$10 Million Wheat Innovation Center Opens In Manhattan

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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- A new $10 million facility in Manhattan is helping develop new technologies for Kansas wheat farmers.

The official opening of the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center was celebrated Friday, April 26, 2013 with an open house.

The center is located on the north end of Kansas State University’s campus off of Kimball Avenue next to the grain science complex, flour mill and a new feed mil that’s under construction.

It’s one of the largest double haploid facilities in the world, geared towards making big strides in wheat research.

“This is going to specialize in advancing wheat genetics and plant genetics for farmers in the state of Kansas. Wheat is the number one planted crop in the state of Kansas and so getting genetics- better improved varieties- in the hands of farmers faster, it’s going to be an important thing for Kansas farmers but also the state of Kansas,” said Justin Gilpin, Kansas Wheat CEO.

“This is a farmer-owned facility. It’s a partnership with Kansas State University. We’re housed on Kansas State property but the building is owned by Kansas wheat farmers through the Kansas Wheat Commission…We’re able to do now what we weren’t able to do the last 30 years in advancing wheat genetics. This is the starting line for the state of Kansas wheat industry,” he added.

The state-of-the-art facility boasts 25,000 square feet of office and lab space and another 10,000 square feet o greenhouse space. The project represents the largest single research investment that wheat farmers have ever made in the U.S., officials said.

It is located in the same vicinity as the future National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility- a state-of-the-art biocontainment facility for the study of foreign animal, emerging and zoonotic (transmitted from animals to humans) diseases that threaten the U.S. animal agriculture and public health. The Kansas Department of Agriculture is also relocating its main offices nearby, adjacent to the NBAF site and the existing Biosecurity Research Institute.

Officials say the close proximity of all of the agencies and facilities will create synergy and a hub of veterinary, agriculture, and bio-security research expertise and resources.