Five Grand Challenges

Global Food Systems

As the state's largest employer, agriculture drives the Kansas economy. In 2013, the agricultural industry contributed $53 billion and 37 percent of the state's gross regional product. Farmers and agribusinesses exported $2.6 billion worth of goods making agriculture the No. 1 Kansas export category in 2013. We are improving food and agricultural systems to feed the world's growing population, which will economically benefit Kansas.


Water quality in central and eastern Kansas and water quantity in western Kansas are important issues. Current irrigation trends could deplete 69 percent of the groundwater in the Ogallala Aquifer within 50 years, drastically affecting the Kansas economy. Sediment and silt are washing into large reservoirs that supple drinking water and recreation to many Kansans. Researchers and Extension Specialists are tackling these very important issues.


Thirty percent of Kansas adults are obese, and 19 percent of Kansas children live in poverty. Targeting the diversity of Kansans, our programs address quality of life, healthy development, and health behaviors across life stages for all socioeconomic groups.

Developing Tomorrow's Leaders

The complex global society of the future will require leaders with effective teamwork and communication skills. We need to prepare leaders of all ages, so they may contribute to a vibrant Kansas economy for years to come.

Community Vitality

Rural, suburban, and urban communities throughout Kansas face many challenges. When citizens are encouraged to combine their experiences and skills to work together, everyone in the community benefits.

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Five Grand Challenges

Five Grand Challenges