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150 years and counting
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It is likely safe to assume many reading this headline already know what it signifies. This year K-State celebrates its 150th year as a land-grant institution. There are a multitude of celebrations and events planned over the year to commemorate this “birthday.” If you are interested in events coming up simply visit on the web for details. So what do these 150 years mean to the state of Kansas. And not just Kansas since there is a land-grant presence in every state in the union.
• The Cooperative Extension Service. A whole series of columns could be devoted to this topic alone. Suffice it to say that when Washington initiated Extension, its purpose was to provide educational outreach to the citizens of Kansas to provide and implement research-based knowledge to improve agricultural production and the quality of life in rural America. Today that has expanded to a wide array of programs from the most rural to the most urban parts of Kansas and from 4-H to risk management.
• Research. Washington realized the importance of research specific to different states and regions within the state to provide site-specific answers to questions regarding the production of food, fiber, and fuel. Today, there exists a network of research centers/fields and facilities around Kansas whose mission is to solve problems and determine the most efficient, effective and environmentally safe practices for agriculture production. Even with downsizing from budget cuts over the last 20 years, it is still a sizeable enterprise. And research in a variety of areas certainly takes place at Manhattan that benefits not only the citizens of this state but the world.
• Education. K-State provides the opportunity for an excellent education across a variety of areas. While we may think of the College of Agriculture or Veterinary Medicine, the university has excellent colleges across the spectrum from engineering to the arts. And the student body (undergraduate and graduate) comes not only from Kansas but from around the world.
Tangible benefits are too numerous to detail here but just recently K-State wheat breeder Allan Fritz announced the release of K-States 44th wheat variety named “1863.” While the K-State of 2013 is vastly different from 1863, the mission is still essentially the same.
 Dr. Victor L. Martin is the agriculture instructor/coordinator for Barton Community College. He can be reached at 620-792-9207, ext. 207.