MANHATTAN — The Kansas Department of Agriculture will host six regional agribusiness development workshops in early 2017. Mark these dates on your calendar, as the workshops will provide Kansas farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses with resources, current business development opportunities, and organizational contacts to assist with start-ups or expansions.

The KDA Division of Agriculture Marketing received a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development Grant to help fund these statewide workshops. Additional information on specific agendas, locations and how to register for individual workshops will be sent out prior to each event. All workshops will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Dates and locations of the 2017 workshops include:

· Jan. 19 Russell

· Feb. 2 Emporia

· Feb. 9 Winfield

· Feb. 16 Liberal

· Feb. 23 Norton

· March 2 Hutchinson

“Agriculture is the largest industry, economic driver and employer in the state, contributing 43 percent of the state’s economy and 12 percent of the state’s workforce,” said Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey. “We are committed to economic growth, and these workshops will expand opportunities for small and rural agribusinesses across the state.”

Established in the 2014 Farm Bill, USDA’s Rural Business Development Grant program is a program intended to help with technical assistance, training and other activities to allow small businesses in rural areas expand.

Featured speakers at the workshops will represent KDA, Kansas Department of Commerce, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, USDA Rural Development, Network Kansas, Small Business Development Center, local Chambers of Commerce, Main Street economic development and E-Community organizations.

KDA is committed to providing an environment that enhances and encourages economic growth of the agriculture industry and the Kansas economy. These workshops will provide support and assistance to help make Kansas businesses more successful.

For additional information, contact Lynne Hinrichsen, KDA agribusiness development director, at lynne.hinrichsen@ks.gov.

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