K-State breaks ground on Global Center for Grain and Food Innovation

Attendees at the Global Center for Grain and Food Innovation groundbreaking were given flour and pancake mix from K-State’s Milling Science Club.

Kansas State University’s College of Agriculture broke ground on the third building of its Agriculture Innovation Initiative on May 17.

The Global Center for Grain and Food Innovation, which will connect Weber Hall and Call Hall on the northeast corner of the Manhattan campus when completed in fall 2026, will provide a new home for the university’s grain science department.

Plus it will foster on-site collaboration between public resources and private enterprises, giving K-State students unique opportunities to address a wealth of food-related challenges for years to come, said Ernie Minton, the Eldon Gideon Dean of K-State’s College of Agriculture.

Attendees at the Global Center for Grain and Food Innovation groundbreaking were given flour and pancake mix (pictured above) from K-State’s Milling Science Club.

“It is part of an ambitious plan to make Kansas State University the next-generation land-grant university,” Minton said.

What it will look like. (Courtesy photo.)

Newness reflects commitment

The space includes: interdisciplinary labs for collaboration across colleges; new industry partner spaces; a new dairy bar for Call Hall ice cream, including indoor and outdoor plaza seating; modern milling and baking labs; pilot plants for dry processing, wet processing and non-food grade; new graduate student offices; and collaboration spaces and three floors for “next-gen” teaching and research.

“It is an incredible day for Kansas agriculture and a meaningful day for our future at Kansas State University,” Kansas State University President Richard Linton said. “It’s a transformational day for Kansas agriculture. “Great things will come from the project, which will foster new collaborations across departments.

“For our agriculture and food industry stakeholders get ready. Things are going to look and feel different at Kansas State University, [including] our agricultural impact locally and globally,” he added.  “We’re going to reach new heights because of this project.”

Shellenberger to be replaced

Hulya Dogan, interim department head for Grain Science and Industry, said the new center will replace aging Shellenberger Hall, the home for that department since it was built in 1960.

“We are looking forward to maintaining and preserving the legacy and our heritage, at the same time elevating the quality of education and training in this modern collaborative, interdisciplinary space,” said Dogan, who added that the building will contain “The latest technologies so that students are able to enter the workforce immediately after graduation.”

K-State’s Department of Grain Science and Industry is the world’s only collegiate academic department dedicated to milling, baking, feed and pet food. According to the university, graduates from this department have 100% job placement.

U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall

U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall said the center solidifies K-State’s standing as a leader in agriculture and food technology.

“The Center for Grain and Food Innovation will serve as the nexus for research collaboration and education,” he said. “We will bring together the brightest minds in academia, industry, the government to foster advancements that improve crop yields and enhance food quality. This groundbreaking is not just about laying the foundation of a building. It’s about planting the seeds of the future, a future that grows from the rich soil of tradition and blooms with the fruits of innovation.”

The Center for Grain and Food Innovation is the third groundbreaking in the university’s Agriculture Innovation Initiative, which will upgrade and expand facilities in grain, food, animal and agronomy research. When completed, the initiative will have raised more than $210 million from state, private and university funds.

Bill Spiegel can be reached at [email protected].