The Michigan State University Board of Trustees has authorized two infrastructure projects critical to the future of Michigan food production and agriculture.
Substantial renovations and additions to the Plant Sciences Greenhouses are being made as well as the construction of an updated, state-of-the-art Dairy Cattle Teaching and Research Center, with the state of Michigan providing $53 million for partial funding of each project. Both projects received strong advocacy from Michigan’s agricultural community and bipartisan legislative support.
“MSU has partnered with generations of Michigan’s farmers and growers for over 155 years, and we’re excited to continue in that tradition of service for the next hundred years,” said MSU Interim President Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. “These new facilities demonstrate MSU’s ongoing commitment to excellence in agriculture. I thank the Legislature for investing in our state’s future leaders in plant and animal science.”
Michigan Farm Bureau President Carl Bednarski commended the MSU Board of Trustees’ approval of the two critical research and teaching facilities, noting the $15.7 billion contribution to the state’s economy from dairy and $750 million from the state’s greenhouse industry.
“Michigan Farm Bureau members have been vocal in their support for funding essential updates to MSU’s greenhouse and dairy facilities,” Bednarski said. “Michigan agriculture’s future success depends on state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities from our pioneer land-grant university.”
The new and renovated spaces will expand research capacity for MSU scientists in the colleges of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Natural Science and Veterinary Medicine, including research funded by MSU AgBioResearch.
“As farmers strive to feed our population under challenging climate conditions, MSU’s world-class scientists and students will be working side-by-side with them in these new dairy and greenhouse facilities,” said Kelly Millenbah, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “We are so grateful for the advocacy of our friends in Michigan agriculture, and it’s exciting to see our shared vision coming to life here at MSU.”
“MSU researchers stand ready to step into these facilities and generate high-impact research addressing grand challenges facing agriculture such as climate resiliency and environmental sustainability,” said George Smith, director of MSU AgBioResearch. “We have a lot of work to do before that day, but we’re incredibly grateful to the Board of Trustees for this approval and to the state Legislature, commodity groups, general farm organizations and our producers for their ongoing support.”
MSU’s Plant Sciences Greenhouses are a research and teaching hub for 70 faculty and 600 students in the colleges of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Natural Science. The renovations and additions have a project budget of $35 million and will include state-of-the-art environmental controls and energy-efficient LED lighting configured to external climate conditions.
The project also includes a new headhouse, which will provide administrative and research space. Construction will begin in May 2024.
“MSU is a world-leading center for plant sciences research that drives innovation in the agricultural economy and addresses the impacts of a changing climate and emerging diseases, pests and contaminants,” said Phillip Duxbury, dean of the College of Natural Science. “Well-controlled greenhouse environments are essential to maintaining MSU’s leadership in these areas and we are very grateful to Michigan’s political leaders, the board and MSU leadership for supporting these high-impact upgrades.”
The MSU Dairy Cattle Teaching and Research Center currently houses 250 dairy cattle and supports the research of faculty in the colleges of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Veterinary Medicine. The new dairy facility will expand research capacity by increasing herd size to 680 in addition to creating modernized barns, feed centers, milking parlors and laboratories.
The new facility also will provide spaces for student instruction. Construction will begin in April 2024 and is budgeted at $75 million.
“The dairy industry has advanced well beyond the center’s current capacity, particularly in regard to research potential and teaching modern production practices,” said Doug Freeman, interim dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “As we train the next generation of veterinarians, the center will allow them to develop significantly enhanced skills in dairy production medicine, which will enable them to serve clients and better protect local and global food systems.”