GIRARD — The Kansas Department of Agriculture announced last week that six Kansans — including Brice Elnicki, general manager of Producer’s Cooperative Association in Girard — have been appointed by Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam to serve on the department’s Marketing Advisory Board.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a total surprise, but it sure is nice to be nominated to something like that,” Elnicki said. “I had heard about it and someone had mentioned to me that I should apply for it, so I did.”

According to a KDA press release, the board “provides constituent observation and comment for a variety of industry sector strategies supporting agriculture business development, international agricultural development/trade, From the Land of Kansas trademark program, local foods and affiliated programs, agricultural workforce development, and agricultural education.”

Elnicki said it will be fun to be involved with the Marketing Advisory Board, “to see Kansas agriculture as a whole and not just from the perspective of Southeast Kansas but to also hopefully provide a voice for Southeast Kansas too in Topeka.”

The role of the board Elnicki has been appointed to is closely aligned with the mission of the KDA overall.

“The Kansas Department of Agriculture’s purpose is to serve, promote and grow the state’s largest industry,” the release announcing Elnicki’s appointment notes. “The Division of Agriculture Marketing advocates for and promotes agriculture across the state and works to provide an environment that enhances and encourages economic growth of the agriculture industry and the Kansas economy.”

Elnicki said that some recent developments could give a boost to Kansas agriculture.

“There’s some changes in ag that are coming and I’m excited for those,” he said.

“There’s some new rules and regulations that Kansas has opened up, you know, I don’t know how much traction they’ll get, but like for the hemp industry, that’s exciting as possibly a new cash crop or something that our farmers can partake in. Obviously we’re not looking for medical marijuana so to speak, but something that local farmers can use,” Elnicki said.

“I’m intrigued and interested in the hemp industry from the perspective of a Kansas farmer that’s looking for a new opportunity and a new cash crop. What that might lead to in the future, I don’t know, and you know, I’ve got some questions about it too.”

It will also be interesting to see what various government officials and agencies think about political issues affecting Kansas farmers, Elnicki said.

“Like the tariffs, the China tariffs and things like that and what effect those have had directly on Kansas ag, specifically the products that we market, you know, corn, wheat, beans, and cattle,” he said.

“It’s nice to have the opportunity to serve on something like this and it’ll be good to get a feel for what’s new in agriculture.”