New leadership is taking over at the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Gov. Laura Kelly announced Mike Beam as her choice for the next Kansas Secretary of Agriculture. Kelly cited his experience working with the public and government as points making him fit for the task.

“Mike Beam is a respected leader in Kansas agriculture and uniquely qualified to provide guidance and innovation at the Department of Agriculture,” Kelly said in a release. “I look forward to working with him – and other stakeholders – to grow our agricultural markets at home and abroad. Together, we can reenergize rural communities and our ag economy.”

Beam worked with the Kansas Livestock Association for 38 years and was serving as a senior vice president before being selected by Kelly to lead KDA. Beam worked with the state legislature for over 30 years while with KLA, assisting farmers and ranchers throughout the state in advancing policy and speaking for their needs.

He also served as executive director of the Ranchland Trust of Kansas, an agricultural land trust affiliated with KLA.

“Mike has had a significant influence on the success of KLA for the past 38 years. Gov. 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,” said KLA CEO Matt Teargarden. “My excitement about this opportunity for Mike is tempered by how much he will be missed by KLA members and staff.”

Beam also served as a charter member and past president of the Agribusiness Council of Kansas City. He has also been appointed to numerous task forces and working groups on wildlife regulations, natural resource conservation, ecotourism and more.

“I’m honored to be chosen by Governor-elect Kelly as her administration’s Secretary of Agriculture,” Beam said in a release. “I’m inspired by their respect and admiration for our state’s farmers and ranchers and excited about their commitment to pursue rural economic development initiatives.”