Kansas Department of Agriculture - History

History

The Kansas Department of Agriculture was the nation’s first department of agriculture. It traces back to 1857 when a group of farmers called an open meeting in Topeka to form the Kansas Agriculture Society.

Records of the society are sparse. When a confederate named Quantrill raided the town, he burned the Society's records along with a large part of Lawrence. Kansas Historical Society In 1872, the Kansas Legislature created the State Board of Agriculture from the structure of the Agriculture Society. It became the grandfather of agricultural departments in all fifty states.

The board's early years were spent organizing a state fair and acting as an immigration agency to attract needed settlers to homestead in Kansas. Gradually, the state lost its image as a part of the "Great American Desert". Farms and towns sprang up on the fertile plains of the future wheat state. The Board of Agriculture through an annual report and various publications about Kansas served as a source of information and new techniques in farming.

Through the grasshopper invasion, droughts, blizzards, and through the invention of barbed wire, the development of combines and advances undreamed in 1872, the Kansas Department of Agriculture has served the producers and consumers of Kansas agricultural products.

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