Kansas Governor Sam Brownback expressed his support for agriculture on Tuesday in his State of the State address to the Kansas legislature. The Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) works to encourage economic growth, and Governor Brownback recognized that growth in his comments.
“Kansas is strong, and Kansas is growing,” said Governor Brownback. “It’s often said that Kansas feeds the world, and we will continue to provide for our fellow Americans and support the global economy by providing food: wheat, beef and now dairy.”
Agriculture is the state’s largest industry and driver of the economy, contributing more than $62 billion, and accounting for 43 percent of the state’s total economy. In particular, dairy milk production has grown 25 percent in the last five years, and the state’s 143,000 dairy cows produce more than 3 billion pounds of milk annually, according to KDA.
Highlighting the state’s first Local Enhanced Management Area and a recently initiated project to dredge John Redmond Reservoir, Governor Brownback also emphasized the focus that has been placed on the efforts to preserve and extend water resources in Kansas. “We are going to continue implementing action items in the Long Term Vision for Kansas Water. With most natural resources, we aren’t just taking them to use for today. We are borrowing them from the future.”
Centered on the themes of water conservation, water management, technologies and crop varieties, and additional sources of supply, the Kansas Water Vision Team, including KDA, the Kansas Water Office, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism are now in the second year of implementation of the Vision. Significant progress has already been made in the implementation of the Vision, with more than 80 percent of the Phase I Action Items actively under way. In addition, 14 Regional Planning Areas were established to allow Kansans, by region, to define their future water needs and establish specific goals that will be incorporated into the Vision. Those goals were presented during the annual Governor’s Conference on the Future of Water in Kansas and will be presented during the 2016 Legislative Session. For more information on the Vision, visit http://www.kwo.org/The-Vision.html.
KDA is committed to continued support and growth of the agriculture sector, and appreciates the Governor’s recognition and understanding of agriculture. Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey looks forward to the work of the agency in 2016. “We are excited to continue serving farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and the customers and consumers they serve,” said Secretary McClaskey. “The department will focus on our mission throughout 2016 as we work to support and promote growth in our state’s largest industry.”
For more information about the Kansas Department of Agriculture, visit the KDA’s website at agriculture.ks.gov.