A dairy farm that MU has owned since the 1950s is up for sale with a price tag of $4.8 million.
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The patch of land, listed as Midway Dairy Farm, is a 320-acre rectangle adjacent to MU’s Foremost Dairy Farm, located off Old Highway 40, about 10 miles northwest of downtown Columbia.

MU spokesperson Christian Basi said the university isn’t using the Midway property significantly now — just for grazing, some corn and soybean production and housing replacement cows.

Given the Midway land’s size and value, Basi said the university decided to put it up for sale so it could use the money to reinvest in the larger Foremost Dairy Farm, which also is owned by MU and is adjacent to Midway Dairy Farm. Foremost Dairy Farm is highly used for agriculture and research.

Foremost Dairy Farm was donated to MU in 1952 by James Cash Penney, a Missouri native and founder of the JCPenney retail store chain, according to MU College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources archives.

“The Foremost Dairy Farm is one of our farms where we are able to discover new techniques (and) new technology that we’re able to pass on to farmers throughout the state of Missouri and beyond,” Basi said. “(This research helps farmers) do their jobs better as they continue to produce food for everyone.”

The university put the land up for sale near the end of December. Mark Robb, the Mid America Land Services real estate broker MU is working with, said multiple potential buyers have put in bids so far. MU’s Board of Curators is in charge of discussing the offers, negotiating prices and closing the sale.

Robb said many people are interested in the land because it’s in a highly desirable area and has qualities like four differently-sized water lines and road frontage. It’s easy development ground, should a buyer choose to develop it, he said.

Reinvesting money from Midway into Foremost would involve several renovations and improvements, Basi said. Plans include updating its milking parlor, farm software and replacement cow housing — as well as getting auto-feed technology, a covered calf-rearing facility and potentially hiring a new dairy research faculty member.

Basi said these improvements to Foremost will give students and researchers the best experience possible for their dairy farming education and projects, which will help them continue to serve Missouri agriculture.

Dairy farmers in the San Joaquin Valley are working to overcome the impacts of substantial flooding. Last week’s storms have left broad swaths of Tulare County under standing water.

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