MANHATTAN, KANSAS, U.S. —  The Kansas Wheat Commission (KWC) and Kansas Association of Wheat Growers (KAWG) have moved into the new Kansas Wheat Innovation Center (KWIC) in Manhattan, Kansas, U.S., the first tenants in the state-of-the-art complex that will be a hub for wheat research.
Kansas wheat farmers, through the penny-and-a-half per bushel Kansas wheat assessment, are funding the bulk of the 35,000-square-foot structure, which includes 15,000-square-feet of advanced wheat breeding laboratories, a 10,000-square-foot greenhouse complex and 10,000-square-feet of office space. Additional tenants will include the Kansas Wheat Alliance and the Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. The KWIC sits on three acres adjacent to the Grain Science and Industry Complex north of Kimball Avenue in Manhattan, on land being leased from Kansas State University (KSU).
The center will also house Heartland Plant Innovations (HPI), a unique KAWG/KWC initiative that is focused on developing new traits, varieties and solutions for hard red and hard white winter wheat farmers.
Among the complex's key features include several growth chambers and freezers, plus laboratory pods in which researchers will be able to control the growth environment of wheat plants from emergence to maturity. Four separate greenhouses have been built on the north side of the laboratory, one of which is air conditioned, allowing research to take place even in the middle of hot Kansas summers.
The research facility will also house some of the operations of KSU’s world-renowned Wheat Genetics and Genomics Resource Center (WGGRC).
The office portion of the building includes a well-appointed test kitchen in order for the KWC to continue its strong focus on nutrition education; a large conference/meeting room is next to the kitchen for baking demonstrations and other meetings. A boardroom completes the office portion of the building.
Several businesses and families have acquired naming rights of many of the rooms in the complex; funds from those naming opportunities have been placed into the new Kansas Wheat Research Foundation, which will be used exclusively for funding wheat research at KSU.
Justin Gilpin, chief executive officer of Kansas Wheat, said completion of the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center represents a new chapter for wheat production in Kansas.
"With this cooperative project through Kansas wheat farmers through the Kansas wheat checkoff, plus Kansas State University, the State of Kansas and Heartland Plant Innovations, wheat genetics and varieties will be delivered to farmers faster," Gilpin said. "In these trying times with drought stresses, nitrogen utilization needs, and disease pressures becoming more prevalent, it's important that we get improved varieties into farmers' hands faster and the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center will be a mechanism to make that happen."
Beginning Dec. 3, the Kansas Wheat offices will be housed at the new Kansas Wheat Innovation Center. The address is 1990 Kimball Ave., Manhattan, Kansas, U.S., 66502. The phone number is 1.785.539.0255; fax is 1.785.539.8946 and e-mail is
[email protected].