Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly was in rural Riley County Thursday to proclaim Beef Month, which continues through the end of May.
The governor visited the Lyons Ranch, about 13 miles south of Manhattan off of McDowell Creek Road where she spoke about Kansas being recognized for healthy cattle and high quality, nutritious beef.
“The Kansas Beef Industry is also well respected worldwide for the people in the Kansas beef community; people who lead the way in research, health, marketing and advocacy. People like the Lyons family. Jan and Frank Lyons and their daughter Amy and son-in-law Carl epitomize that leadership,” she said.
Lyons Ranch co-owner Jan Lyons spoke about the benefits to raising their Angus cattle on the native grasslands.
“This grass has got so much nutrition and protein. It comes back from the root system. So the new green you see is all new growth from this spring. Typically we would have burned this pasture,” she said.
That burning was unable to occur this year due to a variety of factors, including the unusually high amount of windy days.
The Lyons Ranch was started more than 40 years ago by Jan and Frank Lyons. Jan has held many leadership roles in the Kansas beef industry during that time.
She was the first woman president of the Kansas Angus Association, and has also chaired the Kansas Beef Council and Cattlemen’s Beef Board and served as president of the Kansas Livestock Association and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in 2004. Lyons spoke to a gathering on her ranch a brief history of the ranch and how they and other livestock producers persuaded the federal government to not impede on their land to expand Fort Riley in the early 1980s.
“We banded together and with the KLA’s (Kansas Livestock Association) help and (Kansas Department of Agriculture Secretary) Mike Beam’s staffing expertise, we formed Preserve the Flint Hills and we made the Army, no less, stand in their tracks and take a second look as to whether they actually needed this land. It was good to join together as I’ve learned over the years, that’s how we get things done,” Lyons said.
Gov. Kelly touted the importance of the beef industry to the state’s economy, but also campaigned for how her administration plans to continue to advocate for farmers going forward.
“I will continue to work for policies that help our Kansas farm families across every county of the state. My administration will continue to fund quality transportation systems to help move cattle through the food supply chain. We’ll expand rural broadband that helps rural communities and contributes to e-commerce opportunities and precision agriculture,” she said.
Thursday’s ceremony included members of the Kansas Department of Agriculture, Kansas Farm Bureau, and State Representatives Sydney Carlin, of Manhattan, Lisa Moser, of Wheaton and Ken Rahjes, of Agra.