ALTON, Kan. — A couple from northern Kansas have donated 2,300 acres of farmland for Kansas State University to develop a research farm to study sustainable agricultural practices.
Alton residents Harold and Olympia Lonsinger’s donation will be dedicated at a ceremony Wednesday, The Salina Journal reported .
Harold Lonsinger graduated from the university in 1956 with a degree in mechanical engineering.
“I was given this land for a purpose,” the 91-year-old said. “I think the research Kansas State University will conduct and the knowledge they will gain will help protect and preserve natural resources. That seems to be the purpose.”
The university’s agriculture department will manage the land.
John Morris, senior vice president of development for the Kansas State Foundation, said the farm will focus on providing food safely and securely. He said the farm will seek out sustainable agriculture practices and enhance the health of soil.
“It will be a great resource the entire university can use,” Morris said. “Harold and Olympia wanted it to be as meaningful and useful as possible and that’s what we will accomplish.”
The university has recently seen an increase in gifts of agricultural land, he said.
“Someone either wants the land to be used for a specific purpose or there’s no heir to the land,” he said. “There are two ways we do it. We can use the land for research purposes or we can lease that land for them and have the money go toward scholarships on campus.”