The Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) has increased its support for a new student learning facility at Iowa State University.

 The association’s $400,000 gift commitment — half announced last fall and the other half approved by the IPPA board in February — will help establish the Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center on land south of campus.

 “The Iowa Pork Producers Association’s generous gift will help ensure our students have a high-quality facility for working with, caring for and learning about animals,” says Wendy Wintersteen, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at ISU. “We appreciate the pork producers’ commitment and the many ways IPPA has led the way in strengthening Iowa State programs that provide education, research and extension in support of animal agriculture in Iowa.”

 “Iowa State University is integral to the success of Iowa’s hog farmers and the future of the industry, so we’re excited to give back and play a role in the completion of this important project,” says Bill Tentinger, president of IPPA and a pork producer from Le Mars. “The Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center will be a tremendous addition to ISU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and greatly enhance the educational opportunities for students.”

 Tentinger says that’s important because one of IPPA’s concerns is the declining number of young people returning to the farm after college. “IPPA leadership believes this donation is an investment in the future of pork production in Iowa,” he says.

 The Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center will be located on land used by the Department of Animal Science’s equine program. The facility will include an indoor 125- x 250-ft. arena with seating for 1,000 people, a set of classrooms and a conference room. The center will be a versatile, multipurpose resource for courses, labs, training programs, student club and judging team activities and public events.

 With the IPPA’s gift, plus the March announcement of a $2 million gift from Jeff and Deb Hansen of West Des Moines, a total of $6.6 million has been raised. Construction of the $7 million center will be funded entirely through private gifts. Iowa State expects to break ground on the project in the fall.

 Jeff Hansen is the CEO and owner of Iowa Select Farms, Iowa’s largest pork producer, based at Iowa Falls, IA.