Topeka Kansas Agriculture Secretary Dale Rodman, who was the driving force behind moving the agency from Topeka to Manhattan and a proposed repeal of the state's corporate ban on farming, is stepping down.
Gov. Sam Brownback on Monday announced that Rodman will leave the agriculture department next week and be replaced by Jackie McClaskey, who is currently deputy secretary of the agency.
Brownback said he was grateful for Rodman's service and commitment to Kansas agriculture.
Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley stated: "When Dale agreed to serve as Secretary of Agriculture in 2010, he committed to the Governor that he would serve for two to three years. He has fulfilled that commitment and is now stepping down to return to his home in Texas."
Earlier this year, Rodman announced that KDA was moving from Topeka to Manhattan.
Rodman had said having KDA adjacent to Kansas State University, the future National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility and other ag-related entities would enhance the overall effectiveness of the department.
Under the proposal, KDA will leave the Mills Building in downtown Topeka no later than June 30, 2014, and move into a soon-to-be-constructred, three-story, 50,000 square-foot office building in the KSU Foundation Research Park. The move will affect approximately 150 employees.
Rodman, who had worked for 37 years for Cargill Inc., became secretary when Brownback took office in January 2011.
During his tenure, Rodman also has called for repeal of the state's decades-old limits on corporate farming. The issue is expected to be debated during the next legislative session, which starts next month.
In July, Rodman was elected to take over as chairman of the board of directors of the Kansas Bioscience Authority. He will continue to serve in that position.
Incoming secretary McClaskey grew up on a small farm in Girard. She has been with the department since 2011 before being named deputy secretary in July. Before joining KDA she served as assistant dean of the College of Agriculture at Kansas State.
"Jackie has been a wonderful asset for the Kansas Department of Agriculture," Brownback said. "Her extensive broad-based experience, along with her hard work ethic makes me confident she will do an outstanding job."
McClaskey also served as press secretary to Brownback when he was a freshman U.S. House member in 1995.