CSU breaks ground on $15 million innovation center

by Joel Crews
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 Animal Science
JBS USA's donation and partnership helped make the project possible.
 
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Officials from the College of Agricultural Sciences and the Dept. of Animal Sciences at Colorado State Univ., (CSU) were on hand along with executives from JBS USA, Greeley, Colorado, for the March 28 groundbreaking of the $15 million JBS Global Food Innovation Center on CSU’s Fort Collins-based campus. According to the CSU website, the facility will advance best practices in food safety, meat sciences and animal welfare and will provide a venue for students to experience and learn about meat processing in a hands-on environment previously not available. The project represents a second phase of the university’s Animal Sciences construction programs, as reported in MEAT+POULTRY in 2014.

 

Known as the “JBS Global Food Innovation Center in Honor of Gary & Kay Smith,” the building project is part of a partnership between JBS USA and CSU, which includes a $7.5 million contribution from JBS to go toward the construction project in addition to the company’s employee educational program, which is an additional $5 million investment.

The new building will allow students  to gain the knowledge and skills needed to pursue careers in the industry, “especially as they work alongside faculty members who are producing innovations in food safety, food security and animal welfare,” said Ajay Menon, dean of CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

“The JBS gift to Colorado State Univ. is an investment in the future competitiveness of food and farming in the state of Colorado and across the United States,” said Wesley Batista, Global CEO of JBS.

Animal Science
Dr. Temple Grandin (left) pictured with professor emeritus Gary Smith.
 
The naming of the building honors Gary Smith, the professor emeritus who held the Monfort Chair, one of CSU’s oldest chairs, as well as his late wife, Kay. Gary, a globally respected meat science and food safety expert who is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus as well as a visiting professor of animal science, was on hand at the groundbreaking ceremony.

 

Besides features that will include a culinary-inspired kitchen and a demonstration area, the facility will include space dedicated to testing packaging and creating new products with an emphasis on ready-to-eat food products. A retail store selling meat and dairy products produced at the university will also be included as well as a café.

To teach students the specifics of animal handling and welfare, the facility will include a hands-on livestock handling and teaching space, the Temple Grandin Animal Handling and Education Center, designed by longtime CSU Professor and MEAT+POULTRY Contributing Editor, Temple Grandin, who plans to teach at the university indefinitely. CSU announced that Grandin and Smith each donated $250,000 to support Phase II of the project in 2014.

“The second phase of the Animal Sciences Building construction will be a space for teaching both our students and the general public about best practices for animal handling,” said Grandin when the donations were announced. “We need a facility like this and the programs within it to maintain CSU’s status as a leader in animal sciences.”

Andre Nogueira, CEO of JBS USA said the company has benefited from recruiting young, talented graduates from the university for years and investing in CSU is akin to investing in the company’s future. “The location of our North American headquarters in Greeley makes Colorado a special place for our company. The innovation and education that will take place in this new facility will help to train the next generation of dynamic food and agricultural leaders in Colorado and across the nation,” he said. 

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