CEDAR FALLS — A proposed $21.2 million Iowa State University feed mill and grain science complex — pitched earlier this year as being funded entirely through private donations — got its start and now its name from Iowa-based Kent Corp.
A Board of Regents committee, meeting Wednesday in Cedar Falls, agreed to recommend for full board approval naming Iowa State’s proposed six-building complex — which will house 47,000 square feet of teaching, research and outreach facilities — the ISU Kent Corporation Feed Mill and Grain Science Complex.
The naming honors Kent — a family-owned Muscatine-based corporation with subsidiaries in corn wet milling, animal feed production and food manufacturing — for its lead commitment of $8 million toward the project.
Iowa State announced the Kent Corp. lead gift, along with a $4 million commitment from the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and a $2 million gift from Sukup Manufacturing Co., earlier this year, amounting to a $14 million start toward its $21.2 million goal.
The Kent Corp. gift to Iowa State represented its largest ever and squarely aligns with the company’s mission.
“Our business portfolio includes developing innovative, high-quality, value-added products from locally grown corn,” Kent Chairman and CEO Gage Kent said in a statement provided by Iowa State.
“It is critical that we support Iowa State in giving students valuable real-world experiences that will benefit their future employers and industries,” Kent said. “Our experience with Iowa State’s commitment to the Cultivation Corridor and their mission to promote and facilitate growth in agriculture and biosciences helped facilitate this gift.”
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The proposed feed mill and grain science complex is planned for 10 acres of ISU-owned land southwest of the Highway 30 and State Avenue intersection in Ames, according to board documents.
The project includes a feed mill tower, other feed milling and mixing structures, grain storage bins, a warehouse and an educational building with classrooms.
Faculty and staff would use the facility to teach students, train industry professionals and conduct research aimed at making Iowa State a “recognized leader in support of the feed industry.”
When regents in June approved construction of the complex, Brian Meyer, the director of college relations for the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Science, told The Gazette the university to date had raised $16.5 million through direct donations and in-kind equipment and technology.
The Sukup Manufacturing donation, for example, included the complex’s grain storage bins.
“It looks promising,” Meyer told The Gazette at the time. “We have the funding in place to do a lot of things, and we hope to finish up the giving piece in the next year.”
The project, as proposed, would replace three existing feed mills characterized as “outdated and non-compliant” with safety laws. It would enhance ISU programs involving feed technology, grain science, and animal nutrition — and courses would teach trainees how to keep the food system secure and sustainable.
In addition to this lead project gift, Kent has created a Kent Corporation Chair in Business in the ISU Ivy College of Business.
Gage Kent serves on the Ivy College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council, engaging with supply chain management students and recruiting Cyclones via career fairs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Ivy College of Business, and College of Engineering.
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“The university is grateful for the financial support Kent Corporation is providing to Iowa State University,” according to board documents.
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