July 11-12, 2002


ITEM 116-2008-R0702                Approval of Proposal to Establish the Institute for Biobased Products and Food Science; Montana State University-Bozeman


THAT:                                       The Board of Regents of Higher Education authorizes Montana State University-Bozeman to establish the Institute for Biobased Products and Food Science.


EXPLANATION:                        The agricultural industry, in Montana and across the country, is facing challenges and changes to long-held beliefs and practices such as marketing commodities as an individual producer, restricting production to monocultures, or limited value-added initiatives.  A proactive and innovative approach must be undertaken to maintain and strengthen Montana's economic sustainability.  A biobased focus to agriculture is being discussed by agricultural leaders from across the United States as an opportunity to add value and revitalize agriculture and rural communities.  By adding value to Montana's agricultural products, Montana's economy can realize increased jobs, rural community development, and agricultural product sustainability.  A focus on biobased agriculture allows Montana producers to expand their options beyond the traditional crops and markets.  As a land grant university, Montana State University-Bozeman is compelled to broaden and build on food systems that develop a biobased economy.  This focus will promote global competitiveness, sustainable production, and rural development.  The new frontier in agriculture needs to be more than production and commodity oriented.  It should be expanded to include cost efficient food production systems, diversification of production efforts, value-added products, end-use and biobased product development, and integrated marketing strategies.  Producers need to find ways to share in the profits from agricultural products.  A safe and secure food system and the process of agriculture revitalization need to be based on focused, innovative education, research, and extension programs.  These programs will provide the knowledge foundation, while partnerships among the university, local/state/federal agencies, public and private sector organizations, producers, communities, business, and consumers will form the network necessary to build a team approach to agricultural economic development. The Institute for Biobased Products and Food Science will address issues of a safe and secure food system and agriculture and rural community revitalization.  The goal of the new Institute is to provide an infrastructure that encourages collaborative programs that address issues such as biobased product/value-added alternative crops, value-added meats, risk assessment, and product development.  The Institute for Biobased Products and Food Sciences will serve as a state, regional, and national model for biobased economic development.  The objectives are: a.) establish cutting-edge biobased, product, and food science research programs; b.) enhance partnerships that will include faculty from across the Montana University System, producers, ag-industry, and, would include investigators from other institutions in the region; and c.) conduct outreach activities related to biobased products and food science for producers, agri-business, and others in the state, region, and nation.  There will be a sustainable future for Montana if we develop a viable agriculture foundation in the state.  Science and technology, product analysis, and investment will foster new innovative products and processes to meet the challenges of the marketplace.  Public/private partnerships and a solid education and research foundation will facilitate research and development efforts to start and/or expand Montana businesses and employment opportunities.  Montana has the opportunity to assure high quality products, improve human nutrition, and assume a future in the global marketplace if we aggressively pursue value added commodity end-use products. 


The state of Montana provided funds during the last session to establish the Institute for Biobased Products and Food Science.  Funding to sustain the Institute's activities will be sought from industry, foundations, and state/federal grants.  Industry and foundation funds have already been received to support operations.