New corn and soybean innovation center opens in Indiana, U.S.

by Eric Schroeder
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Purdue University
25,500 square-foot building is located on Purdue’s Agronomy Center for Research and Education (ACRE) a 1,400-acre research farm.
 
WEST LAFAYETTE, INDIANA, U.S. — Purdue University on Aug. 29 held dedication ceremonies for the Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center, a $15 million, 25,500-square-foot facility located at the Purdue Agronomy Center for Research and Education. The center will support research in automated field phenotyping, which is the process of measuring and analyzing observable plant characteristics.

The Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center is the first field phenotyping facility in North America. The center also 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.
Purdue University president Mitch Daniels
Mitch Daniels, president of Purdue University.

“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, president of Purdue University. “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.”

Purdue University
Data transfers directly back to Purdue campus through 10 gigabytes per second fiber optics.
 
Karen Plaut, senior associate dean and director of research in Purdue’s College of Agriculture, said the facility’s opening comes at a time when advances in plant genomics have surged, 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,” Plaut said. “This center will close this gap to enhance crop yield, nutritional attributes and protect the environment.”

The Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council provided $4 million in support of the facility, and 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, Indiana, U.S. “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.”
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