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Gov-elect names Mike Beam as new Kansas secretary of agricultureGov-elect names Mike Beam as new Kansas secretary of agriculture

Mike Beam will replace Jackie McClaskey, who has served as ag secretary for five years.

P.J. Griekspoor

January 18, 2019

3 Min Read
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BEAM PICKED FOR AG: Mike Beam, 38-year veteran of Kansas Livestock Association, is the choice of Governor-elect Laura Kelly to be secretary of agriculture for her administration.

Longtime Kansas Livestock Association leader Mike Beam has been named by Kansas Gov.-Elect Laura Kelly to become secretary of agriculture for her administration. He will become interim secretary on Jan. 14 pending his confirmation by the Kansas Senate.

Beam is a senior vice president at KLA and executive director at Ranchland Trust, the accredited land trust that is affiliated with KLA.

Beam will replace Jackie McClaskey in the position. McClaskey has served as secretary of agriculture for the past five years. She was appointed by former Gov. Sam Brownback and has played a key role in the development and implementation of the 50-year Vision for the Future of Water in Kansas that was a signature Brownback achievement.

She also oversaw the move of the Department of Agriculture from Topeka to new offices close to Kansas State University in Manhattan.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture has more than 300 employees. The agency serves as an advocate for agriculture in the state and works to help the industry grow in addition to playing a key role in food safety, animal health, and protection of natural resources.

“Mike Beam is a respected leader in Kansas agriculture and uniquely qualified to provide guidance and innovation at the Department of Agriculture," Kelly says.

Beam joined KLA as a field representative in 1980 and has served as executive director of Ranchland Trust for the last 15 years. He has been an active lobbyist for livestock interests in both Topeka and Washington, D.C.

"Mike has had a significant influence on the success of KLA for the past 38 years," according to Matt Teagarden, KLA chief executive officer. "Gov.-Elect Kelly recognized his deep understanding of agriculture and ag policy and his ability to work effectively with all stakeholders in naming him to this important position for farmers and ranchers.”

During his time at KLA, Beam was appointed by governors and state agency secretaries to serve on numerous high-level working groups discussing the Flint Hills, prescribed burning, conservation programs, ecotourism, deer hunting and wildlife management. He provided input to each based on KLA member priorities.

“My excitement about this opportunity for Mike is tempered by how much he will be missed by KLA members and staff," Teagarden says.

Bob Peterson, executive director of the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City, had praise for both the appointment of Beam and the work of McClaskey.

“Mike Beam is exceptionally well qualified to lead this key agency. Throughout his 38-year career with the Kansas Livestock Association, Mike has become well acquainted with all facets of agriculture and will be a great advocate for this important industry,” Peterson says. “The council also recognizes the tireless efforts of outgoing Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey. Jackie was an outstanding secretary of agriculture and a true champion for Kansas agriculture.  We congratulate her on the department’s many accomplishments during her tenure.”

Beam was a founding member of the Council in 2003 served as Chairman in 2006 and 2007.

“Mike Beam is an outstanding choice for Kansas Secretary of Agriculture. Gov.-elect Laura Kelly’s announcement that she will appoint Mike is welcome news to Kansas Corn. We’ve worked with Mike for years at KLA and look forward to continuing our relationship in his new role,” says Greg Krissek, council vice chair and CEO of Kansas Corn.

About the Author(s)

P.J. Griekspoor

Editor, Kansas Farmer

Phyllis Jacobs "P.J." Griekspoor, editor of Kansas Farmer, joined Farm Progress in 2008 after 18 years with the Wichita Eagle as a metro editor, page designer, copy desk chief and reporter, covering agriculture and agribusiness, oil and gas, biofuels and the bioeconomy, transportation, small business, military affairs, weather, and general aviation.

She came to Wichita in 1990 from Fayetteville, N.C., where she was copy desk chief of the Fayetteville Observer for three years. She also worked at the Pioneer Press in St. Paul, Minn. (1980-87), the Mankato Free Press in Mankato, Minn. (1972-80) and the Kirksville Daily Express in Kirksville, Mo. (1966-70).

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