Building the nation’s largest research dairy has long been a goal for the University of Idaho and industry partners. Together with the Idaho Dairymen’s Association (IDA) and members of allied industry, we are moving forward toward building the nation’s largest and most advanced research dairy.
The Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, known as CAFE, will include a herd of 2,000 cattle and will be located in the heart of the state’s dairy producing region. The $45 million project is a public-private partnership between U of I, members of industry and the state of Idaho.
U of I and IDA jointly purchased 640 acres for the research dairy in February 2019. The final project will span three counties in Idaho. The research dairy is located near Rupert, while a complementary discovery complex is located near Jerome and a collaborative food science program will be developed with the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls.
CAFE’s location, herd size and research scope make it uniquely positioned to address real-world issues facing the dairy and food processing industries. Research at CAFE will explore long-term sustainability in the region by addressing water usage constraints and environmental quality while also supporting the dairy, livestock, cropland and food processing industries.
Plans for CAFE include a research dairy and water and soil health demonstration farm, a discovery complex featuring a public outreach and education center and a food processing pilot plant. The site for the dairy also includes 1,200 additional acres for complementary agronomic research, feed production and nutrient management which will provide engagement with stakeholders who want to better understand the interactions between dairy production and water and soil health.