North-central Kansas farmer donates land to establish university's Harold and Olympia Lonsinger Sustainability Research Farm
Monday, Aug. 28, 2017
Harold Lonsinger, center, with Gary Pierzynski, left, university distinguished professor and head of agronomy, and Vara Prasad, university distinguished professor of agronomy. Lonsinger has donated farmland to Kansas State University for a research farm on sustainable agricultural practices and soil conservation, reclamation and protection. | Download this photo.
MANHATTAN — Harold Lonsinger, Alton, has given a gift of land to the Kansas State University Foundation to establish the Harold and Olympia Lonsinger Sustainability Research Farm.
Lonsinger gave 2,300 acres of Osborne County farmland to Kansas State University to develop a research farm focusing on sustainable agricultural practices and soil conservation, reclamation and protection.
A childhood resident of Pottawatomie County, Lonsinger joined the U.S. Army after graduating from high school. He served in the Pacific theater during World War II, and later served in a non-combat role in Korea. He then enrolled at Kansas State University, earning his degree in mechanical engineering in 1956. He and his wife, Olympia, lived in Hutchinson where he worked as an engineer. In 1984, he retired from Doskocil Food Service as the vice president of engineering. He and Olympia moved to Cawker City to farm and raise livestock.
"I was given this land for a purpose," Lonsinger said. "I think the research Kansas State University will conduct and the knowledge they will gain will help protect and preserve our precious natural resources. That seems to be the purpose."
Lonsinger has stressed that his goal of donating the land is to learn how to best restore the soil to its historic quality.
"Among our many agricultural experiment stations, Harold's gift of more than 2,000 acres of quality Kansas farm- and grassland will become a hallmark of sustainable farming research at K-State," said John Floros, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension. "Much of the Lonsinger land is contiguous and will allow investigators to discover how historical and innovative farming practices impact larger tracts of soil over time. The research we will be able to conduct will have application for Kansas farmers and for producers worldwide."
Philanthropic contributions to Kansas State University are coordinated by the KSU Foundation. The foundation is leading Innovation and Inspiration: The Campaign for Kansas State University to raise $1.4 billion for student success, faculty development, facility enhancement and programmatic success.