Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
July 5, 1996

Learning center to be built at Armstrong Farm in southwest Iowa

by Steve Jones
Ground will be broken at 11 a.m., July 19, for the Educational and Rural Development Center at the Armstrong Research Farm near Lewis in southwest Iowa. Later that day, a few miles to the east, the Southwest Iowa Swine Research Farm will be dedicated.

The learning center will house classrooms for credit and non-credit continuing education courses, said Jill Euken, an extension field specialist in Cass County. It also will be linked to the Iowa Communications Network, the state's fiber- optic system that allows two-way video communication.

The 400-acre Armstrong Research Farm and the learning center are owned by the Wallace Foundation for Rural Research and Development, which works in cooperation with ISU's Experiment Station and Extension Service. The Wallace Foundation is a private organization that supports agricultural research, technology transfer and rural development in a 19-county region of southwest Iowa.

The center will house offices for the area extension and the Armstrong Farm staffs. In addition, an agricultural business incubator program will provide office space for new agricultural businesses developing value-added products, Euken added.

The Wallace Foundation received $725,000 from the Iowa General Assembly to construct the learning center. The structure's size and design have yet to be finalized.

The learning center will be the first facility outside of Ames to house both ISU extension staff doing outreach work and ISU staff conducting research. The arrangement should make the process of transferring new research knowledge to farmers and others more efficient, said Mark Honeyman, coordinator of ISU's research farms.

The 73-acre Southwest Iowa Swine Research Farm, five miles south of Atlantic, also is owned by the Wallace Foundation. It contains extensive swine research facilities that will be used by ISU for research, continuing education workshops and demonstrations on swine production and management.

The farm also will be the site of Iowa Western Community College's swine tech degree program.

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