Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Gov. Terry Branstad get a laugh from a 1985 photo of Branstad with Kemin CEO Chris Nelson.
Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Gov. Terry Branstad get a laugh from a 1985 photo of Branstad with Kemin CEO Chris Nelson.

Kemin Inc. has far exceeded the job creation promise it made to the city of  Des Moines  three years ago when it announced plans to significantly expand its laboratory space and headquarters here.  

Kemin scientists clad in white laboratory coats joined Kemin President and CEO Chris Nelson, Gov. Terry Branstad, Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie and other officials this morning in cutting a red ribbon signaling the official opening of the 46,300-square-foot facility Molecular Advancement Center at 1900 Scott Ave.

Kemin has already hired 137 additional full-time employees in Des Moines as part of the multiphase expansion, Nelson announced during the dedication of the $16.7 million facility. The company had pledged to create at least 98 new jobs; it currently has 26 additional job openings posted, Nelson said.

Sixty scientists are already using the new facility, which is part of a $40 million expansion project that will add six new manufacturing facilities, three new research facilities and a new headquarters building in Des Moines.

Branstad, who was governor in 1985 when Kemin dedicated a 5,000-square-foot laboratory facility, will travel next month on his first trade mission to India, where he plans to tour Kemin’s manufacturing facility.

“I saw firsthand back in 1985 what this company was all about, and its phenomenal growth and success is something that we can all be proud of,” Branstad said.

The new building, which incorporates more than 1,200 linear square feet of research bench space, also features amenities that include a Starbucks café for an environment to foster collaboration among the scientists, who led the design of the facility.

With a global population that will exceed an estimated 9 billion people by 2050, the world will need 70 percent more food, Nelson noted, emphasizing the importance of its research in advancing the production of food.

The privately held family-owned company, with nearly 2,000 employees worldwide, produces ingredients for the global food and feed industries and operates in more than 90 countries, with manufacturing facilities in seven countries besides the United States.