USA – On May 17, Kansas State University celebrated the groundbreaking for the Global Center for Grain and Food Innovation, marking a significant milestone for the College of Agriculture’s Department of Grain Science and Industry. 

The new center, located in Manhattan, Kansas, is set to be a state-of-the-art facility that will play a critical role in advancing agricultural education, research, and industry collaboration.

This will positively enhance and impact future students, faculty, K-State fans, and stakeholders for the College of Agriculture,” said Ernie Minton, Eldon Gideon dean for the College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension. 

Establishing the Global Center for Grain and Food Innovation at K-State’s College of Agriculture aligns perfectly with the vision. This state-of-the-art facility becomes integral to the university’s hub for grain science and animal sciences. 

It marks a significant step in K-State’s ambitious plan to redefine the concept of a land-grant university in the 21st century, positioning itself as the prime example of modern academia.

The new building is a key component of the university’s Agriculture Innovation Initiative, which includes over US$200 million in new construction and significant renovations to Call Hall and Weber Hall. 

These buildings, which serve other areas of the College of Agriculture, will be connected to the new center by enclosed walkways, facilitating greater collaboration among departments.

We elected to build new to house the department but to conceptually put them in a place that allows for more multidisciplinary interaction,” Minton explained.

The center, expected to be completed by the summer of 2026, will include new interdisciplinary labs, industry partner spaces, modern milling and baking research labs, a contemporary experimental baking and teaching lab, faculty offices, lecture halls, and meeting spaces. 

Approximately 30 percent of the space will be allocated for on-site collaboration between public resources and private enterprises, fostering more effective problem-solving.

The problems facing the food system are more difficult, more challenging than ever,” Minton noted. “We have artificial intelligence, big data, even water considerations for the wheat crop going forward in a changing climate. Things that make those kinds of more challenging problems easier to tackle is with many different disciplines contributing.

Several prominent companies are supporting the initiative. Ardent Mills has pledged US$3.5 million, and ADM has announced a US$1 million donation. Lesaffre, Mennel Milling Co., and Miller Milling Co. are also significant contributors.

This groundbreaking, including the shovels and dirt, absolutely represents a new modern, beautiful state-of-the-art facility, but as we’ve said, it’s so much more than that,” said Troy Anderson, vice president for operations at Ardent Mills and a K-State grain science graduate.

We’re heavily involved in wheat variety development here,” Minton said. “Wheat variety development has implications in terms of flour and bread quality or even in the future selection for products with particular nutrient profiles derived from wheat or other grains. We’ve got the continuum happening in total with this Ag Innovation Initiative.

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