PHOTOS: Winfield United Innovation Center opens in River Falls

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With about 10 times its previous space, the new WinField United Innovation Center will continue its agricultural research and development work in a new facility in the River Falls Sterling Ponds Corporate Park.

The research done by WinField United is designed to provide farmers with better ways to grow food sustainably.

"We make our business by helping farmers grow more with less," said Chris Policinski, President and CEO of Land O'Lakes, WinField's parent company.

This new facility will help WinField United achieve that.

"To do that we have to have a strong muscle around collecting insights, what does that mean, and then having the tools to innovate the products," Policinski said.

The new facility is 55,000 square feet, featuring two wind tunnels, a greenhouse, chemical labs and more.

"This is really the physical embodiment of the strategy of Winfield," Policinski said.

Overall the center is an investment of about $50 million, WinField United COO Mike Vande Logt said. Construction cost about $40 million, with an additional $10 million ongoing investment into the running of the facility. About 30 employees are working at the center, and Vande Logt said more will be added over the years.

Each of the different areas of the center work together to take a concept from the chemical lab to growth in the greenhouse.

"The vision for Winfield United is about advancing agriculture intelligently and that's exactly what we're going to try to accomplish here," Vande Logt said.