JBS USA of Greeley donates $12.5 million to CSU | MyWindsorNow.com

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JBS USA of Greeley donates $12.5 million to CSU

JBS Global Food Innovation Center in Honor of Gary & Kay Smith

The building will be named for Professor Emeritus Gary Smith, who, along with his late wife Kay, held one of CSU’s oldest endowed chairs, the Monfort Chair, and spent more than 20 years as a professor in CSU’s Department of Animal Sciences, the release stated. Smith, a world-renowned expert in meat science and food safety, is a University Distinguished Professor Emeritus and serves as a visiting professor of animal sciences and special adviser to CSU President Tony Frank. The agricultural industry has long relied on Smith’s expertise and innovations in food safety.

Greeley-based JBS USA has announced it has partnered with Colorado State University to build a $15 million food innovation center in Fort Collins.

Construction on the planned facility already has begun. When complete, it will advance best practices in food safety, meat sciences and animal handling and welfare, according to a news release.

The release stated the facility will enrich CSU's teaching and research in meat sciences, as well as offer a space for industry collaboration through continuing education and training, equipment development and testing, and a place to discuss the animal agriculture industry. Students will learn about meat processing in a hands-on environment that is not available in existing CSU facilities, the release stated.

The partnership consists of a $7.5 million financial gift to the university to build the center, and an "employee educational programming investment" worth about $5 million, the release stated.

"This facility is designed to provide our students with the hands-on experiences that will position them for careers in industry and academia, especially as they work alongside faculty members who are producing innovations in food safety, food security and animal welfare," said Ajay Menon, dean of CSU's College of Agricultural Sciences, in the release.

Wesley Batista, global CEO of JBS, stated the gift is an investment in the future "competitiveness of food and farming in the state" and across the country.

"JBS is a people-focused company, which means that empowering and creating opportunities for young people is at the heart of our culture," Batista said in the release. "We envision this facility as a place that will allow the best and brightest CSU students to innovate, discover and explore as they prepare for future careers in the industry."

The new facility, to be called JBS Global Food Innovation Center in Honor of Gary & Kay Smith, will have spaces for testing, packaging and developing food products, reflecting the fact ready-to-eat foods and packaging are growing areas within the meat industry, the release stated. Additionally, the new building will have a culinary kitchen and demonstration area, as well as a retail meat and dairy store with a café, the release stated.

The facility also will include an educational space designed by CSU professor Temple Grandin, through which students will learn about animal handling and welfare in a hands-on setting.

"Many of our most promising young team members come to JBS from Colorado State University," said Andre Nogueira, CEO of JBS USA, in the release. "While we enjoy a global presence, the location of our North American headquarters in Greeley makes Colorado a special place for our company. The innovation and education that will take place in this new facility will help to train the next generation of dynamic food and agricultural leaders in Colorado and across the nation."