JBS USA, Greeley, Colo., invested $12.5 million in building the JBS Global Food Innovation Center in Honor of Gary & Kay Smith at the Colorado State University (CSU), Fort Collins, Colo. The new $20 million facility will advance best practices in food safety, meat sciences and animal handling and welfare.

The state-of-the-art 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 engage in dialogue to advance the animal agriculture industry. Students will learn about meat processing in a hands-on environment that is not currently available in existing CSU facilities.

This unique partnership includes a $7.5 million philanthropic contribution to build the JBS Global Food Innovation Center at the university and a $5 million employee educational programming investment.

 “We have had a long-standing research and academic partnership with JBS, and this gift will allow us to cement that relationship for years to come,” says Ajay Menon, dean of CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences. “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.”

“The JBS gift to Colorado State University is an investment in the future competitiveness of food and farming in the state of Colorado and across the United States,” says Wesley Batista, global CEO of JBS. “JBS is a people-focused company, which means that empowering and creating opportunities for young people is at the heart of our culture. 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.”

Professor Emeritus Gary Smith, who along with his late wife Kay, are honored in the naming of the building. Smith 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. He’s also expert in meat science and food safety, is a University Distinguished Professor Emeritus and serves as a visiting professor of animal sciences and special advisor to CSU president Tony Frank.

The new facility will have spaces dedicated to testing packaging and developing food products, and boasts a culinary kitchen and demonstration area as well as a retail meat and dairy store with a café.

The facility will also include an educational space designed by CSU professor Temple Grandin, where 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,” says Andre Nogueira, chief executive officer of JBS USA. “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.”