MANHATTAN, KANSAS, U.S. — Stakeholders of Kansas State University’s (KSU) Department of Grain Science and Industry met for the Spring Advisory Council Meeting on April 26, 2012 to discuss the past and future of the department. The meeting was held to set the direction for the future of KSU grain science.

“The primary purpose of the meeting was to review the department’s strategic plan draft that is being developed by our faculty, staff and students in support of the K-State 2025 Visionary Plan. We had a very productive meeting with excellent discussion and valuable input from our Advisory Council members,” said Dirk Maier, department head of KSU grain science and industry.

A meeting attendee, Keith Epperson, vice-president of manufacturing and training at the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), says that KSU’s feed science program helps students become well-rounded, knowledgeable individuals while also focusing on key aspects needed to develop into industry leaders.

“KSU feed science sets a foundation for the students to become well-trained and prepared to go into the industry. These students will be leaders someday,” Epperson says.

This sentiment was also expressed by David Krejci, executive vice-president and international secretary for the Grain Elevator and Processing Society. Maier says GEAPS plays an important role in supporting the foundation of the grain science program at KSU that develops these leaders.

“GEAPS vision statement lines up with Kansas State’s grain science program. We provide the grain handling resources to the program because they didn’t previously have grain handling in the curriculum. Our relationship with Kansas State is a day to day operation — it’s an integral part of our institution.”

Krejci also stressed the importance of the advisory meetings by saying it was an opportunity to realize the full potential of relationships with other organizations in the industry.

“We all have to work together to figure out what everyone’s priorities are. We have to really listen to each other. This meeting is an industry forum that doesn’t exist anywhere else. You won’t ever find all of these people together anywhere else but here,” Krejci says.

Another industry partner in attendance was the North American Millers’ Association. Mary Waters, president of NAMA, related that students from KSU had an advantage going out into the workforce.

“K-State graduates are great. Mills are excited to hire them; in fact, some only hire KSU graduates. It helps that the industry wants to be interactive with the students here with things like scholarships and internships. The industry knows K-State students have a passion for what they do,” Waters said.

In summary, Maier added, “Our grain science and industry advisory council represents the key stakeholder organizations across the entire grain-based food and feed system. They are the leaders of their respective organizations and literally come from across the country. We are honored to have them serve in support of our department and its faculty, staff and students.”