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Agrimarketing : September 2009
26 Agri Marketing September 2009 AGRI-MARKETER'S UPDATE RE-DEFINING A COWTOWN REPUTATION by Lorie R. North Known as the City of Fountains for for its barbeque, Kansas City's reputation has varied since its founding in 18 6. One reputation Kansas City hasn't shaken though, is being a Cowtown. At its height, the Kansas Stockyards moved 60,000 head of cattle a day and served as the point of convergence for five railroads. It was a vast operation with several thousand employees and hundreds of companies. Fast forward to 2009 and you'll still find Kansas City employees and their companies are part of the ani- mal industry. However, the more than 125 companies making up the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor want the world to know Kansas City is more than a Cowtown. It's also a swine, poultry, equine, dog and cat town. "The Kansas City area has the largest single concentration of ani- mal health and nutrition companies in the world," explains Lynn Parman, Vice President of Bioscience Development with the Kansas City Area Development Council. "More than one-third of global animal health and nutritional product/ services sales ($19 billion) are gener- ated from companies based in the Corridor. While many business peo- ple may not have understood the scope of the animal industry here in Kansas City, that's changing with the help of the Animal Health Corridor." Many of the largest global animal health and animal nutrition compa- nies are located in the Corridor including Bayer, Ft. Dodge, Intervet/ Schering-Plough, Boehringer Ingelheim and Hill's. These seven companies create a critical mass, but another 100-plus small to mid-size manufacturers and industry service providers, plus two major universi- ties make up the Corridor. The Corridor 's key objective is to cultivate a climate of opportunity for companies competing in and sup- porting the animal health and nutrition industry. The group wants to help area companies be more successful by providing resources, networking, workforce development and a legislative and operating environment favorable to animal health. In addition, the group wants to grow the base of animal health and nutrition companies in the region and increase research among public and private sectors. JUMP START The Corridor concept started in early 2000 when the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute commissioned a study to review the entire bioscience sector. The group wanted to under- stand what clusters of businesses within the bioscience realm called the Kansas City area home. "For the first time, animal health and nutri- tion surfaced and captured the attention of civic leadership," Parman says. "From there, two independent studies were commissioned to fur- ther understand the potential of ani- mal health," she says. "Then, we fast forward to 2005 when Joerg Ohle moved to Kansas City to become President/General Manager of Bayer Animal Health, North America. Ohle had witnessed a similar com- munity-based bioscience cluster in Singapore and had experienced the benefits of collaboration." He became aware of the initial efforts to create a collaborative animal health organization and turned it into a moving force supply- ing time, energy and resources to make it happen. JUMP START "Bayer has always been active in the community. So, it was important to meet individuals at the Chamber and various economic development groups," Ohle says. "Once we had defined the animal health assets, it was time to get to work. We created an advisory board and defined roles and areas of focus for each part of the organization. "I saw the parallels between the opportunities in the Kansas City area and the bioscience community in Singapore. By working together and creating a network and platform, we were able to increase everyone's opportunities and bring advantages in workforce development, collabo- rative research and manufacturing. Parman Ohle
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