MANHATTAN, KAN. — Kansas State University on May 15 symbolically broke ground for its Agronomy Research and Innovation Center, kicking off more than $125 million in agricultural infrastructure improvements planned through 2026.  

Located on the north end of the KSU campus in an area known as the Agronomy North Farm, the facility is expected to be finished in 2025. It will serve as a cornerstone for “critical infrastructure for the success of our research, teaching and extension missions,” said Raj Khosla, agronomy department head.

“The new Agronomy Research and Innovation Center will bring research teams together from around campus to create new discoveries and solutions that will address the wicked challenges we are facing in agriculture today, and the ones that will come in the future,” Mr. Khosla said.

Research projects planned for the Agronomy Center include how to breed new crop varieties that are prolific and resilient to pathogens and the changing biome; how to extend the supply of water; how to improve soil health; and how to use and create technology so farmers can produce more with less.

“The Center is a keystone for the college’s vision to strengthen and diversify agribusiness in Kansas and around the globe and will serve as a demonstration site for public/private partnerships focused on best practices in sustainable/regenerative agriculture, crop production innovation, technology development and training, and conservation and protection of natural resources,” said Ernie Minton, dean of KSU’s College of Agriculture.

Last fall, the university launched a campaign to raise $75 million toward campus projects, which include a Global Center for Food and Grain Innovation and improvements to the livestock competition area, Call Hall and Weber Hall. The plan includes the deactivation and razing of Shellenberger Hall, which has been home to the Department of Grain Science and Industry since 1960, and the construction of a new building on the north side of campus.

The university raised $80 million in four months, which was matched by a $25 million challenge grant from the Kansas legislature and $25 million from an initial legislative appropriation.

KSU continues to raise funds toward a projected $210 million in agricultural infrastructure improvements to nine facilities over the next several years. Thus far, the university has raised $140 million toward that bigger goal.