The WinField® United Innovation Center — a new epicenter of research that will help give farmers more and better tools to grow crops more sustainably — opened today in River Falls, Wisconsin. The 55,000-square-foot facility replaces the 6,000 square-foot WinField Product Development Center and Spray Analysis System.
The new facility will enhance WinField United's $50 million annual research commitment to helping farmers grow food more sustainably and productively as they work to feed a growing world population. This research will help farmers precisely and responsibly apply crop protection and nutrient products exactly where they're needed in the field.
"The WinField® United Innovation Center further strengthens our research and development capabilities and our reputation as a leader in 21st-century agribusiness and innovation," said Chris Policinski, president and CEO of Land O'Lakes, Inc., WinField United's parent company. "The research and testing performed here will enable more targeted applications of crop protection products, which benefits both applicators and farmers. It also helps move the industry forward to achieve greater sustainability in land, water and air quality."
The increased space brings greater capacity to conduct product research on a variety of agricultural products including adjuvants, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, plant nutrition and performance solutions, and seed treatments.
A key piece of the Innovation Center is the Infinity Group, a spray application laboratory with some of the most advanced capabilities in the world. The Infinity Group uses state-of-the art technology, including a wind tunnel, to evaluate the entire application process, including crop protection and adjuvant formulations, tank mixes, nozzle performance, spray characterization, drift and droplet deposition, and plant uptake. Testing is performed in the laboratory, and in both controlled and in-field environments. In the wind tunnel, spray application variables are tested using non-invasive diagnostic approaches to precisely measure droplet size and velocity.
"Before we bring products to a farmer's fields, we make sure they work in our fields first," said Mike Vande Logt, executive vice president and chief operating officer, WinField United. "All of our products are developed with farmers top-of-mind. We apply the latest best practices in our research approach and have backed our commitment with a significant monetary investment in our new center. Our product development process is a stamp of approval that represents the comprehensive, rigorous, proven method we use to bring products and technologies to market."
WinField United is thrilled to continue creating innovative, quality products that deliver value to farmers through our commitment to excellence in data, science and technology, and to be doing so in the River Falls community.
The center has a significant history in River Falls, enjoying a 27-year partnership with the University of Wisconsin–River Falls. It has hired interns and full-time employees from the university over the years and conducted a variety of research and field trials on university land. Land O'Lakes, Inc., also has a significant presence in Wisconsin, employing 812 people at 14 locations throughout the state.
About WinField United
WinField United, the crop inputs and insights business of Land O'Lakes, Inc., works with nearly 1,300 locally owned and operated cooperative and independent agricultural retailers to help farmers responsibly unlock the greatest potential of every acre. An insights company with agriculture at its core, WinField United provides proven products, data, technology tools and agronomic expertise that turns even the smallest detail from the field into actionable, winning insight to help farmers achieve predictable, sustainable outcomes. As a farmer-owned company, every day, we work to connect our network to the latest innovations and work together to advance agriculture intelligently to grow a brighter future.
About Land O'Lakes, Inc.
Land O'Lakes, Inc., one of America's premier agribusiness and food companies, is a member-owned cooperative with industry-leading operations that span the spectrum from agricultural production to consumer foods. With 2016 annual sales of $13 billion, Land O'Lakes is one of the nation's largest cooperatives, ranking 209 on the Fortune 500. Building on a legacy of more than 96 years of operation, Land O'Lakes today operates some of the most respected brands in agribusiness and food production including LAND O LAKES® Dairy Foods, Purina Animal Nutrition and WinField® United and Land O'Lakes SUSTAIN™. The company does business in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. Land O'Lakes, Inc. corporate headquarters are located in Arden Hills, Minn.
About University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Founded in 1874, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls is located in a scenic community just 30 miles from downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. UW-River Falls students are empowered, beginning in their first semester, to participate in hands-on research, global travel and collaborative learning with award-winning and caring faculty.
About the City of River Falls
River Falls, Wisconsin, is located 30 miles from the Twin Cities and within the metro's combined statistical area. The city has a population of 15,000 and is home to UW-River Falls and Chippewa Valley Technical College. It is nationally known for its Kinnickinnic River, a Class 1 trout stream that flows through downtown, as well as its 26 parks and miles of walking and biking tails. A green energy leader, the city is ranked first in Wisconsin and fourth in the nation for green energy participation and, in 2015, was the first municipality in Wisconsin to build a community solar garden. River Falls is headquarters to several international businesses and in 2016 established its third corporate park. In early 2018, the city's Economic Development Corporation will open the St. Croix Valley Business Innovation Center to support entrepreneurs, start-ups and business expansions.