The Dodge City Community College Foundation and Puzzle Piece Ranch-Autism Southwest Kansas hosted the Cattleman’s Workshop luncheon Tuesday at the Magouirk Conference Center.
The workshop began with legislative updates by several political leaders. An overview of important development projects that are going on at Dodge City Community College was given by the school’s president, Dr. Don Woodburn. Dr Chris Reinhardt gave a lecture on how to stop the spread of affluenza, a disease that affects cattle. The keynote speaker was Dr. Temple Grandin. Dr. Grandin spoke about cattle handling and the behavior of cattle and then took questions from the audience.
Kansas Secretary of Commerce Pat George and Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback delivered legislative remarks to the attendees to begin the workshop. Each spoke about the importance of agriculture and cattle to the economy of southwest Kansas.
George also mentioned the development projects that are taking place at Dodge City Community College. A new, monolithic dome that has been proposed would serve as a sports facility and a tornado shelter, he said.
The Commerce secretary is responsible for workforce development. He said community colleges play an important role in helping to train workers that have the technical skills to perform the services that employers need. “There is a great need for workers with technical skills. The training that community colleges provide enables Kansans to be gainfully employed,” he said.
George finished by recognizing Dr. Grandin for her ability to overcome autism and for her contribution to the cattle industry.
“She is proof that you can succeed no matter what your challenges in life are,” he said.
The Commerce secretary then introduced Gov. Sam Brownback. George noted that the governor grew up on a farm and also once served as the Kansas secretary of agriculture. “He works tirelessly to make Kansas the best place to live and have your business,” George said of the governor.
Gov. Brownback began by thanking Dr. Grandin for attending the workshop and for her contribution to the industry. The governor noted that the topics of cattle handling and autism awareness are a unique mixture, but that each topic is necessary and important to discuss.
The secretary of commerce and the governor recently visited China, according to the governor. “There are great opportunities for us in China,” he said.
The United States and China each must work to improve their food safety systems and ensure that animals are handled safely and humanely, according to the governor.
Agricultural exports are important to the state’s economy, Brownback said. Most of the food that is produced in Kansas leaves the state for other markets. Due to that fact, the state has a reputation around the world for producing quality agricultural products, he said.
Page 2 of 2 - Gov. Brownback then transitioned into topics about the community college system and the dairy industry. He noted that the dairy industry in Kansas has grown by 50% since 1996 and that dairy processing companies have set-up in Kansas to produce products including milk and yogurt.
The governor and newly-appointed Kansas Rep. Bud Estes were given commemorative coins by the Dodge City Convention and Visitors Bureau in recognition of their service. Dr. Grandin was recognized for her achievements and was sworn in as an honorary marshal of Dodge City.