Kansas Department of Agriculture

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Kansas Department of Agriculture
KSDofAg logo.png
Agency overview
Formed 1862 adopted by Kansas Legislature as Kansas Agriculture Society (1857 - first public meeting)
Headquarters 1320 Research Park Drive
Manhattan, Kansas
Employees About 314
Agency executive
Website website

The Kansas Department of Agriculture is a department of the government of Kansas under the Governor of Kansas. It is responsible for providing services and expertise that promote and protect Kansas' food supply and natural resources while stimulating economic growth. The head of the Department is the Secretary of Agriculture, who is appointed by the Governor, with the approval of the Kansas Senate.[1]

The current Secretary of Agriculture is Jackie McClaskey, who was appointed by Governor Sam Brownback in 2013. Former Secretaries of Agriculture have included Sam Brownback, Foster Dwight Coburn, Alfred Gray, Adrian Polansky, and Joshua Svaty.


Initially, the Kansas State Agricultural Society began organization is 1855 and held the first public meeting in 1857, while Kansas was a territory. The Kansas Legislature officially adopted the Kansas State Agricultural Society as a state entity in 1862. The Kansas Board of Agriculture was created in 1872, building upon the work of the Kansas State Agricultural Society, which had served as a model for departments of agriculture nationwide. The agency became the Kansas Department of Agriculture in 1995. [2]

The Department traces its history back to the 1850s when a group of farmers in Kansas Territory created agriculture "societies."[2] Records of the earliest society, established in 1857, are sparse because they were burned when a confederate named William Quantrill raided and burned Lawrence, Kansas.[2]

On March 5, 1862, the Kansas Legislature created the Kansas State Agricultural Society, with Floyd Perry Baker temporarily presiding, by statute to organize agricultural work statewide.[2] In 1872, the Kansas Legislature created the State Board of Agriculture from the structure of the Agriculture Society. It became the grandfather of agricultural departments in all fifty states.

The board's early years were spent organizing a state fair and acting as an immigration agency to attract needed settlers to homestead in Kansas. Gradually, the state lost its image as a part of the "Great American Desert". Farms and towns sprang up on the fertile plains of the future wheat state. The Board of Agriculture through an annual report and various publications about Kansas served as a source of information and new techniques in farming.

Through the grasshopper invasion, droughts, blizzards, and through the invention of barbed wire, the development of combines and advances undreamed in 1872, the Kansas Board of Agriculture has served the producers and consumers of Kansas agricultural products. In 1994, the Board was renamed the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Today, the Kansas Department of Agriculture has many divisions and programs including the Agricultural Laboratory, Agricultural Marketing, Advocacy, and Outreach Team, Dairy and Feed Safety, Division of Animal Health, Division of Conservation, Division of Water Resources, Emergency Management, Food Safety and Lodging, Grain Warehouse, Meat and Poultry Inspection, Pesticide and Fertilizer, Plant Protection and Weed Control, and Weights and Measures. The Department also provides a large variety of services including licensing guides, grants and cost-share programs, Kansas commodity commissions, export inspections (foreign or domestic), soil fumigation notifications, weed free forage inspections, export certificate applications, live plant inspection applications, and much more. [3]

On June 16, 2014, the majority of the department's employees were moved from Topeka to offices in Manhattan, Kansas.[4]


The Department is administered by the Secretary of Agriculture. Under Governor Sam Brownback, Jackie McClaskey was appointed as Secretary in December 2013. Chad Bontrager is Deputy Secretary. Susan Metzger and Josh Roe are Assistants to the Secretary.

State Board of Agriculture[edit]

The Kansas State Board of Agriculture serves as an advisory board to the Governor of Kansas and the Secretary of Agriculture. The Board is composed of nine members, appointed by the Governor to serve four year terms. One member is appointed from each of Kansas' four congressional districts, with the remaining five being appointed at-large. No two members can reside in the same county and no more than five members may be from the same political party. The Board is responsible for electing its own Chair and Vice Chair.

The Board assists the Governor and Secretary in the development of legislative priorities and Departmental rules and regulations, except those which relate solely to personnel matters of the Department. The Board, however, has no powers, duties or functions concerning the day-to-day operations of the Department.

The Board includes the following: Tracy Brunner (District 1), Jay R. Garetson (District 1), Stephen J. Irsik, Jr. (District 1), Jerry McReynolds (District 1), Thad Geiger (District 2), Ann M. Peuser (District 2), Michael L. Springer (District 2), Brent Sullivan (District 3), and Gregory Reno (District 4).


  • Secretary of Agriculture
    • Administrative Services - responsible for coordinating the management functions of the Department
      • Office of the Secretary
      • Fiscal Section
      • Agriculture Statistics
      • Human Resources
      • Information Technology
      • Legal Section
      • Emergency Management
      • Information Technology Section
    • Agricultural Business Services
      • Agricultural Laboratory
      • Agriculture Marketplace Protection
        • Agricultural Commodities Assurance Program (ACAP)
        • Grain Warehouse
        • Weights & Measures
      • Dairy Inspection
      • Food Safety and Lodging
      • Meat and Poultry Inspection
      • Plant Protection and Weed Control
      • Pesticide and Fertilizer
      • Agricultural Marketing, Advocacy and Outreach Team
    • Division of Animal Health
    • Division of Conservation
    • Division of Water Resources - governs how the state's water resources are allocated and used and regulates through statute the construction of dams, levees and other changes to streams.
      • Appropriations
      • Management Services
      • Structures


  1. ^ "Kansas department of agriculture; creation", KSA 74-560, State of Kansas, 2014 [1995] 
  2. ^ a b c d "Kansas Historical Society". Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  3. ^ http://agriculture.ks.gov/home
  4. ^ "Kansas Department of Agriculture relocates to Manhattan". Retrieved June 24, 2014. 

External links[edit]