U de M presents a visionary agricultural research complex

Public-Private Partnership Provides Significant Advances and Contributions to Minnesota’s $112 Billion Annual Economic Impact in the Food and Agriculture Sector

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (10/2/2022) – The University of Minnesota continues to explore the development of an Advanced Agricultural Research Complex in Mower County, a bold vision for innovative research and workforce development works in Minnesota to fill an important market need by helping farmers and industry meet this crucial moment in sustainable food production.

From farm to fork, this complex will serve as a center for cutting-edge education and research that will propel vital discoveries and further establish Minnesota’s position as a global catalyst and leader in food and agricultural innovation.

“The collaborative vision that powers this project creates an extraordinary opportunity: unparalleled preparation for students as they work towards productive careers, a platform for new world-class discoveries, and an engine that will generate strong economic results for all Minnesotans,” U of M. President Jeanne Gabel said. “The University of Minnesota has been a leader in agricultural innovation since our earliest days more than 170 years ago. We are proud of this heritage, but we know we must continue to invest in this work and deliver practical and visionary solutions.The Future of Advanced Agriculture Research in Minnesota project illustrates just that.

Through a public-private partnership bringing together U of M, elected officials and private sector leaders, this integrated complex – known as the Future of Advanced Agricultural Research in Minnesota (FAARM) – would include world-class facilities, as well as several hundred acres of fields and land to further support its mission.

The vision is to create a state-of-the-art modern agriculture complex guided by a “one health” approach that studies all aspects of cattle, pigs and poultry – from the crops used to feed them, to the intersection of human and animal health, and animal interactions on soil health, water quality and climate.

“Now more than ever, our farmers and industry are operating in an increasingly fast-paced world with rapidly changing technology,” said Brian Buhr, Dean of the College of Food, Agriculture and Resource Sciences. Natural Sciences from the University of Minnesota. “The challenges of feeding a growing population while reducing the environmental footprint of agriculture are critical as our climate continues to change and we seek science-based solutions to adapt. This complex will allow us to be at the forefront of emerging food and agriculture education and research that will transform how we produce food and protect the environment at every step of the supply chain. supply.

FAARM will deliver practical solutions for today and forward-looking ideas for tomorrow using cutting-edge technologies and tools, including predictive analytics, big data, robotics and artificial intelligence. Educating students on these modern approaches to agriculture will ensure that an ongoing talent pool is ready to become Minnesota’s next generation of tech-savvy food and agriculture professionals.

Through a collaboration with Riverland Community College, Austin, Minnesota, FAARM also plans to provide a range of educational offerings for learners of all ages – K-12, post-secondary technical and associate degrees, bachelor’s and college degrees. higher education, and community education for the general public. This collaboration will foster job development opportunities for the food and agriculture sector which needs increased training for its future workforce, as well as nurturing the entrepreneurs who will play a key role. in market innovation.

“Agriculture is an important cornerstone of the economy of south-central Minnesota,” said Dr. Adenuga Atewologun, president of Riverland Community College. “Riverland plays a key role in setting up area farmers for success, and I look forward to partnering with the University of Minnesota for the future benefit of the citizens and farmers of our area.” »

The total project is estimated at around $220 million, with the development of the facilities over the next five years. To support this effort, the University is requesting $60 million through a state capital request for planning, land acquisition, pre-design and initial phase design. Additionally, the U of M is planning funding from a variety of public and private sources, including a $60 million cornerstone commitment already made by the Hormel Foundation.

“The Hormel Foundation is thrilled to partner with the University of Minnesota in its quest to build a new center for agricultural research and education in the Austin area,” said Jeff Ettinger, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. of the Hormel Foundation.

This funding proposal is part of the University’s state legislative request for the 2022 legislative session. Each program and project in the request is intended to accelerate and build upon the University of Minnesota’s unique ability to meet the most pressing challenges facing Minnesotans today and in the future.

About the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences

The College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) at the University of Minnesota strives to inspire minds, nourish people, and sustainably improve the natural environment. CFANS has a heritage of innovation, bringing discoveries to life through science and educating the next generation of leaders. Every day, students, professors and researchers use science to meet the great challenges of today’s and tomorrow’s world. CFANS offers an unparalleled breadth of experiential learning opportunities for students and the community, with 12 academic departments, 10 research and outreach centers across the state, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Bell Museum of Natural History and dozens of interdisciplinary centers.

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Lana T. Arthur