PARMA – The $7 million dollar renovation of the University of Idaho’s Parma Agricultural Research Center is now a reality.
The Idaho Lawmakers passed a bill that’ll use state funds to upgrade the Parma research station. That legislation passed the House and Senate by a combined vote of 91-9.
The legislation “speaks to broad support from the legislature and governor for the college and for agriculture,” said Michael Parrella, dean of UI’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, which oversees Parma and eight other ag and Extension research centers across the state.
“It's a partnership, a very successful partnership, said Parella. “The Ag center in Parma is not just an investment in production in this area but an investment in agriculture across the state. So I think that is one of the compelling reasons, I think the legislature decided to provide support, so that’s exciting.”
The research center is dated and in need of an update, the college plans to break ground on the project next year and will include grad student housing, updated labs, new greenhouses, and four new positions.
“We plan on four positions, so pollinator and that person would essentially concentrate on the seed industry and moving that industry forward and obviously bees are important for pollination for fruit and other crops, so having the specialist here would be a positive thing,” said Parrella.
The project will use $3 million in state funds, 1million from private donors $3 million in funding from industry including sugar beet, apple, barley, bean, hop, mint, onion, wine, and alfalfa and clover seed interests.
Idaho’s Ag Industry valued at over $8-billion dollars, and targeted to grow, through a funded and vital research facility.