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The University of California is investing $50 million in agriculture

The University of California is investing $50 million in agriculture

Beverly Hills billionaires give UC Davis $50 million to build agricultural research hub

Beverly Hills billionaires give UC Davis $50 million to build agricultural research hub

June 16, 2011|By Jason Hiner | [email protected]

The University of California is building a $51 million agricultural research hub that could lead to a multi-billion-dollar industry, thanks to a $50 million investment from six Beverly Hills billionaires.

The $50 million, announced Friday, is the largest public investment in agriculture in at least 20 years, according to university officials. The money will go to the University of California’s Westlands Farm Sciences Center, which is on the UC Davis campus in the northern Sacramento region.

The center, which will have a total of 1.5 million square feet of research and classroom space, is slated to be completed by July 2012. It will be located about a half-mile north of an existing UC Davis campus.

The California State Legislature approved $25 million in July 2010 to create the Westlands Center, which had never before gotten outside capital funds. That included $10 million from the state’s landmark development bond and $15 million from the state’s agricultural research allocation.

With the new public funding announced Friday, the center will likely double in size, according to university officials.

“It’s really a landmark project,” said David Jones, who heads the agricultural research center on the Westlands campus. “It was a huge undertaking and it’s now being put on by someone else…. The fact that it’s not one of the flagship research centers has helped make it a significant and very different project.”

But the new money for the research hub is just one of several big-dollar private investments in agriculture announced this year.

The university has already received $20 million from the California Investment Lawyer’s Association, $10 million from California Ag Credit Union, $5 million

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