Training the global grain leaders

27 March 20194 min reading

Kansas State University’s Grain Science and Industry Department leads the way in education and research for baking, feed and milling specialists worldwide.

Dr.Gordon Smith Kansas State University Grain Science and Industry Department Head IGP Institute Director Serving as the primary training ground for the milling and processing industries, Kansas State University’s Department of Grain Science and Industry continues to fulfill the needs of the global industry demand with its exemplary education and research.

What started in 1905 as a curriculum dedicated to research on wheat and grain storage methods is now a world-renowned program. We are dedicated to educating students and professionals, conducting innovative research, and offering high-quality outreach programs and services that impact the global grain industry.

The department was founded on close ties to industry and affiliated organizations. Some of our alliances with industry partners and organizations are critical to keep our programs thriving. Others represent great potential for improving the educational experience of our students and transferring knowledge to end users. With the help of industry professionals, the department is able to teach leadership and communication skills that students can’t extract from a textbook. We are continually exploring new avenues to help nurture industry relationships and use them to improve on the department as a whole. We have three undergraduate programs – Bakery Science and Management, Feed Science and Management, and Milling Science and Management – plus a graduate program in grain science. These programs are all one-of-a-kind and they are the only degrees of their curriculum in the U.S. We are dedicated to cultivating well-rounded educational programs that prepare students for the workforce.

Each of the undergraduate majors has 100 percent job placement or continuing education rate. In addition to exemplary placement rates, these programs remain among the highest-paid agriculture majors at K-State. Our students often have multiple job offers when they graduate, typically with starting salaries exceeding $57,000. As if that isn’t enough incentive for students to choose grain science, more than half of the department’s students receive financial support from competitive scholarships. There are also additional scholarship opportunities for multicultural and out-of-state students. In addition, the department also prioritizes study abroad participation and internship programs, which allow students to gain valuable out of the classroom experiences.

At the forefront of the department is the hands-on training and technical preparation that the faculty provide. Throughout all disciplines, professors prepare students with the technical expertise they need to be successful. From research and analytical laboratories to processing equipment, students learn about the latest advances in grain science in a functional setting. Many of the department’s professors have global industry involvement, with more than 100 cumulative years of experience. As our students become more interested in global connectivity, this perspective is critical.

In addition to the undergraduate and graduate programs, the grain science department also provides training to industry professionals through the IGP Institute (formerly known as the International Grains Program).

For more than 35 years, the IGP Institute has established a worldwide reputation as a center of excellence for international programs relating to flour milling and grain processing, feed manufacturing and grain quality management, and grain marketing and risk management focused on corn, grain sorghum, soybeans and wheat. The IGP Institute mission is to provide innovative and relevant education and technical programs to enhance the market preference, consumption and utilization of U.S. cereal grains, oilseeds and their value-added products for the global grain industry.

Because of the IGP Institute’s educational outreach efforts, you can find IGP-trained buyers of grain, millers of wheat and manufacturers of animal feed in every corner of the world. Our curriculum leaders at the IGP Institute continue to provide new and innovative ways to more effectively reach people. In 2018, the IGP Institute hosted 1,512 participants representing 52 countries in 72 on-site and distance offerings.

The best times of the department are not behind us, rather they are ahead. The needs of the industry are greater than they have ever been for food safety, employee safety and product innovation. Those targeted needs drive dependence on well-educated young people who possess hard and soft skills that will allow them to make an impact in the workplace.

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