I would like to thank the citizens of Kansas for the opportunity to work with you the past nearly eight years while I was associated with USDA Rural Development. As state director of the agency from late 2001 through early 2009, it was a pleasure to work with many of you to help address some of the Sunflower State's needs to ultimately improve economic opportunities and enhance the quality of life for many Kansans.

Numerous special memories will highlight my experience while with USDA these past years. Supporting Fort Riley's BRAC-approved expansion and assisting in the many disaster recovery efforts including helping Greensburg and Chapman will top a long list. Yet, USDA Rural Development's involvement in these important projects reflected my overall desire as the agency's state director: to provide as much financing and technical assistance as possible for Kansas each and every day.

With the outstanding support of USDA Rural Development's many generous program partners, during this period the agency was able to deliver a record level of financing to help support important projects such as infrastructure, affordable housing and rural health care which will reap benefits for Kansans for years to come.

Again, I want to thank everyone for their incredible support of USDA Rural Development and the many other organizations that have worked tirelessly to help improve our state over the past several years. I encourage all Kansans to continue to cooperate and work effectively to improve community and economic opportunities in the state, recent success stories have shown us what can be accomplished when we work together.

I wish all Kansans the very best in the future, and I look forward to continuing to be involved in our inspiring journey of opportunities to help make Kansas the best state in the nation.

CHUCK BANKS,

Topeka