UK's Grain and Forage Center of Excellence Groundbreaking Ceremony

Posted on Apr 17, 2018

 

 

For the better part of a century, Princeton, Kentucky has been home to an agricultural research and educational facility that has helped farmers in their efforts to be more successful production-wise, as well as from a farm management perspective. Over the years the facility has grown and broadened those efforts and in doing so has benefitted the industry as a whole.

Now, with the addition of the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Grain and Forage Center of Excellence, the facility will have even more capabilities to conduct some of the most comprehensive and advanced research of its kind, anywhere.

Leaders with UK, agricultural organizations and commodity groups from across the state recently gathered for an official groundbreaking to mark the start of construction on the new addition. 

UK President Eli Capilouto was just one of a number of officials who addressed the capacity crowd. He said UK is inextricably linked to the well-being and the economic development of all 120 Kentucky counties.

“Agriculture is a fundamental component of the Kentucky economy, and the innovation underway at the UK’s Research and Education Center in Princeton advances that work,” said Capilouto. “This new center of excellence expands and enhances our capacity to serve as the University for Kentucky.”

Dr. Chad Lee, UK grain crops specialist and center director said in expanding the current research facility, it will help to attract and retain “top-notch” people to conduct research on issues that affect the ag industry.

“We have hired some of, what I believe to be the best people in the country to come here to Kentucky to work on ag issues that are important to our farmers,” he said. “That makes me extremely excited about where we’re headed in the future because this center really started as a conversation from growers and some of our faculty here who were talking about long-term viability and how to remain relevant and how to address issues farmers have.”

The center has received much support from stakeholders throughout Kentucky including a $15 million grant from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board in July of 2016.

It has also been a priority issue for Kentucky Farm Bureau. In continuing its long-standing support of the research facility, last year KFB announced a $1 million donation that will go toward two specific projects at the center.

A total of $500,000 will be provided over a five-year period for the naming rights of the main entrance once the new facility has been completed and an additional $500,000, paid over a five-year period, will support a statewide water resources initiative targeted at enhancing water management as part of the ongoing research efforts at the center.

KFB President Mark Haney, who attended the event and participated in the groundbreaking ceremony, noted the long-term support the facity has received over the years.

“Since the Princeton research program was established in 1924, Kentucky Farm Bureau has been supportive of its efforts in research and development projects and programs. Those efforts have helped our agriculture industry in this state become the nearly $6 billion business it is and a national leader in agricultural initiatives,” he said. “While the center’s name includes grains and forages, there is likely not a single agriculture sector in Kentucky that has not benefited from the work conducted there and the new facility will undoubtedly become a model in agricultural research.”

Haney added that this new center will benefit all Kentuckians in many ways. “This facility has helped us for many generations and will continue to positively affect agriculture in every community. We’re excited to be a part of it.”