With its thriving network of teaching farms situated on 450 acres south of campus, Iowa State University (ISU) is looking to build a $21.2 million feed mill and grain science complex to support its livestock and poultry, compel research and bolster education, reports The Gazette.
The Board of Regents is scheduled to consider ISU’s request to construct a six-building complex housing 47,000 square feet of teaching, research and outreach facilities. The $21.2 million Curtiss Farm-Feed Mill and Grain Science Complex would be funded entirely by private giving, according to the proposal. So far, the university has raised about $16.5 million through direct donations, as well as in-kind equipment and technology, according to Brian Meyer, director of college relations for the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “It looks promising,” he said. “We have the funding in place to do a lot of things, and we hope to finish up the giving piece in the next year.” Regents approval would help efforts to further encourage giving to the project, for which ISU hopes to break ground this fall and complete by spring 2021, according to Meyer. The proposed complex would feature three major buildings — the main feed mill, a warehouse and an education building — along with grain storage bins, a biosecurity truck wash and a scale and material sampling structure. “A new facility opens up our ability to do more precise research,” Meyer said. It also creates opportunities to partner with commercial feed mills interested in testing formulations. With biosecurity becoming a bigger issue — including concerns about food and feed contamination — the new facility could help researchers and students alike investigate and experiment with solutions.
Meyer said the facility likely would produce about 10,000 tons of feed in a year, which actually is not much when compared with the 15 million Iowa’s feed industry generates annually. But, according to the proposal, “This project would help meet the university’s need for customized, yet affordable, livestock feed, help train students to fill an employment shortage in the feed and grain industries, and meet other significant Iowa agriculture needs.” THE GAZETTE