New Bioscience Facility Brings Jobs, Green Technology

Updated: 06/27/2014 7:05 PM
Created: 06/27/2014 6:54 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- The City of Osage, Iowa is now home to a state-of-the-art facility that produces natural pesticides to help farmers grow crops in a more environmentally friendly way.

The new Valent BioSciences facility represents a $146 million investment intended to bring high quality science and engineering jobs to northern Iowa.

"Not only are we creating jobs, we're creating sustainable, quality jobs that are going to help keep more of our young people here in Iowa because they'll have career options," said Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who attended the facility’s grand opening ceremony on Friday.

Company officials said the plant will initially bring 89 jobs to Osage, but said there could be more coming in the near future.

"We're growing. This is a fast growth business, so as the business grows, there will eventually be the need for more expansions, more workforce,” said Ted Melnik, the company’s executive vice president. “So I think that's just the start."

The plant produces biorationals, which are essentially naturally based pesticides, along with other products to help boost agricultural production.

"We're using natural products like soy and cornmeal to feed our microorganisms in the fermenters,” Melnik said. “That becomes the product the farmers are using to help preserve the crops."

Melnik said it's a way for farmers to raise more productive crops while staying green.

"When you talk about sustainability, instead of using a barrel of oil, we're using just a natural inoculum that produces the product,” Melnik said.

Photo: ABC 6 News