University of Minnesota approves land purchase for future FAARM program
The University of Minnesota is buying 748 acres in Mower County to support planning for the Future of Advanced Agricultural Research in Minnesota (FAARM) program. The $10.3 million purchase will give the university about half the land it hopes to acquire for the new FAARM center. The program will ultimately require a total of about 1,600 acres of land.
The board previously approved the purchase of 80 acres. As part of the University’s College of Food Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, the FAARM program will use the land to develop an agricultural and food systems research complex located in southern Minnesota. The FAARM center will pursue an integrated approach to raising livestock and studying the interaction between animals, humans, crops and climate.
The total estimated cost of the project is roughly $220 million. The plan is to begin construction in 2026. The university is partnering with Riverland Community College, which is using a $60 million donation from the Hormel Foundation to cover some of the design work. The group is also seeking $60 million from state lawmakers and looking for other partners as well.
The university’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences has 10 research and outreach centers across the state, but administrators say many of them are in poor condition and becoming increasingly expensive to operate.