Today a new USD$3.5 million investment for a Feed Technology Complex at the University of Illinois in Urbana was announced. The investment is part of Illinois Governor Quinn’s Jobs Now! capital construction program.
“We need to make sure our students breaking into agribusiness have access to cutting-edge technology and resources in order to keep the industry thriving,” Governor Quinn said. “A new state-of-the-art Feed Technology Complex will help the University of Illinois remain a leader in animal science research and education. The world-class research conducted at the University of Illinois is key to attracting businesses and supporting agricultural and economic growth in Illinois.”
The project is a public-private partnership between the University of Illinois, the state of Illinois, industry partners and private donors. Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), one of the world’s largest agricultural processors and food ingredient providers, has agreed to donate $1.5 million for the project in 2015. The total estimated cost of the project is $13.3 million.
By investing $3.5 million, the state will support the design and construction of the Feed Technology Complex at the University of Illinois’ South Farms. The facility will give students and faculty the ability to process customized animal feeds and will support research and educational programs in crop and animal sciences, nutrition and food science.
Upon completion, the new complex will be used to develop and test new technologies that can be applied to the manufacture of animal and human foods, and will support research on safe food production, animal nutrition and sustainable livestock practices. The state-of-the-art complex will replace the university’s century-old feed mill.
“The Feed Technology Complex will support our world-class programs in animal nutrition, bioprocessing and bioenergy,” Robert J. Hauser, dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) at the U of I said. “This facility will be the central, critical element that supports many of our research and training programs. The resulting graduates will be aggressively recruited to fill positions in the food manufacturing, feed technology, bioenergy and livestock industries. The project would not be possible without support from ADM, other companies, and agricultural commodity organizations.”
“With our investment in the Feed Technology Center, ADM is looking forward to building on our legacy of partnership with the University of Illinois as we work together to create new and innovative food and feed solutions,” ADM’s president, Animal Nutrition, Brent Fenton said. “We are excited to support this modern feed technology complex that will strengthen our collaboration with the University and the state of Illinois, and will help us work together to build a bright future for Illinois agriculture.”
The Feed Technology Complex, designed to meet precise animal nutrition parameters and specialized feed preparation, will be vital for discovery research and education in the areas of food security and safety, alternative energy forms and health issues such as obesity, cancer and aging.
“This partnership among the state of Illinois, the University of Illinois and an important private organization – ADM – will create a new paradigm not only for development of a capital project but for the kind of educational programming that will take place in the Feed Technology Complex,” Neal R. Merchen, ACES associate dean for research said. “Collaborative research and student training involving both the university and ADM will address problems of great relevance to feed manufacturers and serve as exercises in training a new generation of feed technologists. The new Feed Technology Complex will be the centerpiece of a training platform that will create jobs and provide skilled workers to the industry.”