November 16-18, 2005

ITEM 129-2008-R1105  Authorization to Negotiate a Site Lease Agreement with the USDA; Montana State University-Bozeman

THAT: The Board of Regents of Higher Education authorizes MSU to negotiate with the USDA to provide a site for a new federally-funded, federally-owned Ag Research Service Laboratory Facility.

EXPLANATION: 1. In partnership with the US Dept. of Agriculture - Ag Research Service (USDA-ARS), Montana State University is creating an Animal BioScience Complex on the MSU campus. This complex will consist of a USDA-ARS building housing functional genomics research activities and an MSU building housing high-tech classrooms for MSU students and multi-purpose, distance learning facilities for outreach education.

2. The USDA-ARS building is expected house 7 ARS scientists and will provide space for up to 5 MSU faculty/scientists, plus support staff including MSU graduate students. This facility will be a user of the information derived from the USDA-ARS, Bovine Genome Sequencing Project. This MSU/USDA partnership will use the bovine gene sequence to identify ways to improve economic production efficiency; improve environmental sustainability; and, produce safe, high-quality, and consistent products for consumers.

3.       Congress has appropriated $2 million for planning/design drawings for this facility and MSU/USDA are working to identify a final site for the building.

4.       The MSU component of the MSU Animal BioScience Complex was authorized in HB005 by the 59th Montana Legislature, for construction with non-state funding. Fund-raising is in progress.

5.       This authority will allow MSU to negotiate in the best interests of the State of Montana (and MSU) to secure reasonable compensation and/or benefit in exchange for the proposed site lease. Results of the negotiation are expected to result in the creation of a lease agreement, which will be submitted to the Board of Regents for final approval.