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Investment in wheat research creates impact in Barton County community
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In an agriculture-driven economy like Great Bend, wheat research can make a big economic impact. David Frey, development professional at the Kansas Wheat Commission Research Foundation, met with the Great Bend Rotary Club on Oct. 15 to discuss some of the exciting breakthroughs in wheat research that affect area farmers and how members of the community can help to shape the future of the wheat industry.

Here’s what he had to say:

A recent exciting development in wheat research is the completion of the genome sequence, a genetic map for researchers that will pave the way for the production of wheat varieties better adapted to climate challenges, with higher yields, enhanced nutritional quality and improved sustainability. Sequencing the bread wheat genome was long considered an impossible task, due to its enormous size – five times larger than the human genome – and complexity. Additional research is building on this accomplishment, and constant improvements are allowing scientists to solve problems with diseases, pests, yield, drought tolerance and more.

Even with the countless man-hours and funds invested in solving these issues for Kansas farmers, it’s still not enough. Every year there are more than $1 million worth of research projects that go unfunded. Research funding has plateaued as crop acres decline and public funding from federal and state sources continues to decrease. This means that funding important research that will leave an impact in your community is left to developing private investment within the Wheat State.

As you are making your end of the year tax plans, we ask you to consider making a taxdeductible donation of cash to the KWCRF to further wheat research efforts at the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center (KWIC). Or better yet, how about donating an acre of wheat, or a truckload of grain, to the KWCRF?

Members of your own community have stepped up to the plate to fund research for the state’s most iconic crop. Lee and Carol Musil are staples in your community that have chosen to invest in the future of the wheat industry. Because of the Musils’ investment and dedication to the wheat industry, a growth chamber in the KWIC has been named in their honor. These growth chambers help to grow and develop experimental varieties that may one day end up being planted on a farm near you.

All donations are used to further the mission of Kansas State University’s wheat breeding program, ensuring that Kansas farmers have access to the best possible wheat varieties and that scientists can leverage human, financial and laboratory resources to make significant improvements to wheat genetics.

The Kansas Wheat Commission Research Foundation differs from the wheat checkoff. The checkoff does fund wheat research, but it also is used for marketing, promotion and education. Donations to the Kansas Wheat Commission Research Foundation will be used only for wheat research, and only at Kansas State University.

The end of the year is a great time to donate wheat to the KWC Research Foundation.

For many cash basis farmers, significant tax savings can be achieved by donating their crop directly to a charitable organization. Cash charitable contributions are deductible only as an itemized deduction from adjusted gross income, which results in reducing federal income tax only. By contributing crops to a charitable organization, a farmer can avoid including the sale of the cash crop in income and can still deduct the cost of growing the crop, which results in saving self-employment tax, federal income tax and state income tax.

Depending upon the size of your gift, a number of donor recognition opportunities exist. All will be displayed in the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center, so that you, your children and your grandchildren will see that your gift played a major role in shaping the bright future of Kansas wheat production.

The Kansas Wheat Commission Research Foundation was established in 2011 as the official research fundraising organization for the Kansas Wheat Commission. It is a separate, independent entity chartered by the state of Kansas as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit research corporation. Gifts made to the Research Foundation are used solely for the purpose of funding wheat research. Gifts to the foundation are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. A volunteer board governs the Foundation.