The Anheuser-Busch Foundation will donate $200,000 to the University of Idaho’s new research dairy and demonstration farm.
The money goes to UI’s Center for Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Sustainable Water and Soil Health Demonstration Farm. It will be used to study rotations, cover crops and livestock integration.
“The outcomes we’re looking for ultimately are data,” Jess Newman, director of agronomy for Anheuser-Busch, told the Capital Press. “We want to test strategies on behalf of the growers in Idaho.”
According to Newman, research questions include:
• What is the impact of cover cropping on a rotation?
• What data can soil testing provide?
• How can livestock be integrated into traditional rotations in Eastern Idaho?
“The Anheuser-Busch gift speaks broadly to the overall vision of the CAFE project,” said Michael Parrella, dean of UI’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. “It’s the interaction with dairy and production agriculture that I think is really the linchpin for the CAFE project.”
A 640-acre research demonstration farm will be adjacent to the research dairy, which is slated to open in 2023.
“Our goal is to really help prove these concepts and bring rigor to questions around cover cropping, tillage and soil health,” Newman said. “We know our farmers are really interested, but want the assurances of that data.”
In 2020, Idaho farmers planted 510,000 acres of malt barley, according to the USDA. Nearly 2.8 million acres were planted this year in the U.S.
“Anheuser-Busch, they’re not interested in milk production, but they’re interested in high-quality malt barley production in Idaho over the next 30 to 50 years,” Parrella said.
The foundation also donated:
• $150,000 to North Dakota State University for their Soil Health and and Agriculture and Research and Extension (SHARE) Farm projects on soil health and sustainability.
• $50,000 to Montana State University to study water and energy savings with Low Energy Spray Application (LESA) pivots on barley.
• $130,000 to the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture to establish a “Discovery Farm” to test irrigation strategies, help rice farmers become more efficient and study profitability and methane emission reductions.