Pictured left: Dirk Maier, head of Kansas State University’s Department of Grain Science and Industry. Photo taken from a YouTube video of an interview about the Global Center for Grain-based Foods that K-State Radio Network's Eric Atkinson conducted with Maier last week.

A proposed $60 million partnership between AIB International and Kansas State University (both based in Manhattan, KS) could harness the technical and educational expertise of both entities and provide state-of-the-art facilities for research, training, and educational activities.

The Global Center for Grain-based Foods would co-locate AIB International and the university’s Department of Grain Science and Industry which would allow for resource sharing and position AIB to offer cutting-edge research, consulting, and education products to its clients.

“We are looking at our shared expertise to help enable the grain-based food industry, both from a learning/technical application, and from a food safety perspective,” said Andre Biane, president and CEO of AIB International. “AIB and the university have already partnered closely for 40 years. Expanding this collaboration to include outstanding, shared facilities would advance the abilities of both entities to serve the grain-based foods industry.”

The proposed Global Center for Grain-Based Foods is intended to be a global destination and knowledge center that:

  • Leverages the strengths of AIB International and the university’s Department of Grain Science and Industry to create a stronger, unified approach to supporting food safety and baking/grain science industry innovation.
  • Creates a unified joint-use center where shared facilities and equipment will support expanded opportunities for collaboration, teaching, training, and research and where strong industry partnerships stimulate innovation.
  • Further establishes AIB and the university as international resources for leadership and innovation with essential global food systems components.
  • Develops the next generation of research and development, food safety, operations, and quality assurance professionals for the grain-based food industry.

“If we could bring this partnership between Kansas State University and AIB effectively to fruition, it would benefit not only the two entities involved, but the whole grain-based foods industry,” said John Floros, dean of the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University. “It would become the source of talent, innovation, and training for a global industry destined for growth to feed nine billion people by 2050 and 11 billion people by the end of the 21st century.”

According to preliminary plans, the Global Center for Grain-Based Foods would be the final expansion of Kansas State University’s Grain Science Innovation Campus. The complex currently houses the Hal Ross Flour Mill, the Bioprocessing and Industrial Value Added Products (BIVAP) Innovation Center, the Kansas Crop Improvement Association, the International Grains Program Institute, the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center, and the O.H. Kruse Feed Technology Innovation Center.

The new center would replace aging facilities at both AIB and Kansas State University.

“We both are in facilities that need updating so that we can train students and industry professionals, and conduct cutting-edge research,” said Dirk Maier, head of Kansas State University’s Department of Grain Science and Industry. “Co-locating in state-of-the-art facilities would create synergy and encourage innovation in teaching, research, and training.”

Architectural renderings of the proposed Center depict two construction phases. Phase 1 (40,500 square feet) would include pilot plants and training facilities to be built as an expansion of the BIVAP building. Costs are projected at $18 million to $20 million. Phase 2 (107,600 square feet) would include learning, research, and training facilities. Cost projections for Phase 2 are $37 million to $40 million.