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New head of KDA has goals for agency

Josh Svaty

Newly appointed Acting Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Josh Svaty is quickly taking to his new leadership role in Topeka. As one of his first actions, Svaty attended the 2009 Kansas Wheat Conference, July 30, in Wichita.

Svaty spoke to the group about the role of the Kansas Department of Agriculture and his plans for the department during his tenure.

"The outgoing secretary left the department in great shape," Svaty said. "My job is much easier because we have great support staff who are very energetic and able to keep the wheels going."

Svaty said now is an exciting time for Kansas agriculture, with issues such as the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) and water conservation taking center stage.

"I will work to make sure that NBAF becomes a reality in Kansas," Svaty said. "It holds a lot of promise for Kansas agriculture." There have been new debates from states that were not chosen for the facility as to the practicality of the proposed Manhattan, Kan., site. Svaty added that the Manhattan location is just as safe, if not more so, than any other location that had been proposed and he plans to work with state legislators to get that message out.

Additionally, he plans to work to develop a strong water policy that will aid farmers in sustaining agriculture in the state today and for future generations.

Svaty's family has been in agriculture in the state for five generations, and when the news came of his appointment they were all excited for him, he said.

"It'll be interesting to view agriculture from this end rather than from the production end," he said.

"I was honored when Gov. Parkinson extended the invitation to me, and I am proud to take over from former Secretary Polansky," Svaty said.

Jennifer M. Latzke can be reached by phone at 620-227-1807, or by e-mail at jlatzke@hpj.com.

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