The Northeast Iowa Experimental Association will break ground for its new Borlaug Learning Center at 1 p.m. on Sept. 6 at the Iowa State University Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm near Nashua.
The public is invited to bring shovels and participate in breaking ground. The program will be led by association president and Waverly farmer Mark Mueller. Speakers include Jack Payne, vice president for ISU Extension and outreach, and Kendall Lamkey, chair of ISU's Department of Agronomy and the Pioneer Distinguished Chair in Maize Breeding at ISU.
A field day will follow the groundbreaking at 1:30 p.m. featuring sessions on grain markets, water quality, tillage systems and corn diseases.
Facility will cost around $400,000
An association effort, led by retired ISU Extension crop specialist Kay Connelly and co-chair Bruce Clark, raised $200,000 of private funds to build the center. The facility will cost an estimated $400,000, and the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will fund the remainder.
"The center will strengthen our partnership with northeast Iowa, share applied knowledge and research and honor the Borlaug legacy," says Connelly.
The center will consist of a 6,400-square-foot building with two large meeting rooms, a conference room, office space for farm employees and visiting researchers and a laboratory. In time, the center also may house the ISU Extension northeast area office and area agricultural Extension specialists.
Work on center to start immediately
Site work will begin immediately following the groundbreaking and construction will continue through 2008. Grand opening is planned for the association's annual meeting in March 2009. The center is named after Iowa native Norman Borlaug, a Nobel Peace Prize winner credited with pioneering the Green Revolution. Borlaug was born and raised on a farm at Cresco in northeast Iowa.
The Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm is one mile west of Highway 218 and B60 intersection in Nashua, one mile south and a quarter mile east.
The farm is one of Iowa's premier agricultural research locations with more than 45 projects focusing on agricultural and horticultural crops, pest management, tillage, fertility and water quality. The Northeast Iowa Experimental Association represents farmers and agribusinesses in 20 counties in northeast Iowa.