Corteva Agriscience is a successor company to DowElanco, an agribusiness that was formed in 1989 as a joint venture between the Dow Chemical Company and Eli Lilly And Company. Dow, which owned 60 percent, brought expertise in agricultural products to the partnership while Lilly, which controlled 40 percent, had strength in the plant science business. The company’s product line included pesticides, plant nutrition aids and growth regulators, fumigants, and seeds.

A large two-sided monument sign reading "Corteva Agriscience" stands in front of a modern stone and glass building.
Corteva Argriscience, 2018 Credit: Matt Kryger/IndyStar View Source

Two of the firm’s best-selling products were Lorsban, a corn and soybean insecticide, and Treflan, a soybean, corn, and cotton herbicide. With an annual research budget of $160 million, DowElanco’s research focused on novel chemistries, biotechnology, and fermentation technology. Global sales in 1992 were approximately $1.6 billion.

DowElanco was lured to Indianapolis, in part, by the promise of property tax abatement and by road improvements made near the facility. The headquarters was placed on a large site at 9330 Zionsville Road in far northwest Indianapolis. No manufacturing has occurred in Indianapolis, which houses administration and research facilities.

In 1997, Dow bought out Lilly’s share of the venture, acquiring full ownership of DowElanco and renaming it Dow Agrosciences. The company underwent many more changes in the 2010s. Dow and DuPont first announced plans to merge in 2015, with plans to spin off into three independent companies. By the next year, the two companies became DowDuPont, and Indianapolis became one of the agricultural division’s global business centers. This division was renamed Corteva Agriscience in 2018, and by June 2019, Corteva became an independent entity.

Corteva Agriscience focuses its business solely on agricultural chemicals, seeds, and plant biotechnology. The company employs 1,500 Indianapolis residents and has brought in around $14.3 billion in sales. To ensure Corteva stays in the city, the City-County Council voted in 2018 to give the company $30 million in incentives with the obligation that they stay in Indianapolis for 10 years.

In February 2022, Corteva named Indianapolis its global headquarters.

Revised March 2021

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