Biotech Firm Opens "New Frontiers" In Iowa

Iowa Farm Scene

Agriculture and biotech are focus of Kemin Industries new research and development center in Des Moines.

Published on: September 23, 2013

When the Kemin expansion in Des Moines is complete, Kemin will have added six new manufacturing facilities, three new research facilities and a new corporate headquarters building -- altogether a more than $40 million investment.

STEM education important to attract and keep a skilled workforce

Nearly 150 scientists from Des Moines and around the world participated in the recent dedication of the Molecular Advancement Center. Citing the 26 open positions, Nelson emphasized the importance of STEM education as it relates to the company's ability to attract and retain a skilled workforce. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

"It's not the building that's most important but the people who work in the building," says Nelson. "That's the future of this company. I can't talk to you enough about the importance of STEM education for students from grade school through high school in the next five to 10 years. It builds jobs in Iowa and jobs in the world that bring us forward in many technological areas and allows us to feed the enormous numbers of people on this planet."

"This company's phenomenal growth is something we can be proud of," said Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who spoke at the dedication of the new Kemin center. Kemin has experienced 12% to 15% growth in each of the past five years. The company's last laboratory in Des Moines was built in 1985. "Today, with the new MAC facility we are going from a 5,000 square foot to a nearly 50,000 square foot facility," notes Nelson.

Kemin produces innovative products for both human and livestock nutrition and health

"Our scientists are looking forward to doing brand new things you've only heard about at universities," says Nelson. For example, Kemin is developing products that use extracts from plants like sage, spearmint and oregano to improve animal nutrition and health.

The key to the future is education of students "who are ready to take jobs that involve high levels of technology," says Nelson. He praised Branstad and Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds for their work to improve Iowa's STEM education programs. Branstad said, "We are proud the state of Iowa is partnering with Kemin. You could have built this facility anywhere. But you chose Iowa. We are proud to have a world class company with its headquarters here and it will continue to grow."