In Sedgwick County, misplaced concern for an industry

Wheat harvestExpressing 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:

IndustryGDP (millions)
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
Retail trade$8,324
Wholesale trade$7,910
Non-durable goods manufacturing$7,750
Professional and technical services$6,652
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting$4,612
Transportation and warehousing$4,418
Federal military$3,816
Administrative and waste services$3,769
Other services, except government$3,250
Accommodation and food services$3,157
Federal civilian$2,608
Management of companies and enterprises$1,769
Educational services$770
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.

1 Comment

  • I emailed norton about his ridiculous comments. Surprisingly I haven’t heard back. Hahaha. Norton is a soviet central planner who knows better than anyone else. Don’t ever question these little soviets or they get very angry-see unruh’s comments from the same meeting.

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