New Kansas Interim Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam joins that agency after a 38-year career with the Kansas Livestock Association. He says he’s still learning about all the regulatory functions of the Department.

“Food establishments, lodging, there’s the traditional milk, meat and poultry, feed, grain warehouse, the solvency of grain warehouses, it’s pretty awesome,” said Beam. “Trying to get a handle on those different segments. There’s good folks that are running it, so there’s nothing, no fires really to put out. Just having an appreciation of it, and understanding, especially as we prepare for this session. The session’s when your budget is approved. In a week or so, we’ll be meeting with legislative committees about the agency’s budget. I’m going to need to have a pretty good handle on that.”

The relationships Beam has built with lawmakers will help him, he thinks.

“I believe it will,” said Beam. “Knowing the process and kind of knowing the procedure, what’s expected and the protocol, I think will be very helpful. I’m just used to, during the session, that basically controls your focus and your time. It’s a lot of hours and a lot of time and a lot of deadlines. For 30-some years, that’s been a part of what I do from January to first of May, and so that’s still ingrained in my calendar and in my thought process. I think it will be a plus.”

Beam sees this as a service job.

“Make sure that we continue with the mission that agency has created and that’s to provide quality service and be responsive to those that are regulated, but also to consumers, all Kansans and taxpayers.”

Beam still faces Kansas Senate confirmation.