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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


OARDC Breaks Ground for State-of-the-art Feedstock Processing Research Facility

June 7, 2007

WOOSTER, Ohio — The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) has begun construction of a state-of-the-art Feedstock Processing Research Facility, which is expected to increase the quality of feeds for vital livestock and poultry research and aid in the development of renewable industrial products.

A groundbreaking ceremony held June 5 on OARDC’s Wooster campus marked the start of the $5.5 million project, which is scheduled for completion in 2008.

“The research done in this facility will contribute to the value-added economy of agriculture and bioproducts in Ohio,” said OARDC Associate Director David Benfield.

The new facility — which replaces the current Grain Storage and Feed Processing Facility built in 1965 — will help develop and improve the nutritional value of feeds for Ohio State University’s internationally recognized livestock and poultry research programs. It will support the work of researchers in the Department of Animal Sciences, the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, and the Food Animal Health Research Program.

“In order to do good nutrition research, we need good quality control,” said Bill Weiss, an OARDC animal sciences professor and a leading livestock nutrition expert. “The new infrastructure and modern equipment will increase our ability to guarantee the quality of what we are feeding. It will also allow us to test new feed-processing methods.”

In addition to supporting food-animal research, the facility will play a key role in the processing of oils and proteins from field crops (especially soybeans) for innovative applications in bio-based fuels, chemicals, polymers and materials — a research and commercialization area in which OARDC is taking the lead in the state through its Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center (OBIC).

“An important area of research is the processing of biomass at a biorefinery to create multiple products such as specialty chemicals, advanced materials, bio-based fuels and renewable energy,” said OBIC Director Stephen Myers. “The feedstock processing facility will have the capabilities to perform the initial stages of a biorefinery, such as grinding/sizing, mixing/blending and extraction. Linked to other centers at OARDC and throughout Ohio, this facility will be integrated into a network of research scientists helping to champion an emerging bioeconomy in our state.”

Funding for the project was provided by the state of Ohio through capital funds and through the Third Frontier Project grant that created OBIC in 2005. Companies involved in the planning, design and construction of the feedstock facility include Wagester and Lease Inc., Pittsburgh, consultant; North Bay Construction Inc., Westlake, Ohio, general contractor; Middough Consulting Inc., Cleveland, engineering; and Abel Manufacturing Co. Inc., Appleton, Wis., processing design and equipment arrangement.

According to Ken Scaife, assistant to the OARDC director for research operations, the new facility will provide increased efficiency for producing research feeds and processing grain for novel applications, which will save time and labor. It will also provide new capabilities, including more precise mixing technologies and the equipment to produce feeds (such as mini-pellets for baby pigs) that currently have to be purchased elsewhere.

“We have outgrown our current facility,” Scaife said. “It’s time to build for the future.”

Jack Bardall, manager of the Grain Storage and Feed Processing Facility since its construction over four decades ago, said his operation has played an important role in the success of OARDC’s research endeavors over the years — and will continue to do so thanks to the new facility.

“Our ability to produce specialty feeds according to the exact specifications of researchers puts them in a good position to go out and get grants,” said Bardall, who is looking forward to managing the new facility. “We have made research feeds that have gone to countries all over the world.”

Present at the groundbreaking ceremony were Carolyn Carmichael, wife of Ohio Rep. Jim Carmichael, House District 3; Jamie Gentry, Ohio Department of Development; Greg Hargett, Ohio Department of Agriculture; John Lumpe, Ohio Soybean Association; Brian Gwin, Wayne Development Council Inc.; Alicia Sweet Hupp, Sweet Manufacturing Co.; and other university, commodity and industry representatives.

The largest and most comprehensive agricultural research facility in the United States, OARDC ( is the research arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. The Center brings together some 230 scientists engaged in more than 400 research projects at any given time. Through collaborations with industry and government agencies, OARDC generates more than $1 billion of annual economic impact and cost savings to Ohio and the United States.


Mauricio Espinoza
Ken Scaife