University of Minnesota to build $220 million livestock research complex

The complex will aid studies in cattle, swine and poultry health
calendar icon 21 February 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

The University of Minnesota is exploring the development of an advanced agricultural research complex in Mower County. A press release from the university said the complex will serve as a state-of-the-art teaching and research hub that will propel vital discoveries and further establish Minnesota’s position as a global catalyst and leader in food and agriculture innovation.

“The collaborative vision fuelling this project creates an extraordinary opportunity: unmatched preparation for students as they work toward productive careers, a platform for new world-class discovery and an engine that will drive strong economic outcomes for all Minnesotans,” said U of M President Joan Gabel.

Through a public-private partnership the 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 modern advanced agriculture complex driven by a “one health” approach that studies every aspect of cattle, swine and poultry – from the crops used to feed them, to the intersection of human and animal health, and to the interactions of animals 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 advancing technology,” said Brian Buhr, dean of the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. “The challenges to feed a growing population while reducing the environmental footprint of farming are critical as our climate continues to change and we pursue scientific 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.”

FAARM will deliver practical solutions for today and forward-looking ideas for tomorrow with the help of cutting-edge technology and tools, including predictive analytics, big data, robotics and artificial intelligence. Educating students on these modern approaches to agriculture will ensure a continued talent pipeline is prepared to become Minnesota’s next generation of tech-savvy food and agriculture professionals.

The total project is estimated at about $220 million, with facility development occurring over the next five years.

Melanie Epp

Melanie Epp is a freelance agricultural journalist from Ontario, Canada.

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