Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the Louisiana Economic Development grant during an event Friday that celebrated Waitr’s new downtown headquarters.
A new Welcome Center greets visitors to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Model Sustainable Agriculture Complex at Cade. University leaders officially opened the new center on Tuesday with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
“ We are very excited about this new addition to the complex at Cade,” said Dr. Linda Vincent, Dean of the College of Applied Life Sciences. “We welcome visitors here all year round. It’s a great place for everyone to learn about the agriculture of south Louisiana and this center makes it a little easier for visitors.”
The center takes its name from the South Louisiana Mid-Winter Fair Association. Funds from the group combined with matching funds from the university made the center a reality.
“ The South Louisiana Mid-Winter Fair Association has always been so generous when it comes to the College of Applied Life Sciences,” said Vincent. “It was only fitting that the Welcome Center bear the organization’s name.”
In addition to helping with costs for the center, the association has donated money for furniture, equipment and supplies.
“ This is definitely money well spent,” said Charles Broussard, South Louisiana Mid-Winter Fair Association president. “This center is very impressive and hopefully it will ultimately be used by UL Lafayette students.”
Vincent noted the center includes a large meeting room to host all workshops, classes and social gatherings for the complex. Previously, these meetings were held in agriculture shop on the complex.
“ We now have a professional facility to bring students and visitors to and we don’t have to worry about interfering with the duties of workers,” said Vincent.
The center sits at the opening of the 600-acre complex, which is 15 miles from UL Lafayette’s main campus. It accommodates numerous facilities in an integrated array, including a working dairy, a Crawfish Research Center and an equestrian arena. The complex also includes production acreage for beef, sugar cane and specialty crops.
The landscape includes natural habitat, nature trails, maintained wetlands and housing for student residents. The complex is used for research, education, demonstration and outreach in agriculture and sustainability.