DECATUR, ILL. — Archer Daniels Midland Co. has given $1.5 million to Purdue University for the construction of the ADM Agricultural Innovation Center. The 27,000-square-foot center is expected to provide enhanced classroom and laboratory space, allowing for more advanced research work by the nearly 400 undergraduate and graduate students of Purdue University’s College of Agriculture.

“As the global population continues to grow, the world is looking toward agriculture to create viable, sustainable solutions to some of the world’s most pressing needs — like an abundant food supply and advanced renewable fuels,” said Craig Huss, senior vice-president of ADM and president of agricultural services. “To help our industry meet this challenge, ADM is pleased to invest in Purdue University.”

Purdue University President France A. Córdova said the project is an extension of a longstanding partnership between the Decatur-based company and Purdue to prepare students to lead innovation in agriculture. Over the past three years, ADM has recruited more students from Purdue than any other university.

“This will provide even greater opportunities for Purdue students to engage in projects that will enhance their education in the development and manufacture of agricultural machinery,” Ms. Córdova said.

Construction of the ADM Agricultural Innovation Center is scheduled to begin in early May, and is expected to be completed during the 2011 fall semester.

Spread over three years, ADM’s $1.5 million contribution is being funded through ADM Cares, the company’s social-investment program.