UMES to build new agriculture research facility to help local farmers thrive
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) will welcome a brand new agriculture research facility on campus that will support the university’s research activity in the sector as well as impact the local agriculture industry.
Construction on the facility is expected to cost around US$14 million and will be partially funded by a grant from the US Department of Agriculture.
Fully equipped with the necessary research facilities, the idea behind a new agriculture research building has been in the pipeline for the past 15 years.
“It’s a very exciting new development that allows us to continue growing and expand, to be effective in supporting our community, our students, and the wellbeing of the region where we are,” said UMES Dean of the School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences Dr Moses Kairo.
The inception of the new building is essential for the university to replace existing agriculture facilities that are too old and outdated to serve its purpose anymore.
“Our facilities for agricultural research and education is getting aged at the same time we are getting newer challenges that require different types of laboratories to be able to address them effectively,” added Kairo.
According to a report by 47ABC, the new building will provide research, teaching and extension services for UMES students as well as local farmers.
UMES is at the forefront of agricultural research within the region and has been instrumental in connecting the local farming community with academics to improve local agriculture with the latest technology and practices.
The School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences often conducts useful workshops for the farming community to achieve this.
This is why the construction of the new agriculture building will further advance the university’s efforts in growing the community.
“The kind of research that’s going to be going on this building is going to be directly relevant to and really should be driven by farmers and what farmers need to solve their problems,” said Kairo.
The facility will house at least four new laboratories that will help solve problems that impact farming.
Local farmers will be able to gain the support they need to address crucial and unprecedented problems in the field.
“A simple thing might be climate change for example, even issues of dealing with challenges ensuring that water remains safe,” added Kairo.
“It could save a crop, if you saved a crop you saved a farmer,” retired farmer Eddie Johnson told 47ABC.
Besides having to face physical issues such as irregular weather patterns due to climate change, water source and soil quality issues, and new, potent diseases affected crops and livestock, farmers today are also facing challenges in terms of tax reforms, agriculture trade and policy changes.
The agriculture facility will hopefully shine a new light for these farmers and lessen the burden they have to face in order to earn a living.
Plans for the new facility is still in the pipeline in terms of construction details and commencement dates. If everything goes according to plan, the university hopes to move forward with the project by the end of the month.