More than 200 Kansans gathered in Garden City last week to join Gov. Sam Brownback's eighth "economic summit." This one dealt with the potential for expanding animal agriculture as a state economic driver.
"Agriculture is our state's largest industry," Brownback said. "Kansas has long been a leader across the country and world in animal agriculture. We have a unique opportunity to look at this industry where we excel and figure out what we can do to spur economic growth in Kansas through encouraging and developing animal agriculture."
At the summit, farmers, ranchers and agribusiness leaders joined Brownback and others from his administration to discuss how Kansas can continue to be a global leader in animal agriculture. Three overarching questions guided the discussion: How does Kansas retain current business, how does it help those businesses expand and how does Kansas recruit new business from out of state or out of country to the state?
"Creating a supportive environment for farms, ranches and agribusinesses in Kansas is one of my top priorities," Brownback said. "We want to evaluate any rules or regulations that prevent growth in this area, and are committed to doing our part to ensure Kansas remains a good place to do business for agriculture."
Summit attendees broke into small groups to discuss specific topics on growing animal agriculture. These topics, which were determined through a survey of agriculture leaders prior to the summit, included global marketing and technology advancements, workforce issues, the advantages Kansas enjoys, food safety, animal welfare and animal health and Kansas marketing and innovations.
Individuals with input or ideas about how Kansas can meet its economic goals with animal agriculture should email [email protected]. These comments will be shared with the Governor, Secretary Rodman, the Secretary's leadership team, the State Board of Agriculture and the State Animal Health Board as they consider ways the state can better encourage the growth of animal agriculture in Kansas.
The summit, which was held in St. Dominic Parish in Garden City, was the eighth in a series of economic summits focused on creating jobs and growing the Kansas economy. Questions about the summit should be directed to Chelsea Good with the Kansas Department of Agriculture at [email protected], 785-296-2653 (office) or 913-735-9065 (mobile).