Grow Smarter. Grow Stronger. Grow Kansas.
This August, I attended the third Governor’s Agriculture Summit held in Manhattan, KS. It was attended by every sector of the Ag industry from across our great state. The motto was: Grow Smarter. Grow Stronger. Grow Kansas. Kansas has 19 agriculture industry sectors which are included in the list below along with other topics of importance in today’s world.
*Agricultural Technology & Entrepreneurship * Food Processing * Corn * Specialty Crops * Dairy * Pork * Pet Food * Traceability
* Broadband * Water and Conservation * Economic Development and Strategic Growth Initiative * Industrial Hemp * Workforce Development
* Soybeans and Other Oilseeds (includes Industrial Hemp) * Animal Health * Wheat * Agricultural Equipment Manufacturing & Sales * Equine
* Poultry * Beef * UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) * Sorghum * Feed & Forage * Specialty Livestock * Cotton
Those who attended the Governor’s Agriculture Summit identified the sector challenges and opportunities. We developed desired industry outcomes. Additionally, action steps were identified, so it was clear how outcomes would be met.
I had three main takeaways from the summit.
Position 1 –
Support Kansas pet food companies. We have an excess of ingredients from our meat processing plants and grain which can be used to invest and develop our current Pet Food companies. We are not suited to become a silicone valley. Some of our smaller Pet Food companies have already been bought out by the BIG name pet food companies.
Position 2 –
Industrial hemp can be used to increase revenue. Hemp is an indigenous plant to Kansas that we have spent millions in taxpayer dollars trying to get rid of. Farmers report, “It just keeps coming back!” Wild hemp, the fiber variety, is what grows and can be used in over 25,000 products. The oil (CBD) is referred to as a Pot of Gold.
Position 3 –
We must grow and strengthen Kansas’ agriculture WORKFORCE. We can find ways to work with local communities, trade schools, and 2-and-4 year colleges to offer specific training for our agricultural jobs that are in need of skilled workers.