Iowa State receives $14 million in support of new feed milling and grain science facility

Interim Iowa State President Ben Allen announced on Sep. 8 a $14 million donation for the Iowa State Feed Mill and Grain Science Project. The donation comes from the Kent Corporation, Iowa Corn Promotion Board, and Sukup Manufacturing Co..

Annelise Wells

It was announced on Friday that the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences would be receiving major financial commitments to support a new educational and research facility for feed milling and grain science.

The Kent corporation will be contributing $8 million, the Iowa Corn Promotion board will be contributing $4 million and Sukup Manufacturing Co. will be contributing $2 million.

With a total of $14 million, these commitments are over half of what is needed for the $21.2 million project.

This facility will allow interactive learning for students, research space and opportunities for faculty and extension and outreach programs to the workforce.

With all of these features, the new feed mill will impact more than just the immediate Iowa State and Ames community.

“This is more than the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Iowa State University,” said endowed Dean Wendy Wintersteen. “It really is about Iowa.”

All of the funding for the new facility will be done by private donations as a part of the Forever True Iowa State campaign. 

“The mission of this campaign is to leverage private support to elevate Iowa State as a world leader,” said Interim President Ben Allen.

The largest private commitment to the project so far is by the Kent Corporation. The Kent Corporation is an Iowa-based, family run company who leads in wet milling and the production of animal feeds.

Gage Kent, chief executive officer of the Kent Corporation, spoke at the event on Friday about the importance of innovation.

“You don’t get it from equipment, you get it from your workforce, and you have to have a well trained workforce. And this facility…will train the people of tomorrow that will make the innovations of tomorrow,” Kent said. 

This $8 million contribution is the largest that the Kent Corporation has done.

Similarly, this is the largest commitment that the Iowa Corn Promotion Board has been a part of.

Duane Aistrope, president of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, spoke about how the educational and research facility will allow opportunities for education and research about corn and corn products. He said that because commercial feed consumption has doubled in the past decade, having the facility will create a competitive advantage in the global feed industry for Iowa State.

The last contributor is the Sukup Marketing Co, led by president Charles Sukup and chief financial officer Steve Sukup. 

The company will be exhibiting their products at the new facility.

“The products we will be showcasing out to the feed mill are ones we have developed over the past 18 years,” said Steve Sukup.

These products include grain bins, material handlers and bucket elevators. The company has grown 8 times larger over the last eighteen years because of these innovations.

Another topic of discussion at the event was the new minor of feed technology that has been in progress this year.

The first course of this minor, feed processing and technology, has been underway this fall semester. Preparations are also in place for the second course, feed quality and safety, to be taught during the spring semester.

Riley Bauling, a student in agricultural systems technology, spoke about her discovery of the feed milling industry and her passion for it.

After the event, she expressed how her and her peers are looking forward to the new feed mill.

“We are excited about everything, having classes out there and labs, and being able take knowledge first hand,” said Bauling, ” I’m more of a hands on learner. And that’s what the agriculture systems major is- hands on work in larger settings that we can take when we graduate. So this is just going to be a phenomenal experience for us to do that.”