The Kansas Department of Agriculture is a recipient of a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development Grant. Established in the 2014 Farm Bill, the RBDG is a competitive grant program designed to provide targeted technical assistance, training and other activities to enable small businesses in rural areas to be developed or to expand.
KDA’s Division of Agriculture Marketing will receive approximately $33,000 in RBDG funding and will use those resources to host a series of regional agribusiness development workshops for Kansas economic development representatives and Kansas individuals or businesses that grow, produce, process or manufacture agricultural products. KDA Agriculture Marketing Director Kerry Wefald said this grant will allow the marketing team to continue building awareness about opportunities in agriculture, the state’s largest industry.
“Strong and thriving agribusinesses contribute to strong and thriving communities across Kansas,” said Wefald. “This grant will allow us to better serve our customers across Kansas not only by elevating awareness about potential to grow and expand agribusinesses in rural communities but by taking these workshops directly to our customers throughout the state.”
KDA will partner with Network Kansas E-Communities to host workshops this winter in Colby, Dodge City, Iola, Marion, Belleville and Leavenworth. Later in 2016, six additional workshops will be hosted in communities that will be identified based on exceptional need or economic distress.
Wefald said KDA will work with Network Kansas and the Kansas Department of Commerce to develop curriculum for the workshops, which could cover a range of topics including training and technical assistance, technology-based economic development, business plan development, leadership and entrepreneur training, long-term business strategic planning and more.
“The mission of the marketing team, and central to the overall mission at KDA, is to help create an environment that facilities growth and expansion in agriculture while increasing pride in and awareness about agriculture in Kansas,” said Wefald. “This grant will directly help us improve our ability to reach more Kansans and live up to our mission.”