1. K-State home
  2. »Global Food Systems
  3. »About

Global Food Systems

About Global Food Systems

The world's population will grow to an estimated 9.6 billion people by 2050. By 2030, the global middle class will grow from 2 billion people to at least 4.9 billion, adding $3.5 trillion every year in food-related spending, largely driven by demand for a safe, higher-quality diet focused on animal protein and cereal grains.

To feed the rapidly growing global community, the world's farmers will need to produce between 70 percent and 100 percent more food.

K-State has been preparing for this challenge for decades.

  • Our agricultural heritage, food systems expertise, and world-class research facilities equip us to meet the daunting technological, educational, and human resource needs of the global food system.
  • K-State’s Global Food Systems Initiative accelerates new research and learning opportunities for K-State faculty and students, creating connections among K-Staters and worldwide research collaborators.

Land-grant mission

The pioneers who founded Kansas State University — tough, creative, collaborative problem solvers — set up the country’s original land-grant institution to educate the children of farm families and to build strong communities by disseminating practical knowledge to citizens. Learn more about what a land-grant institution is and why the world needs them now more than ever.

2025 Visionary Plan

K-State is on its way to becoming a Top 50 public research university by 2025. Research expenditures are on track to reach or exceed $200 million in 2019, and K-State researchers achieved a record number of grants and contracts for a total of $161,576,562 in extramural funding in fiscal year 2018. That's a 25 percent increase in the last three years.

Growth in Global Food Systems research is driving K-State to achieve its 2025 goals. The bulk of competitively awarded funding and industry partnerships at K-State are related to Global Food Systems. Read more about the plan.


Why K-State is a leader

1. K-State is inventing tomorrow's solutions

Researchers disclosed 93 inventions in fiscal year 2018. Some recent innovative studies include:

  • Herbicide-resistant sorghum and Hessian fly-resistant crops
  • Methods of validating pathogen kill steps in bake food processing
  • Vaccines for a dangerous disease that affects both animals and humans
  • New wheat and canola varieties
  • Broad-spectrum antivirals
  • Sustainable intensification for small farm holders
  • Interface that captures bacterial pathogens to aid rapid culture free detection methods
  • The impact of food labeling on the autonomy on the consumer

2. K-State has immense strength in biodefense.

  • Our researchers and facilities are helping address threats to food security such as African swine fever, avian influenza, wheat blast, Rift Valley fever, and much more.
  • K-State will expand focused growth in this area through close interrelations with the new National Bio and Agro-defense Facility.

3. Our partnerships are second to none.

  • K-State is a sought-after industry partner. Agreement processes are business-friendly, and we aim to increase prosperity in Manhattan, Kansas and the region by creating jobs and transferring our technology into the marketplace. Read more.
  • The Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization specializes in assessing opportunities, designing strategic partnerships, facilitating technology transfer, and building successful enterprises. Find more information.
  • Recent master research agreements with industry demonstrate Global Foods Systems strength at K-State and include General Mills, Deere and Company, Compass Minerals, Topcon Agriculture, Seaboard Foods, Purina Animal Nutrition, and more.
  • Manhattan is the site of the future National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. Topcon Agriculture established its Topcon Research Campus at the K-State Office Park in fall 2018. Many other companies have chosen to locate near the campus.

Advisory team

A faculty advisory team guides efforts of the Global Food Systems Initiative. 

  • Edwin Brokesh, agricultural engineering

  • Marty Draper, College of Agriculture

  • Linda Duke, Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art

  • Tim Durrett, biochemistry and molecular biophysics

  • Jon Faubion, grain science and industry

  • Jon Herington, philosophy

  • Kim Hiller, apparel, textiles, and interior design

  • Justin Kastner, diagnostic medicine/pathobiology

  • Tim Keane, landscape architecture

  • Myung Kyo Kim, College of Business Administration

  • Stephen Lauer, sociology graduate student

  • Livia Olsen, Hale Library 

  • Greg Paul, communication studies

  • Randy Phebus, animal sciences and industry

  • Sandra Procter, K-State Research and Extension

  • Cary Rivard, horticulture and natural resources

  • Matt Sanderson, sociology

  • Peggy Schmidt, College of Veterinary Medicine

  • Mary Kay Siefers, Staley School of Leadership Studies

  • Lee Skabelund, landscape architecture

  • Jackie Spears, K-State Olathe

  • Nelson Villoria, agricultural economics

  • Jay Weeks, agronomy graduate student