K-State International Grains Program dedicates new conference center
By Mary Lou Peter
Kansas State University dedicated its new International Grains Program (IGP) Conference Center May 1.
For years, foreign business and government leaders have attended IGP classes here on K-States campus, and we now have a building worthy of the important work the program does for Kansas and the United States, said Brendan Donnelly, head of K-States Department of Grain Science and Industry.
The IGP, established by the Kansas legislature in 1978, has trained thousands of international grain industry representatives in its 26-year existence.
IGP strives to be a wellspring of training and information for international purchasers and processors using grains produced by U.S. farmers, Donnelly said. Today you can find IGP-trained buyers of grain in literally every corner of the world.
Every year, other nations business and government leaders attend IGP short courses and programs to develop technical knowledge and skills that enable them to become more informed buyers and processors of U.S. food and feed grains. IGP courses also acquaint participants with current trends and issues affecting the industry.
Key sources of funding for the new $4 million IGP conference center were the Kansas Wheat Commission, the Kansas Corn Commission, the Kansas Soybean Commission, and Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad Corp.
The IGP building, which is part of K-States Department of Grain Science and Industry, is nearly 20,000 square feet and includes a grain-grading laboratory, a conference room, a tiered auditorium-style classroom, dining and lounge areas, staff offices, and other rooms designed to serve the needs of the IGPs international participants.
The classroom and grain-grading lab are equipped for simultaneous translation of up to three languages and offer audio, visual and multimedia equipment for state-of-the-art presentations.
The new center also includes communications equipment that will allow the IGP to provide programs and information to sites nationally and throughout the world.
The IGP has established a worldwide reputation as a center of excellence for international programs related to grain marketing, as well as flour and feed milling, processing and utilization. The program also has a rich tradition in training thats specifically related to the marketing, processing, purchasing and shipment of corn, grain sorghum, soybeans and wheat, Donnelly said.
The center is one of five buildings that will make up K-States new Grain Science Complex. The complex includes the Bioprocessing and Industrial Value-Added Program building, which was completed in March 2004. A feed mill, a flour mill, and a teaching and research building that will house K-States baking science and management program are also planned for the 16-acre site across from the universitys football complex on Kimball Avenue in Manhattan.
More information about the IGP Conference Center and the Department of Grain Science and Industry at Kansas State University is available on the Web (http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/grsi/).