University officials dedicate new purebred beef unit facility to K-State

Kansas State and College of Agriculture officials prepare to cut the ribbon to dedicate the new Purebred Beef Unit on March 3, 2017. (Regan Tokos | The Collegian)

In front of a crowd of about 200 attendees, Kansas State officials dedicated a new purebred beef unit at the Stanley Stout Center Friday afternoon.

“(The unit) will expand the research capability and enhance the teaching capacity (of the department),” Bob Weaber, faculty coordinator and associate professor of animal sciences and industry, said.

Ken Odde, head of the department of animal sciences and industry, led the ceremony that featured speeches by Weaber, April Mason, provost and senior vice president, and John Floros, dean of the College of Agriculture.

“We’ve been able to move this facility, enhance this facility and open it here today,” Mason said.

Odde said the new unit, which was a project of about $6 million, replaces an adjacent unit that was originally built in 1957.

Floros said the new unit will go a long way toward providing students with a valuable environment and experience for obtaining the necessary skills for the industry.

“Not only will it train our students and train them well … but it will provide a facility for research to support the industry,” Floros said. “If we are to be one of the top agriculture universities in the nation, we have to improve our infrastructure. Bottom-line facilities like this are needed.”

Odde said the current project is comprised of three buildings. The dedication ceremony was held in the headquarters, which will be used for classes, management and research. Additionally, there is a processing facility that will be used for hay storage and a feed intake research facility that will be used for research with feed efficiency.

“The new facility is useful for animal management but (the purebred unit) has a history of producing cattle for day-to-day student involvement,” Weaber said. “Students are involved on a daily basis.”

Weaber said the purebred beef unit features improvements in technology.

“(The facility) has a number of built-in technology features, such as cameras in the calving barn,” Weaber said. “It provides practical experiences to undergraduate students and for applied research.”

Students and community members were in attendance at the dedication ceremony, as well as architects and contractors involved in building the new purebred beef facility.

“Agriculture is our state’s largest industry, and in that, beef is the biggest sector,” Jackie McClaskey, Kansas Secretary of Agriculture, said. “It is critical that land-grant universities take steps to prepare the next generation of animal producers and animal scientists.”

The dedication was followed by a reception and a ribbon-cutting ceremony leading into the 40th Annual Legacy Livestock Sale hosted by K-State.