Grain Craft, Chattanooga, TN, the largest independent flour miller in the United States, on Oct. 1 held a grand opening event for the GCIQ (Grain Craft Innovation & Quality) lab, located at the Kansas Wheat Commission’s Kansas Wheat Innovation Center on the Kansas State University (KSU) campus in Manhattan.
The event showcased the company’s “Upstream Innovation” video premiere, lab tours, and a reception.
According to a Grain Craft press release, the GCIQ lab was established in alignment with the company’s core values to support improvement in wheat quality, flour quality, and flour consistency, along with an ongoing exploration of innovation opportunities. The lab’s name was selected to encompass the lab’s functionality in all these areas.
“We are pleased to officially celebrate this meaningful investment in our capabilities,” said Vice President of Quality, Regulatory, and Technical Services Nick Weigel at the grand opening. “The GCIQ lab reflects our commitment to upstream innovation and the advancement of critical wheat value chain connections.”
The GCIQ Lab features three lab spaces – a wheat lab, flour lab, and baking lab. Each is equipped to work in sync and inform timely decisions related to day-to-day performance testing, new crop harvest evaluations, Grain Craft-preferred variety selections, and research initiatives. Grain Craft says these research efforts are focused on driving innovation in several areas, such as new wheat variety development, soil health management, and flour functionality.
“The GCIQ Lab is a highly functioning hub for Grain Craft,” said Reuben McLean, senior director of quality and regulatory. “While the lab is a space focused on quality and product performance, it also allows us frequent interaction with wheat breeders, growers, and extension experts to collaborate on long-term quality and yield improvement.”
Grain Craft has moved all corporate lab activities from its Wichita, KS flour mill to the GCIQ lab, which is staffed with a full-time lab manager.
The company says it 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.
The Kansas Wheat Innovation center 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 farmer-owned wheat research center includes 15,000 square feet of research laboratory space, 22,750 square feet of greenhouse space, and 10,000 square feet of office space.
According to the press release, “Throughout the years, Grain Craft has strongly supported the Kansas Wheat Commission’s wheat quality research efforts and has a long-standing 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.”
To view Grain Craft’s “Upstream Innovation” video, go to grainnet.com/GrainCraftvideo
Tucker Scharfenberg, managing editor