Auburn University is sharing a $28 million grant to help address rural challenges

Auburn University is one of three universities sharing a $28 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to support the Institute for Rural Partnership to research the causes and conditions of the challenges faced by rural people establish territories.

Auburn’s project is an interdisciplinary effort involving the College of Agriculture, the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, the McCrary Institute for Cyber ​​and Critical Infrastructure Security, and the Interdisciplinary Center for Advanced Manufacturing Systems.

“This project will enable agricultural researchers to leverage manufacturing and cybersecurity engineering expertise to advance some of Alabama’s most important agricultural and natural resource sectors,” said Paul Patterson, dean of Auburn College of Agriculture and Director of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station.

“This is a great opportunity for the two founding colleges of Auburn University to deepen their work together in advancing the economy of Alabama,” he said. “Additionally, faculty members in Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology will explore alternative businesses that offer potential for additional growth for the agricultural sector and rural Alabama.”

Auburn’s share of the grant – $9.3 million – is for a four-year period. Additional funding is received from the University of Vermont and the University of Wisconsin.

“As part of the Land Grant’s mission to improve the lives of people in our state, this institute is the perfect intersection of what our two colleges do best,” said Steve Taylor, interim dean of Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, who previously was He is Vice Dean for Research and Head of the Department of Biosystems Engineering. “It is only fitting on this 150th anniversary of our two Auburn colleges that we boldly move forward together through this partnership.”

Oladiran Fasina, director of Auburn University’s biosystems engineering department, and Bill Dozier, director of the poultry science department, are principal investigators on the Institute for Rural Partnership project, which aims to develop technology solutions that support poultry and forest products producers and processors in Alabama. (Contribution)

The goal of Auburn’s project is to use modern technology to advance rural Alabama through poultry production and forest products, said Oladiran Fasina, department head and alumni professor of biosystems engineering at the College of Agriculture. Fasina is also a Co-Lead Principal Investigator on the project along with Greg Harris, Professor and Chair of Engineering in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Other principal investigators include Bill Dozier, Professor and Director of the Department of Poultry Science; Mykel Taylor, Associate Professor and Alfa Eminent Scholar, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology; Gregory Prudy, Assistant Professor, Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineering; and Marc Sachs, McCrary Institute.

Fasina said Alabama is a world leader in the agricultural poultry and forest products industry sectors, which contribute $43 billion to the economy. Additionally, a significant percentage of the 210,000 jobs created by these two industries in the state are located in rural Alabama.

“Our interdisciplinary approach will develop technology solutions that will help producers and processors of poultry and forest products to improve their competitiveness and sustainability while addressing cyber-physical vulnerabilities due to the use/implementation of modern technologies,” said Fasina.

The project also aims to address water pollution issues in rural Alabama by developing systems that manage and recycle waste streams from agricultural processing plants.

“Ultimately, we will develop case studies that demonstrate new technologies and opportunities for agriculture and forestry in the rural South,” Fasina said. “We will develop and deliver project deliverables that summarize and evaluate the project’s impact on rural Alabama to engage stakeholders and the public.”

The distribution of funds for the project will be 85% research, 10% expansion and 5% education.

This story originally appeared on Auburn University’s website.