Dairy cattle

The University of Idaho has announced a major breakthrough in the effort to build a new research dairy in south-central Idaho.

The University of Idaho announced long-awaited news to the state’s dairy industry Thursday afternoon that it will purchase land for a world-class research dairy near Rupert in south-central Idaho.

The announcement came on the heels of the Idaho State Board of Education’s approval to purchase land for the research dairy — which will be the foundation of the Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE), a $45 million project.

That go-ahead is a major step forward in an industry-led effort that has been in the works, on and off, for 15 years.

The university and the Idaho Dairymen’s Association are partnering in the purchase of 540 acres from the Whitesides family, which is also donating another parcel.

The university will pay $2.5 million and IDA will pay $2 million toward the purchase.

In 2017, the Idaho Legislature appropriated $10 million from the state’s permanent building fund to help finance the project with an additional $5 million investment anticipated as the project progresses.

Additional funding will come from the university and industry.

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