Iowa Farm Bureau and Iowa Pork Producers contribute $1 million each for animal ag innovation

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have each committed a gift of $1 million to help enhance the animal health, food safety, public health and competitiveness of Iowa’s animal agricultural industries.

The commitment will support the new Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) building project at Iowa State University. The laboratory is the only full-service and fully accredited veterinary diagnostic lab in Iowa and has been a state and national leader in protecting animal and human health since it was established in 1947. Processing more than 90,000 submissions a year – and more than a million tests in total – the laboratory plays a key role in ensuring animal health, including wildlife and companion animals; public health; world food safety; and the competitiveness of Iowa’s $32 billion animal agricultural industry.

“Our investment underscores how Iowa’s pig farmers rely on this in-state facility to help us quickly recognize and contain animal diseases,” said Mike Paustian, the Walcott farmer who is president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association. “The current VDL has been pushed to its limits, while the need for the services they provide continues expanding rapidly. Over 75 percent of the samples being submitted to the VDL are from pig farms, which is why we have decided to help lead the charge to secure the funds needed for this project. Not only is that important to us, but to Iowa’s rural economy. The VDL is a world-class resource that will be critical to the future success of pork producers in Iowa.”

The investment in the new state-of-the-art facility will help greatly increase the state’s diagnostic service and discovery capabilities for current and future generations of Iowa’s livestock farmers. In addition, the new facility will help keep Iowa State at the forefront in discovery of emerging and re-emerging diseases, provide a rich caseload to teach future veterinary practitioners and make innovative discoveries regarding new methods to control and eradicate diseases.

“Livestock is critical to Iowa’s agricultural industry so it is imperative that we are constantly innovating and continuously improving what we do for the overall well-being of our animals and our food supply,” said Craig Hill, president of Iowa Farm Bureau and multi-generation livestock farmer from Ackworth, Iowa. “With this new world-class facility, Iowa livestock farmers will have immediate access to unbiased, third-party diagnoses in livestock and poultry to help ensure a safe food supply for future generations.”

“We are very grateful for the visionary generosity of the Iowa Pork Producers and Iowa Farm Bureau," said Dan Grooms, the Dr. Stephen G. Juelsgaard Dean of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University. "Through their partnership with Iowa State and the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory will continue to be a leader in protecting animal and human health while advancing Iowa’s animal agriculture economy.”

The Iowa Pork Producers promotes, educates and provides a leading voice for a sustainable, socially responsible and globally competitive pork industry.

The Iowa Farm Bureau is the largest statewide, grassroots farm organization in Iowa celebrating over 100 years of creating a vibrant future for agriculture, farm families and their communities. 

Iowa Pork Producers Association and Iowa Farm Bureau made their gift commitments through the Iowa State University Foundation. The foundation is a private, nonprofit organization committed to securing and managing gifts that benefit Iowa State University. The Forever True, For Iowa State campaign, with a historic goal to raise $1.5 billion, will help support Iowa State in becoming the premier land-grant university for the 21st century and beyond.

Click here for photos and additional information about the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory building project.