By Jordan Hildebrand
Applications for research projects that can enhance Kansas wheat producers’ profitability are currently being accepted by the Kansas Wheat Commission, Kansas Wheat Alliance and the Kansas Crop Improvement Association for the 2018 fiscal year.
These organizations are committed to promoting innovation within the wheat industry by investing in promising research opportunities. Improving wheat producer productivity and profitability through wheat research is at the heart of the Kansas Wheat Commission’s mission, and we are proud to partner with other organizations to make a more innovative wheat industry. Each year Kansas Wheat provides nearly $2 million in funding for research projects, such as wheat breeding, wheat quality, disease screening, insect research, phenotyping, genotyping and many others.
“With the current rapidly evolving world of crop technology, Kansas Wheat Commissioners take their job of advancing wheat research very seriously,” says Aaron Harries, vice president of research and operations for the Kansas Wheat Commission. “Nearly one quarter of the Commission’s producer-funded budget is appropriated to wheat research.”
Many important projects have been funded with these research dollars. One notable example is the celiac-safe wheat that Dr. Chris Miller, director of wheat quality at Heartland Plant Innovations, is laying the foundation for creating. More information on the celiac safe wheat can be found on our website. The Kansas Wheat Quality Lab is also the recipient of research funds. The main function of the Wheat Quality Lab is to provide testing results for Kansas State University wheat breeders Allan Fritz and Guorong Zhang. Dr. Rebecca Miller, director of the Wheat Quality Laboratory, as well as student employees, provide evaluations of physical and chemical kernel characteristics, milling yield and flour and baking properties of promising experimental wheat lines. More than 30 projects supporting wheat innovation are currently being funded through this program.
“This year’s record-yielding crop demonstrated the value of wheat research,” said Harries. “While prices aren’t where they need to be, we’ve seen the genetic potential of these new varieties.”
The applicants should consider three goals when submitting a proposal: selecting research initiatives that support the industry’s ability to gain and sustain market shares both domestically and internationally, educating Kansas wheat producers about profitable technologies and cooperating with the wheat supply chain in order to adopt and implement technologies and innovations that support the profitability of Kansas wheat producers.
This initial request is for preliminary 2-page letters of intent that are due by November 30, 2016. These 2-page documents will be reviewed by the committee with invitations for full proposals announced by December 19, 2016. Projects currently funded in FY 2017 are NOT required to submit a letter of intent. Full proposals for new and continuing projects will be submitted through Grants and Contracts according to a deadline set by that office. Final award announcements will be made in April 2017.