An aerial view of the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center. (Aerial photo courtesy of Kestrel Drone and Mapping Solutions)

Grain Craft to Open New Lab in Manhattan, Kansas

The facility will focus on long-term improvement of wheat quality, flour quality and consistency, and exploration of innovation opportunities.

Grain Craft, the largest independent flour miller in the nation, plans to open a new Grain Craft Lab at the Kansas Wheat Commission’s Kansas Wheat Innovation Center in Manhattan, Kansas. The new lab will strengthen Grain Craft’s dedication in supporting and driving the long-term improvement of wheat quality, commitment to flour quality and consistency, and ongoing exploration of innovation opportunities.

The Kansas Wheat Innovation Center, located in Manhattan, Kansas, on the Kansas State University campus, is a farmer-owned, wheat research facility that opened in 2012. It is the result of the Kansas Wheat Commission’s vision for advancing technology in new wheat variety development. The $15 million Center includes 15,000 square feet of research laboratories, 22,750 square feet of greenhouses and 10,000 square feet of office space. The Grain Craft Lab will feature analytical, milling, rheological and application capabilities, along with access to other facilities in the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center, including a complete test kitchen.

“Our new lab takes our commitment to be a resource to our customers to a new level. It not only provides a space focused on quality and product performance, but it’s also a space in which we can grow, collaborate and learn together,” said Pete Frederick, president of Grain Craft.

Grain Craft’s bake lab is currently located at the company’s Wichita, Kansas, flour mill. All corporate lab activities, including application capabilities, will be moved to the Manhattan location, and the new lab will be staffed with a full time Grain Craft Lab manager. The company will work with the KSU Department of Grain Science and Industry to enhance the education and development of milling and bakery science students, who are expected to be future leaders in the industry.

“Our goal as a leading flour miller is to set the stage for a strong future for our breeders, growers and customer partners,” said Grain Craft VP of Quality, Regulatory and Technical Services Nick Weigel. “This investment uniquely positions Grain Craft to develop synergies that support our strategic wheat quality objectives. Through this work, we also hope to advance outcomes that contribute to the betterment of the industry overall.”

Grain Craft’s wheat quality focus and ongoing initiatives run parallel with the goals of the Kansas Wheat Commission. “While our entities will remain separate and focused on our individual business needs, this collaboration is a natural fit, and it makes sense to construct a space in which we can succinctly work together to achieve ongoing quality and yield improvement,” said Grain Craft Chief Supply Chain Officer Alan Koenig.

Throughout the years, Grain Craft has strongly supported the Kansas Wheat Commission’s wheat quality research efforts and has a longstanding relationship with both the Kansas Wheat Commission and Kansas State University. The company has worked with each through collaborative partnerships, special funding and ongoing data analysis assistance.

“This wheat quality lab will be the missing piece of the puzzle in this extraordinary research facility that farmers have invested in. We appreciate Grain Craft’s vision of working together to create value for farmers,” said Kansas Wheat CEO Justin Gilpin. “The Kansas Wheat Commission is excited to collaborate with Grain Craft in this venture.”

A grand opening for the Grain Craft Lab is scheduled for early 2021. The company will publish more grand opening details once they become available.

About Kansas Wheat Commission

The Kansas Wheat Commission is a grower-funded, grower-governed advocacy organization working to secure the future of Kansas wheat in the global market through international trade, research, export system studies and continually improved varieties of wheat.

Its mission is to increase wheat producer productivity and profitability through research, education and domestic and international market development. The KWC is funded by a voluntary, two-cent check-off on each bushel of wheat produced in Kansas.