Federal funding boosts plans for $160m USDA research facility at UNL

National Center for Resilient and Regenerative Precision Agriculture will house four USDA ARS research units.

Krissa Welshans, Livestock Editor

March 15, 2024

2 Min Read

The bipartisan federal spending bill recently signed by President Biden includes $25 million for construction of a USDA Agricultural Research Service facility located at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Innovation Campus. The federal funding was championed by Sen. Deb Fischer in the Senate and Rep. Mike Flood in the House, but all members of Nebraska’s federal delegation have supported plans for the facility being located in Nebraska.

“This is a remarkable investment that will further Nebraska’s status as a world leader in agriculture,” said University of Nebraska Interim President Chris Kabourek. “Sen. Fischer has been a true champion and partner in this effort from the start, and all of us at the University of Nebraska are grateful for her leadership. Nor would this be possible without the leadership and advocacy of Congressman Flood. We’re eager to continue working closely with our federal delegation to make the USDA ARS facility a reality and are excited to break ground this spring.”

Kobourek continued: “Agriculture has always been, and will always be, foundational to the University of Nebraska’s work. I could not be more pleased that all of Team Nebraska — from our board of regents, to our federal partners, the governor and legislature, donors, farmers and ranchers across the state, and our incredible faculty, staff and students — is working together to keep us on the forefront in meeting the needs of our state and feeding the world for generations to come.”

The $160 million National Center for Resilient and Regenerative Precision Agriculture envisioned at Innovation Campus will be home to world-leading research and development in ag tech, precision agriculture, and other areas crucial to the future of agricultural innovation. It is expected to house four USDA ARS research units, including two new teams focused on precision production and water, climate and resilience – growing the number of high-wage, high-skill and high-demand jobs in Nebraska’s most important industry.

“The research conducted at the center will benefit Nebraskans and many, many others across the country,” said UNL Chancellor Rodney Bennett.

A companion to the USDA ARS facility, the Ag Tech Incubator and Accelerator, will serve as a business incubator and accelerator and ensure that the research and discovery taking place at the national center moves quickly from discovery to real-world solutions for farmers, ranchers, and food manufacturers. The Nebraska legislature and governor in 2022 approved $25 million in state funding for that facility, contingent upon the university raising $25 million in private funding. Kabourek said fundraising is moving forward in earnest and is one of the key priorities of the ongoing Only in Nebraska campaign.

About the Author(s)

Krissa Welshans

Livestock Editor

Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.

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