It is an exciting time to be a part of the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department at Iowa State. The department is growing quickly with the addition of 14 new faculty members in the last five years. To accommodate this growth and to continue to address the most pressing issues of agricultural and biosystems engineering industries worldwide, the ABE department is planning a major expansion into a new building.
Once completed, the new facility will hold all ABE faculty together in the same building, which has not been possible for many years. The building will facilitate teaching, research, extension and international efforts, such as developing international partnerships, improving agriculture and animal production systems, and enhancing ethanol production and harvesting and processing different biological components to produce energy. It will also enable ABE to continue to recruit outstanding students, faculty, and staff.
We are very excited about the new building project and in September of 2011 held the official groundbreaking ceremony. The building is part of a planned multi-structure biorenewable laboratory complex. The building project has raised more than $14 million from private sources including a $5 million lead gift from Dr. Virgil Elings, a $5 million gift from the Sukup family, a John Deere gift of $1.25 million, $500,000 from an alumnus, $256,000 from Sauer Danfoss Company, $250,000 from Ag Leader, and $200,000 from the Iowa Pork Producers Association. The actual groundbreaking took place in March 2012 and the complex should be completed by the summer of 2014. The quality research and teaching labs and state-of-the-art classrooms are crucial for enabling our faculty to improve student learning, perform state-of-the-art research and work closely on projects with undergraduate students, graduate students, colleagues, and engineers from private industry to solve our global society’s problems of the 21st century.