By Carol Kincaid
The University of Missouri-Greenley Center was the site of a groundbreaking ceremony for a new two-million-dollar research center on Thursday, February 20, 2008. Even a snowstorm couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of those involved in bringing the new project to Knox County.
The vile weather did prohibit Governor Matt Blunt from attending, but he faxed his remarks to Representative Brian Munzlinger, who delivered them.
When Rep. Munzlinger later spoke on his own behalf he expressed gratitude to those who had worked so hard to obtain the funding for the project. He also spoke about his dreams for the area using the quote from an old movie, "it’s a case of if we build it, they will come". He stated the hope that once the research lab is complete, other plant technology companies might come to the area to be closer to the actual research.
Greenley Advisory Board Chairman Harold Beach opened the meeting by sharing his enthusiasm for the project, saying that it "will allow us to push the limits of agriculture research".
Speakers throughout the event noted the funding was available through the Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative, which funded over sixteen million dollars worth of building projects throughout the state.
Dr. Marc Linit, the Associate Dean for Research and Extension said the project would "enhance the lab facilities and the educational facilities".
Stan Cook, a representative from the Missouri Department of Agriculture spoke of how Lewis and Clark must have felt when they came upon this area. He said perhaps they knew they were on "the edge of an expansion explosion, and I feel that we are on the precipice of another explosion."
Many of the speakers kept their remarks extremely short, due to the inclement weather. Senator Wes Shoemeyer spoke, as did Representative Paul Quinn from the 9th district, Rep. Tom Shively of the 8th district, and Scott Callicott from U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof’s office. Also present to speak a few words of congratulations were former Rep. Cathy Chinn and former Senator John Cauthorn.
All of those mentioned, staff members, and the Greenley advisory board members present adjourned outside to turn the first shovels full of dirt to begin construction on the project.
The Greenley Learning and Discovery Park was designed to address the needs at the Greenley Research Center as agriculture moves into practical commercial production of biotechnology/life science research.
The research center has conducted small-scale research on new transgenic plants (plants with manipulated genes) and crop protection products. However, handling and laboratory facilities have been limited. This has limited the ability to attract support for testing transgenic plants.
Current projects include transgenic alfalfa, corn, soybeans, and non-transformed rice with goals to evaluate pharmaceutical-producing rice and other life science discoveries.
Goals of the project include:
Greenley’s goal is to be a state-of-the-art facility for field testing of value-added transgenic materials.
·Being an economic development hub in development and implementation of best production practices for agricultural producers for the production of transgenic materials on a commercial scale.
·Development and confinement methods and conditions must be strictly monitored to ensure compliance in permitting and maintaining integrity of bio-tech products.
·Equipping the experiment station with facilities and dedicated equipment allowing competitive testing of these technologies.
·Recruitment of industry to partner with University and the best agricultural producers in the world, the US farmer, in applying technologies as needed to commercially produce agricultural life science products of the future.
·Allow bio-tech companies access to value-added producer networks nurturing and facilitating economic development by allowing for the direct implementation of best production practices in commercially developing, processing, and marketing of bio-tech Ag products.
·18,000 square ft. facility including 12,000 sq. ft. of new construction.
Discovery Center for Value-added Crop Production and Transgenic Testing—
Biotechnology compliance document and archive storage; isolated seed storage; planter and seed storage; offices for technical assistance and future faculty growth; dry lab; wet lab; crop protection handling facility; crop and animal protection product storage; and dedicated equipment.
Integrated learning center with a crop and livestock
production focus; drainage water movement simulation system would provide teaching opportunities landowners interested in integrated water management systems.
Many of those who spoke at the ceremony expressed appreciation to the individual who started the entire project by giving her family farm to the University to use as a research center—-Miss Hortense Greenley. She was unable to attend, and was very much missed.