August 26, 2021 at 7:30 a.m.
Hilton Garden Inn, Manhattan, KS
Kansas is the nation’s leading wheat producer with records of wheat production predating statehood. Currently, Kansas is the world’s best source for hard red winter wheat and is identifying new hard white varieties. Increasing demand for whole grain white bread and other whole grain products by the American consumer is conducive for growth of this wheat class. Kansas’ natural resources such as climate, soil and rainfall, along with its central location, make Kansas ideal to grow wheat that can be distributed to the world. Kansas is home to world-renowned leaders in the wheat industry, both in public education entities and in private innovative enterprises. Some of these organizations have been integral to the development of new wheat genetics and advocacy initiatives.
Great potential exists in the Kansas wheat industry, and a strategic growth plan developed by key partners from throughout the sector can be a valuable step. Coordinated efforts by private and public stakeholders to fund research and outreach can keep Kansas wheat at the forefront of the industry. Continued focus on state and federal policies that encourage effective use of resources and protect grain development is critical. Adaptation to new markets (like frozen dough) and to new opportunities (like big data) will keep the wheat industry a thriving part of the future of Kansas agriculture.