Gov. Laura Kelly talks agriculture, economic development in central Kansas

Gov. Laura Kelly joined local leaders in Hutchinson Oct. 21 for a roundtable discussion that focused on how her administration can continue to support economic and agricultural growth in central Kansas. Topics addressed during the discussion included the state’s water resources, logistics and distribution, and the Kansas workforce.

“Discussions like these are important, as they help us continue to grow and strengthen Kansas based on community needs,” Kelly said. “Every time I talk to farmers and ranchers, from any corner of our state, I am impressed with their hard work, determination, and passion for the agricultural community. Let’s keep working together to build a stronger, brighter future for everyone who chooses to call Kansas home.”

AgTrax, a software company for accounting and advanced grain bin management, hosted the roundtable. The company is the fastest-growing software developer of its kind and was named the Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce 2021 Business of the Year.

“With a global leadership presence in the agribusiness technology field, AgTrax and its employees are genuinely thankful to have hosted and participated in Kelly and Beam’s ‘Agriculture & Economic Success in Central Kansas’ Roundtable discussion,” said Gayle Lewis, president of AgTrax. “This forum, and the exchange of ideas with constituents, community leaders, and industry executives, are invaluable to the efforts of strengthening our statewide agriculture growth—achieved through collaborative partnerships and new business developments with ag-focused companies; leading to further economic rise in Kansas.”

Since taking office, the Kelly administration has created over 750 economic development projects worth more than $14.5 billion in capital investment and more than 52,000 jobs. Those successes include new ag-related businesses like Hilmar Cheese Company, which invested $600 million into Kansas to build a state-of-the-art cheese and whey manufacturing facility in Dodge City,creating 260 jobs with long term projections of an additional $550 million in capital investment and 750 additional new jobs; and Amber Wave, North America’s largest wheat protein plant, which is investing more than $250 million into the new Phillipsburg facility and creating more than 60 new jobs.

“Agriculture makes up a large part of our local Reno County economy and the Hutchinson region is an important central location for the movement of commodities from Kansas,” said Debra Teufel, Hutch Chamber president and CEO. “We are pleased to be able to join Governor Kelly this week for a roundtable at AgTrax in Downtown Hutch. We appreciate the opportunity for Governor Kelly and Secretary Beam to hear issues of importance to our agribusiness community.”

Beyond Kelly and Beam, the roundtable participants included:

  • Gayle Lewis, President of AgTrax;

  • Rep. Jason Probst, Kansas House of Representatives District 12;

  • Senator Dave Kerr, chair of the Board for Kansas Ethanol;

  • CJ Blew, owner of Blew Partnership of Cattleton;

  • Debra Teufel, president and CEO of Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce;

  • Abby Stockebrand, human resource business partner for PrairieLand Partners;

  • Todd Warner, vice president and general manager of Kincaid Equipment and Manufacturing; and

  • Stephen Cost, employee at Tyson Foods.