This June, construction will begin on a brand new 11,000 sq. ft. educational facility at the Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center. The building will be used for industry meetings and research demonstrations to interested parties.
For the public, one of the highlights of the new facility will be the showcase tours featuring important current research. A public event on August 26 will mark the opening of the facility. Among the many amenities will be a classroom for 50, designated for educational events hosted by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, MSU AgBioResearch, and MSU Extension and a meeting hall designed for more than 250.
The facility will provide support for MSU’s Empower Extraordinary capital campaign. Industry groups and local business contributed more than one million dollars to the project. Per the campaign, major contributors include the “Michigan Sugar Company, GreenStone Farm Credit Services, Star of the West Milling, Syngenta, Beta Seed, Crop Production Services, Cooperative Elevator, Dave Hausbeck Trucking, Bayside Best Beans, Michigan Crop Improvement Association, Thumb National Bank, Frank Farms, Stoutenburg Farms, Atwater Farms and Comerica Bank.”
In a statement, the Empower Extraordinary provided further insight into the background of the agriculture research facilities in the Saginaw Valley. “Since 1971, MSU has operated a research center in the Saginaw Valley area, which is home to most of the dry bean and sugar beet production in Michigan. After the MSU Land Management Office purchased a 250-acre farm in nearby Frankenmuth in 2008, the center moved from Saginaw, more than doubling the acreage of the SVREC. MSU has acquired more land in recent years, bringing the total to 310 acres. Proceeds from the original 120-acre Saginaw farm were donated to MSU by Michigan Sugar Company and its growers, and the Michigan dry bean growers and industry, represented by the Michigan Bean Commission and the Michigan Bean Shippers Association.”
Director of MSU AgBioResearch, Doug Buhler, spoke to MSU Today about the importance of the project and its impact on the Michigan agricultural community. “We believe this new facility will empower us to engage more with agriculture groups and the Great Lakes Bay Region where we’ve historically had a positive impact. Through their unwavering support, our industry and business partners continue to commit to the great work that’s being done through our research and extension programs.”
From an industry standpoint, the facility represents a major step forward in academia/industry relations. President and CEO of GreenStone Farm Credit Services explained that “the Saginaw Valley represents a significant area for Michigan agriculture. Being able to offer local farmers a central location to gain knowledge on ways to improve their farming practices is a direct tie to GreenStone’s mission, and benefits not only the producer, but the environment and consumers alike. We are pleased to help bring this resource to our members, as well as provide the community a multipurpose facility for education, outreach and development.”