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MSU asks regents to spend $3.1M on research farms for hands-on learning

The Montana University System Board of Regents meets today to hear updates and proposals from the state’s public colleges and universities, among them Montana State, where the university’s ag students could get a multi-million dollar boost for hands-on learning.

MSU wants $1.5 million to spend on improvements to two facilities, the Red Bluff Research Ranch near Norris and the Bozeman Agricultural Research and Teaching Farm known as BART, specializing in livestock management and horticulture.

At Red Bluff, the money would renovate and improve safety at its lambing facilities. At BART, funding would create better seed, plant, and soil processing facilities and update the hay sheds and restrooms.

In a separate proposal, MSU is asking to spend $1.6 million on its Agricultural Research Centers, a statewide network of seven research labs focused on agricultural production and profitability. The money would create research space, modernize equipment, and ensure researcher safety.

As a land grant institution, MSU provides education, research, and outreach programs to agricultural producers. It proposes using funds allocated by the state legislature to pay for the projects. The board will vote on the proposals Friday.

Sarah Kanter Brown is the producer of YPR’s Field Days. A graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism, Brown has worked at newspapers and magazines nationwide.