By Dalton Henry
MANHATTAN, Kan- With the official dedication of the O.H. Kruse Feed Technology Innovation Center on Oct. 11, Kansas State University's Grain Science Complex added another building, and increased opportunities for customer education, hands-on experience for students and enhanced research capacity. "With the opening of the feed mill, we are starting to see the full vision of the grains center that started nearly eight years ago with the construction of the International Grains Program building," said Justin Gilpin, CEO of Kansas Wheat. "Having every step of the grain industry - from research and seed certification to processing and marketing - all located within walking distance is something that sets the grain science campus apart. It's unique not just to Kansas, but to the whole county, to have this level of integration and expertise located in one spot."
According to Gilpin, the K-State Grain Science Complex serves as a training center for overseas customers attending International Grains Program short courses. In addition to the feed mill, the Grain Science Complex includes the Hal Ross Flour Mill, the Bioprocessing and Industrial Value Added Program, the Kansas Crop Improvement Association, the International Grains Program and the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center. "Having world class learning and training facilities that can promote Kansas-produced commodities creates an extraordinary advantage for the Kansas agricultural community and the K-State College of Agriculture," said Gilpin. The Feed Technology Innovation Center, named for Otto H. Kruse, will also strengthen the university's opportunities for students closer to home. "From an educational standpoint, this gives us the opportunity to train the next leaders of the feed industry," said Charles Stark, K-State Jim and Carol Brown associate professor in feed technology. "The next generation will have an opportunity to come to K-State, learn the manufacturing process and transfer those skills back into the industry." In addition to classroom knowledge, the Center will provide students with experience working in a feed mill, which Keith Behnke, K-State professor emeritus, says is a top priority for employers. "We can sit in the classroom all day and show pictures of how pieces of equipment work and how to maintain those things," Behnke said. "But without hands-on experience, pictures really don't mean much. It's our goal to put every student we have into an intern program...to work in the feed mill as their class schedule permits (and) gain experience." Additionally, the Feed Technology Center will boost K-State's research capabilities. Until now, university researchers could not intentionally contaminate livestock feed with live pathogens due to safety requirements. However, the Center's controlled environments in specific portions of the mill will allow faculty to do just that, with the hope of determining how to sterilize or decontaminate a feed product before it is fed to an animal. Overall, the combination of added educational and research capabilities with the O.H. Kruse Feed Technology Innovation Center will help K-State address the immediate needs of the feed industry while providing the next generation with the top notch experience that is a K-State standard. The O.H. Kruse Feed Technology Innovation Center is located on K-State's north campus at 1980 Kimball Avenue in Manhattan. For more information, visit the Center's website.