The Corridor’s Best of 2016: A Leap for Iowa 

1.) The Cultivation Corridor and Iowa Biotech Association worked together to release Bio-Based Chemicals: The Iowa Opportunity report arguing how statewide economic development tax incentives could put Iowa on the forefront of the biorenewable chemical industry. 

Among the report’s findings:

  • First generation biofuels have been important economic drivers for the state of Iowa. Ethanol production alone in Iowa accounts for $2.23 billion per year in state GDP and supports more than 8,693 jobs.
  • At least five potential bio-based chemical production projects were identified through an industry interview process as part of the report. Representatives of each project indicated a biorenewable chemical production tax credit would be fundamental to the ultimate location decision in or outside Iowa.
  • More than 50,000 jobs in bio-based chemicals and materials are projected to be created in the United States by 2020.
  • Using income tax data, the payback period on the $61.7 million the state invested in the ethanol industry was just two years.

2.) Governor Branstad signs Renewable Chemicals Production Tax Credit Program into law on April 6th.  The legislation passed on a bipartisan basis through the Iowa Senate 46-3 on March 16th and the Iowa House 95-1 on March 28th.

This tax credit program is the first economic development program aimed specifically at the emerging biochemical industry to be codified into law anywhere in the world. It authorizes up to $10 million annually in tax credits for ten years to support the growth of the biorenewable chemical industry in Iowa.

Thanks to this new tool, it has been estimated by state revenue officials that in the next 10 years, up to six new companies will produce 600 million pounds of renewable chemicals, supported by up to $30 million in tax credits.

Read more here.

3.) Kemin’s CEO Chris Nelson received the Cultivation Corridor Iowa Biotech Leadership Award at this year’s Partnering For Growth Forum.

According to the press release, “Under his leadership at Kemin, the company has more than quadrupled in size and now employs nearly 2,000 people.”

Kemin is a global bioscience company specializing in improving human and animal health through molecular innovations. There are 90 offices spread throughout 6 continents in the world.  Kemin touches more than two billion people daily with products for specific health and nutrition solutions.

4.) On July 1st, the Corridor moved offices from the Ames Chamber of Commerce to Iowa State University’s Economic Development Core Facility in the ISU Research Park

“The Core Facility brings together that engine that drives commercialization for new business start-ups, and life-changing research and development,” Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds told the crowd at the Core Facility opening.

The ISU Research Park is currently home to more than 70 companies, employs 1,700 people and occupies 600,000 square feet of commercial real estate on 400 acres. It is home to a variety of businesses, ranging anywhere from software manufacturing, to small manufacturing firms.

5.) The Corridor’s 2015 annual report, Cultivating Opportunity, was released in July. 

This report shows a physical timeline of the Corridor’s accomplishments in 2015. Some of which included:

  • The Corridor represented central Iowa on more than 13 event and direct marketing trips. Executive Director Brent Willett traveled 47,600 miles, attended 39 speaking engagements and visited 6 countries. The Corridor also earned 467 unique media mentions.
  • Partnering with four other entities, the Cultivation Corridor was able to release Iowa’s Ag/Bioscience Asset Database, the state’s first agbioscience, agribusiness and healthcare industry aggregate information database.
  • After two years of tireless service to the Corridor, Chairman John May relinquished the gavel to the Corridor’s new Chairman, Gage Kent.

6.) The Corridor board approved the 2017-19 Strategic Framework created after an intensive 90-day review process.

With the help of Boston Consulting Group, the Corridor’s newly formed executive committee came together to approve the framework to guide the Corridor into the next few years. After narrowing down the interests, the Corridor released one main objective to stand by in the years to come. The objective is to establish the Cultivation Corridor as the premier destination for investment, talent and research in the agriculture, technology and bioscience sector.

7.) The Greater Des Moines Partnership partnered with the Cultivation Corridor to create the Ag Tech Startup Accelerator to boost new agriculture technology companies.

Modeled after the Global Insurance Accelerator launched by The Partnership in 2014, the purpose of the new accelerator is to increase growth in Central Iowa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by focusing on companies in the key industry of agriculture.

Some of the major investors include DuPont Pioneer, Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company, John Deere and Peoples Company.

8.) The Cultivation Corridor hosted the Iowa Food Leadership Reception.

On October 12th, Iowa State University and Iowa’s Cultivation Corridor partnered with the Ames Chamber of Commerce, Greater Des Moines Partnership and Iowa Economic Development Authority to host the first Iowa Food Leadership Reception, convening global food and Iowa leaders during the World Food Prize (WFP).

The WFP sideline event showcased the leading role Iowa State University is playing in addressing food and nutrition challenges.

9.) The Environmental Protection Agency raised the renewable fuel standards for 2017.

In a November 23 announcement, the EPA released the Final Renewable Fuel Standards for 2017, and the Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2018. Good news for Iowa, the nation’s leader in ethanol production.

Read the REG news release here.

10.) Economic Development: 

DowDuPont’s 500 million dollar commitment to Central Iowa.

Thanks to the efforts between the Corridor, the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the City of JohnstonIowa Economic Development Authority and many others, Johnston, Iowa was selected as one of two DowDuPont Global Business Center sites for its new agriculture business. This commitment to central Iowa includes the promise of more than $500 million in research and development investments in the region through 2021- one of the largest research in development announcements in state history.

Overall: The Corridor and its partners delivered about 700 jobs in 2016 and nearly $560 million in capital and research investments to Iowa!