Expressing concern about a large industry that he said is important to Sedgwick County and Kansas, Sedgwick County Commissioner Tim Norton spoke in favor of the need for comprehensive government planning. He cited the commonly-held belief that humans, with their desire for large suburban home lots, are depleting the stock of available farmland.
Specifically, Norton said “Agribusiness is the third largest economic driver in our community, in our region.”
But is this true? Using 2010 figures from the Kansas Statistical Abstract, these are the largest industries in Kansas in terms of gross domestic product:
|State and local government||$13,047|
|Real estate and rental and leasing||$11,794|
|Health care and social assistance||$9,898|
|Durable goods manufacturing||$9,620|
|Finance and insurance||$8,426|
|Non-durable goods manufacturing||$7,750|
|Professional and technical services||$6,652|
|Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting||$4,612|
|Transportation and warehousing||$4,418|
|Administrative and waste services||$3,769|
|Other services, except government||$3,250|
|Accommodation and food services||$3,157|
|Management of companies and enterprises||$1,769|
|Arts, entertainment, and recreation||$506|
Agriculture ranks below many other industries. In most years agriculture would rank even lower, but because of high farm prices in recent years, it ranks higher than it has.
Norton also expressed concern that humans with large home lots would deplete the land available for agriculture. But he need not worry, as I show in Saving farms from people.