COLUMBIA, MISSOURI, U.S. — Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) has partnered with the University of Missouri-Columbia to create a cutting-edge industrial laboratory in the Agricultural Engineering building on the university campus.

The ADM Center for Agricultural Development was designed to provide students experiential learning in the latest theories of biofuel development, food production and energy processing. The lab opened Oct. 9.

“As the global population continues to grow, the world is looking toward agriculture to create viable, sustainable solutions to some of the world’s most pressing needs – like an abundant food supply and advanced renewable fuels,” said Michael D’Ambrose, ADM senior vice-president and chief human resources officer. “To help our industry meet this challenge, ADM is pleased to invest in the University of Missouri and the next generation of agricultural leaders.”
Leon Schumacher, professor of agricultural systems management helped coordinate the project and said the lab will allow students to step out of the classroom and into the lab where they will team with peers and faculty on projects and equipment typical in the rapidly-changing agricultural industries

Schumacher said the lab allows students to select critical issues facing agriculture and brainstorm solutions, develop a timeline and budget, make decisions, take the initiative to test solutions in the lab, and be accountable for results. Schumacher said this is the best approach to develop team skills needed by industry.

Rather than classroom lecturers, faculty will function as coaches and resource people who will guide students’ projects in a way that helps them learn from their successes and failures.

ADM donated $1 million to renovate labs in the Agricultural Engineering Building on the Mizzou campus.

The new lab is segmented into four areas – a computer center where students can research and design their projects, a clean mechanical assembly area, an instructional area where students are introduced to computer-operated machines and welding, and offices where the students can form teams and plan projects.
All four areas feature multimedia stations where students can access data or communicate with each other no matter where they are in the lab.  Video recording and green screen technology will allow students to capture their experiments and share them anywhere in the world.