Sebelius declares March 15 to 21 Kansas Agriculture Week
Governor Kathleen Sebelius has signed a proclamation declaring March 15 to 21 Kansas Agriculture Week in honor of the state's founding industry.
"In Kansas, we have a strong agricultural tradition that predates our statehood," Sebelius said. "But agriculture represents more than our history, it represents our future and our continuing commitment to the farmers and ranchers of Kansas."
Sebelius commended Kansas farmers and ranchers for producing agricultural products that sold for more than $14.4 billion in 2007. She noted that:
--Kansas typically produces more wheat, grain sorghum and beef than any other state in the nation;
--Kansas ranks third in sunflower production, eighth in corn production, ninth in hog production, eleventh in soybean production and eighteenth in milk production;
--Kansas ranks sixth in farm product exports, which were valued at $3.8 billion in 2007;
--One out of every five Kansans is employed in a job related to farming or food production.
"Kansas-grown foods contribute to the health and well-being of people worldwide," Sebelius continued. "However, agriculture also provides ingredients for products used in transportation, energy, health care, construction, manufacturing, personal care, education and sports."
Sebelius noted that agriculture also provides renewable fuels that decrease our nation's dependence on foreign oil. Kansas ethanol plants turn corn and grain sorghum into ethanol used to fuel our vehicles, and those plants have created some 600 permanent jobs for Kansans.
On the horizon is commercial-scale production of ethanol from cellulosic sources like switchgrass and plant matter left over at harvest. The Midwest is home to the greatest biomass resource in the United States. The region has 50 percent of the nation's biomass supply, including 74 percent of the crop residues and 77 percent of the switchgrass.
"Agriculture provides the food we eat, the clothes on our backs and the fuel in our cars," Sebelius said. "That's why I urge all Kansans to join me in celebrating all that agriculture has given to our health, our way of life and our future prosperity."