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

By Tim Carpenter

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.

The Kansas Reflector is part of the States Newsroom, a network of similar news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity.

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