Colorado State University is entering into a strategic partnership with Nutrien, a major crop nutrient supplier. The primary goal: feeding the world in the most sustainable, inclusive and innovative way.
The company will provide CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences $1 million each year over the next 10 years. The gift will fund research and teaching initiatives on campus and provide scholarship support to students. The purpose of the move is to elevate CSU into a position of leadership in developing a diverse, highly skilled agricultural workforce, and to boost Nutrien’s ability to deliver industry-leading products.
Joyce McConnell, president, CSU, noted that both Nutrien and CSU share a vision for high-tech agriculture to help sustainably feed the world. “We face immense challenges to accomplish this task, and it is through improved research capabilities and training more students to bring their innovative ideas forward that CSU will make a bigger impact on the future,” she says.
Nutrien, based in Loveland, Colo., near CSU, has been providing crop inputs and agronomic services for more than 50 years. The company has operations and investments in 14 countries and 20,000 employees, including more than 600 CSU alumni.
Mike Frank, Nutrien executive vice president and CEO of retail, says studying strategic plans put together by CSU and its College of Agricultural Sciences that look 10 years into the future inspired his company to seek the partnership. “We’re extremely excited about our partnership with CSU — the university itself, and, in particular, the College of Agricultural Sciences,” he says. “When we talk to CSU and the folks in the ag school about their strategic vision, it really aligns with what we’re doing.”
Range of impacts
The gift, the largest in the College of Agricultural Sciences’ history, will have impact in many areas, including:
• scholarships for students in the college, focusing on the education and success of women and students from diverse backgrounds
• program enhancements to help students become career-ready in the field of agriculture, and ensuring they persist in their studies through graduation and placement in the industry
• funding to attract top talent in the application of technology to agricultural problems including food safety, security and sustainability;
• sponsorship of high-impact engagement and educational events at the nexus of technology, innovation and agriculture, such as CSU’s AgInnovation Summit
• sponsorship of the Nutrien Ag Day BBQ each fall, held annually to coincide with a home football game
As part of the gift, the College of Agricultural Sciences’ Shepardson Building will be renamed the Nutrien Agricultural Sciences Building. The building is undergoing a significant remodel of its 1938 structure and will have a 41,000-square-foot-expansion paid for by the state of Colorado and CSU. The Nutrien Agricultural Sciences Building will house the programs and people supported by the Nutrien gift, and the building will become a home for Colorado agriculture, student aspirations and agricultural innovation with a global impact.
James Pritchett, interim dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, notes the college has a long-term vision in mind, and believes a partner who wants to be part of that is exciting. “I’m especially excited for our students. Nutrien’s gift is transformational for attracting, retaining and placing talent in agriculture. Students respond with enthusiasm and boundless energy when we show our confidence in their future, and that is exactly what this gift does.”
The College of Agricultural Sciences has more than 120 faculty and more than 2,200 undergraduate student majors and minors — 65 percent of them female — plus 298 graduate students. Nearly 30% of agricultural sciences students are the first in their family to attend college.
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