Nearly 400 leaders representing a variety of agricultural interests across the state of Kansas came together on August 30 at the Kansas Governor’s Summit on Agricultural Growth. Agriculture is the state’s largest industry, employer and economic contributor and plays a critical and strategic role in overall statewide economic growth.
Governor Sam Brownback opened the Summit with a welcome and a challenge to those in attendance. “Agriculture is critical to Kansas, and for our Kansas economy to grow, Kansas agriculture must grow,” said Governor Brownback. “This summit today is a timely opportunity for people in the agriculture industry to look at how we can posture ourselves to grow in the long term. The world is growing and will need more food, protein and agricultural products. Kansas will be there to supply those needs. Kansas will continue to be one of the best suppliers of quality agricultural products in the world.”
Participants spent most of the morning in a series of interactive workshops identifying the challenges and opportunities within individual sectors from traditional agriculture areas like beef, pork and wheat to less well-known sectors like cotton, specialty livestock and unmanned aerial systems. These workshops generated numerous action items which will be used to develop strategic plans for growth within the agriculture industry in Kansas, including efforts to create more value-added opportunities within Kansas, to increase consumer confidence in agriculture, and to collaborate with economic development movements to spread the word that Kansas is open for business.
A panel discussion during lunch brought attention to the importance of talent and workforce in agriculture, which was also a topic in the afternoon workshops, along with several other issues affecting all sectors across the industry.
The Summit was coordinated by the Kansas Department of Agriculture, but was designed to open up the table and involve all facets of agriculture in planning for the future. “It has been tremendously exciting to see such a broad scope of people from throughout Kansas agriculture, coming together to work toward the future,” said Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey. “This isn’t about what our agency can do, but it’s about what we can all do collectively, as we work together to grow agriculture in Kansas.”
Part of the KDA vision is to provide an environment that enhances and encourages economic growth of the agriculture industry and the Kansas economy. The Summit is a key step in this long-term initiative to identify strategic goals and objectives, which will now be developed based on the input gathered at the Summit. For more information about the Summit, call KDA at 785-564-6700 or go to agriculture.ks.gov/summit.