Grass & Grain

09-30-2014

Agricultural Newspaper

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By Donna Sullivan, Editor In June of 2013, ground was broken on the 50,000- square-foot building at Kansas State University's Research Park that would house the Kansas Depart- ment of Agriculture as it moved from Topeka to Man- hattan. The agency made the move in June of 2014, and on September 18 a ribbon- cutting ceremony was held. Built by the Kansas State University Foundation, KDA has a 20-year lease on the three-story building that sits east of the future Na- tional Bio and Agro-Defense facility. Agriculture secretary Jackie McClaskey pointed out that agriculture con- tributes $53 billion annually to the Kansas economy, making up 37% of the state's economy and 12% of its workforce. "It makes us realize every day when you come to work with the pri- mary job of serving that in- dustry, that that's a big load that you have, and we need partners to make that work," she said. "It's only appropriate that the Kansas Department of Agriculture be connected to Kansas State University, the first land grant university in the Heartland," said Fred Cholick, president and CEO of the Kansas State Univer- sity Foundation. "I can truly say that our board of direc- tors was very honored to be part of the development of this partnership between Kansas Department of Agri- culture and Kansas State University." While technology is an important means of commu- nication, KSU president Kirk Schulz stated that it can't replace having people who are working on similar projects in close proximity to each other. "One of the things this facility will do is pull a lot of our ag profes- sionals in the state, a lot of people doing cutting-edge research, a lot of practition- ers, all together in the same place," he said. "This building and what it stands for is a game- changer for Kansas agricul- ture," said State Board of Agriculture chairman Jerry McReynolds, a Rooks County farmer and stock- man. "It is the future of modern agriculture in Kansas and maybe around the world." "The challenges ahead of us in agriculture demand that we must continue to embrace improvements and we must be tied in with the research as we try to meet this global demand for food," McReynolds contin- ued. "Successfully meeting these demands will require research, they will require collaboration and they will require teamwork and that's what this represents." Gov. Sam Brownback referenced the emphasis on family at nearby Bill Snyder Family Stadium and said that agriculture is also a family. "There's going to be a lot required of this family," he said. "There is a big world out there, there's a growing middle class, there are a lot of concerns. And we're going to answer them. I am delighted the Kansas Department of Agriculture has moved in with the rest of the family, in the same house in Manhattan so we can be part of this family and grow this industry that people need around the world." Present for the ribbon-cutting for Kansas Department of Agriculture's new office in Manhattan were, from left: former secretary of agriculture Dale Rodman, current secretary of agriculture Jackie McClaskey, Gov. Sam Brownback, Jerry McReynolds, chairman of the State Board of Agriculture; Kansas State University president Kirk Schulz and Fred Cholick, president and CEO of the Kansas State University Foundation. Photo by Donna Sullivan Partnerships emphasized at KDA ribbon-cutting By Tom Parker For the past two months, excavators and dozers have scoured a quarter-mile section of the south shore of the Big Blue River just downstream of its confluence with the Little Blue River, tearing out trees and sculpting the bank to slope into the sluggish currents. Tons of rocks were brought in to create 11 weirs jutting into the center of the channel, with a 900-foot longitudinal peaked stone toe protection added to stabilize the bank where the river bends sharply to the north. While the latter sounds as impressive as it looks, it's best described as "just a bunch of rocks," said Phil Balch, stream specialist for Wildhorse Riverworks, Inc. Balch was at the site recently with Aman- da Reed and Jaime Gaggero, both of Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Tut- tle Creek WRAPS coordinator Barbara Donovan, landowner James Musil and Gla- cial Hills RC&D executive director Gary Satter. They watched as Greg Jueneman, of Jueneman Excavation, Hanover, shaped the last weir closest to the confluence. The project, sponsored by Tuttle Creek Watershed Restoration and Protection Strat- egy (WRAPS), the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Environ- mental Protection Agency, cost $110,000 and will include a riparian buffer area of na- tive grasses and hardwood trees. The largest WRAPS project to date, it encompasses 2,900 linear feet of stream bank and includes a broad rock chute lined with fabric to funnel runoff from the fields. Six WRAPS stream bank projects have been completed in Marshall County this year, Donovan said—two Blue River Rail Trail projects by the Marshall County Con- nection and the rest with private landowners who pay 40 percent in cost sharing. A sev- enth project is scheduled for completion by December. The projects have reduced an es- timated 42,620 tons of sedimentation each year in two of the top sites identified by the Kansas Water Office. Projects for the next two years expect to bring that number to 116,281 tons, she said. The weirs not only redirect the stream flow into the center of the channel but in- crease sedimentation along the bank, further stabilizing and rebuilding the shoreline. With the Blue River running slightly high from re- cent rains in Nebraska, it was easy to see the theory in practice. The slow current swept around the weirs in a series of graceful curves like an extended sine wave. The importance of stream bank stabiliza- tion projects cannot be overstated, Donovan said. Tuttle Creek Reservoir provides the largest water supply yield in the Kansas River Basin but suffers the highest rate of de- cline in water storage capacity. "From a water supply perspective," Donovan said, "reducing its rate of sediment accumulation is a primary concern to KWO and it should be a concern to municipal and industrial surface water users in the corri- dor." Tuttle Creek WRAPS completes largest stream bank stabilization project yet A load of rock is dropped into the Big Blue River to create one of eleven weirs that will redirect stream flow into the center of the channel, as well as trap sedimentation to further stabilize the bank.

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