Development of a Master Plan for Modernization of Research Farms at the University of Illinois.
Robert Dunker, Dept. of Crop Science-Univ IL, 1102 S Goodwin Ave, 1102 S Goodwin Ave, Urbana, IL 61801, United States of America
Agricultural research and education have been central to the University of Illinois mission since the school opened its doors in 1867. U of I faculty have compiled an impressive list of accomplishments, including discovering corn varieties resistant to southern corn leaf blight, designing better machines to harvest grain, introducing soybeans to the crop rotation, and developing amino-acid feeding guidelines for livestock, to name a few. Much of this work has taken place on the South Farms, an "outdoor laboratory" for studying important animal, crop, and environmental issues. Today, however, many of the buildings on the South Farms, which were constructed in the early 1900s, are outdated and unsuited for 21 st-century research projects. Modernizing these research facilities is necessary to ensure the future of the U of I as a premier public agricultural research and education institution. New facilities and land acquisition will support research and educational programming to aggressively address evolving agricultural issues, spawn ideas and solutions, and integrate agriculture and human values to ensure a safe and plentiful food supply while protecting our natural resources. Envisioned for the South Farms are educational centers, walking and biking trails coordinated with community parks, and connections to local bus routes, and a recognizable, well-defined perimeter.