By UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS
With an eye to the critical role agriculture plays in the lives of Kansans, Dr. Grady Dixon, dean of the Peter Werth College of Science, Technology and Mathematics, and Ken Rahjes, Kansas District 110 representative, launched a pilot agricultural forum. The event, held Monday in the FHSU Robbins Center, was funded by Fort Hays State University as part of its mission to serve Kansas residents.
“If you live in Kansas, no matter what your occupation or your hobbies or interest, you are doing ag in one way or another,” Dixon said in his welcome to the group of approximately 50 attendees. “We should be better about getting everybody involved. So, we hope to get the conversations going today.”
Issues and perspectives of eight guest speakers representing several agriculture industry sectors were presented throughout the day. Speakers included: Steve Fenton, Midland Marketing; Kent Dunn, vice president of Kansas Cotton Association; John Grabbe, co-owner Grabbe Farms; Chad McCormick, Grant County Feeders; Landon Oldham, founder/owner Heartland Soil Services; Brant Peterson, district 3 commissioner, Kansas Grain Sorghum; Dan Senestraro, owner Eastside Dairy; and Jace Young, founder, and CEO, Legacy Farmer, LLC.
Rahjes led a legislative panel at the close of the day’s presentations and spoke about the value of sharing ideas.
“We wanted to highlight what is going on in Kansas,” Rahjes said. “And give stakeholders a chance to interact with legislators. A real opportunity for them to hear from you.”
Other legislators on the panel included: Sen. Mary Ware, Wichita; Rep. Bill Clifford, Garden City; Rep. Jim Minnix, Scott City; and Sen. John Doll, Garden City. During the panel discussion, the legislators discussed property tax relief, water concerns, and potential markets to move commodities.
“My impression is that ag-industry practitioners and state legislators both saw significant value in the ag forum,” Dixon said. “I hope to continue something similar in future years.”