The Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food & the Environment (CAFE) advanced another major step in July with the acquisition of a site for an education and outreach complex at the Crossroads Point Business Center near Jerome, Ida.
The six acres purchased by the University of Idaho are located in Jerome County in south-central Idaho along U.S. Highway 93 and north of the Interstate 84 intersection. The property will accommodate a public visitor center, faculty offices, laboratories, classrooms and housing linked to CAFE, the university said in an announcement.
“This purchase marks an important advance in realizing the overall goal of the Idaho [CAFE],” said Michael P. Parrella, dean of the University of Idaho College of Agricultural & Life Sciences. “CAFE will help Idaho’s important dairy industry and the broader agricultural and business communities in the state by improving their sustainability so they remain a vital foundation of Idaho’s economy.”
The purchase marks the second major step this year toward realizing the creation of the nation’s largest research dairy. The University of Idaho and the Idaho Dairymen’s Assn. purchased property from the Whitesides family in February that will serve as the location for a 2,000-cow research dairy. That property is near Rupert, Ida.
Plans call for the CAFE Discovery Complex to partner with collaborating organizations to tell the story of Idaho agriculture. The plan was endorsed by the Idaho Dairymen’s Assn., the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, Jerome 20/20 and other groups, the university said.
Jerome County officials and agricultural interests have long sought greater university involvement in the region’s vital dairy industry. The energy and leadership provided by Jerome 20/20 has been extraordinary and valued, Parrella said.
The Idaho State Board of Education previously approved the sale, which closed in mid-July.
Another major component of the Idaho CAFE project will involve enhanced food processing education and research opportunities in the Magic Valley in a partnership with the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, Ida.
More information on the project is available at www.uidaho.edu/cafe.