AGRICULTURE SERVICES AND LIFE SCIENCES
Agriculture, sometimes referred to as the "food and fiber" sector, encompasses a broad number of activities and products. From crop and animal production to services supporting both, agriculture provides essential raw materials for making food, drugs, and clothing, to name a few. The agriculture sector also includes the organic market. Certified organic products are usually considered goods that have not been treated with synthetic inputs, such as fertilizers, pesticides, growth hormones, and antibiotics among others.
The agricultural cluster also includes the transmutation of raw agricultural inputs into products for immediate or final consumption. Food processors manufacture myriad foodstuffs into products such as cheese, confectionaries, cereals, canned foods, and alcoholic beverages. This industry segment typically sells directly to retailers or wholesalers, though retail bakeries and candy-makers manufacture and sell their products onsite.
Technology related to agricultural production can also be considered part of this sector. This includes machinery and infrastructure for developing, harvesting, or processing agricultural products. Examples include tractors, plows, sorting facilities, and food processing plants.
Even fuel is being grown today from the fields of farmers across the country. With global awareness of the importance for econologically and environmentally sustainable development, researchers are turning their attention to renewable, natural resources for materials solutions. The life sciences sector is thus a local compliment to the agricultural sector. Going forward, opportunities exist in emerging products such as biofuels and nutraceuticals and research activities will play an important role.
Strong agricultural presence in Labette County - Agriculture has historically been an important component of the local economy. This is especially true in the areas of cattle, corn, and soybean production.
Strategic location with access to agricultural inputs - Utilizing the abundance of agricultural inputs locally provides Parsons with advantages for expanding into emerging growth industries such as biofuel research, development and production.
Great Plains Industrial Park - Leveraging the opportunities provided by the Great Plains Industrial Park such as the proposed bioenergy consortium, its abundance of land, its storage and warehousing facilities, and its direct rail access are important for building upon existing local agricultural strendths and expanding into new areas of research and development, storage, and distribution.
Biofuel opportunities in the Midwest - Biofuel research and production have been expecially strong in the Midwest as a result of the close proximity of agricultural inputs.
Kansas State University Research & Extension Agricultural Research Center - Parsons is home to the Kansas State University Research & Extension Program's Southeast Agricultural Research Center. The Research Center has satellite sites in Mound Valley, Parsons, Columbus and Altamont. The Centers provide leadership in crop porduction and managment research designed to develop the agriculture in the region to its full economic potential consistent with sound ecological and environmental principles.