THE official dedication ceremony for the O.H. Kruse Feed Technology Innovation Center on Oct. 11 celebrated 20 years of planning and construction of the Kansas State University (KSU) facility.
"From an educational standpoint, this gives us the opportunity to train the next leaders of the feed industry," said Charles Stark, the Jim & Carol Brown associate professor in feed technology at KSU. "The next generation will have an opportunity to come to K-State, learn the manufacturing process and transfer those skills back into the industry."
The feed innovation center is the newest addition to the Grain Science Complex on KSU's north campus, which also includes the Hal Ross Flour Mill, the Bioprocessing & Industrial Value Added Program, the Kansas Crop Improvement Assn., the International Grains Program and the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center.
"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, chief executive officer 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 country to have this level of integration and expertise located in one spot."
The new facility is tailored with the latest technology and equipment and will serve as an educational hub to provide hands-on training in real-world situations for individuals in the grain and feed industry.
In addition to classroom knowledge, the O.H. Kruse center will provide students with experience working in a feed mill, which KSU professor emeritus Keith Behnke said 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, but without hands-on experience, pictures really don't mean much," Behnke said. "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."
The O.H. Kruse Feed Technology Innovation Center will help KSU address the immediate needs of the feed industry and provide future industry leaders with the necessary knowledge and skills.