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K-State Today

August 28, 2014

International Grains Program now known as IGP Institute

Submitted by Lisa Moser

Effective immediately the Kansas State University International Grains Program is now known as the IGP Institute. While the name may be new to industry professionals, it stems from the original name established in 1978.

IGP Institute Associate Director Mark Fowler explains that IGP was established as the International Grains Institute in 1978, and was modeled after the Canadian International Grains Institute.

At the time there was a Food and Feed Grain Institute at K-State focused on international development. Since these names were so close, the stakeholders decided to change the IGP name from the International Grains Institute to the International Grains Program, which is how it was known until summer 2014.

Recently, IGP Institute faculty and staff evaluated the program initiatives and determined the time was right to bring back institute into the name as it better reflects the activities that the organization is already doing and the plans to position the institute for further growth opportunities in the global grain-based food and feed system.

"An institute is a multifaceted program that has an outreach component, a research component and an academic component," Fowler says. "When we looked at the direction our program is going we are, by definition, an institute."

Since its inception, Fowler says IGP has always focused on the outreach piece through its course offerings for domestic and international professionals. Currently, the IGP Institute curriculum includes the three focus areas of grain marketing and risk management, feed manufacturing and grain management, and flour milling and grain processing. To date in 2014, 989 professionals from around the world have participated in 53 of the IGP Institute's distance and on-site trainings.

Regarding the research component, IGP Institute Director Dirk Maier cites the addition of the U.S. Agency for International Development-funded Feed the Future Innovation Lab for the Reduction of Post-Harvest Loss that was awarded in 2013 and is managed through the IGP Institute.

"The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for the Reduction of Post-Harvest Loss is a strategic and applied research and education program aimed at providing global leadership in food security by reducing post-harvest loss and food waste of durable staple crops and their processed value-added products," says Maier, who serves as the co-director for this global food and nutrition security project.

Currently, IGP Institute faculty members and colleagues from U.S. and foreign institutions are actively engaged in the initial focus countries of Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana and Guatemala. Maier sees the Innovation Lab as building on the past success of the Food and Feed Grain Institute that was U.S. Agency for International Development-funded and had similar goals of improving post-harvest handling, drying, storage, processing and utilization of grains and oilseeds while addressing food and nutrition security needs in developing countries.
Finally, the academic component is being addressed through the credential program, which offers certifications in grain operations and grain processing.

"The credential program we have, although not for university credit, is an academic program that grants continuing education units through K-State's Global Campus," Fowler says.

He adds that content is being developed in partnership with the grain handling and processing industry, which has endorsed this continuing education and training program given its rigorous structure and inclusion of learning assessment.

Maier also sees more undergraduate and graduate students expressing interest in international research and outreach projects, which, he says, bodes well for engaging them through the IGP Institute in experiential and service learning experiences, solving real world problems with global impact, and gaining international exposure and appreciation.

"Expanding opportunities for student involvement will contribute substantially to their educational experience at K-State, which is a major goal of Vision 2025 and the new Global Food Systems Initiative," Maier says.

Both Maier and Fowler emphasize that while the name has changed, the core mission has not.

"The IGP Institute was established to serve and support Kansas and U.S. farmers in promoting the export and utilization of their wheat, corn, soybeans and grain sorghum with customers around the world," Maier says. "We have done this with great impact for over 35 years and remain committed to further advance this goal. The challenge to feed a growing global population cannot be achieved without a steady and sustainable grain pipeline from Kansas to the rest of the world."