BOISE – The University of Idaho, the Idaho Wheat Commission and Limagrain Cereal Seeds have announced a $2 million effort to boost wheat research at the university, including two faculty research endowments.
The project will allow restoration of five research-related positions in Moscow, Aberdeen and Lewiston that had been cut or kept vacant during budget cuts and will launch new research on breeding wheat varieties.
“It is a great day, and what we’re celebrating today we’ll be harvesting for years and years to come,” declared Idaho Gov. Butch Otter.
UI President Duane Nellis called the partnership “a great example of the relationship between the University of Idaho and the agricultural community here in the great state of Idaho.” He said, “I believe this is a catalyst for other growers in our state and other agricultural leaders to step forward.”
The agreement marks the conclusion of talks generated by concerns over deep cuts in agricultural research and extension services as Idaho’s universities weathered state budget cuts. Gordon Gallup, chairman of the Idaho Wheat Commission, said, “Wheat growers of Idaho are very aware of how important research is to our bottom line.” Idaho is among the top 10 wheat-producing states.
The Idaho Wheat Commission, which will take the money from its assessments on wheat growers – which may rise in the future, partly as a result – presented a check for $500,000 to the University of Idaho Foundation on Friday for the first payment toward the endowment, which will total $2 million. It goes to the UI’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences to support Idaho’s 4,500 wheat growers, whose harvest is valued at $766 million a year.