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K-State Today

August 28, 2017

Petfood Research and Development Showcase presents opportunities for faculty, staff

By Kiley Moody

Kansas State University's growing expertise in the pet food industry is helping to provide numerous opportunities for faculty and students.

The university will host the first Petfood Research and Development Showcase, "Going with the Grain," on Oct. 11-12 to provide a chance to connect a burgeoning research presence with the needs of the pet food industry.

The events are open to students and faculty. For more information, visit the Petfood Research and Development Showcase website. Registration for the event is now open. K-State faculty and staff receive complimentary registration via the link above. More than 100 participated in a similar event in fall 2016.

The Petfood Research and Development Showcase will focus on exploring opportunities for whole and specialty grains in pet food. K-State faculty and other researchers will present leading research on the emerging science behind the value to processing, nutrition, and health of companion animals and how grains provide benefit in pet food. The second day, Oct. 12, will feature interactive labs to provide attendees with the chance to see these ideas in action. Two evening receptions and a dine-around event at local Manhattan restaurants will provide a setting for students, faculty, staff and pet food professionals to network.

"The event will help students connect with faculty and industry professionals, to gain knowledge and hands-on experience in nutrition, extrusion, canning, baking, sensory analysis, animal health, economic analysis, and food supply chain management," said Greg Aldrich, research associate professor of grain science and industry. 

Pet food represents value-added agriculture by turning agricultural commodities like grain into healthy, nutritious pet food products, Aldrich said.

Globally, pet owners spend more than $60 billion on their furry friends. Of that, about $23 billion goes toward pet food, and estimates for Kansas indicate that pet food contributes as much as $7 billion to the state's economy.