The Idaho Farm Bureau Federation announced on Thursday that it will contribute $100,000 to the University of Idaho’s Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE).
The commitment followed quickly on the heels of the Idaho State Board of Education’s approval of the university’s purchase of land in Rupert to build a research dairy that will serve as the foundation of the CAFE project.
The university and Idaho Dairymen’s Association are jointly purchasing an initial 540 acres for the research dairy for $4.5 million.
The research dairy is set to be the largest in the country and the only one addressing milk production in an arid climate. The research will focus on environmental issues, including water quality and efficiency, nutrient management and soil health.
The broader $45 million CAFE project will also have a strong outreach and education component, as well as a food processing component to reinforce vocational training to support regional processing.
“This CAFE project is going to be an incredible center, and the university’s vision for it is exciting,” Bryan Searle, IFBF president said in a press release announcing the organization’s financial pledge.
“It’s a privilege for Idaho Farm Bureau to be a part of it,” he said.
CAFE is projected to be the largest integrated research facility focused on dairy and allied industry in the U.S. and will enhance a national and international reputation that will reflect the size, quality and importance of the industry it represents, he said in a letter of support for the project.
CAFE will “strengthen Idaho’s position on the map as a center for agricultural and food innovation and technology,” he said
Idaho Farm Bureau “recognizes the impact CAFE will have across our entire agricultural industry and the value that will provide to our members and all Idaho producers,” he said.
The organization committed to contributing $20,000 a year for five years to the project.