Illinois moving ahead with Feed Technology Center

The University of Illinois has entered a public/private partnership to build a new state-of-the-art Feed Technology Center near its Urbana, Ill., campus for the College of Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences (ACES).

The “highly anticipated” new facility will replace the 1920s-era feed mill and will “cement Illinois as a nationally recognized innovation hub in animal nutrition,” the university said in an announcement.

In addition to serving as the site of faculty research, the Feed Technology Center will offer opportunities for students to 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 being created to expand the curriculum in animal nutrition, including a new undergraduate concentration in feed processing technology, the university said.

The Feed Technology Center has been in the works for more than two decades, but traditional funding strategies kept it from going forward. Indeed, the university had announced in 2014 that then-Gov. Pat Quinn had pledged $3.5 million for the complex.

A novel public/private partnership, similar to a lease-to-own arrangement, will enable this long-awaited construction project to proceed quickly, the university said. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2019, and the entire project is expected to be completed in early 2020.

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