Manhattan, Kan. — Two visionary Kansans, testing new technologies on their own farm, want their donation to Kansas State University to create an innovative ripple effect in agriculture.

Ray and Susan Flickner, Wichita, have created a faculty award in the College of Agriculture at K-State to improve food systems for years to come.

The Flickner Family Faculty Award in Agronomy will support outstanding faculty in the agronomy department to advance research and teaching.

Susan Persinger Flickner graduated from K-State in 1975 with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in home economics education. Ray Flickner received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural education from K-State in 1976. Their two children, who were involved in the decision to create this award, also received their education at K-State. Ryan Flickner received his degree in agronomy and natural resources in 2006. Kelsey Flickner Spencer received her bachelor’s in family studies and human services in 2011.

Susan and Ray Flickner grew up in rural Kansas, benefiting from the guidance and expertise of their local K-State Extension and Research agents. As lifelong learners themselves and in appreciation for the education they received from K-State, the Flickners wanted to support and encourage the agronomy faculty in their work.

“Without quality instruction, exploration and interactions with students, education will suffer,” the Flickners said. “Personally, some of our most important educational experiences were because of the instruction and mentoring we each received. A major reason we entered educational fields was because of the impact of faculty relationships, techniques and insight. Our hope is that our gift will assist faculty and staff to provide exceptional educational and mentoring opportunities for many students.”

Investing in faculty provides a ripple effect, benefiting students, research and innovation across the region.

“The Flickners are visionary farmers who are assisting development and testing of technologies and innovations of the future on their farms right now,” said Raj Khosla, professor and head of the K-State agronomy department. “They are working with our talented faculty — shoulder to shoulder — to construct a brighter, more productive, efficient and sustainable future of Kansas. Their investment in our department is a reflection of their solemn commitment to innovation in agronomical sciences and technologies.”

The Flickners’ gift reaches beyond the College of Agriculture by fitting into a larger strategic plan for Kansas and beyond.

“The Flickner Family Faculty Award in Agronomy couldn’t have been more timely as faculty in the agronomy department strategically focus their research efforts on sustainable agronomic practices that are a key focus of the university’s Economic Prosperity Plan,” said Ernie Minton, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension. “This fund will provide needed resources to assist faculty in advancing the boundaries of knowledge in precision agriculture to positively impact production practices and the food system for decades to come.’