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Iowa Crop Improvement Association Commits $1.5M to ISU Feed Mill

Feed mill and grain science complex will be built entirely with gifts from private donors

Iowa state feed mill

The Iowa Crop Improvement Association has pledged $1.5 million to Iowa State University’s feed mill and grain science complex.

Iowa Crop Improvement Association’s gift was announced earlier this month, during the groundbreaking ceremony for the $21.2 million project, which will be located on university-owned land south of Highway 30 in Ames.

“We are so grateful for Iowa Crop Improvement Association’s generous gift to help move us forward in making this complex a reality,” said Daniel J. Robison, holder of the endowed dean’s chair in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State. “This is an exciting new chapter in our long-lasting partnership with the association — working together to benefit Iowa farmers, our crop and seed industries, and the future professionals who will be leaders in all these fields. It’s an incredible gift to enhance the entire college.”

“We believe the feed mill and grain science complex will be a hub for expanding new opportunities related to plant science and seed science,” said Jim Rouse, executive director of the Iowa Crop Improvement Association. “Our commitment reflects part of our nonprofit mission to support education and research in these fields. This site will be important for students to explore many aspects of the crop, seed and grain industries, and for Iowans working in these industries to keep up to date through extension education and training.”

The feed mill and grain science complex will be built entirely with gifts from private donors. The complex will include a feed mill tower, feed milling and mixing structures, grain storage bins, warehouse and an educational building with classrooms. Completion of the complex is expected during the summer of 2021.

The Iowa Crop Improvement Association has been serving Iowans for 117 years, with members representing companies and professionals working in the seed industry and advancing seed and crop improvement.

The nonprofit organization, established in 1902 and affiliated with Iowa State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, serves as the official seed certifying organization for the state of Iowa. Seed certification provides coordinated, professional field inspections and laboratory testing, and serves as an unbiased system for meeting state, federal and international seed law requirements. Seed certification assures buyers that the seed they purchase has met established standards for varietal purity and identity.

Recently the association marked two major milestones in its crop testing programs. This year the association observed 100 years of leadership in testing corn hybrids and varieties in the Iowa Crop Performance Tests. In 2017, the association observed the 50th anniversary of conducting soybean trials. Conducted annually at locations across Iowa, Iowa Crop Improvement Association’s corn and soybean tests provide unbiased, third-party data to Iowa farmers and others on the adaptation and performance of many crop hybrids and varieties. All test results are publicly available and disseminated widely at to promote the production and use of improved seed stocks. Iowa Crop’s crop performance tests serve as a selection tool for farmers to use to decide what seeds they want to plant for the next season.

Iowa Crop Improvement Association has a long history of supporting research, educational and leadership opportunities. In the last decade the association has committed more than $1.25 million in support of several programs, including plant breeding and other research projects in Iowa State’s Department of Agronomy; Iowa State University’s Crops Team, a student organization; sponsorship of the annual Iowa FFA Agronomy Career Development Event, which attracts over 100 students from 30 Iowa high schools; and annually awarded scholarships to College of Agriculture and Life Sciences students pursuing crop or seed-related majors.

The organization’s board of directors includes the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture; director of the Agriculture Experiment Station at Iowa State; chair of the ISU Department of Agronomy; director of the ISU Seed Science Center; and six members elected by the association’s members who represent seed producers, farmers and others with interests in crop improvement.

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