RENSSELAER - An agbiosciences company from California has broken ground on its first Indiana operation. Premier BioSource, which raises swine for research purposes, plans to invest about $7.5 million into a 600-sow production facility in Rensselaer. The company says it considered other locations in Michigan and Illinois, but selected Indiana because of its business climate and financial strength. The operation is expected to be open within a year and employ 21 in Jasper County.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, President Mark Bousema said he sees growth potential for the industry. "The pig, actually, is becoming a more and more popular model for research," he said. "Part of the naming of the company now out here -- BioSource -- is we're kind of leaving that open as there are other avenues of animal models that we can start to look at as we expand out," adding sheep and rabbits could be potential opportunities later.

At full-capacity, the farm is expected to house a total of more than 4,700 pigs to supply Premier BioSource's customers in the eastern part of the country. The biomedical research community will use the animals for medical advancements including heart stents, cardiac repair and diabetes and insulin discoveries, as swine and humans share many physiological and anatomical similarities.

Jasper County Commissioner and Indiana Farm Bureau Vice President Kendell Culp says "Premier BioSource is a state-of-the-art company. We are pleased that they chose to locate in Jasper County; our strong work ethic and commitment to 21st century agriculture makes us an agribusiness hot spot."

S&S Farms LP, as the company is formally known, has been offered up to $130,000 in conditional tax credits from the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

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