UP to the State Loan and Investment Board for voting to approve a $9.35 million loan to Innovive to build a biotech manufacturing center in Cheyenne.

Registered locally as WYTEC, the business is currently leasing space in the Aviation Professional Building that formerly served as headquarters for Great Lakes Airlines. The company says it plans to build a $17.8 million, 80,000-square-foot plant in the Cheyenne Business Parkway to manufacture caging products for laboratory rodents used in medical research. Once these cages have been used, the company breaks them down, sterilizes and reassembles them.

If the project comes to fruition, the company estimates it would go from the current 20 employees to about 90, and the Wyoming Business Council says the project could generate about $3.2 million in annual economic benefit to the state.

We’re pleased to see a new type of industry want to make such a significant investment here. At the same time, we hope local and state officials have carefully vetted the company. The last thing anyone wants is a repeat of the situation in Cody. In June, Cody Laboratories announced it would close, eliminating 80-plus jobs after the state had gone to great lengths to approve $23 million in low-interest loans for the firm. According to reporting by the Cody Enterprise, parent company Lannett Co. hadn’t completed the loan process when it shut down construction of a five-building production campus, but the black mark for the state remains.

Though final loan details have to be negotiated between the state and Innovive, we’re encouraged by the level of support and commitment shown by public officials and company leaders to this point. Here’s hoping WYTEC becomes a quality, long-term employer in the Capital City.

DOWN to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for delaying the start of hemp production in Wyoming by failing to develop regulations in time for this growing season. That means farmers interested in producing this industrial crop will have to wait until at least 2020 to get started.

Farmers – including some here in Laramie County – were excited this past winter when they finally convinced state lawmakers that, unlike marijuana, hemp has no psychoactive effect when ingested, and has the potential to be an economic boost to the state due to the ideal growing conditions here. Since hemp is used to make a variety of commercial and industrial products – such as rope, clothing, paper, bioplastics and biofuel – it is a cash crop that should be in demand for years to come.

Since hemp was legalized at the federal level as part of the 2018 farm bill, this delay is frustrating, to say the least. But supporters recently told the Casper Star-Tribune they are pressing ahead by developing their own industry plans for growers around the state. This includes the creation and initial meeting of the Wyoming Hemp Association, which is working with the state Department of Agriculture to become a resource for producers.

We look forward to the day hemp is a vital part of the state’s agriculture industry, and we encourage government officials at all levels to help make that happen as soon as possible.

UP to Cheyenne Community Recreation and Events staff and the many volunteers who helped make the recent Wyoming Senior Olympics such a success.

We’re sure there were minor hiccups along the way, as happens at all larger-scale events of this kind. But if they did happen, we didn’t hear about them. Instead, we encountered competitors from more than 20 states who were thoroughly enjoying their experience in the Capital City.

This is the first of two consecutive years of hosting the event, with 2020 being the year participants qualify for nationals. If this year is any indication, that event should bring even more smiles to the faces of everyone involved.

WE WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK: Contact us via email at opinion@wyomingnews.com.

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