Marion is among six Kansas communities chosen by Kansas Department of Agriculture for a new agribusiness workshop series.
KDA Division of Agriculture Marketing received a $33,000 federal grant to create the program, and director Kerry Wefald said the county fit what they were looking for.
“We wanted locations that were strategically placed around the state,” Wefald said. “We looked at E-Communities and those with active economic development individuals.”
The department also evaluated communities based on a matrix of characteristics provided by USDA, which granted the funds.
The department contacted county economic development director Theresa Huffman about the potential of being a workshop site, and Wefald said they got an enthusiastic response.
“Theresa did a really great job in saying it was something she wanted to look at to bring people into the county,” Wefald said. “It’s great to bring this into a community with rich agricultural tradition.”
Huffman was pleased to learn the program had been funded.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the county,” she said. “Things are really opening up. I’ve had so many people contact me in the last few weeks, entrepreneurs wanting to start businesses. We are rural, and this is an excellent opportunity for rural businesses.”
The one-day workshops will promoting resources for businesses to develop and expand.
“For us, the agribusiness workshops are opportunities to come in and present a complete menu of options and facilitate connections with people across the state to create opportunities,” Wefald said.
Other communities selected for the first round of workshops included Colby, Dodge City, Iola, Belleville, and Leavenworth.
KDA will work with Network Kansas and Department of Commerce to develop the workshops, which will take place later this year.