Dedication ceremonies were held Aug. 29 for the Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center, a 25,500-square-foot facility at the Purdue Agronomy Center for Research and Education.
The center will support state-of-the-art research in automated field phenotyping, the process of measuring and analyzing observable plant characteristics.
The Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center is a core component of the plant sciences research and education initiative, part of Purdue Moves, announced in 2013 to broaden Purdue’s global impact and enhance educational opportunities for students. It is the first field phenotyping facility in North America.
“It will require truly revolutionary new technologies to feed a world of 9 billion people and to do so in a way friendly to the environment,” said Mitch Daniels, Purdue president. “The Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center will play a big part in meeting this most urgent of global challenges.”
Jay Akridge, the Glenn W Sample Dean of Agriculture, said the facility will broaden research.
“This facility, the only one of its kind at an American university, brings together multidisciplinary teams of faculty and students to develop innovative technologies in plant agriculture,” he said. “Scientists, engineers and aviation specialists are collaborating to apply their expertise to the most pressing problems in plant sciences and our food production system.”
Karen Plaut, senior associate dean and director of research in Purdue’s College of Agriculture, said, “Advances in plant genomics have surged over the last decade, enabling scientists to quickly and cheaply sequence the genetic code of key crops. However, technology that captures how these genes are observably expressed in plants, their phenotype, has lagged behind. This center will close this gap to enhance crop yield, nutritional attributes and protect the environment.”
The $15 million center is supported with a combined $4 million investment from the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council. AgReliant Genetics, Ag Alumni Seed and ALMACO are also key partners in the project.
“Indiana soybean farmers know that we need to think outside the box when it comes to new technologies, said Joe Steinkamp, president of the Indiana Soybean Alliance and a farmer from Evansville. We are excited to partner with Purdue University to place our farmers on the forefront of research that will develop technology to move agriculture forward.”
David Gottbrath, Indiana Corn Marketing Council president and a farmer from Pekin, also praised the facility’s potential impact.
“This opportunity gives us the chance to invest corn checkoff dollars in a project that will benefit farmers now and in the future,” he said. “We believe that not only the research but also the students who will be trained here will play a vital role in helping farmers remain efficient and sustainable.”