A bill making its way through the legislature would help a unique western Iowa corporation buy agland. Senator David Johnson, a republican from Ocheyedan, says this is an enterprise that deserves an exception to Iowa’s law that prohibits corporations from owning farmland. Struve Laboratories in Manning, Iowa, hopes to raise “disease-free” pigs. The goal: take organs from those disease-free pigs and implant the pigs’ hearts, livers and other organs in humans. “It another one of those examples of some of our best and brightest in this state pushing the biotechnology envelope even further and that’s exactly what we need to do,” he says. The vet who is heading the operation assured members of the Senate Ag Committee that she’d need just a few acres for the project. Dr. Rexanne Struve told senators she’d need no more than 20 acres of farmland. Legislators recently granted another life-science company — TransOva Genetics in Sioux Center — an exemption from Iowa’s ban on corporate ownership of agricultural land. TransOva is trying to clone livestock in hopes of producing a human blood substitute. The bill giving the same break to Struve Laboratories cleared the Senate last week and must win approval in the House and get the governor’s signature before the vet can buy the land.
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