The Kansas Wheat Alliance is a not-for-profit organization that was founded in 2007 with the goal of maximizing value for wheat farmers from new wheat varieties developed by Kansas State University and other wheat-breeding programs. The Kansas Wheat Alliance delivers modern genetic technology that is not otherwise showing up in wheat varieties, a real economic benefit to the wheat producers and end-users of the crop.
The Kansas Wheat Alliance was formed with the mission of managing the release of K-State wheat varieties inside and outside of Kansas in a way that allows us to deliver farmer-preferred traits to farmers. K-State has traits in the pipeline, such as the Clearfield® trait, that farmers want to see. These new releases must be managed in a way that complies with the requirements of the trait provider, gives the farmers what they need, and does it all in a way that ensures we’re good stewards of the trait, so that everybody benefits.
The Kansas Wheat Alliance is a membership organization, and any individual, public organization, and private corporation with an interest in strengthening the wheat industry is encouraged to join the original Founding Members.
The costs of breeding new wheat varieties continue to increase, and public funds available to support the program have been level or declining for years. The Kansas Wheat Alliance offers a way for wheat-breeding and related research programs to receive additional support in proportion to the value they add to the wheat industry. Income from licensed varieties will be invested in the Kansas Wheat Research and Education Fund, an important new source of support for wheat improvement.
The Kansas Wheat Alliance will operate as a broker for the licensing and marketing of value-added wheat technology. Examples of such value-adding technologies would be varieties with farmer-preferred characteristics such as novel genes for heat, drought, disease or herbicide tolerance, as well proprietary traits that meet specific needs of end-users. Before the creation of the Kansas Wheat Alliance, technology transfer mechanisms in Kansas did not provide adequate means to insure effective delivery of public wheat varieties with value-adding proprietary technologies. As a result of this, in the past wheat has lost ground to other crops such as corn and soybeans that had access to such technologies.
The Kansas Wheat Alliance is housed in the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center. The Kansas Wheat Innovation Center was built by the Kansas Wheat Commission, through the Kansas wheat checkoff, to get improved wheat varieties into the hands of farmers faster. It features 48,000 square feet of space and represents the single largest research investment by Kansas wheat farmers in history. The Center was built on land owned by Kansas State University; the Kansas Wheat Commission has a 50-year lease on the property.