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K-State, KU and Kansas Wheat partner for KBA grant

Kansas

Solutions to some of the world's most pressing food and energy problems could be found right here in Kansas, and Kansas Wheat has taken a lead role in discovering them.

Kansas Wheat, Kansas State University and the University of Kansas have formed a voluntary alliance under the guidance of the Kansas Bio Science Authority to develop plans for a dramatic joint venture, called the Innovation Center for Advanced Plant Design: "Plants for the Heartland." The Center will focus on emerging commercial opportunities for wheat, sorghum, small grains, and native plants and grasses.

The revolutionary research platform will combine the expertise of scientists from both universities. The University of Kansas brings to the agreement know-how in extracting value from numerous natural materials; meanwhile, K-State has proven its ability in plant-breeding technology. The end-result will be a host of new methods of scientific discovery and ultimately, commercial release of cutting-edge technology that has a positive impact on human health, plant science and food and fuels.

The cooperative effort was launched by Kansas Wheat nearly a year ago. It has since received enthusiastic support from major private plant science industries, several of the state's most innovative farmers and ranchers and other private institutions. The Center for Advanced Plant Design is working to secure up to $50 million in startup funds from the Kansas BioScience Authority; funding would be used to build a state-of-the-art research facility near the K-State campus in Manhattan.

"The Center for Advanced Plant Design is unique in that it combines major, private plant science companies that have committed to being a part of this endeavor. We'll take new discoveries and technologies, extract the value from them and in turn, create new businesses and jobs for Kansas," said Dusti Fritz, Kansas Wheat CEO. Kansas Wheat is the cooperative agreement between the Kansas Wheat Commission and the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, with a common vision of "leaders in the adoption of profitable innovations for wheat."

At this facility, scientists will unlock the power of plant genomes by accelerating research and development and creating novel traits and profitable innovations for commercialization to meet market demands, thereby creating substantial new wealth for the state of Kansas.

Outcomes for the Kansas Innovation Center for Advanced Plant Design: "Plants for the Heartland" include commercialization of sustainable, drought-tolerant, high yielding varieties; foods with reduced allergenicity; new food products that are rich in anti-oxidants, cancer fighting components; plant-derived medicines for preventing and curing human disease; high bio-mass plants for bio-fuel production; high starch content for animal feeds; and ethanol with less wastes and environmental impacts.

"The Center will position Kansas as the global leader in plant genetics by translating innovative research into value-added agricultural products delivered to the market place," Fritz said. "This would complement the KBA's recent huge success in bringing NBAF to Manhattan by creating new jobs and attracting the best and brightest minds in plant bioscience to the Little Apple also."

1/12/09
2 Star EK\3-B

Date: 1/8/09



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