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No real surprises
Agriculture is a big deal
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 The Kansas Department of Agriculture has added a new interactive map to its website. This map breaks down statistics and shows the impact each county has on the total state economy. The map allows users to see detailed agricultural statistics including farm numbers, leading agricultural sectors and value-added data. 

What does the map show? No real big surprises for those of us who live out here. Farming and related businesses are vital.

Whether one lives in the Golden Belt or elsewhere in the state, or in rural communities or urban and suburban cities, agriculture touches every Kansan and drives the state’s economy. The agricultural output for Kansas totals approximately $62.8 billion and the industry supports more than 229,934 jobs statewide, or about 43 percent of the state’s economy. 

Closer to home, in Barton County, there are 694 farms accounting for 566,088 acres. In 2012, these farms generated $278.96 million in crop and livestock sales. 

Looking at a broader ag picture, a total of 17 agriculture, food, and food processing sectors were analyzed to determine their overall contribution to the Barton County economy. In addition to crops and livestock, these included such areas as bakery products and veterinarian services.

These 17 sectors had a total direct output of approximately $854 million and supported 1,475.6 jobs in the county.

Total value added by these 17 sectors is approximately $324 million, or 20 percent of the  of the gross regional product. This indicates that personal income, business income, and taxes generated by these sectors account for 20 percent of the total economy.

That’s a big deal.

We’ve always understood the importance of farming to our way of life. It’s nice to see this critical industry get the added attention and perhaps this new tool will also the message to get around to more or our state’s residents.

Dale Hogg