October 21, 2011

Teaching/research greenhouse gets boost from ISA

by Greg Scott

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The umbrella organization that serves the needs of all soybean farmers in the state of Illinois is making a substantial contribution, funded in part by the Illinois soybean checkoff, to Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  This support will enhance educational and research opportunities for students in the College of Agricultural Sciences. 

A $250,000 contribution from the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) will help build a state-of-the-art undergraduate teaching and research greenhouse facility. This new 22,000-square-foot facility replaces a 50-year-old greenhouse that is a core learning laboratory for the entire Plant and Soil Science program.

The proposed modernized greenhouse facility will improve the hands-on education that inspires innovative solutions needed for the increasing global food demand.

“The Illinois Soybean Association is an important industry partner for the College of Agricultural Sciences.  It has fostered growth of our soybean program, and it has created outstanding opportunities for our students and faculty,” says Todd Winters, interim dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences.  “It is yet another example of the Illinois Soybean Association’s commitment to higher education.  Support of this new facility is essential to preparing our students for the work force."

With the help of the Illinois Soybean Association, the soybean program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale has evolved from research in soybean production management and weed science to biotechnology, genetics, environmental sustainability, health and nutrition.  

“We’re committed to continuing our support for soybean research at SIU,” says SIU Carbondale graduate Dean Campbell, a Coulterville resident and ISA District 17 director. “This investment by our soybean farmers also aims to enhance our commitment to the soybean scholarship program by providing facilities for the recipients and other students to receive the training they need for careers in crop sciences.”

Jeff Lorber, associate vice chancellor for institutional advancement, concurs.

“The Illinois Soybean Association has a longstanding commitment to research and education,” Lorber says.  "The new greenhouse is going to expand and enhance the educational experience for our students. We are thankful for this generous contribution."

In addition, the new Undergraduate Teaching and Research Greenhouse will create space to accommodate workshop and outreach initiatives for industry partners including the Illinois soybean growers. It will also encourage life-long learning by accommodating educational programming for children, adults, and teachers at grade schools and high schools.