Thankful Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Posted November 26, 2014

We often mention Kansas as the top wheat producing state or talk about the reliable supply of high quality wheat grown here year after year. This Thanksgiving, we want to say thank you to our Kansas wheat farmers and their families. Without your daily labors or your investment in innovation, the world would be left searching for their daily bread.

In the words of President John F. Kenney, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Kansas Wheat is grower-funded and grower-governed. Our staff takes your direction to guide our efforts. For the Kansas Wheat Commission, we use the voluntary, two cent assessment on each bushel of wheat produced in our state to fund research projects, consumer-focused initiatives and international market development in countries like Mexico, Brazil and Nigeria.

Research

Research is a major focus as Kansas Wheat provides nearly $2 million in funding each year to continually improve wheat varieties through wheat breeding, wheat quality, disease and insect resistance, phenotyping, genotyping and many more. Innovative research that goes beyond increasing yield works to address tough breeding questions – like how to create celiac safe wheat.

Consumer-focused Initiatives

Our staff also directly addresses misinformation about wheat, providing consumers with the facts about gluten/celiac disease, herbicides and whole grains. Our team of volunteer Speak for Wheat spokespeople, like Donna Keyser, further amplifies those messages. The National Festival of Breads, held every two years in our state, brings the top amateur bakers from around the country to visit our farms and talk with you – our best ambassadors.

Advocacy

The Kansas Association of Wheat Growers is your membership organization and advises state and national government and international agencies on issues affecting wheat like crop insurance and food aid.

Kansas Wheat Innovation Center

The investment by Kansans into the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center continually brings even more projects and prestige to our state. For example, the Wheat Genetics Resource Center, which houses more than 2,500 wheat species associations at the KWIC, is the nation’s first National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for plant science. And Heartland Plant Innovations brings together public and private collaboration to advance double haploid production and other advanced technologies.

Each of these activities directly increases your productivity and profitability as a Kansas wheat farmer. But, none of this work is possible without you. So once more, let us say “Thank you” for all that you do – and that you direct us to do – not just today, but every day of the year.

By Julia Debes