Kansas State Receives $25M Matching Award From Kansas Legislature To Fund Its Ag Innovation Initiative

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Source: Kansas State University news release

The Kansas Legislature recently awarded Kansas State University a $25 million matching award for the university’s Agriculture Innovation Initiative.

In January, the state Legislature challenged the university with a one-to-one matching opportunity: If K-State raised $25 million in private donations for the initiative, then the state would match that amount with a $25 million award. Earlier this year, K-State met the threshold, and the award was granted in May. To date, the university has raised $176 million out of its $210 million goal for agricultural infrastructure improvements.

K-State’s Agriculture Innovation Initiative includes facility upgrades, expansion and new construction. It invests in education, research and industry partnerships in grain, food, animal and agronomic sciences. The initiative will provide both new and improved teaching spaces for more than half of all the students taking courses in the College of Agriculture.

“Over the past year, we have broken ground on the Agronomy Research and Innovation Center and the Bilbrey Family Event Center, and on May 17, we hosted the groundbreaking event for the Global Center for Grain and Food Innovation – all key facilities of the Agricultural Innovation Initiative,” said Ernie Minton, Eldon Gideon dean of the College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension. “I speak for every College of Agriculture faculty and staff member when I say thank you to all our donors, partners and Governor Kelly, Secretary Toland and the Kansas State Legislature for their award and belief in the future of the university and the state’s agricultural industry.”

These buildings will position K-State to attract students and faculty focused on expanding next-generation research while working more closely with private industry.

“K-State is very grateful for the outstanding support from university faculty and staff, our state, industry, alumni and donors as we’ve progressed through the visioning, fundraising and groundbreaking phases of the Agriculture Innovation Initiative. Agriculture is Kansas’ largest and signature industry, and the advancements made in these facilities will bolster the economy and generate jobs statewide,” said Richard Linton, president of Kansas State University.

“This marks an exciting chapter for K-State, with the Agriculture Innovation Initiative marking a significant milestone as our first major infrastructure project in interdisciplinary research and education,” Linton added. “Experts from across campus and the industry will collaborate closely with the College of Agriculture in these facilities, further enhancing our world-class research and programs and solidifying our position as a global leader in the agricultural industry.”

Agriculture drives the economy in Kansas, generating about $81 billion annually. According to a recent Kansas Department of Agriculture survey, approximately 13% of the state’s workforce supports the agricultural industry.

“Agriculture innovation is vital to securing a sustainable future for our food system, and developing actionable solutions to the challenges we face will take an all-hands-on-deck approach,” said Greg Willems, KSU Foundation president and CEO. “This project will allow K-State to pursue next-century agriculture solutions by engaging experts from many disciplines, and we thank our generous supporters for recognizing the incredible potential at hand.”

The Agriculture Innovation Initiative construction and renovations will be completed by the end of 2027. For up-to-date information about the initiative’s progress, please visit the website.

About Kansas State University

As the nation’s first operational land-grant institution, Kansas State University has served the people of Kansas, the nation and the world since its founding in 1863 — and it continues to set the standard as a next-generation land-grant university. K-State offers an exceptional student experience across three physical campuses and online offerings, meeting students where they are and preparing them to achieve their personal and professional goals. The university is committed to its mission of teaching, research and service through industry-connected programs, impactful research-driven solutions, and a sharp focus on community engagement and economic prosperity.