Business opportunities, expansion focus of seminar

3/26/2013

By RUTH CAMPBELL

By RUTH CAMPBELL

rcampbell@gctelegram.com

Engaging consumers and promoting state products and businesses are two of the main focuses of a From the Land of Kansas seminar scheduled Thursday in Garden City.

The gathering, hosted by the Kansas Department of Agriculture in partnership with the Finney County Economic Development Corp., is set for 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Finnup Center at the Lee Richardson Zoo. Hoped for attendees are extension agents, local economic development directors and representatives from the agricultural manufacturing and livestock industries. This is the first time restaurants have bene part of the program.

Business development opportunities, how to increase revenue and expand your business, ways to work with other Kansas businesses or finding out about other Kansas resources that can benefit your business, e-commerce and social media are also items to be covered in the informational seminar.

Farmers, ranchers, manufacturers/processors, agritourism business, value-added agriculture (non-food products) and restaurants may be members or partners — at various levels — in From the Land of Kansas. Each level of membership offers various benefits.

"We've gotten a lot of positive feedback from them," Hart said. "... It's really about focusing on the consumers and how to engage them. We believe restaurants help show people agriculture from the farm to the fork."

Every state has a trademark program and Kansas' is "From the Land of Kansas," said Anarose Hart, From the Land of Kansas specialist. First started in 1987, From the Land of Kansas was part of the Kansas Department of Agriculture. It was moved to the Kansas Department of Commerce in 1994 and back to the Department of Agriculture in 2011.

"We want to help promote and celebrate Kansas food and agriculture products and the entrepreneurs behind them," Hart said.

From the Land of Kansas Coordinator Becky Sullivan said the program also aims to build up brand recognition for Kansas ag products. During the past two years, she said focus groups and email surveys have been conducted and "people are very excited" about the trademark program revamp.

As part of the program revision, plans are to go live with a more dynamic website in late spring and a trading post, "like Craigslist for agriculture," probably sometime in September, Hart said.

The state department of agriculture has conducted three seminars so far this month in Wichita, Olathe and Manhattan, Hart said. There will be on in Hays today and the one Thursday in Garden City. "We are going to be very responsive to the regions of Kansas that want to learn more about the program," she said, adding officials could also return and offer specialized programs.

Next year, they may return to the five markets visited this year and host the seminars again.

For more information, visit www.fromthelandofkansas.com.

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