Iowa State University broke ground Thursday for a new learning center named after one of the state’s premiere agricultural scientists. Mark Honeyman, the ISU research farm coordinator, says the Norman Bourlog learning center will be built at the northeast Iowa research farm near Nashua. Honeyman says the farm staff and extension agents will be a few of the people working out of the new center.
There will be meeting facilities and offices for rural start-up companies, as he calls it a place where the information at the farm can be transferred to farmers and agribusinesses. Honeyman says the name of the center is fitting. Honeyman says they’re honoring Bourlog, a native of northeast Iowa, and his "world class work" to start the "Green Revolution" to improve crops and peoples lives. Honeyman says the new learning center carries on a tradition that began by honoring another Iowan who was prominent in agriculture.
He says they’re following a model that began at the ISU Armstrong farm in southwest Iowa with a learning center named after Henry Wallace. The extension staff is housed in that center along with the farm staff and research start-up companies in what Honeyman says has been a highly successful model. The learning center will take a couple of years to develop.
He says the dirt work starts this fall, construction will start next spring, and the center should be done by March of 2009. The opening will coincide with the Northeast Iowa Agricultural Experimental Association holds its annual meeting. That group owns the research farm. Honeyman the money to build the center was all pulled out of the area.
Honeyman says half the funds are from the sale of corn and soybeans grown on the farm, and the rest of the $400,000 was raised by farmers and businesses in the area. The farm is located near Nashua. The research farm has more than 45 projects focusing on agricultural and horticultural crops, pest management, tillage, fertility and water quality.