General Mills and South Dakota State University have opened a new oat variety development laboratory on the university’s campus.
“We’re honored to be here working alongside some of the brightest agricultural researchers in the country,” said Jim Kirkwood, vice-president and chief science and technology development officer at Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.-based General Mills. “Our company has made a public commitment to source 100% of our oats by 2020 from growing regions that demonstrate continuous improvement against industry-based environmental metrics. Having a venerable institution like SDSU as a partner will allow us to do more innovative oat breeding research in the labs and fields — and get us to that goal.”
The new collaborative oat research laboratory is housed in the Young Brothers Seed Technology Building and includes laboratories, greenhouses and access to field trials. General Mills said its agronomists and plant breeders will work alongside the university’s plant breeders, grain scientists, seed experts, environmental scientists, field station managers and student researchers. The groups will focus on improving the nutritional qualities of oats; developing better performing oat varieties with higher yields; and helping farmers improve agronomy practices to increase sustainability.
|Barry H. Dunn, president of SDSU.|
South Dakota was the No. 2 producer of oats in 2015, and the state’s public breeding program is one of the mainstays of the state’s agriculture experiment station.
Daniel Scholl, interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences and director of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station.
Oats are a key ingredient in many of General Mills products. More than 600 products in the company’s U.S. portfolio contain oats, and in fiscal 2015, 25% of the company’s U.S. retail sales volume comprised products containing whole grain oats.