Business Development

The business development team works to grow the Kansas agriculture industry and economy.  The team works with any farmer, rancher, or agribusiness that wants to expand in size or product offerings.  The team works to attract farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses to Kansas to conduct business; whether with a complete relocation or expansion of an additional location. The business development team connects people, works through regulatory requirements, navigates support and incentive options for interested parties, and creates business plans which promote and benefit Kansas agribusinesses.

Additionally, the team works to promote Kansas agricultural products around the world.  The team coordinates 10-to-15 international export trade missions with Kansas producers each year. The team also hosts numerous international delegations in Kansas in which visitors are introduced to Kansas agriculture and influenced to buy and invest in Kansas agriculture products.

The team brings a wide range of agricultural experience to the table that makes us well suited for working with private industry.  Experience includes: livestock production, processing, and meat marketing, grain production, storage, and processing, farmers’ market sales and promotion, banking, finance, and budgeting, along with work force preparation, management, and leadership.  The team looks forward to putting their skills to work for Kansas agriculture every day.

Growing Kansas Agriculture - Industry Success Story

Growing up in the rural Kansas, Joe Fund has always been interested in projects that utilize both his brain and his hands. This is apparent by the many projects on his land in Shawnee County. His newest project is a hop yard. Fund has always loved growing things and he decided growing hops would be a new adventure.

After doing preliminary research on growing hops, Fund turned to the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Agribusiness Development Team for resources on growing hops in Kansas.

“Lynne Hinrichsen and Kellen Liebsch were very helpful and encouraging of my new project,” Fund said. “After discussing my plans with them, they put me in contact with Kansas Hop Company, which is a great resource as they have expertise in growing hops in Kansas.”

Since the hop vine can grow as tall as 25 to 30 feet, Fund implemented an innovative way to harvest the hops. “After reading up on growing hops, I decided to put my trellises on a winching system. Having the top lines on a winch allows me to harvest from the ground rather than having to climb on a ladder,” said Fund. Having an ADA-accessible hop yard will allow Fund to continue to grow his hop yard for many years.

Menoken Hop Yard is doing better than expected after reaping three harvests in the first year. “I am very happy with how well our hops have grown. We planted the hops in late March, had our first picking in mid/late August, and our last picking in early October,” said Fund.

Today, the Menoken Hop Yard grows two varieties of hops and sources to two local Topeka breweries. Menoken hops can be found in Menoken IPA at Happy Basset Brewing Company and in Menoken Harvest Pale Ale at Norsemen Brewing Company.

Looking to the future, Fund is excited about expanding his hop yard and taking on more new projects. “I will definitely keep the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Agribusiness Development Team in mind when starting new projects if I need additional resources and information.”