Moran tours Wheat Innovation Center, Ross Flour Mill

Sen. Jerry Moran visited the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center and the Hal Ross Flour Mill at the Kansas State Grain Science Center as part of the Kansas Wheat tour on Sept. 16, 2021. (Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

Sen. Jerry Moran toured the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center and Kansas State’s Hal Ross Flour Mill on Thursday, calling it the “Kansas Wheat” tour.

“For a long time, I’ve wanted to revisit the Wheat Innovation Center. I was here shortly before it opened,” Moran said. “This is an effort from Kansas farmers — ag producers — to invest in their future and to develop the crops and the necessary protocols for inputs to make agriculture more profitable. … I was delighted to come here and see what’s going on in the Wheat Innovation Center and how I can be of help.”

The visit also comes after Moran recently helped grant funds to the center.

“In the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Bill, we were successful in a million dollars for the research to take place here in this facility to support the industry to find the right answers of the future of raising and producing wheat and make it profitable,” Moran said.

Justin Gilpin, CEO of Kansas Wheat, said the timing of Moran’s visit worked out well for local wheat farmers.

“We actually were having our Kansas Association of Wheat Growers board meeting today, and so we had several of our directors from across the state and wheat farmers from across the state that were in town that he was able to meet with and address,” Gilpin said. “So, it was meaningful to them to be able to hear firsthand about some of the things going in Washington D.C.”

Gilpin led a group, including Moran, through the Center’s facilities and labs, discussing the work the center is doing for agriculture. Moran’s visit also provided an opportunity for wheat farmers to communicate their needs with him.

“Senator Moran has been a long-standing friend of Kansas agriculture and certainly Kansas Association of Wheat Growers,” Gilpin said. “Always hearing his perspective and being able to ask him direct questions was an excellent opportunity for us.”

Moran then toured the K-State Hal Ross Flour Mill. Jason Watt, the Buhler instructor of milling, said the faculty appreciated the visit.

“Anybody out of our government who wants to come in and visit us means a lot to us,” Watt said. “That means they care about us, and they want to learn about what we’re doing, what’s special about our programs and what’s special about the university with the hope that they want to make that better.”

Moran said K-State is a leader in agriculture across the world.

“This university is so valuable not just to Kansas … but in its research and its focus on agriculture,” Moran said. “Feed the Future, for example, is a program here at Kansas State University funded by USAID — the federal agency that’s designed with feeding the people who are hungry around the globe — and we’re developing the practices that will allow people to feed themselves right here at Kansas State University, and in the process, we’re training and education students and giving them careers and a better future.”

More information about the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center is on its website.