Northern Crops Institute announces Feed Center upgrade and Open House

Farm Forum

Fargo, N.D. — Northern Crops Institute (NCI) will host an Open House on Wednesday, August 20, to celebrate the completion of a major equipment upgrade at the NCI Feed Production Center. The upgrade includes the installation of a new mixer, a new automation system, and the facility’s first micro-ingredient system. Over 75% of the $800,000 project costs came from commodity groups and private industry donations, according to Mark Weber, NCI Director.

Funding for the upgrade was a collaborative effort between the North Dakota Legislature, the feed equipment industry, and regional commodity groups. It began with seed money from North Dakota’s 63rd Legislative Session in 2013, and grew with monetary donations from the North Dakota corn and soybean commodity groups, and generous equipment donations from the feed industry’s equipment manufacturers. North Dakota State University also provided valuable facility management services.

NCI Feed Center Upgrade Donors include:

• APEC-Automated Process Equipment Corporation

• Bliss Industries, Inc.

• Border States Electric

• Endress+Hauser

• Industrial Fabrication Services, Inc.

• Interstates Control Systems, Inc.

• Intersystems, Inc.

• Seedburo Equipment Company

• Scott Equipment Company

• The Essmueller Company

• Viking Pump, Inc.

• North Dakota Corn Council

• North Dakota Soybean Council

• North Dakota 63rd Legislative Assembly 2013

NCI Director Mark Weber says, “We are very excited for the public to come and see the new Feed Center equipment and learn about our new and expanded technical capabilities. At the Open House, we will recognize our industry donors and commodity partners for their significant support in this major equipment renovation.”

Open House: Guests can tour the NCI Main Facility at 1240 Bolley Drive (NDSU campus) from 2:30 to 4 p.m. At 4:00 p.m., the festivities will move to the Feed Center at 3212 19th Avenue North, where project donors will be publicly recognized. Feed Center tours and refreshments will also be available. The public is welcome.

Eighteen Chinese feed manufacturers will also be at the NCI Feed Center the week of August 18-22 to attend the Feed Manufacturing Technology course. They will be the first group to do hands-on training with the new equipment. The course is sponsored by the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, North Dakota Soybean Council, and the South Dakota Soybean Council.

The Feed Center hosts feed training courses for participants from around the world and serves as a training facility for regional undergraduate and graduate students. In addition, the center is a working feed mill, producing livestock feed for the university’s animal units as well as research projects.

“This renovation was necessary to aid the education capabilities of NCI. The two primary goals of the Feed Center are to teach feed manufacturers and to make feed for the NDSU animals,” says Kim Koch, Ph.D., NCI Feed Center manager. “Our previous system made good feed, but it was not the kind of system on which you want to train people for the modern feed industry. Because NCI is a globally-recognized leader in training and education, our visitors expect to see the most modern equipment. It’s a competitive world and we need to be at the highest level of technology.”

Koch, a graduate of the grain milling science program at Kansas State University, has over 25 years of experience in feed manufacturing and teaching. He has traveled extensively internationally to present seminars and troubleshoot for feed companies. He frequently collaborates with other technical experts, particularly with the American Soybean Association-International Marketing and the U.S. Grains Council.

“Gerald Leukam, who was employed by T.E. Ibberson when this project began, provided invaluable assistance with securing equipment donations,” according to Koch. Leukam is currently Director of Business Development with The Weitz Company, Minneapolis.

“Equipment vendors that participated in this modernization project saw the value of students and short course participants having hands-on experience with feed manufacturing equipment,” says Leukam. “The equipment manufacturers who were invited to participate in this project are leaders in the industry. They realized that NCI has to stay current with state-of-the-art equipment and processes in order to keep the interest of students and keep the industry respect that NCI has earned. The equipment manufacturers understand that the primary purpose of NCI is to provide more opportunities for the growers of northern-grown crops. Modern equipment and first class controls in the Feed Production Center will allow NCI to stay in front of an ever-changing world marketplace, and demonstrate it is in the forefront of feeding the world’s growing population,” Leukam concludes.

“With the huge increase of soybean and corn production in the region, North Dakota has become the fourth largest soybean producing state in the nation,” says Weber. “When combined with Minnesota and South Dakota, it is a significant soybean and corn region. The Feed Center will become an even more important part of NCI’s overall programming. The upgrade enhances NCI’s worldwide reputation as a provider of high quality feed technology programming using soybeans, corn, dried distillers grains, barley, and other crops grown in this region,” he concludes.