Nutrien sows $10 million seed of donation in CSU’s College of Ag Sci

Laura Studley

Colorado State University has a long-standing agricultural history since its establishment in 1870. Now, Nutrien is contributing to the CSU narrative. 

Nutrien has made a 10-year investment in the College of Agricultural Sciences, giving $1 million each year. 

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“What makes us the most excited about (this donation) is that we’re able to support this next generation of workers and students,” said Sarah Fox, senior manager of strategic partnerships for sustainable agriculture at Nutrien. “To be able to participate with a University that has such a great program like Colorado State in sustainable agriculture — and agriculture in general — is a unique opportunity for us as a company.”

Nutrien is a global company that has been providing crop inputs and expert agronomic services for over 50 years. With operations and investments in 14 countries, including in Loveland, Colorado, Nutrien employs 20,000 employees, including more than 600 CSU alumni, according to a CSU SOURCE news release.

We really need to look to the future. (Nutrien is) a global company, and we have a big challenge on our hands.” –Sarah Fox, senior manager of strategic partnerships for sustainable agriculture

James Pritchett, interim dean for the College of Agricultural Sciences, said diversity and inclusion, student success, technology and sustainable stewardship make up some of the focus areas for the CAS’ strategic plan. 

“(Nutrien’s) core values line up so much with the things we believe are important around sustainability and around student success and about being intentional about how you serve your community,” Pritchett said. “The funds are really catalyzing for us because we can do things now that we couldn’t do before.”

Through the Nutrien donation, CSU is working to build better support networks and provide programming and resources, Pritchett said. This includes funding scholarships, providing money for students to attend national meetings and sponsoring events for student engagement.

Along with this, the University is also placing money toward developing technology, research efforts, funding proposals, allowing students to gain lab experience and hiring new faculty, Pritchett said.

“We are grateful for this incredible support from Nutrien,” said President Joyce McConnell in the SOURCE article. “Both Nutrien and CSU share a vision of using high-tech agriculture to help sustainably feed the world. We face immense challenges to accomplish this task, and it is through improved research capabilities and training more students to bring their innovative ideas forward that CSU will make a bigger impact on the future.”

Pritchett said giving $1 million a year rather than allocating all the funds at once allows the college to think about immediate impacts. Higher education’s budget can be cyclical, and with a donation every year, the college is able to count on that money each cycle.

“We’re spending out everything but about $200,000 of that gift when it comes in,” Pritchett said. “We’ll put aside some, so at the end of the 10 years, we’ll have an endowment of a couple million dollars that we’ll use the interest from later.”

Nutrien hopes to work with students to find solutions to problems surrounding food security, safety and sustainability, Fox said. From this partnership, Nutrien hopes to foster conversations around these challenges.  

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“We really need to look to the future,” Fox said. “(Nutrien is) a global company, and we have a big challenge on our hands. By 2050, we’re going to have close to 10 billion people in the world that we have to feed, and in order to feed those people, we need really well-trained professionals and young minds thinking of ways that will be able to meet that demand.”

Laura Studley can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @laurastudley_.