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K-State’s economic development plan focuses on agriculture, biosecurity innovation

By: - December 4, 2021 10:14 am
The new economic development plan crafted by Kansas State University emphasizes agriculture and biosecurity initiatives is expected to foster 3,000 jobs and $3 billion in investments into the state in the next decade. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

The new economic development plan crafted by Kansas State University emphasizes agriculture and biosecurity initiatives and could be expected to foster 3,000 jobs and $3 billion in investments into the state during the next decade. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — The economic development plan outlined by Kansas State University emphasizing innovation in agriculture, biosecurity and extension services is expected to create 3,000 jobs and encourage investment of $3 billion in the state during the next decade, officials said.

The strategic initiative, referred to as the Economic Prosperity Plan, was made public Friday. It would leverage KSU’s strengths in food and agriculture systems; digital agriculture and advanced analytics; biosecurity and biodefense; and extension and outreach.

“This new initiative will allow K-State to truly demonstrate the value that universities provide to local, state and national economies through job growth and job creation, as well as retaining and attracting talent in the state,” said David Rosowsky, vice president for research at the university in Manhattan. “Our plan is bold, it is audacious, but it is achievable.”

The plan reflects a directive of the Kansas Board of Regents to engage public universities in support of the state’s economic growth. The initiative has potential for significant expansion of the Kansas economy, but would require building deeper public and private partnerships, said Kansas State president Richard Myers.

It would build upon the university’s academic strengths in crop, livestock and natural resource research. The plan is to attract outside investment and help Kansas become a global leader in digital agriculture and advanced analytics. The work would be designed to add value throughout the food chain.

K-State’s plan focused on using university strengths in biosecurity and biodefense to attract new companies and investments to the state.

Ernie Minton, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension, said the strategy would deliver profitable and sustainable food and agriculture systems, emphasize new technologies and promote national security.

A piece of the plan known as “K-State 105: Every Town to Gown” makes use of the statewide extension presence to better support Kansas businesses and communities. In addition, the College of Veterinary Medicine is to commit to keeping more graduates in Kansas.

“Kansas veterinarians contribute about a half a billion dollars to the economic development of the state, so the more veterinarians we can keep in the state, the stronger the economic prosperity of producers,” said Bonnie Rush, dean of the veterinary college.

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Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association's Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.