Kansas Gov.-Elect Laura Kelly named long-time KLA staff person Mike Beam as her secretary of agriculture today. Beam will become interim secretary January 14 and remain in that capacity until confirmation by the Kansas Senate.
Beam will lead the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) and the more than 300 employees who work for the agency. KDA advocates for the agriculture industry, encourages economic growth in agriculture, ensures a safe food supply, protects natural resources and safeguards animal health.
"Mike Beam is a respected leader in Kansas agriculture and uniquely qualified to provide guidance and innovation at the Department of Agriculture," said Gov.-Elect Kelly.
Beam has spent the past 38 years working for KLA members and the livestock industry. As a senior vice president for the association, he worked on issues identified as priorities by the KLA Stockgrowers Council. He has been a key part of the KLA lobbying team at the state Capitol and in Congress. He served the last 15 years as executive director of Ranchland Trust of Kansas. Beam came to KLA in 1980 as a field representative.
"Mike has had a significant influence on the success of KLA for the past 38 years," said KLA Chief Executive Officer Matt Teagarden. "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," said Teagarden.