The University of Idaho (U of I), Boise, Idaho, announced plans to build a new meat science and innovation center that will house Vandal Brand Meats, which are produced by students, faculty and staff from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Department of Animal and Veterinary Science, on the Moscow campus.

The new Agri Beef Meat Science and Innovation Center Honoring Ron Richard will replace the existing, outdated meat science facility on campus and create a modern teaching, research and retail sales center.

The new building will honor the legacy of Ron Richard, who supervised Vandal Brand Meats student employees and taught meat science classes for three decades before his death in October 2018. Richard’s students learned the science and practical aspects of supplying nutritious, safe and innovative meat products to businesses and the public.

Agri Beef, Boise, Idaho, committed $2 million toward supporting the $8 million project on the U of I campus near the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center.

The U of I College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) proposed the new building to modernize its processing, research and education options. In addition to enhancing the only local USDA-inspected processing plant, the new building will offer expanded facilities to meet a growing interest from students and industry.

“This commitment provides the foundation for the college to meet the demand for more educational opportunities in meat science,” says Michael Parrella, CALS dean.

The college’s Department of Animal and Veterinary Science provides undergraduate and graduate education programs in meat science. In fact, more than 90% of meat science graduates find jobs in the field. Furthermore, the Vandal Brand Meats retail shop sells more than $325,000 worth of meat products sausage, steaks, hot dogs and hamburger produced by students each year.