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By The Hutchinson News

Kansas Department of Agriculture willmove a majority of its offices to Manhattannext year.

Ag Secretary Dale Rodman announcedthe plan Thursday in a press release. Officials have been studying the ideasince June.

Rodman said the agency will builda new building by the Kansas State University Foundation with the move taking placein summer 2014.

KDA will maintain its mainadministrative office in Topeka but will movemost of its programs to Manhattan, where Rodmansaid the agency can capitalize on synergies with KansasState University,as well as with other agricultural and bio-science entities located in Manhattan.

The move allows department staffto work closely with K-State experts nationally and even globally recognizedand trusted subject matter experts on scientific and economic research. Rodmanalso said it will allow the ag department to better serve customers.

"Whether it is a cooperativeeffort on animal health research, collaboration on water conservation, jointeducational outreach between the department and K-State Research and Extensionor technical support provided by the university, this move will put thedepartment in position to leverage the expertise at K-State, grow agricultureand serve all of our customers in a more efficient and effective manner," Rodmansaid in a statement.

The department will maintaincurrent field offices in Stafford, Stockton,Parsons and Garden City. The department's current lease ends Sept. 30, 2013,but KDA is in the process of extending the lease at the current locationthrough June 30 2014.

Rodman said this move willposition the state of Kansasto work cooperatively with public, private and university partners to lead thenation and world forward in agriculture and biosecurity.

"Relocating KDA to Manhattan furthersolidifies the state's commitment to being a leader in agriculture. Manhattan is home to NBAFand will continue to grow as the hub for the future of agriculture andbio-sciences," Rodman said. "Moving KDA to Manhattan sends a clear message thatKansas is committed to working with all of our partners to be a leader in notonly the production of food, fiber and energy but also in the security anddefense of these critical components of our state, nation and world."

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