Iowa State University broke ground Sept. 13 to mark the start of construction of its $21.2 million Kent Corp. Feed Mill & Grain Science Complex (the name is pending approval by the Board of Regents, state of Iowa).
The site will be located on 10 acres of university-owned land southwest of the intersection of Highway 30 and State Ave. in Ames, Iowa. 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.
Kent Corp. 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, Iowa.
“The feed, grain and livestock sectors are key to the success of agriculture in Iowa,” Iowa State University president Wendy Wintersteen said. “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. The Kent Corp. Feed Mill & Grain Sciences Complex will provide the space, facilities and technology to strengthen our ability to carry out our mission.”
“The Kent Corp. Feed Mill & Grain Science Complex will be a world-class, state-of-the-art facility used by faculty and staff to prepare students, train industry professionals and conduct impactful research that will make Iowa State a recognized leader in support of the feed industry,” said Daniel J. Robison, holder of the Endowed Dean’s chair in the Iowa State College of Agriculture & Life Sciences.
The state-of-the-art facility will extend Iowa State’s mission of education, research, extension and outreach.
The new feed mill and grain science complex will enhance the university's teaching programs related to feed technology, grain science and animal nutrition. Classes and short courses will be taught at the complex, research will be conducted and animal feed prepared. Students and industry trainees will use the complex to learn how to keep the food system secure and sustainable.
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. This fall, a new minor in feed technology debuted, developed by faculty in the department of agricultural and biosystems engineering and the department of animal science. The minor will help prepare students to meet a growing demand for highly skilled professionals in the feed and grain industries.
The program is expected to reinforce the quality of research by Iowa State faculty and serve as a source for custom-made animal feeds for academic studies.
The facility also will be a hub for continuing education and extension programs for employees in the feed milling and grain industries. It will provide extension and outreach programs on topics that include feed technology, grain science and animal nutrition. 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 new facility will centralize feed production close to the university’s animal agriculture teaching and research farms. The mill will have a capacity of approximately 20,000 tons of feed per year to meet the needs of Iowa State 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.
Kent Corp., headquartered in Muscatine, Iowa, is a diversified, family-owned corporation with operating subsidiaries involved in corn wet milling, animal feed production and the food and beverage product manufacturing. Kent Corp. is owned by the Kent family and led by third-generation family member Gage A. Kent. The company serves customers across the world and employs approximately 2,000 people in its 23 locations across 13 states and three countries.