AMES, Iowa — Iowa State University broke ground Sept. 13 to mark the start of construction of its $21.2 million Kent Corporation Feed Mill and Grain Science Complex (name pending approval by the Board of Regents).

The site will be located on 10 acres of university-owned land southwest of the intersection of Highway 30 and State Avenue in Ames.

The complex will include a feed mill tower, feed milling and mixing structures, grain storage bins, warehouse and an educational building with classrooms, according to a university news release.

Completion of the complex is expected during the summer of 2021.

“The feed, grain and livestock sectors are key to the success of agriculture in Iowa,” said Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen. “As a top land-grant university, Iowa State is at the forefront of critical and cutting- edge research, education and Extension programs that support these important sectors.”

Daniel J. Robison, Chair in ISU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, called the complex “a world-class, state-of-the-art facility” to prepare students, train industry professionals and conduct “research that will make Iowa State a recognized leader in support of the feed industry.”

The mill will have a capacity of approximately 20,000 tons of feed per year to meet needs of ISU classes, tours, short courses, research diets, internships, small batches and rations for livestock and poultry.

Iowa leads the nation in the amount of animal feed consumed at more than 21 million tons a year. The feed industry in the state represents more than $20 billion in sales and more than 58,000 jobs in Iowa are connected to the industry.

The mill will serve as a source for custom-made animal feeds for academic studies.

The new complex will offer ISU teaching programs related to feed technology, grain science and animal nutrition. Classes and short courses will be taught at the complex, research conducted and animal feed prepared.

When completed, the new complex will provide hands-on learning experiences for students across majors such as animal science, agricultural biosystems engineering, agricultural business and more, Robison said.

This fall, a new minor in feed technology debuted. The minor will help prepare students to meet a growing demand for highly skilled professionals in the feed and grain industries.

These programs will help feed and grain industry workers meet an increasing number of regulatory compliance issues, address biosecurity concerns and gain experience in advanced processing methods, the university said.

Kent Corporation provided the naming commitment of $8 million in 2017. Other lead commitments for the project were provided by the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, which committed $4 million; and Sukup Manufacturing Co., which committed $2 million of in-kind support. In May, a $2.6 million commitment was made by California Pellet Mill (CPM) of Waterloo.

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