ISU: Generous gift
$14 million in gifts support new feed mill
AMES — Three major financial gifts are jump-starting plans to develop a new feed mill and grain science complex at Iowa State University to help meet the demand for well-trained graduates in the feed and grain industries.
The Kent Corporation is committing $8 million, the Iowa Corn Promotion Board is committing $4 million and Sukup Manufacturing Co. is committing $2 million to support the project. The $14 million in gifts were the first to be announced for the $21.2 million feed mill and grain science complex, which will be funded entirely through private giving.
“Iowa’s economy is heavily dependent upon grain and livestock production and export trade,” said Duane Aistrope, a Fremont County farmer who serves as president of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board. “To remain viable and competitive in the future, the grain, feed and livestock industries must continue to improve production and efficiency. This means having qualified professionals moving into this important agricultural sector.”
Sukup Manufacturing Co.’s commitment will be in-kind support, including the complex’s grain storage bins.
“Our mission is to protect and preserve the grain that feeds the world,” said Charles Sukup, president of Sukup Manufacturing Co., of Sheffield. “Key factors to our success as a company have been innovative ideas and our dedicated workforce. That’s why we are excited that Iowa State’s plans for the feed mill and grain science complex will focus on innovation in support of the grain and feed industries, education of the next generation and continuing education that helps our workforce and customers keep up to speed on the latest developments.”
ISU develops new minor
Much of America’s corn and corn products, particularly for pork, beef, dairy and poultry feeds, is processed at feed mills throughout Iowa and the Midwest.
During the past decade, commercial feed consumption in Iowa has doubled to 15 million tons, according to ISU data. Corn byproducts from ethanol plants represent the largest ingredient source in animal feeds at about 5 million tons.
“We are grateful to Kent, the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and Sukup Manufacturing for their lead gifts that will jump-start in-depth planning and development of our feed mill and grain science complex,” said Benjamin Allen, who served as interim president of ISU when the three companies committed $14 million for the project. “Their tremendous generosity will help make this facility a valuable addition to hands-on student learning, meaningful faculty research and extension and outreach to the industry’s workforce.”
The new complex is expected to include a feed mill tower, feed milling and mixing structures, grain storage bins and a one-story classroom and laboratory building. ISU faculty have been developing a new minor in feed and grain technology to better prepare students to meet a growing demand for highly skilled professionals in the feed and grain industries. The new complex will provide hands-on learning experiences for students across several agricultural majors.
ISU’s new feed mill and grain complex will be built on approximately 10 acres of university-owned land southwest of the intersection of Highway 30 and State Avenue in Ames. The land, managed by ISU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has been the site of crop research, seed operations and crop yield performance trials for more than 50 years.
New facility will prepare students, improve research
The new facility will centralize feed production close to ISU’s animal teaching and research farms. It’s expected to improve the quality of research by ISU faculty, serving as a source for custom-made animal feeds for academic studies.
Variability and inconsistency in making experimental diets have been a stumbling block in the past; one that will likely be eliminated or reduced through use of the new facility, according to ISU.
Researchers also will use the complex to study feed safety and biosecurity issues linked to transportation of feeds.
The facility will also provide a new venue for continuing education and extension programs for employees in feed milling and grain industries. These opportunities reflect ISU’s commitment to the Cultivation Corridor and the university’s mission to promote growth in agriculture and biosciences.
This appeals to the Muscatine-based Kent Corporation.
“Our business portfolio includes developing innovative, high-quality, value-added products from locally-grown corn,” said Gage Kent, chairman and chief executive officer of the Kent Corporation, a global leader in corn wet milling, animal feed production and food product manufacturing. “It’s critical that we support Iowa State in giving students valuable, real-world experiences that will benefit their future employers and industries.”
The training programs that will become available through ISU’s new feed mill and grain science complex will help workers address biosecurity concerns, meet an increasing number of regulatory compliance issues and gain experience in advanced processing methods.
The complex will also be valuable for showcasing the sophistication of the U.S. feed industry to international visitors. Additionally, it will provide a unique setting for educating international visitors on how to best use U.S. corn and corn products in their own livestock industries, according to ISU.
“Iowa State’s feed mill and grain science complex will allow us to help with the Iowa Corn Promotion Board’s market development activities by serving as a great resource to educate our visiting international trade team on how to best utilize U.S. corn and corn products,” Aistrope said.
Fundraising for the project continues, and a timeline will be developed as detailed plans and design work progresses. Plans for construction will be presented at a later date for approval to the Iowa Board of Regents.