(Governor Brownback) Delighted to kick off Kansas Agriculture Month. It is a wonderful industry that has meant so much and is so important around the world. We’re a big export state, so we export a lot of our agricultural commodities and it helps literally feed the world. And for that we should be very proud and we should be also, I guess, humbled by the opportunity to feed so many people in this state and around the world. (Robin Blume) Hi, I’m Robin with the Kansas Department of Agriculture and right smack dab in the middle of Kansas Agriculture Month and all of the celebrations that the Kansas agriculture community is taking part in throughout the entire month of March as the Neighbor to Neighbor Food Drive. We’re excited to partner with the Kansas agricultural community, Dillons Food Stores, and the food banks across the state. (Sheila Lowrie) Neighbor to Neighbor is a great way that we can help feed needy and hungry Kansans by all doing what we do best in the state of Kansas, it’s helping a neighbor. (Amy Pinger) We are so thankful to the Kansas Department of Agriculture because they are working every day to feed people across the country and today they’re working really hard to feed people right here in our communities that are needing food. This food drive is a statewide food drive, so three food banks are coming together to work together to make sure we can meet that need. (Gayle Stowers) We have over 419,000 people in Kansas who are considered food insecure, which means one in seven people may not have a meal today and do not have enough food to feed their families. So, one in four children in Kansas are also at risk for hunger. It means that they will not get enough to eat. They may go to bed hungry. Thirty-five percent of the people that are food insecure in Kansas may not qualify for Federal assistance programs like SNAP or school meals, and so this is a great way. They depend on the food banks of Kansas in order to help their families. (Dana Knott) You know, some of the statistics if you look at people that go to school hungry, we find that students learn more, they retain more when they’re in school. We’re really proud of our efforts with the Backpack for Kids Program at the Kansas Food Bank. That program services over 5,000 children each week in the communities we serve. We hear so many positive stories that come out of that. You know, it is so important the help that we receive from local organizations and corporations across Kansas. Dillons is a great partner, they’ve been a great partner as well as the Department of Ag. And when we have the support from the Governor as well, it’s just tremendous to be able to raise awareness in our state. Because again, I think we all live pretty charmed lives and sometimes we don’t understand or realize how many folks in our communities actually are hungry when they go to bed every night. (Sheila Lowrie) With Neighbor to Neighbor Food Drive you can make a donation at any of our Kansas Dillons stores from today through March 31. We’re accepting monetary donations and non-perishable food donations. So when you’re considering a donation for Neighbor to Neighbor think about some of those items that are most in need from our food banks. That would include things like canned soups, canned meats, canned fruits, cereals, or even peanut butter. (Robin Blume) We’ll also have many other activities throughout the month, including the Ag Day in Dillons stores which will be March 26th. Another event that we’ll be having is many students from across that state will be able to participate in a virtual farm tour with a farmer near Longford, Kansas. For more information about our Ag Month celebration activities please visit the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s website at agriculture.ks.gov on the News and Events Tab.