K-State Perspectives flag
Home            Back to index


History of K-State's grain science and industry department


The department of grain science and industry's roots go back to 1905, when an experimental mill was installed in the chemistry department to evaluate the milling quality of hard red winter wheat varieties being developed for Kansas and the great plains. That work resulted in the establishment of K-State's department of milling industry in 1910, with funding provided by area flour millers and the Kansas City Board of Trade.

Flour milling

K-State initially offered a major in flour mill engineering and in 1937 added a basic four-year course for flour milling students. With strong industry support, the department updated its milling and physical facilities over the years and became recognized as the leader in wheat and flour milling research -- and for providing highly qualified operational and supervisory personnel for the flour milling industry.

Feed milling

In 1948, a group of prominent feed industry executives approached K-State's president to discuss adding a feed technology program to supply trained graduates and conduct research for the formula feed industry. K-State established the feed technology curriculum in 1951 and graduated its first students in 1955. Industry raised the money to build and equip the Feed Technology Building.

In 1957, East Waters Hall, home of the department, was destroyed by fire. John A. Shellenberger, the department head at that time, spearheaded the construction of a new building, which was supported with state funds and money raised by the Millers Advisory Committee. Secretary of Agriculture Orville L. Freeman dedicated the building as the Milling Technology Building on May 18, 1961.


In 1963, the Southern Bakers' Association approached the department to move the Baking Science Curriculum from Florida State University to K-State, and the Kansas Board of Regents approved the change. The program allows students to select a major in bakery science, specializing in either cereal chemistry or production management.

International Grains Program

With the support of the Kansas Wheat, Corn, Grain Sorghum and Soybean commissions, the International Grains Program was established in 1978 to provide technical support for the marketing of U.S. grains.

Although the program was formally established more than 20 years ago, its roots go back to the international activities introduced by Professor Arlin Ward in the early 1960s.

The program today provides short courses and seminars for international grain buyers and processors and assistance to other countries with milling, feed, grain, or baking problems. The International Grains Program supports marketing activities by national farmer commodity organizations like the American Soybean Association, U.S. Grains Council and U.S. Wheat Associates. It also works in cooperation with the Kansas Corn, Grain Sorghum, Soybean, and Wheat commissions and the United State Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service. The partnership with these organizations forms the front line for international grain marketing efforts of American farmers.

The International Grains Program courses often include tours of industry facilities, farms, country elevators, the Kansas City Board of Trade and other sites of interest.


June 2003