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K-State’s Grain Science Department Welcomes a Little Piece of History

Early 1900s Kansas Agricultural College flour sack donated to Department of Grain Science and Industry.
Posted on Feb. 5th, 2013
Press Release
Kansas State University
The recently donated flour sack from the early 1900s that Richard Latas brought to the Department of Grain Science and Industry.

MANHATTAN, Kan. – From growing up on a small self-sustaining farm in Rozel, Kan., to becoming an international businessman, Richard Latas appreciates history and Kansas State University. While rummaging through family belongings, Latas and his wife came across an old flour sack that read, “Kansas State Agricultural College, Milling Industry Department.”

After the discovery, Latas started researching his family history. He knew his grandfather, Leo J. Unruh did attend Kansas State at one point because he talked about playing football and he was always listening to the K-State Sports network.

“We all have very vivid memories of Grandpa sitting there in the kitchen listening to K-State on the radio,” Latas said. “He remained not only loyal, but devoted to K-State even though he never actually graduated from the university.”

Along with his grandfather, Latas had a great uncle who also attended K-State in the early 1900s. Latas is unsure who would have saved the flour sack, but he is excited to contribute to K-State’s history by passing it along to the university’s Department of Grain Science and Industry.

“I wanted to contribute to K-State and give the artifact into the hands of somebody who would value it,” Latas said.

Growing up on a small farm, wearing T-shirts his mother made from flour sacks, Latas understands the necessity for agriculture and the value of education. After high school he began his college career at Kansas State University. He says his Grandpa Unruh’s passion for K-State played a role in his decision.

Latas graduated from K-State in 1969 with a degree in math, and to this day enjoys returning to campus.

“I think it’s the personality of Kansas, I haven’t found anywhere else in life where I feel as at home as right here on campus,” he said.

The flour sack will be framed and put on display at the International Grains Program Conference Center, along with other historic flour and feed artifacts.

Latas says he was thrilled that the Department of Grain Science was interested in accepting the flour sack and he knows K-State will value it as a piece of history from the Kansas State Agricultural College and from the Unruh family.


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.