPont Pioneer, a producer of hybrid seeds for agriculture, is constructing a 14o,000 square foot warehouse which will include about 80,000 square feet of cold storage. The price of construction and equipping the warehouse is approximately $10 million, according to County Manager Kevin Patterson.

Patterson said an incentive approved earlier this week by the Scotland County Board of Commissioners gives DuPont Pioneer a $270,000 tax break over four years.

The company’s plant currently employs 61 full-time staff and hires 15-20 contract workers during peak times, according to Randy Graves, location manager.

DuPont Pioneer will contract with a yet-to-be determined, third-party logistics company to manage the facility, of which a portion will include cold storage, Graves said. While the final hiring decisions will be up to the logistics company, DuPont Pioneer anticipates four to six full-time employees will be needed to staff the operation along with a number of seasonal contract workers.

“The location of the new warehouse in Scotland County is adjacent to our Laurinburg production plant. This proximity makes Scotland County an ideal location,” Graves said. “Pioneer will store wheat and soybeans – of which most will have come from the Laurinburg plant – along with corn from the Midwest, before shipping it to our customers and growers.”

It will be located behind the current facility on Skyway Church Road that specializes in bagging large volumes of seed.

“Scotland County was chosen out of three sites all across the United States. They chose to come here,” said Mark Ward, economic development director of Scotland County Economic Development Corporation. “That’s a home run for Scotland County. It just goes to show that it is as important for us to retain our existing industries as it is to go after a new industry. Pioneer making another investment in Scotland County should speak volumes to the citizens and to what our elected officials are doing for our county.”

The higher the amount of the investment and the higher the number of jobs, the larger the incentive is, Ward said.

The terms of the incentive dictate that the company must comply with its commitment — it must spend $10 million, including construction and equipment, and it must add the number of jobs it said it would add, according to a county document describing the incentive.

“They pay us and we give them a cash grant equal to a percentage of the property taxes on that,” Patterson said.

The county is allowed to give a tax break to an industry if an expansion or new construction will:

— Stimulate the local economy,

— Expand business,

— Expand a substantial number of jobs, and

— Increase income and tax revenues through property and sales taxes.

By Terri Ferguson Smith

[email protected]

Reach Terri Ferguson Smith at 910-506-3169.

Reach Terri Ferguson Smith at 910-506-3169.

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