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Program # of Grants EDA Funds
Economic Adjustment Assistance 2 $3,468,377
Planning 6 $315,000
2 $365,000
Total 10 $4,148,377

Recent changes in weather patterns have hit the wheat farmers of the American plains hard. Decreased rainfall, increased temperatures, and generally more severe weather have made it difficult for farmers to keep pace with increased global demand for wheat. And the demand is staggering – American wheat brings in more than double the money that corn, soybeans, or beef and veal do. The Kansas Wheat Commission realized a need for more resilience in wheat farming, and they sought to bring together industry, educational institutions, and federal agencies in order to create the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center (KWIC).

Located in the Kansas State University Grain Science Campus, the Center houses a feed mill, a test kitchen, a state of the art greenhouse, and some of the brightest minds in food science to find ways to make wheat more resilient to drought, extreme heat, frigid cold, and myriad of other issues affecting crops. However, while the Commission had the building, it lacked crucial lab equipment needed to make the building function. In 2014, EDA invested $440,000 to purchase equipment and construct a four bay greenhouse and head house to be used for public-private collaborative research and commercialization in wheat biotechnology. With EDA’s commitment to expand the facility, the Commission secured a $10.3 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to grow a center for research and advancement.

The expanded facility will optimize research and commercialization operations at the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center.  The Center anticipates inward investments of more than $12.6 million in the next five years from both U.S. and international corporations, as well as through self-generated funds from sales of new wheat varieties. The project will facilitate the development of new tools and methodologies to accelerate the application of novel discoveries and commercialize these services to be used broadly by the wheat industry.  The Center is the first of its kind in plant sciences and represents a new model of agricultural research investment that can be applied to other crops of strategic importance to the U.S. economy. 

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