“Ag Jobs” was the theme of the second annual Western Ag Summit hosted by Fort Hays State University. The event was established by Kansas District 110 Representative Ken Rahjes, chair of the House of Representatives Ag Committee, and Dr. Grady Dixon, Fort Hays State University dean of the Peter Werth College of Science, Technology and Mathematics to bring awareness to the critical issues facing Kansas’ farmers, ranchers, financial institutions, and ag businesses.
The summit was held on Thursday, Nov. 9, in the FHSU Robbins Center on the campus of Fort Hays State University.
The 2023 Ag Summit opened with Dean Dixon welcoming over sixty guests from various agricultural-related businesses, representatives from the state and national legislators, and members of the FHSU and Affiliation schools NCK Tech and Northwest Tech to the event.
“Everyone who lives and works in Western Kansas works in or supports Kansas agriculture,” Dixon said as he highlighted the impact that agriculture has throughout all aspects of the communities in Western Kansas.
Issues and perspectives discussed by this year’s guest speakers throughout the day represented several agriculture industry sectors. Speakers included Kevin Swayne of High Plains Farm Credit in Hays, Derrick Tice of Evergreen Ag Solutions in St. Francis, Michael Feltman of Feltman Law Firm in Cimarron, Steve Felton and Liesel Sims of Midland Marketing in Hays, Megan Rice of USD 214 in Ulysses, Monty Breneman of USDA NRCS in Hays, and Jason Taylor of Carrico Implements in Hays.
The summit closed with a panel discussion that included nine state legislators. In addition to Rep. Rahjes, legislators in attendance included Sen. Dan Kerschen, Wichita; Rep. Sandy Pickert, Wichita; Rep. Barb Wasinger, Hays; Rep. Jim Minnix, Scott City; Rep. Shannon Francis, Liberal; Rep. Sydney Carlin, Manhattan; and Sen. John Doll, Garden City; Rep. David Younger, Ulysses; Rep. Fred Gardner, Garnett; and Adam Smith, Weskan.
“Last year was our first event, and we focused on the things that most people may not know about each sector of agriculture in western Kansas,” Dixon said. “Going forward, we plan to have themes each year, and this year’s theme was ‘Ag Jobs.’ We hope to learn more about the ways that legislators, universities, and others can help prepare, recruit, and retain a strong workforce in this industry.”
Mark your calendars for next year’s summit, which is set for Dec. 9, 2024.