Iowa State Announces Multi-Million Dollar Technology Gifts from Cargill

September 11th, 2002

AMES, Iowa — Iowa State University announced two intellectual property gifts — an enterprise software system and crop forecasting system — from Cargill, Incorporated, Minneapolis, which will enhance student learning and advance Iowa State's research capabilities. The contributions from Cargill will position Iowa State as a leader in the application and impact of technology in manufacturing engineering and agriculture, university officials said.

The fair market value of the two gifts was appraised in 2002 by independent appraisers at a combined total of more than $16 million. Cargill also provided $115,000 in funding assistance to help the university with start-up costs, and filed patent applications on each of the software systems to insure longevity of the technology for Iowa State.

"These new gifts from Cargill are the latest in a 40-year partnership between the two institutions," said Gregory Geoffroy, President of Iowa State University. "Cargill continues to demonstrate its commitment to strong research programs and emphasis on learning."

"While the gift value is exciting, the real benefit lies in the enormous potential these assets bring to ISU," said Dave Raisbeck, vice chairman of Cargill. "Cargill recognized the significance of these assets but felt the technology was better housed at a leading university for continued development and commercialization."

Cargill is giving Iowa State's College of Agriculture its Crop Inventory, Forecasting and Analysis (CIFA) software system. When fully developed, CIFA will allow Iowa State to generate, in less than a day, crop-yield forecasts that currently take several months to complete. CIFA also will advance research in ways of optimizing agriculture production, understanding global climate change and minimizing risk — information that will directly benefit farmers.

"The Cargill gift greatly expands our capabilities to predict the answers to questions in precision agriculture, global climate change, environmental policy, remote sensing and other agricultural variables," said Bill Batchelor, associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering. "It's an extremely powerful tool that will increase the speed and accuracy of our crop modeling program, as well as our confidence in the results."

Cargill also contributed its Manufacturing Execution System (MES) enterprise software to the industrial and manufacturing systems engineering department of Iowa State's College of Engineering. When incorporated into Iowa State's undergraduate and graduate engineering curricula, MES will give students and faculty state-of-the-art tools to analyze and enhance all aspects of a manufacturing business, from workflow to equipment maintenance to personnel.

"Cargill's gift will enrich our students educational experiences and strengthen the department's leadership in a rapidly developing field," said Patrick Patterson, associate professor and chair of the industrial and manufacturing systems engineering department.

The gifts are in addition to the many benefits Cargill gives Iowa State through its Higher Education Initiative. Established in 1996, this initiative seeks to build mutually beneficial partnerships with select universities and academic programs relevant to the future of Cargill's businesses.

During the last six years, Cargill has committed more than $1.3 million to support Iowa State academic programs, curriculum resources, scholarships, internships and study abroad programs. Cargill also has hired more graduates and interns from Iowa State in the last five years than from any other university in the country.

"We view this donation as a tremendous opportunity to continue what has been a longstanding, successful partnership between our two institutions," Raisbeck said.

"Cargill is a visionary supporter of Iowa State and its students, with opportunities that have benefited Iowa State's students and academic programs as well as the food and agricultural industries," said John Lawson, an ISU graduate and chair of the ISU Foundation Board of Directors.

In 2001, Cargill received the ISU Foundation Order of the Knoll Corporate/Foundation Award, which recognizes a distinguished partnership and unparalleled support of Iowa State. The ISU Foundation is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to securing and managing gifts and grants that benefit Iowa State University.

Cargill, Incorporated is an international marketer, processor and distributor of agricultural, food, financial and industrial products and services with some 97,000 employees in 59 countries. The company provides distinctive customer solutions in supply chain management, food applications, and health and nutrition. In Iowa, Cargill operates 14 business units in 36 communities and employs more than 4,300 people.


Michelle Grogg, Cargill, Incorporated, (952) 742-2931.
Barb Dietrich Boose, ISU Foundation, (515) 294-5779
Skip Derra, ISU News Service, (515) 294-4917