A northwest Iowa company that’s cloning cattle as part of its “life science” research will be getting nine million dollars from the new state economic development fund. The Iowa Values Fund Board this morning approved the deal for TransOva Genetics. Iowa Department of Economic Development director Michael Blouin says in addition to that nine million, TransOva will get a one-million dollar state loan from a venture capital fund and other state benefits.The state will spend about two-point-four million at the Community College in Sheldon to train and retrain TransOva workers over the next few years. The company won’t have to pay sales taxes on construction materials, and will get other special tax credits. The total package is worth about 15 million dollars. Governor Tom Vilsack says this package ushers in a new era for Iowa’s effort to attract the life sciences industry here. Vilsack says the state is trying to “break the genetic code of economic development” but he warns Iowans it’ll take a long-term commitment, and not just to a single company.Vilsack says Iowa’s gaining an international reputation as the place for trans-genic crops and animal technology. He says the state’s support of TransOva’s efforts will enhance that reputation, and will also send a message that state officials understand the need for development in all parts of the state, since TransOva is headquartered in the northwest corner of Iowa. Vilsack concedes the state investment in TransOva carries risk. Vilsack says there is risk in every decision that government makes, and there’s a great consequence in not taking a risk, because that’s what the state of Iowa has done “for far too long” according to Vilsack. Vilsack calls the TransOva decision a “calculated, well-thought-out risk” that’s worth taking. TransOva officials say they’ll hire about 315 new workers over the next four or five years as part of the expansion that’s won state backing.
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