Welcome to KDA Connection, an external newsletter from the Kansas Department of Agriculture that will be sent out approximately once a month. This first edition recaps some recent department happenings and introduces you to the new KDA leadership. Future newsletters will have unique content about KDA and Kansas agriculture issues and events.
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Governor's Economic Summit on Animal Agriculture
More than 200 Kansans from across the state joined Governor Sam Brownback in Garden City onSept. 28 for a discussion about the way in which animal agriculture can drive the state’s economy.
“Agriculture is our state’s largest industry,” Gov. 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 farms, ranches and agribusinesses?
How does Kansas assist current farms, ranches and agribusinesses expand within Kansas?
How does Kansas recruit out-of-state/out-of-country farms, ranches and agribusinesses to expand into or relocate to Kansas?
“Creating a supportive environment for farms, ranches and agribusinesses in Kansas is one of my top priorities,” Gov. 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 as priorities through a survey of agriculture leaders prior to the summit, included:
Global Market & Technology
The Kansas Advantage
Animal Welfare/Animal Health, and
Kansas Marketing and Innovations
The small groups were followed by a large group discussion facilitated by Gov. Brownback. During this discussion, Gov. Brownback was joined on stage by panelists: Scott Fleetwood – Novus International, Executive Director, Global Industry & Government Policy Affairs; Tom McCarty Family – McCarty Dairy, Thomas County, Kan.; Clayton Huseman – Kansas Livestock Association, Executive Director Feedlot Division; Dr. Mandy Carr Johnson – National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; Dr. Mike Siemens – Cargill Meat Solutions; Dr. Dan Thomson – Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine; and Ted Schroeder – Kansas State University Agriculture Economics.
Individuals with input or ideas about how Kansas can meet its economic goals with animal agriculture should email email@example.com. 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.
Meet Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Dale Rodman
Dale A. Rodman was appointed secretary of the Kansas Department of Agriculture by Governor Sam Brownback in January 2011.
A native Kansan, Rodman was born in Eureka and grew up on a diversified farm and ranch near Toronto. His family raised cattle, wheat, soybeans, hay, and sorghum. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture in feed milling from Kansas State University in 1963. He later graduated from the Minnesota Management Institute at the University of Minnesota.
Rodman served as an agribusiness executive in national and international agriculture development and management for the majority of his career. He worked for 37 years at Cargill, Inc. and gained experience in a number of agribusiness industries including milling, grain product processing, and meat slaughter and processing. Rodman spent 4 years as president of Tramco, Inc. a manufacturer of heavy duty dry bulk conveying systems located in Wichita. During his career, he lived in Europe and Asia and worked in more than thirty countries.
In the 1990s, Rodman worked with then-Secretary of Agriculture Sam Brownback to develop the value-added program and served as a board member of the Kansas Agricultural Value-Added Center.
Rodman left retirement at the request of Governor Brownback to serve the Kansas agricultural industry. He is personally committed to building Kansas agriculture and developing opportunities to grow the state's agricultural economy. In addition, he is focused on strengthening the Department of Agriculture and revitalizing the Department's focus on serving Kansas' producers and consumers.
Rodman and his wife Ronda live in Topeka. His son, Thomas, is a general manager for Cargill in Memphis, Tenn. His daughter, Chantel Mandel, is a deputy director in communications at Bayer Healthcare in San Francisco. He has 4 grandchildren.
Kansas Ag Leaders Travel to Kazakhstan, Russia
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Sec. of Agriculture Dale Rodman and beef producers from across the state traveled to Russia and Kazakhstan Oct. 6 through17 to promote agriculture trade with those countries.
Beef producers Steve Irsik of Irsik Equities in Garden City, Mark Brunner of Cow Camp Ranch in Ramona and Thad Geiger of Geiger Farms in Troy traveled to Russia and Kazakhstan to market Kansas purebred beef cattle on behalf of Kansas ranchers. Irsik, Brunner and Geiger, along with counterparts from Colorado and Montana, were selected to travel on a 12-day mission led jointly by the Kansas, Colorado and Montana Departments of Agriculture.
In addition to livestock genetics, the Kansans making the trip focused on marketing feed ingredients, animal health goods and services, and agricultural equipment.
While in Russia, the group attended the Golden Autumn Livestock Exposition, visited with Russian beef producers about U.S. beef genetics and toured ranches to see first-hand what Russian beef production looks like.
The delegation also traveled to Astana, Kazakhstan Oct. 11 and 12 for meetings about increasing agricultural exports from Kansas to Kazakhstan.
This mission trip was made possible by U.S. Department of Agriculture Market Access Program funding through U.S. Livestock Genetic Export (USLGE.) Memorandums of Understanding are being developed with both Russia and Kazakhstan to help increase agricultural trade with these countries.
Meet the State Board of Agriculture
Nine Kansans serve our state’s agriculture industry through their participation on the Kansas State Board of Agriculture. Members of this board are appointed by the Governor.
The board's primary role is to advise the Governor and the Secretary of Agriculture on issues facing Kansas agriculture. The board will serve as a leading voice for Kansas agriculture, promoting Kansas agriculture, encouraging growth in the industry and serving as liaisons to the Kansas agricultural industry.
The board will also review and make recommendations on department legislative initiatives and proposed rules and regulations.
State Board of Agriculture Members with Gov. Brownback at Cedar Crest.
Board members recently appointed by Governor Brownback include:
Tracy Brunner, Ramona/District 1. Brunner oversees his family-owned beef production business, Cow Camp Beef, and owns a bonded livestock dealer and service business.
Thad Geiger, Troy/District 2. Geiger is Executive Vice-President/Director of Troy State Bank and maintains a farming operation consisting of 125 head registered and commercial Simmental cows and several hundred acres of corn, soybeans and hay.
Steve Irsik, Ingalls/District 1. Irsik is General Partner of Irsik Equities, LP, a family-owned agricultural business with headquarters near Garden City.
Jerry McReynolds, Woodston/District 1. McReynolds is a farmer and stockman in Rooks County.
Michael Springer, Sycamore/District 4. Springer is Managing Partner of his family-owned farm, Springer Family Foods, LLC and General Partner of Sycamore Valley Fertilizer and Equipment Co.
Four returning members make up the remainder of the nine-member board. Returning members include:
Jay Garetson, Copeland/District 1. Garetson is owner and general manager of Providence Transport. Additionally, he is a founding member of Northwest Cotton Growers Coop Gin, which started the first cotton gin in southwest Kansas.
Kenneth R. Palmgren, Edson/District 1. Palmgren is owner and operator of V&K Farms and was a member of the Kansas Wheat Commission from 1997 to 2002.
Ann Peuser, Baldwin/District 2. Peuser owns Clinton Parkway Nursery.
Roland Rhodes, Gardner/District 3. Rhodes is president of Rhodes Chemical Co. Inc.