Governor Kelly Kicks Off 2023 Kansas Agricultural Growth Summit

MANHATTAN – Governor Laura Kelly kicked off the eighth annual Kansas Governor’s Summit on Agricultural Growth, a meeting of more than 400 leaders representing various agricultural interests across Kansas.

Governor Kelly touted the importance of the industry to Kansas: In 2022, agriculture contributed over $76 billion to the Kansas economy and fueled over 250,000 jobs – 14% of Kansas’ workforce. Earlier this week, she announced that Kansas exported nearly $5.5 billion of agricultural goods – the most in the state’s history.

“Despite the many hurdles thrown our way – including the ongoing drought, which has devastated this summer’s wheat harvest – the Kansas ag industry remains strong,” said Governor Kelly. “There’s no doubt: Kansas remains a worldwide powerhouse in agriculture. But it’s also clear that to keep our ag industry modern and competitive, we have to solve two major challenges facing us: water and workforce shortages.”

Workforce and water were the focus of the morning sessions at this year’s Ag Growth Summit. Governor Kelly shared actions her administration is taking to solve water and workforce shortages, including by making record investments in water-saving infrastructure and expanding registered apprenticeships. Guest speakers provided insight, and then attendees will break up into groups for an interactive discussion on how we can work together toward solutions for these critical challenges.

“Many of the initiatives that have contributed to Kansas agriculture were the result of discussions here at the Ag Growth Summit,” said Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam. “We appreciate the commitment of leaders and producers who take time to engage in active discussion about what can be done to drive growth and how we can collaborate to move agriculture forward to benefit the state of Kansas.”

Secretary Beam will close the conference by providing a summary of the morning’s discussions on workforce and water and by recognizing the 2023 Kansas Ag Heroes.

For more about the 2023 Kansas Ag Growth Summit and the full Ag Growth Project —including materials shared in the day’s sessions and a full list of the Kansas Ag Heroes — visit

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.


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