Digging Deeper ...

Having prevailed over a field of 135 cities and regions all contending to become the new home for USDA’s Economic Research Service and National Institute for Food and Agriculture, the Missouri/Kansas  organizers behind the effort to land ERS and NIFA in the KC area were entitled to take a breather. To smell the roses, strut a little. That wasn’t the case, though. Kimberly Young, president of the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, told Agricultural Business Council members at the July 11 social hour at Stockyards Brewery, that the morning after the June 14 announcement, the real work was about to begin. On day one, she said her KCAHC team and the Kansas City Area Development Council uploaded a website for ERS and NIFA employees carrying dedicated information about housing, schools, churches, special needs services, community services, real estate – the list goes on – to make the transition easier for staff choosing  to relocate. 

The Hard Work Begins

Announcing the relocation last month of the ERS and NIFA from Washington D.C. to metropolitan Kansas City, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said, “We did not take these relocations lightly.” He was talking about the disruption it was causing some in the USDA rank and file, as well  others who were defending the Belt Way culture in general.  

Heartland agriculture and animal health leaders aren’t brushing aside the magnitude and challenge of the move, either. That’s why KCAHC president Kimberly Young and Tim Cowden, CEO of KCADC, and their organizations have been working for more than a month with USDA’s  ERS and NIFA staffers who have decided to move. The campaign entails an all-encompassing effort from about 300 local and regional organizations, groups, companies and universities that will make it easier for the ERS and NIFA and their employees to make the transition from the Belt Way to the Heartland.

The entire KC region has stepped up in a big way to ease the transition for ERS and NIFA employees who choose to make the move, notes KCAHC director Emily McVey. “In addition to designated relocation specialists, businesses from across the region are offering millions of dollars in exclusive discounts and complementary services including banks, schools, housing, auto, sports and entertainment, shopping and dining and employment services for ERS and NIFA employees and their families”

In response to USDA’s announcement that the Kansas City had been selected as the ERS and NIFA new home offices, KCAHC/KCADCorganizers said they were committed to being USDA’s partner during the entire relocation process and were ready to welcome the ERS and NIFA teams and “introducing them to KC’s incredible culture, robust scientific community and unprecedented access to the research, farm, agribusiness and financial customers they serve.”

Push Back

It is not an exaggeration to say the Kansas City region – with an almost two-century-old culture of farming and animal husbandry, its existing ag industry infrastructure and heavy concentration of animal health companies and its current deep federal footprint with the presence of a Federal Reserve Bank regional headquarters and 5,000 USDA employees and contractors already located in the area – was a shoe-in for selection.  (See “Box Score of a Successful Bid”)

Naysayers, however, have questioned the move. In May when the field of 136 candidate areas was narrowed to three sites, ERS employees voted to unionize in protest of the move. Many of them turned their backs on USDA Sec. Perdue during an employee meeting about the relocation.  Cynics in the media and inside the Belt Way seemed delighted to run headlines like this: “Fewer Than Half of USDA Workers Will Follow Agency to Kansas City,” KC Star, July 16, 2019. Other outlets ran stories with leads highlighting that the promised 500 jobs ERS and NIFA would bring would be more like 150 or so. What wasn’t thoroughly reported, however, is that USDA has encountered high staff turnover Washington D.C. in recent years because of high living costs and long commutes to work, according to Animal Pharm News, June 14, 2019. Further, reported AFN,  90% of USDA employees are already located outside the D.C. area

But local KCAHC/KCADC leaders pushed back, indicating the 500 jobs indeed would materialize. They pointed out that 13 land-grant universities and other research institutions in the region will annually produce top talent to fill key positions vacated by ERS/NIFA staff that did not take the option to move. “No one location in the U.S. offers a similar cluster of land grant access and diversity,” they said. “In 2017, these institutions granted more than a 150 PhDs in agricultural-related fields.”

Executive director of the American Statistical Association Ron Wasserstein wrote a Special to the Star op-ed piece, July 18, 2019, saying “when you add up all the evidence, we reach the conclusion that the USDA’s motivation is to sharply reduce the research the ERS produces.”  

But again, the KCAHC/KCADC team argues that themove out of D.C. is designed to make USDA the most effective, efficient and customer-focused department in the entire federal government. “What better place to do that than an affordable location like Kansas City in the epicenter of global agriculture? The KC region has a robust scientific research community, specifically as it relates to agriculture.”

As for their concerns about being detached from Washington D.C. and without direct access to lawmakers, skeptical ERS and NIFA staffers are being assured by Kansas City promoters of the relocation that they will not be isolated. The federal government is the largest employer in the Kansas City area – with 5,000 USDA employees and another 35,000 federal employees who work for 150 federal agencies across the metro. Also, notes the KC team, Missouri and Kansas  have a federal union presence with nearly 9% union membership in both states.  

What’s more, Atlanta-based CDC is a large, well-funded federal agency that operates effectively outside of the Washington D.C. area. And speaking of funding, the debt and budget deal struck last week by President Trump and Congressional leaders – to  revise the caps on defense and nondefense discretionary appropriations for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 to allow for higher amounts of funding than is permitted under current law caps and budget enforcement procedures – should work in Sec. Perdue’s favor. 

Some Congressional House members were hoping to cut allocations USDA would have needed to relocate ERS/NIFA to the Heartland. That’s not likely, at this point. What is likely, though, is what KCAHC’s Kimberly Young emphasized at the happy hour earlier in the month: The move is going to happen.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Writers LLC 

Box Score of a Successful Bid

Compiled by  
Kansas City Area Development Council and  Kansas City Animal Health Corridor

 

According to a USDA cost-benefit analysis, conservative estimates show the selection of the Kansas City region for the new home of its Economic Research Services and National Institute for Food and Agriculture will result in savings of around $300 million over a 15-year lease term on employment costs and rent – about $20m per year. These savings will allow the USDA to increase funding for research, as well as retain programs and employees – "even in the face of tightening budgets.”

  • WHY KC

    • Because of Kansas City’s 100+ year legacy of leadership in the agriculture and animal health industries, this decision feels like a homecoming for the USDA. The USDA’s core strengths match the Kansas City region’s: agriculture, technology, engineering, finance, logistics, customer service and more.

    • Kansas City is already home to more than a dozen USDA agency operations. More than 5,000 USDA employees and contractors work in Kansas City for operations such as the Office of Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service and the Farm Service Agency. The Kansas City area also boasts 35,000 federal employees, and a robust Federal Executive Board serving the metro’s 150 federal agencies. 

    • With 56% of total worldwide animal health, diagnostics and pet food sales and 300+ animal health companies, the Kansas City region is home to the KC Animal Health Corridor (KCAHC). Major companies with a presence in the region include Bayer Animal Health, Boehringer Ingelheim, Hills Pet Nutrition and Merck Animal Health.

    • Located in the middle of the Heartland, Kansas City is within 300 miles of 13 land-grant universities as well as top research universities. No one location in the United States offers a similar cluster of land grant access and diversity.In 2017, these institutions graduated more than 150 PhDs in an agriculturally-related field.

  • KC’s RESEARCH CAPABILITIES

    • National Bio and Agro Defense Facility (NBAF) – USDA’s foremost animal disease research facility in Manhattan, Kansas. Opening 2022-2023.

    • Kansas State University - a land-grant university and one of the leading ag research institutions in the nation. Discoveries at K-State have led to innovation in food science and safety; animals and animal systems; and plants and crop systems. 

    • University of Missouri – the College of Ag, Food and Natural Resources provides research, blends traditional and high-tech policy and directly impacts the future.

    • Kansas City is in the heart of the National Security Crossroads – a multi-state initiative aimed at retaining and expanding existing federal national security missions in the Heartland. 

    • Within the National Security Crossroads, there are seven major military bases covering the Air Force, Arm and Navy branches. There are also six national security installations where they focus on the following: geospatial-intelligence, net-centric solutions, non-nuclear component manufacturing, combined arms preparations, strategic attack deterrents and bio-threat prevention. 

    • MRI Global – research, technology development and technical services for government programs in Kansas City, Missouri. 

    • Stowers Institute for Medical Research – world-class biomedical research organization in Kansas City, Missouri, dedicated to improving human health by studying the fundamental processes of life.

    • Kansas City has invested in its technology infrastructure. The city has the world’s most connected Smart City program with free wi-fi across 50 square blocks downtown, smart streetlights along a two-mile stretch of the new KC Streetcar line and 25 interactive kiosks to engage citizens.

  • KC’s RESOURCES

    • The KC region has a robust scientific research community, specifically as it relates to agriculture.

    • Kansas City is within 300 miles of 13 land-grant universities as well as top research universities. No one location in the United States offers a similar cluster of land grant access and diversity.

    • In 2017, these institutions graduated more than 150 PhDs in an agriculturally-related field.

    • Kansas City is also home to the world’s largest concentration of animal health industry assets, putting the USDA at the global epicenter of livestock health and food safety.

  • COMMUNITY SUPPORT

    • KC’s’s cost of living is below the national average, and average sales price of a home in KC is less than half of the average home price in Washington D.C. and its suburbs. 

    • The KC MSA has experienced a positive net migration of 12,103 from 2016-2017, greater than Boston, Chicago, LA, New York, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C.

    • KC has all of the amenities of a large city, with a strong tech economy and revitalized downtown core.

    • KC has invested in its technology infrastructure, and has the world’s most connected Smart City program with free wi-fi across 50 square blocks downtown, smart streetlights along a two-mile stretch of the new KC Streetcar line and 25 interactive kiosks to engage citizens.

    • More than 130 elected officials, civic organizations, economic development and private sector partners came together to support the KC region’s bid for the USDA ERS and NIFA offices. There is no other community that can galvanize that kind of collaboration across two states and 18 counties – and we will bring that same support to the table in assisting the USDA with their relocation to the KC market.

    • The KC MSA has experienced a positive net migration of 12,103 from 2016-2017, greater than Boston, Chicago, LA, New York, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C.

    • Announced just this week, Kansas City is the first of four cities where Sprint is rolling out 5G service, covering 225 square miles of Kansas City.

    • Kansas City is invested in sustainability. One example, the regional utility, KCP&L has installed the largest operating clean charging station network in the United States, with more than 1,000 units placed throughout four of the metro counties in the region. Since deployment of the clean charge network began in 2015, the metropolitan area has experienced a 95 percent increase in electric vehicle adoption.

After the Harvest partners with farmers to feed hungry people in Greater Kansas City

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The sad facts are: People are going hungry. Families, children and seniors are going without healthy food. And an astounding 52% of fruits and vegetables grown in the U.S. go to waste before reaching consumers.  

An organization in Kansas City, Missouri is addressing these issues on a grass roots level: After the Harvest partners with farmers to rescue nutritious fruits and vegetables from going to wasteand donates them to agencies that serve hungry people, primarily in Greater Kansas City. 

Their volunteers “glean” after the harvest, picking what’s left in local farmers’ fields—as well as gardens and orchards—and picking up already harvested leftover produce directly from farms and farmers markets.

After the Harvest connects the farmers’ excess to people who need it, preventing fruits and vegetables from rotting in the field or ending up in the dumpster.

“Farmers don’t have time to locate food pantries or soup kitchens that will take our produce on an hour’s notice,” says farmer Lee Karbaumer. “We certainly don’t have time to deliver it somewhere. After the Harvest does that for us. And they even come harvest it when we don’t have time to do that, either.” 

“To learn about After the Harvest was very important to us,” Karbaumer continues, “because all of a sudden there was something very useful we could do with our (leftover) produce. They connect our food to hungry people and that’s the best thing that can be done with it.”

Moreover, knowing After the Harvest will pick up the extra after the farmers market, is a win/win for farmers. Said farmer Dave Redfearn,  “One of the challenges with farmers market sales is that it is difficult to harvest the perfect quantity of produce each week.” He says if you harvest too little, you miss out on sales and if you harvest too much, there’s waste.  

But now, he said, knowing After the Harvest will pick up the excess, “we harvest extra of everything, taking larger quantities to market. Devoting a little extra time to harvest increases our sales potential while allowing us to give away a larger quantity each week.” 

After the Harvest also raises funds to go outside our region to secure semi-truckloads of donated produce that might end up in landfills, primarily destined for Harvesters—The Community Food Network. After the Harvest is the largest local produce donor to Harvesters, serving 26 counties in the area. This unique partnership gives Harvesters access to produce that would otherwise not be available to them. 

In 2018, 153 farmers and growers—133 local growers and 20 truckload growers—

donated their excess produce to After the Harvest. Over the last five years, After the Harvest has provided over 16.7 million pounds of this healthy, nutritious produce to feed their hungry neighbors. 

To learn more about After the Harvest, please visit them at https://aftertheharvestkc


Help After the Harvest rescue produce from growers’ fields, orchards and gardens and from farmers markets! Join the thousands of other volunteers who are committed to preventing produce from going to waste and providing that healthy food to hungry people in the Great Kansas City area.

Council Touts KC Location to USDA Employees

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June 26, 2019

USDA NIFA-ERS Employees --

I look forward to welcoming you to Kansas City.  In July of 2000, we sold our home near the West Falls Church metro stop in the Virginia suburbs and moved to Kansas City.  It has been a wonderful adventure.

Let me share a few things you will find if you choose to make this transition.

  • Your housing dollar will buy you a lot more in Kansas City and its suburbs.  In fact, you may likely be in the position to put some of the difference in the bank or add to your youngster’s college fund. And, even on a bad day, most commuters never spend more than 30 minutes traveling to and from their office.

  • The KC metro region has many nice neighborhoods with great diversity, people, activities, housing styles, and more.

  • Our public schools in the suburban neighborhoods are among the best you will find anywhere.

  • Downtown Kansas City is enjoying a huge renaissance.  Young people in particular are flocking to the downtown area to live. And, all ages are enjoying The Power & Light District -- developed by the Cordish Company, the same folks who re-developed Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

    • Entertainment areas are not limited to the downtown.  A little further south, in the mid-town area there is Crown Center, Union Station, and Martini Corner.  I live in an old neighborhood within walking distance of Martini Corner.  

    • Even further south is The Plaza.  It is our version of Rodeo Drive with trendy shopping and upscale restaurants.

    • And then there are Westport, Brookside, and Fairway, and many other neighborhoods with their own style and flare for entertainment, shopping, dining and more. There are many, many good choices.

  • Colleges and Universities – Kansas City is located within 300 miles of 13 different Land-Grant Universities.  And three hours or less from the University of Missouri, Kansas State, Iowa State and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

  • Thinking of the arts, we have that, too.  The Nelson-Atkins Museumof Art is known for its neoclassical architecture and extensive collection of Asian art. (Wikipedia) Many of us think the new Kauffman Center for the Preforming Arts rivals the Kennedy Center as a venue.

  • Professional sports here are fun to follow.  We have great aspirations for Patrick Mahomes and The Chiefs.  The MLS Sporting Kansas City Club is fun to watch. And we know the Royals will regain their World Series form.  A bit of Kansas City Royals trivia – the Royals are named after The American Royal Livestock and Horse Show, a 120-year old Midwest icon.  The American Royal is also home to the world’s largest barbecue competition.

  • Did someone say barbecue?  Well, we have it in Kansas City.  Over 100 joints – yes, authentic barbecue is served in “joints.”  It is the best barbecue in the nation with styles and flavors for every taste.

  • While I am thinking food and drink, we seem to have a new brewery opening every weekend. And the distilling scene is pretty cool, too.  Stop at Tom’s Town Distillery on your next trip.  For music, well Knuckleheads Saloon by the railroad tracks is where a lot of name acts stop.

Those are a few highlights. There are many others I could list.  

In looking back on our transition from The Nation’s Capitol area, there is one thing I do miss -- Maryland-style crab cakes are more difficult to find here.  You can find them – The Bristol comes to mind – but not as easily. 

We realize a re-location of this nature can be disruptive to families.  We hope you will choose to give Kansas City a chance as your future home.  I believe you will come to enjoy the area and all it has to offer as much as my family and me.  Please know there is a vibrant agriculture community here that looks forward to welcoming you.

Best wishes.

Sincerely,

Bob Petersen
Executive Director

>>Link to KC Star Letter to the Editor here. 

Agricultural Business Council Honors Two Agribusiness Leaders

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May 17, 2019, KANSAS CITY, MO: The Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City honored two of the region’s leading agricultural figures on May 16 at a luncheon in the Chamber Board Room in Kansas City’s historic Union Station. The honorees – Lee Borck, chairman of Innovative Livestock Services (ILS) and Beef Marketing Group Cooperative (BMG) and farm broadcasting legend Gene Millard of Millard Family Farms – received the Jay B. Dillingham Award for Agricultural Leadership and Excellence, the Council’s highest recognition. Both men have each left their marks on the ag industry over careers extending nearly 50 years.

Council Chairman Robert Thompson, a partner and co-leader of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP’s Food & Agribusiness Industry Group, described this year’s Dillingham Awards recipients as strong examples of what being an advocate for agriculture can accomplish. “These individuals have had a positive and lasting effect on our community.”

Lee Borck was introduced as “an industry icon” by Dee Likes, himself a Dillingham Award honoree in 2015. In his remarks as he accepted the award, Borck said real success in any business endeavor involves doing the right things and ensuring benefits from accomplishments touch everyone in the community. He also stressed that American agriculture has to better tout its accomplishments to the world and will need to adjust its messaging to reflect that it is no longer a commodity industry but a branded one that deserves equitable pricing for the value it creates.

Gene Millard offered a similar assessment of agriculture saying most consumers have a gross underestimation of the value crop growers and livestock producers provide. “Agriculture is a value-added business,” he pointed out, “nothing comes off the fields without a farmer having added value to it.”

Opening the program, John Dillingham, son of Jay B. Dillingham, told Council members that the Kansas City region, situated as it is on the Missouri River, flowing into and from the Mississippi and Kaw Rivers, and connected to coastal ports via rail and highway has an opportunity to become the Silicon Valley of agriculture.

About The Honorees:

  • Lee Borck- Chairman of Innovative Livestock Services, Inc., and Chairman of the Beef Marketing Group Cooperative. Combined, these two groups representing cattle feedlots in Kansas and Nebraska, have grown into one of the nation’s largest feeding organizations. As a standalone organization, ILS represents banking, farming, ethanol production and trucking interests. The BMG, under the guidance and leadership of Borck and other central Kansas cattle producers, is a cooperative of cattle producers and farms focused on working together to do what is right to remain sustainable. Borck is also chairman of American State Bank of Great Bend, Kansas and is the past President of Cattle-Fax, which is the nation’s leading cattle and data analysis company. Borck has served the industry as president of the Kansas Livestock Association, and has also served as a board member of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Board. He served as the Chairman of the Kansas 4-H Foundation and was Vice Chairman and a board member for the Kansas Bioscience Authority. He was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Kansas State University Foundation. Borck has received numerous industry awards

  • Gene Millard- Millard Family Farms. Millard retired in 2003 after a nearly 40-year career in Radio and Farm broadcasting. He joined KFEQ radio in St. Joseph in 1964 as a farm broadcaster and in 1976 he was named the station’s general manager. In 1999 he became vice president of Eagle Radio Inc. which included stations KFEQ, KSJQ, KKJO, KSFT and the Ag Info Center. In retirement he continues to host a one-hour live show each Saturday on a 15 station, 5 state network including KFEQ. In addition to operating his family farm with his son, Brian, Millard currently serves as Chairman of the board of Golden Triangle Energy LLC and a board member of Citizens Bank and Trust in Kansas City. He has served as President of the Missouri Broadcasters Association, a board member of the National Association of Broadcasters, Chairman of the Board of the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce, President of the Missouri Kansas Chapter of the National Agri Marketing Association and served as Director of Marketing and Interim Executive of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. In 2009 he served as President of the Missouri Renewable Fuels Association as well as Board Chairman of United Cooperative of Plattsburg and Osborn, MO. He has been honored by numerous organizations and in 2010 was inducted into the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

Celebrate National Ag Day

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The Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City celebrates National Agriculture Day on March 14, 2019.  It is a great occasion to highlight the impact of this industry that is present in every Kansas City resident’s life. Though rural businesses exist just miles outside of the city, many do not understand the range of today’s production agriculture.

Agriculture jobs don’t just include farming. They span an entire economy, from equipment manufacturers, seed and chemical technologies, food processors, animal production and more, and jobs like these are a foundation of the regional economy in Kansas City. Recent research from the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City, the American Royal and the Kansas Department of Agriculture hasshown that agri-business has a $29.3 billion impact on the region and supports 114,503 jobs in the Greater Kansas City Area. While that number is impressive, it is important to continue to cultivate this industry into the next generation. 

While some may think of their grandfather’s agriculture or what stereotypes are portrayed on television, that does not paint the full picture of the global industry. Today’s agriculture production relies on modern, sophisticated technology and management techniques that rival any technology company. In fact, companies like Amazon are taking notice and hiring employees to focus on agriculture technology.

What agriculture needs today is bright young minds who are creative and interested in helping feed a hungry world. Encourage students to engage with agriculture in school through science, technology, engineering andmath (STEM) and see firsthand how those skills can translate to the many career opportunities agriculture provides.

Sincerely,

Robert Thompson, Chairman
Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City

Agricultural Business Council to Honor Two Local Leaders

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KANSAS CITY, MO, March 1, 2019- The Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City will honor two of the region’s leading agricultural figures on May 16 at a luncheon in the Chamber Board Room in Kansas City’s historic Union Station.  The honorees will receive the Council’s highest award, the Jay B. Dillingham Award for Agricultural Leadership and Excellence. 

Agricultural Business Council Chairman Robert Thompson notes the honorees are champions for agriculture in separate but very key areas in the region. The honorees are:

  • Lee Borck- Chairman of Innovative Livestock Services, Inc., (ILS) and Chairman of the Beef Marketing Group Cooperative (BMG). Combined, these two groups representing cattle feedlots in Kansas and Nebraska, have grown into one of the nation’s largest feeding organizations. As a standalone organization, ILS represents banking, farming, ethanol production and trucking interests. The BMG, under the guidance and leadership of Borck and other central Kansas cattle producers, is a cooperative of cattle producers and farms focused on working together to do what is right to remain sustainable. Borck is also chairman of American State Bank of Great Bend, Kansas and is the past President of Cattle-Fax, which is the nation’s leading cattle and data analysis company. Borck has served the industry as president of the Kansas Livestock Association, and has also served as a board member of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Board. He served as the Chairman of the Kansas 4-H Foundation and was Vice Chairman and a board member for the Kansas Bioscience Authority. He was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Kansas State University Foundation. Borck has received numerous industry awards

  • Gene Millard-  Millard Family FarmsMillard retired in 2003 after a nearly 40-year career in Radio and Farm broadcasting. He joined KFEQ radio in St. Joseph in 1964 as a farm broadcaster and in 1976 he was named the station’s general manager. In 1999 he became vice president of Eagle Radio Inc. which included stations KFEQ, KSJQ, KKJO, KSFT and the Ag Info Center. In retirement he continues to host a one-hour live show each Saturday on a 15 station, 5 state network including KFEQ. In addition to operating his family farm with his son, Brian, Millard currently serves as Chairman of the board of Golden Triangle Energy LLC and a board member of Citizens Bank and Trust in Kansas City. He has served as President of the Missouri Broadcasters Association, a board member of the National Association of Broadcasters, Chairman of the Board of the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce, President of the Missouri Kansas Chapter of the National Agri Marketing Association and served as Director of Marketing and Interim Executive of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. In 2009 he served as President of the Missouri Renewable Fuels Association as well as Board Chairman of United Cooperative of Plattsburg and Osborn, MO. He has been honored by numerous organizations and in 2010 was inducted into the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Hall of Fame. 

 “These individuals have had a positive and lasting effect on our community,” said Council Chairman Thompson. “They are strong examples of what being an advocate for agriculture can accomplish.”

The event will be held at the Chamber of Commerce Board Room in Union Station beginning at 11:30 a.m. for networking followed by lunch at noon. Click here for more information and to register to attend. 

Being the Bridge | Op-Ed by Gina Bowman

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For as long as I can remember, there has always been division between the agricultural/rural sector and the urban/suburban sector.  I remember watching the 1960’s riots on television, and asking questions as a 6 year-old would, and being told that the cities are full of crime.   I grew up on a farm in northwest Missouri.  Both of my parents came from the agricultural/rural sector and grew up during the depression.   No such activity was ever experienced in the agricultural/rural areas, from their perspective.

I recall dressing up to go to the city whenever we wanted to shop for school clothes.  So, while the city may have been riddled with crime, etc. (from my parents perspective), it also was deemed to be a place to wear your Sunday best.  We were going UPTOWN!  

Fast forward to college, and I remember clearly in my Persuasion speech class, picking “the facts about the agricultural industry” as my topic for the speech before a hostile audience, with the backdrop as the “tractorcade” of the late 1970s..  Most of my student colleagues were from the urban/suburban sector and did not have any understanding of where their food came from, how hard farming was, etc.   They had no idea.   It was giving this speech that I finally understood that I had an opportunity to “educate, communicate, and gain better understanding” between both sides of the great divide.

Many leaders have worked at bridging the gap of understanding and communication between the country and city.  Former United States Senators Bob Dole (KS) and George McGovern (SD) believed strongly in bringing together both sectors’ needs.  One example in how this was done was bringing together both farm and food policies in 1973.  This was a way for the city sector to understand where its food supply came from and it was a way for the country to understand that it needed the city to survive.   And more importantly, it was a way to insure the farm policies would be passed into law.   

We must remember that census after census shows that the majority of the population is moving to Florida, California and Texas.  And while those are also agricultural production states, most of the population is in the cities.   Our congress is mainly an urban/suburban.   The rural/agricultural based districts continue to lose representation as the populations moves to the cities.   Both Missouri and Kansas lost a congressional district in the last 10 years.  Studies have shown that within forty years, in both states, eighty percent will live in the urban/suburban regions.   Agriculture needs the city and the city needs agriculture.

Bringing the two policies together was absolutely visionary by Dole and McGovern.  Just recently, the governors of Missouri and Kansas announced in their “state of the state” speeches, proposals to enhance their states’ rural sectors, including the access to broadband and infrastructure. Historically, urban-based policymakers tend to support efforts to support agricultural interests.

Sadly, in very recent years, there has been a growing trend to divide the two sectors.   Not just separating the food/farm security policies, but also separating the sectors through political campaigns.   Red sector versus blue sector maps and the focus of dividing the segments of the country is a political strategy.

This is not good for the country as a whole, and certainly not good for the agricultural/rural sector. Agricultural and rural interests have more to lose in this division in the long run.

However, with this concern, provides a wonderful opportunity for entities like the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City.   The Council was organized with this mission in mind:  “To advocate growth and awareness of the food, fiber, agri-science and related industries in the Kansas City region.”

Each and every member has the opportunity to “bridge” the urban/suburban and agricultural/rural sectors.   Those like me, a farm kid replanted in the city after college, are the best advocates.

Let’s openly communicate with your neighbors, church members, PTAs, schools, etc. about the contributions of our industry, about our policy concerns, and so forth.   In most cases, we will discover that our concerns are comparable:  healthcare access, technology, education, infrastructure, to name a few.

Let’s work at being the bridge.

Kansas Agriculture Appointment Draws Accolades

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January 11, 2019 – Kansas City – The Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City congratulates Kansas Governor-elect Laura Kelley’s choice of Mike Beam as the state’s new Secretary of Agriculture.  

“Mike Beam is exceptionally well qualified to lead this key agency.  Throughout his 38-year career with the Kansas Livestock Association, Mike has become well acquainted with all facets of agriculture and will be a great advocate for this important industry,” said Bob Petersen, executive director of the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City.  Beam was a founding member of the Council in 2003 and served as its Chairman from 2006 to 2007.

Additional Council leaders – current and past – offered their congratulations:

  • “Mike has long been a trusted leader of KLA and he will be one for all of Kansas agriculture as well.” – Bob Thompson, Ag Business Council Chair and partner, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

  • “Mike Beam is an outstanding choice for Kansas Secretary of Agriculture. Gov.-elect Laura Kelly’s announcement that she will appoint Mike is welcome news to Kansas Corn. We’ve worked with Mike for years at KLA and look forward to continuing our relationship in his new role.” – Greg Krissek, Council vice chair and CEO, Kansas Corn.

  • “The choice of Mike Beam represents the balance he has displayed throughout his career in Kansas agriculture.   He is a man of integrity and will serve the state well.” – Gina Bowman, Council founder and chair (2003-2005) and president, B2G:Business to Government Relations.

As the Council welcomes Mike Beam to his new role, Petersen notes, the group also recognizes the tireless efforts of outgoing Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey. “Jackie McClaskey was an outstanding Secretary of Agriculture and a true champion for Kansas agriculture. We congratulate her on the Department’s many accomplishments during her tenure,” Petersen said.

Ag Business Group Re-Elects Thompson, Krissek as 2019 Leaders

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December 17, 2018, Kansas City, MO – Robert M. Thompson, a partner with the Kansas City office of the Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner law firm, was re-elected chairman of the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City at the group’s annual meeting held December 13.  Greg Krissek, CEO of the Kansas Corn Growers Association and Kansas Corn Commission, was re-elected vice chairman of the Council.  

Thompson serves as co-leader of Bryan Cave’s Food and Agribusiness Industry Group.  He served as managing partner of the firm’s Kansas City office from 2006-2012.  He is a native of Nevada, Missouri, where he and his family have an active livestock and crop business.  He holds a law degree from the University of Missouri.  He has been active in numerous civic organizations, including the American Royal.

Krissek, a native of Kansas City, Kansas, has over 24 years’ experience working with agriculture and ethanol sectors.  Prior to being named CEO of Kansas Corn in 2014, his previous stints included executive positions with Kansas Department of Agriculture, ICM, Inc., and Kennedy and Coe. He earned his law degree and MBA from the University of Denver.

The Council’s Board of Directors is composed of 20 persons who serve staggered two-year terms. Those elected to the Board for a two-year term commencing January 1, 2019 were: 

  • Shonda Atwater, MCC – Business & Technology

  • Alan Barkema, Apical Economics

  • Dennis Bode, John Deere

  • Bill Ford, Lathrop Gage

  • Diane Olson, Missouri Farm Bureau

  • Jackie Klippenstein, Dairy Farmers of America

  • Ron Seeber, Kansas Grain and Feed

  • Ralph Richardson, Kansas State-Olathe

  • Bill Vaughn, Merck Animal Health

  • Alan Wessler, MFA  Incorporated

Thompson extended his thanks to several outgoing leaders who have played an influential role in the Council’s activities through the years.  Those include long-time board members Mark Anstoetter, Damon New, and Tracy Thomas.

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Photos of Thompson and Krissek are available upon request.

 Members of the Agricultural Business Council include over 350 individuals associated with the food and agribusiness sector.  Agribusiness continues to be one of the largest business sectors in the Kansas City region, accounting for 8 percent of the workforce and contributing 22 percent of the gross regional product.  For further information:  Bob Petersen (816) 912-2993; www.agbizkc.com

Osborn Barr Study Points to Four Key Factors Shaping America's Ag Industry

Click here to view O+B Study - Farmers of Tomorrow

Reprinted from GrowingAmerica

A study released by Osborn Barr reveals many challenges and opportunities on the horizon for the agriculture industry as the next generation prepares to take over the farm. 

The generational shift study titled "Farmers of Tomorrow: Generation Z's Future in Agriculture" is the first comprehensive study to better understand how the next generation views farming and ranching. 

The initial qualitative research results indicate the gap in attitudes, perceptions and intentions between "Gen Z" (18-to 22-years-olds with an immediate family member farming) and "BoomXY" (Baby Boomer, Generation X and millennial farmers age 28 to 74). 

O+B's Ag Advisory Council - which was created in June 2017 to examine and interpret some of agriculture's most important issues facing rural America - provided strategic guidance on the study development. Richard Fordyce, Ag Advisory Council Chairman, said this study is vital to our future and he's eager to lead more groundbreaking research. 

"A number of trends emerged, and their potential for impacting the industry are real," said Fordyce. "It's important to consider how the next generation will shape the ag industry moving forward." 

The study results identified four major factors shaping the future of agriculture: 

1. Farm Succession Expectations Differ
Of the sample surveyed, succession expectations differ between older farmers/ranchers and their children, many of whom plan to work in agribusiness.

· 71 percent of BoomXY farming parents believe at least one of their children may desire to take over their farming business someday COMPARED to 54 percent of the farm-raised 18-to 22-year-olds who indicate a desire to take over the family farming/ranching business some day

· For those 18- to 22-year-olds who don't currently plan to take over the family farming/ranching business, obtaining a degree in an ag-related field is viewed as a means of remaining involved in agriculture with the steady paycheck that farming often doesn't offer

"The reason I do not choose farming as a career is because I need a more steady option and also want a career that does not have such big risk and startup costs," said one Gen Z Study Respondent.

2. Gen Z Views Government Involvement More Positively
Research indicates a shift with Gen Z viewing government involvement more positively than the older age group.

· Gen Z had an overwhelmingly positive outlook when it came to government entities (USDA, EPA, FDA), far outpacing BoomXY in regard to the FDA, in particular

· 64 percent of the farm-raised 18-to 22-year-olds view restricted immigration policy FAVORABLY compared to just 35 percent who oppose greater immigration restrictions

"Based on this data, I believe Gen Z has more trust in government, they know the issues and they are committed to ag," said Fordyce. "They are more engaged with law makers, active in policy and want to make a difference." 

3. Ag Tech Tops the List for Gen Z
According to the study, Gen Z is more in favor of agricultural technology.

· 85 percent of the farm-raised 18-to 22-year-olds view existing herbicide technologies positively COMPARED TO 43 percent of farmers 28 and older

· 85 percent of the farm-raised 18-to 22-year-olds view existing insecticide technologies positively COMPARED TO 59 percent of farmers 28 and older

· The older age group had a more balanced opinion of organic farming, while Gen Z skewed negatively and also in favor of existing bio ag technologies

· GMOs and more advanced genetic engineering is largely perceived positively by both ag groups but even more so from Gen Z

"Gen Z seems to not be afraid of technology and even expect new advancements more than any other generation," said Fordyce. "It's a very encouraging signal for this industry, and I'm confident in our leaders of tomorrow.

4. Gen Z Prefers Peers Over Brand Names
Research shows Gen Z is less brand loyal, and more peer driven when making decisions and are more receptive to marketing messages. 

· 78 percent of the farm-raised 18-to 22-year-olds consider brand names important when it comes to purchasing farm products COMPARED TO 90 percent of BoomXY farmers/ranchers

· For ag information, Gen Z was far more receptive to information provided by their peers via social media, other farmers, network/cable TV and ag/rural radio, while the older age group favored ag print pubs, network radio and manufacturer websites

· Gen Z was much more inclined to pay attention to marketing messages, while BoomXY was not, unless it came from their dealer/retailer

"We know what we need on our farm and ultimately if it gets the job done the brand shouldn't matter," said one Gen Z survey respondent. 

This baseline data will be expanded within the next year to provide a more in depth understanding of the compelling aspects of the next generation and tomorrow's American family farm. Future key topics of exploration include ag tech adoption, food innovation and the broader issues of rural America. 

Visit RuralSpirit.com to learn more about future research and survey results.

Agricultural Business Council to Honor Two Agribusiness Leaders

March 14, 2018, KANSAS CITY, MO:  The Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City will honor two of the region’s leading agricultural figures on May 15 at a luncheon in the Chamber Board Room in Kansas City’s historic Union Station.  Agricultural Business Council Chairman Robert Thompson notes the honorees are champions for agriculture in separate but very key areas in the region.  

The honorees are:

  • Lowell Mohler, former director of Missouri Department of Agriculture.  A native of Holt County, Missouri, Mohler served for 26 years as the chief administrator of the Missouri Farm Bureau.  He later served as Missouri Director of Agriculture under Governor Bob Holden.  He is a long-time member of the Missouri State Fair Commission.  He has also served on boards of the Missouri Ducks Unlimited, Missouri Conservation Foundation, and 4-H Foundation of Missouri.  He also served on the Missouri Conservation Commission from 2001 to 2009.  He has been honored by many Missouri agricultural groups, including ALOT, Missouri Ag Industries Council, and the University of Missouri Alumni Association.
  • Dr. Ken Odde has spent his career serving the animal industry including the last 10 years leading the Kansas State University Animal Sciences and Industry Department. During his tenure as department head, undergraduate enrollment grew from 793 students in 2007 to 1,226 students in 2017 while also increasing faculty and research productivity. Also, under Dr. Odde’s leadership, $32 million in new and renovated facilities were added to the department. Dr. Odde retired as department head in January 2018, today he serves in a faculty role at K-State with a research and teaching appointment. A native of South Dakota, Dr. Odde holds degrees from South Dakota University and Kansas State University.

The honorees will receive the Council’s highest award, the Jay B. Dillingham Award for Agricultural Leadership and Excellence.  “These individuals have had a positive and lasting effect on our community, said Council Chairman Thompson.  “They are strong examples of what being an advocate for agriculture can accomplish.”

The May 15 event will be held at the Chamber of Commerce Board Room in Union Station (30 W Pershing Rd in Kansas City, MO) beginning at 11:30 a.m. for networking followed by lunch at noon.  Click here for more information.

Ag Business Group Elects Thompson, Krissek as 2018 Leaders

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December 13, 2017, Kansas City, MO – Robert M. Thompson, a partner with the Kansas City office of the Bryan Cave law firm, was elected chairman of the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City at the group’s annual meeting held December 7.  Greg Krissek, CEO of the Kansas Corn Growers Association and Kansas Corn Commission, was elected vice chairman of the Council. 

Thompson serves as co-leader of Bryan Cave’s Food and Agribusiness Industry Group.  He served as managing partner of the firm’s Kansas City office from 2006-2012.  He is a native of Nevada, Missouri, where he and his family have an active livestock and crop business.  He holds a law degree from the University of Missouri.  He has been active in numerous civic organizations, including the American Royal.

Krissek, a native of Kansas City, Kansas, has over 24 years’ experience working with agriculture and ethanol sectors.  Prior to being named CEO of Kansas Corn in 2014, his previous stints included executive positions with Kansas Department of Agriculture, ICM, Inc., and Kennedy and Coe. He earned his law degree and MBA from the University of Denver.

The Council’s Board of Directors is composed of 20 persons who serve staggered two-year terms.  Those elected to the Board for a two-year term commencing January 1, 2018 were:

  • Lee Blank, GFG Ag Services
  • Ben Breazeale, Cargill
  • Brad Garrison, Alpha Gamma Rho
  • Garrett Hawkins, Missouri Dept. of Agric.
  • Terry Holdren, Kansas Farm Bureau
  • Dustin Johansen, Osborn Barr
  • JJ Jones, Roots & Legacies Consulting
  • Jackie McClaskey, Kansas Dept. of Agric.
  • Kristen Parman, Livestock Marketing Assoc.
  • Lynn Parman, American Royal Association

Thompson extended his thanks to several outgoing leaders who have played an influential role in the Council’s activities through the years.  Those include Cliff Becker, outgoing Council Chairman and vice president, Farm Journal Media, as well as to outgoing long-time board members Jim Gray, Amber Spafford, and Steve Taylor.

Ag Outlook Forum Set for Sept. 28


Kansas City, May 22, 2017 - The Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City and Agri-Pulse Communications announce plans to present an Ag Outlook Forum on September 28th in Kansas City.

This year has already proven to be very challenging for farmers, agribusiness and rural America. With a new Administration, a new Congress, and debate already starting on the 2018 Farm Bill, this is a great time to connect with top-notch leaders across agriculture and rural America, including:

  • Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther George
  • Kansas Governor Sam Brownback
  • Missouri Governor Eric Greitens (invited)
  • John Deere Senior Vice President John Lagemann
  • Kansas City Southern President & CEO Patrick Ottensmeyer

"Kansas City has been growing as a regional hub for hundreds of agribusinesses and this is great way to showcase some of our best and brightest," says Cliff Becker, chairman, Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City. "The event will build on the very successful inaugural session the group held in 2016."

Becker, a senior executive with Farm Journal Media, said the Council is excited to partner on the 2017 version with Agri-Pulse Communications, a media company known as an industry leader in agricultural policy coverage and analysis.

"We are pleased to partner with the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City to provide participants with a CEO-level perspective on the issues, opportunities, and challenges facing the agriculture industry," said Sara Wyant, President, Agri-Pulse Communications.

The Ag Outlook Forum will be held at the offices of Stinson Leonard Street in downtown Kansas City, 1201 Walnut.  The program will begin at 1:30 p.m. and will conclude with a networking reception at 5:00 p.m.  Early-bird registration is $95 for Agricultural Business Council members and $125 for non-members.

Registration is now open at:  www.agbizkc.com/agoutlookforum

Becker said there are a limited number of seats and expects the event to be a sell-out, urging those interested in attending to register early. General event information is available at www.agbizkc.com or by calling (816) 912-2084.

Sponsorship opportunities are available and you can learn more by e-mailing tomdavisrmg@outlook.com.

Kansas City is First Stop For New Agricultural Secretary

May 1, 2017, KANSAS CITY, MO:  In his first public appearance outside of Washington D.C., since his Senate confirmation earlier this week, new U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue was welcomedbymore than 450 enthusiastic Missouri and Kansas farmers, ranchers and agribusiness men and women at a town hall meeting at the American Royal on April 28.  The event was hosted by the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City.

Sec. Perdue said agriculture is the most productive sector of the U.S. economy, and although it is going through a difficult stretch at the moment he offered an optimistic outlook: “The sun is shining above the clouds.” As a footnote to his comments about being sworn in as secretary by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Sec. Perdue said his oath was also a pledge to do the best job he can. “What I do reflects on you and what you do reflects on me,” he told the farmers and ranchers. “Let’s be a family, do things right and feed everyone.”

Describing agriculture as a noble profession, Sec. Perdue went on to describe the pride he felt to be part of an occupation responsible “for the actual sustenance of the world.”

Then Sec. Purdue got down to business, succinctly stating his philosophy regarding agriculture: “Grow and trade it” – which is what everyone in the auditorium wanted to hear. He noted NAFTA has been good for American agriculture and industry, but the Trump administration intended to bargain for the best terms possible in all areas of the pact.

Sec. Perdue said he has been impressed with President Trump’s negotiations, referring to how the White House has walked back some of the earlier rhetoric about leaving NAFTA. Also, rolling back onerous regulation enacted in the last eight years will boost productivity. More interagency cooperation, which he intends to foster, will further stimulate the economy.

On hand for the event were many key agricultural and government leaders in Missouri and Kansas.  Bob Petersen, executive director of the Agricultural Business Council briefed the secretary on the benefits agriculture provides to urban economies.  Dignitaries included:  U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), Missouri Lt. Governor Mike Parson, Missouri Department of Agriculture Chris Chinn and Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey.

Senator Jerry Moran said there was no more important business sector in the U.S. economy than agriculture. But he may have summed up the proceedings before they even got underway when he said that politics for Sec. Perdue have always been personal. And he expected the new USDA secretary to run his agency with a personal touch.

Agricultural Business Council to Honor Three Agribusiness Leaders

January 9, 2017, KANSAS CITY, MO:  The Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City will honor three of the region’s leading business figures on March 16 at a luncheon in the Chamber Board Room in Kansas City’s historic Union Station.  Agricultural Business Council Chairman Cliff Becker notes the honorees are champions for agriculture in separate but very key areas in the region. 

The honorees are:

  • Glen O. Klippenstein, Klippenstein Farms, Maysville, MO.  Klippenstein rose to prominence as the partner/operator of GlenKirk Farms which was one of the nation’s top purebred cattle operations.  From 1966 to 1993, GlenKirk Farms sold more than 7,000 bulls and 7,500 females into all 50 states and 22 countries.  His industry and civic service has included:  two-term chairman of the National Beef Promotion and Research Board; chairman, American Polled Hereford Association; director, National Cattlemen’s Association; member and vice chair of the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation Board; CEO of the American Chianina Association; and as a member of both the Missouri State House of Representatives (2011-2013) and Missouri Senate (1993-94)
  • Ken McCauley, K & M Farms, White Cloud, KS.  McCauley, along with his wife, Mary, and son, Brad and his wife, farm corn and soybeans on 4600 acres of no-till cropland.  McCauley is a past president of the National Corn Growers Association (2007).  He is also a member and past chairman of the Kansas Corn Commission, former board chair of the Kansas Corn Growers Association, member of the National Association of Farm Broadcaster’s Board, and trustee of Iowa Township, Doniphan County, Kansas.
  • Dr. Thomas L. Payne, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CAFNR), University of Missouri.  Dr. Payne has just retired from his position as vice chancellor and dean of CAFNR, a position he held since 1999.  An entomologist by training, he was head of the Entomology Department at Virginia Polytechnic Institute from 1987-1993, before moving on to the Ohio State University where he was associate vice president from 1993-1998.  His tenure at Mizzou was marked by growth in the college’s research programs, recruitment of world-class faculty members and an increase in private funds raised in support of the college.

The honorees will receive the Council’s highest award, the Jay B. Dillingham Award for Agricultural Leadership and Excellence. 

“These individuals have had a positive and lasting effect on our community, said Council Chairman Becker.  “They are strong examples of what being an advocate for agriculture can accomplish.”

The March 16 event will be held at the Chamber of Commerce Board Room in Union Station (30 W Pershing Rd in Kansas City, MO) beginning at 11:30 a.m. for networking followed by lunch at noon.  Visit www.agbizkc.com for more information.

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Media Contact

Bob Petersen

816-912-2993

bob.petersen@agbizkc.com

 

Agri-business Has $29.3 Billion Impact On Region

New Study Details Economic Impact Of Ag In Kansas City Area

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (September 8, 2016) – Agriculture and its related businesses continue to be a driving force in the regional economy, according to an analysis (LINK) released by the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City, the American Royal, and the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Using the most recent data available, 74 agriculture, food, and food processing sectors were analyzed to determine their overall contribution to the economy supported by the Kansas City Agribusiness Council.

These 74 sectors have an estimated total economic impact of approximately $ 29.3 billion and support 114,503 jobs in the Greater Kansas City area.

The study looked at the impact of agriculture, food, and food processing sectors of the 20 counties contained in the Greater Kansas City area. The study found those agri-business sectors:

  • Account for 7.7 percent of the entire workforce in the area, or 114,503 jobs; and
  • Contribute approximately 22 percent of the Gross Regional Product, or an impact of $29.3 billion.

In looking at the components of the agri-business sector, landscaping and horticultural services is the top employer in the agricultural industry with 9,965 employees.  Running a close second is beef cattle ranching (and related businesses) with 8,438 employees.  The animal processing industry (excluding poultry) directly contributes about $2.1 billion to the regional economy.

A more expansive view of agri-business’s impact includes related retail sectors such as restaurants, food and beverage stores, garden and farm supply businesses.  These additional sectors grow the total impact to 16.9 percent of the region’s employment and 29.59 percent of the gross regional product.

“This study illustrates the continuing strong role agri-business plays in this region’s economy,” said Bob Petersen, executive director of the Agricultural Business Council.”   He continued, “These are impressive numbers – 22% of the Gross Regional Product.  And a more expansive view that encompasses the food sector grows the employment impact to nearly 17 percent.”

Lynn Parman, president and CEO of the American Royal, said “the American Royal’s mission of impacting the future of agriculture is more important now than ever. Providing scholarships and agriculture education programs to ensure we have a pipeline of employees is vital to this burgeoning KC industry,” she added.

“Agriculture is the largest industry, employer and economic contributor in the state of Kansas, and this study has confirmed that impact within the greater Kansas City area,” said Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey. “The Kansas Department of Agriculture is pleased to work with the Agricultural Business Council to continue exploring opportunities for growth of agribusinesses in this region.”

About The Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City

The Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City is an association that advocates growth and awareness of the food, fiber, agri-science and related industries in the Kansas City region.

About the American Royal Association

Woven through the history of Kansas City since 1899, the American Royal provides opportunities for youth and adults from around the country to compete in our Livestock Show, ProRodeo, Horse Shows and the World Series of BBQ.  These events allow the American Royal, a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization to give over $1 million annually for youth scholarships and support agriculture education programs. Over 270,000 attendees annually attend American Royal events that generate over $60 million of economic impact. To learn more about the American Royal visit AmericanRoyal.com.

About the Kansas Department of Agriculture

KDA is the state agency devoted to the total support of agriculture in Kansas. The department works for the entire Kansas agriculture sector, including farmers, ranchers, food establishments and agribusinesses. The department is dedicated to providing support and assistance to make Kansas businesses successful and encouraging more agribusinesses to expand in or relocate to Kansas.

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For more information contact:

  • For general questions, either Bob Petersen (816) 912-2993, Lynn Parman (816) 569-4040 or Jackie McClaskey (785) 564-6700
  • For questions about the study and the underlying economics, Josh Roe, assistant secretary, Kansas Dept. of Agriculture at (785) 564-6700
  • For questions regarding the ag industry impact, Jackie Klippenstein, vice president, Dairy Farmers of America, (816) 801-6392

 

Agricultural Business Council Honors Three Agribusiness Leaders

The Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City recognized three regional business leaders  and public figures at a luncheon March 10 in the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Board Room in historic Union Station.

The 2016 Award for Agricultural Leadership and Excellence, named in honor of the late Jay B. Dillingham, was given to the Honorable Kit Bond, former U.S. Senator, Missouri; Dr. Bud Hertzog, Lee's Summit Animal Hospital; and Russ Weathers, CEO, Agriculture Future of America.

“These individuals have had a positive and lasting effect on our community. They are strong examples of what being an advocate for agriculture can accomplish,” says Cliff Becker, Chairman of the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City.

“These individuals have been civic champions for agriculture in separate but very key issue areas in our region,” noted Cliff Becker, Chairman of the Board of the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City. “They are strong examples of what being an advocate for agriculture can accomplish.”

In his acceptance remarks, Senator Kit Bond, warned that “bureaucrats were fighting to stifle agriculture, and too many things were coming up to hinder agriculture from feeding the world.”  In his introduction of the senator, John Dillingham, son of Jay B. Dillingham, described Sen. Bond as someone who could work across the aisles of Congress and “who knew the important role agriculture had in feeding the world in the 21st Century.” During his time in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Bond was recognized as an expert and leader on a wide range of subjects, including international trade and Asia; transportation and economic development; cyberintelligence and national security; and plant biotechnology.

A partner in the Lee's Summit Animal Hospital, Dr. Bud Hertzog has been the official veterinarian for both the Kansas City Zoo and the American Royal.  He is a past president of the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association and served as executive chairman of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  Dr. Herzog said a major challenge for agriculture is that it is taken for granted by Americans and the industry itself “is not vocal in promoting” its achievements. He also wondered what was wrong with Kansas City being called a cow town?  “It was what made us,” he said. Dr. Ralph Richardson, former Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University introduced Dr. Hertzog.

Russ Weathers, CEO of Agriculture Future of America, started out as an ag teacher and never left the profession. Under his leadership, AFA, founded in 1996, has become the premiere agriculture organization for college students, preparing a new generation of agriculture leaders. “The ag industry needs human capital,” Weathers stressed, “as much as it needs financial investment.”  2013 Dillingham Award recipient Harry Cleberg introduced Weathers.

Presenting sponsor of the 2016 Award Luncheon was John Deere.