“Exciting” was the word used by Jerry McReynolds, Chair of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture, in describing the state Department of Agriculture’s new facility in Manhattan, with a ribbon cutting held Thursday. McReynolds told the variety of dignitaries attending the event the new building and what it stands for is a “game changer for Kansas agriculture,” adding “It is a big deal.”
Also participating in the ceremony was Governor Sam Brownback, who talked about the family environment in the Manhattan area–from Bill Snyder Family Stadium to the State Department of Agriculture and the many other agriculture agencies based in Manhattan. “You’re going to see global health initiatives and animal health issues come out of here. ” The Governor added, “There’s a big world out there, with a growing middle class, there are a lot of concerns–food safety concerns.” and Brownback told the crowd “we want to be right in the middle of answering those issues and we’re going to get it done.” The Governor described the day as fabulous and said he was delighted the Kansas Department of Agriculture has moved in with the rest of the “family,” the same house in Manhattan–“so we can grow this industry.”
Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz also listed all the agriculture-related agencies that are now in the same place, and told the group gathered for the ribbon cutting it’s a great time to showcase K-State across the nation–referring also to the game against Auburn that evening on national TV. KSU Foundation President and CEO Fred Cholick talked about the mission of advancing Kansas State University, and said the Foundation was very honored to be a part of the development of this partnership between the University and KDA.
Secretary Jackie McClaskey with the Kansas Department of Agriculture talked about the importance of partnerships, describing agriculture’s contribution of $53 billion to the Kansas economy, making up 37 percent of the state’s economy and 12 percent of its workforce. She says its the largest industry in Kansas and largest employer in Kansas.
A variety of governmental officials from the local to state level were also present. Tours were offered for a couple of hours during the afternoon.