URBANA, ILL. — Archer Daniels Midland Co. has pledged $2.5 million to the University of Illinois to assist in the construction of a new Feed Technology Center. The $20 million facility will give students hands-on experience and also provide a research outlet for the industry. It will be built by ASI Industrial, Billings, Mont.

“Thanks to this investment from ADM, we will continue in our long tradition of leading innovative, industry-relevant research while training the next generation of experts in feed science and animal nutrition,” said Kim Kidwell, dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at Illinois. “We are truly grateful for their partnership, both in this moment and throughout the history of the college.” 

The new building complex, with its high-throughput storage, processing, mixing, extruding, bagging and delivery systems, will deliver 8,000 tons of specialized small-batch research diets per year, the university said. It will replace the university’s 92-year-old feed mill, which is expected to be demolished after the new center opens.

Illinois animal nutrition scientists and students will take advantage of the facility’s capabilities to design and test healthy, efficient diets for livestock and companion animals. The research enterprise will rely on and strengthen relationships with industry partners, including state and regional grain and livestock producers, as well as feed companies.

Within the Feed Technology Center, Illinois students will safely gain hands-on experience with the latest feed technologies, positioning them as strong contenders for leadership positions within the industry. New undergraduate and graduate courses are set to expand the curriculum in animal nutrition and feed technology, including the possibility of a new undergraduate concentration in the future.

“Innovation across the entire ag supply chain is key to helping the entire industry find new solutions to tackle the monumental challenge of feeding the world’s growing population,” said Ryan Lane, president, ADM Animal Nutrition in North America. “ADM is fortunate to have a strong partnership with the College of ACES and access to their animal nutrition staff, student talent and research capabilities as we work together to develop new products, services and solutions. We are proud to help support the College of ACES and the animal nutrition industry on this exciting new project.”

Construction on the Feed Technology Center started in June and is expected to be completed in September 2020. ADM’s donation comes on top of a $6 million investment made by the College of ACES. Other private partners have been invited to donate cash and in-kind contributions toward the facility. 

“The College of ACES values collaboration with industry partners,” said Rodney Johnson, head of the Department of Animal Sciences at Illinois. “This investment from ADM extends the long-established partnership in animal nutrition innovation, professional preparation and public engagement.”