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SAB Biotherapeutics Continues South Dakota Tradition of Corporate Welfare

Corporate welfare rolls on in South Dakota. Less than a month after announcing a $50-million partnership with billionaire T. Denny Sanford to fund vo-tech scholarships, Governor Dennis Daugaard is kicking some more state money back toward the Sanford professional family. The Sioux Falls Development Foundation announced Tuesday that the Governor will grant $3 million from the Future Fund to SAB Biotherapeutics. The company genetically engineers cattle to produce vaccines and treatments for various diseases. SAB Biotherapeutics will use this money to expand, possibly creating 200 new jobs paying in the $50K–$70K range in Sioux Falls.

Expanding jobs and curing Ebola is great. But note that this isn't the company's first swig at the public trough. SAB Biotherapeutics started as Hematech in Massachusetts back in 1998. Governor Mike Rounds bribed them into moving to South Dakota in 2003 with a $7.5-million economic development package. Then they became a Japanese company, then a Sanford company at the end of 2012 ("SAB" stood for "Sanford Applied Biosciences").

If the free market doesn't value life-saving vaccines enough to allow biotech firms to pay their own way, well, then I guess spending state money to promote public health is necessary. But perhaps this expansion will allow SAB Biotherapeutics to come up with a cure for addiction to government handouts.


  1. lars aanning 2015.01.08

    Successful research is uniquely dependent on extraordinarily creative individuals working in an extraordinarily creative environment led by extraordinarily creative managers...

  2. Wayne B. 2015.01.08

    $3 million investment

    $16 million return annually (projected payroll for those 200 new jobs)

    Not an EB-5 project. Nobody shot in a shelterbelt.

    So... remind me again... if we want our smart & talented youth to stay in state earning good money in fulfilling careers, doesn't this sound like a way to do it?

    This looks like SD putting our money where our mouth is - we talk about STEM education and stem jobs, then see fit to grow more STEM jobs at organizations we've helped come here. Between this & Vermillion, that's 400 new STEM jobs.

    Not too shabby.

    So I'm going to keep my complaints about government corporate handouts to a minimum here.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.08

    So how many times should the state keep putting money into the same business? After how many Future Fund grants do we just declare the business a nationalized industry?

  4. Nick Nemec 2015.01.08

    Why does government need to keep putting tax dollars into private businesses? Shouldn't we (the taxpayers through their government) get an equity stake in return for these grants?

    What do you have to do to become one of the favored, or dare I say cronies? There are times and on certain subjects when Sibby makes more sense than anyone else.

  5. leslie 2015.01.08

    EB5 should have taught us to watch republican corporate entitlement programs. watch them. I am not saying it is good or bad for the developers, the taxpayers, or the people needing the medical technology. Spin makes it hard to know. duh

    the endless, dizzying chain of mergers, LLCs, Incs, grants and governors, delicately perched on the mantra of more jobs for the public, are buried in politically opaque corporate and professional machinations spanning decades.

    They are too much for the low paid media and general public to stay on top of. no one central "anything" can be held accountable.

    Sanford(medical) is becoming an Astor(fur), a Hearst(mining), a Weyerhauser(lumber), a Rockerfeller(oil), a Carnegie(steel, rail), or a Morgan(banking). This is just our short little history of settlement of the US.

    Pierre, Philip, and other communities are named for similar early personalities. Sanborn, Harney and other military wound up as suttlers, politicians or street names (Reno) after the Indians were displaced.

    Like Murdoch(media) now, most of these guys wear the cloak of "robber baron". we came, we took...the beaver, then the buffalo, then the land, then the timber, then the gold, then the air, and now the water. "vidi, veni, vici". Too big to fail, to prosecute, to regulate.

    Joop is infamous for SD's looted EB5 corpse the republican party will continue to bury.

    this is a common story. so lets watch this project. let the state openly explain the propriety of using public money and opportunity.

  6. Deb Geelsdottir 2015.01.08

    It's that Entitlement Mentality that robs businesses of motivation and energy. It's not Christian.

    They get accustomed to feeding at the public trough. ExxonMobil is the worst. They defend their entitlements regularly before Congress as though they should not be held accountable, but as if the American people owe them an opulent living.

    Corporate entitlements destroy the work ethic and corporate responsibility.

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