University of Idaho to develop largest dairy research facility in the US

USA –  The University of Idaho in Idoha, Northwestern U.S., will be raising US$45 million in developing the largest and most advanced research center in the US, targeting the dairy and allied industries.

According to the Feed Navigator, the Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment (CAFE) is currently being designed at the university, with plans for large scale research.

The facilities will be focused on research, dairy production, public outreach an food processing, supporting a sustainable dairy production system in a semi-arid environment.

The research center will house 2,000 cows, alongside a demonstration farm for nutrient management research and a discovery complex for agro-tourism.

Jim Miller, director of development with the college of agricultural and life sciences at the university said that the planned research and outreach facilities seek to address the top agricultural commodity in the state and provide relevant research for producers.

“As the dairy industry in Idaho has increased in importance, we see that it is important for the university to match that level of relevancy,” he added.

As a part of the main dairy, CAFE will consist of 1,200 additional acres for agronomic research, feed production, and nutrient management, studying the interactions between dairy and water and soil health.

The facility’s animal and environmental research unit, will aim at addressing concerns like determining the best practices for animal health and welfare with high-quality milk production.

It will also focus on implementing robotic systems into herd management and milking as well as low-stress handling and transportation.

“CAFE research will improve sustainability in the industry by enabling producers, dairies and food processors to adopt practices and policies to meet the sustainability requirements of their customers,”​ a report from the university notes.

“CAFE research will also address the economic, social and cultural sustainability of rural communities and diverse populations as well as the quality and sustainability of air, land and water resources of the rural communities impacted by the dairy industry.

“CAFE will encourage the development of innovative new food products and product attributes, along with identifying new market opportunities nationally and internationally.”​

The project is expected to cost about US$45m, with the university set to provide about US$15m, and the state legislature agreeing to provide US$15m, of which US$10m has already been allocated, while the remaining US$15m is set to come from fundraising and industry stakeholders.

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