Local farm bureau donates $2 million for Heartland Community College agriculture facility

The $2 million donation was presented Thursday during the McLean County Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Council breakfast. (Photo courtesy Heartland Community College)

By Neil Doyle

NORMAL – Heartland Community College has received a $2 million donation from the McLean County Farm Bureau to help construct a new agriculture facility in Normal.

The donation will be used for the development of a flexible learning lab space for Heartland students as well as community groups and K-12 students, according to a news release.

HCC’s Director of Public Information Steve Fast says the donation to the Heartland Community College Foundation represents the first substantial local investment in the project. Fast spoke with WJBC’s Scott Miller.

“The reason we have decided to create this facility and seek the funding to do so is because we hear from all our partners in the industry that we need more of this,” said Fast. “There are great ag education opportunities at four year colleges, there are some great secondary school ag programs in the area, but the missing piece is really being able to upscale what we can do at the community college level.”

The McLean County Farm Bureau instructional lab will be housed within Heartland’s planned agriculture facility, which will be built on the west side of Raab Road in Normal.

“We see this gift as an opportunity to invest in building a strong future for agriculture in our community, to support workforce development for local agriculture employers and to fuel a robust agriculture economy in central Illinois,” said Mark Hines, McLean County Farm Bureau President.

Heartland anticipates breaking ground on the $20 million facility later this spring with a projected completion date of 2023.

Neil Doyle can be reached at neil.doyle@cumulus.com

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