from January 19

FORMER GEORGIA GOVERNOR, VETERINARIAN REPORTEDLY CHOSEN AS AG SECRETARY

     NCBA and most other mainstream ag groups are praising President Elect Donald Trump’s reported nomination of Sonny Perdue as U.S. secretary of agriculture. The appointment was confirmed by an unnamed member of the Trump transition team. It would be the final cabinet post to be filled by the incoming administration.
     Perdue, 70, is a veterinarian, businessman and former two-term governor of Georgia. He served as governor from 2003 to 2011. Perdue was a member of Trump’s agricultural advisory committee.
     “Gov. Perdue is an excellent pick to head the agriculture department,” said NCBA President Tracy Brunner. “In a time of increasing regulations and a growing governmental footprint, we have no doubt that Gov. Perdue will step in and stand up for rural America so that we can continue to do what we do best - provide the safest and most abundant food supply in the world.”
     Kyle Gillooly, a cattleman from Wadley, GA, and president of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, an NCBA affiliate, said Perdue always has been a strong supporter of agriculture. He said as a graduate of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Perdue understands issues facing the livestock industry.

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from January 18

CHECKOFF EFFORTS TARGETED AT MOVING LARGER BEEF SUPPLIES

     The “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” digital advertising campaign is active in early 2017, with the focus on helping consumers take advantage of larger beef supplies and lower prices. As part of the Families in Motion campaign, new value-oriented displays are being utilized on Facebook, Pinterest and other sites including www.allrecipes.com.
     Digital beef ads share how consumers can purchase and prepare budget-friendly meals by coupling lower-priced beef with checkoff-funded recipes.
     The smartphone app Ibotta is another way checkoff dollars are being used to increase awareness of good value at the meatcase. Consumers who download the Ibotta app can browse the grocery category for rebates on food items including fresh ground beef, steaks or roasts. They can “unlock” these rebates through online learning about beef and buy the items at any retailer nationwide. This platform provides a unique opportunity to target cost-conscious shoppers who previously may have omitted beef from their shopping list when beef prices were higher.

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from January 17

BUDGET MATTERS DOMINATE AT CAPITOL

 The highlight of the first week of the 2017 Kansas legislative session was the unveiling of Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan for balancing the current state fiscal year budget. Brownback also outlined his 2018 and 2019 budget proposals. State Budget Director Shawn Sullivan, in his presentation to legislative committees last week, told lawmakers the energy and agriculture sectors are contributing to the weak growth of tax receipts and are partly to blame for the $350 million shortfall in the current budget. Sullivan cited a Kansas Department of Agriculture study showing for every 1% decrease in agriculture prices, there is a corresponding $7.7 million decrease in sales tax receipts.
 Brownback’s proposed changes for funding the 2017 budget include a seven-year loan from the state’s Pooled Money Investment Board, reductions in payments for K-12 education, reductions in transfers to the state highway fund and other one-time adjustments.
 For the 2018 and 2019 budgets, the governor suggested new taxes on passive income, including rents and royalties; an increase in the annual report filing fee from $40 to $200 for LLCs; and increases in tobacco and liquor taxes.
 Legislators serving on appropriation committees will begin work on alternatives to the governor’s proposals. The 2017 Legislature is expected to vote on bills that would repeal the 2012 income tax exemption for LLCs, proprietorships, partnerships and S corporations. 

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from January 16

SUPREME COURT WILL DETERMINE JURISDICTION OF WOTUS LAWSUIT

     The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether jurisdiction over a lawsuit challenging the government’s waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule rests with the federal district court or appellate court. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include NCBA, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and dozens of other ag groups, businesses and municipalities.
     The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put WOTUS into effect August 28, 2015. A little more than a month later, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati issued a stay on the rule pending disposition of numerous lawsuits filed in U.S. district courts across the country. Last year, the 6th Circuit consolidated the suits under its jurisdiction.
     NCBA, NPPC and other groups submitted briefs to the appellate court in November 2016 arguing EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers promulgated the WOTUS rule without following federal rulemaking procedures. The groups suggested the agencies exceeded authority under the Clean Water Act and the U.S. Constitution.
     In their brief, the ag coalition charged EPA and the Corps failed to reopen the public comment period after making fundamental changes to the proposed rule and refused to conduct required economic and environmental analyses of the rule. Other aspects of the lawsuit contend the agencies engaged in a propaganda campaign to promote the rule and illegally lobbied against congressional efforts to stop implementation.

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from January 13

MARSHALL TO REPRESENT KANSAS ON U.S. HOUSE AG COMMITTEE

     First-term U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall was selected earlier this week to serve on the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture. The Big 1st District of Kansas, which Marshall represents, has been noticeably absent from the committee the past three years.
     “We committed to getting the Big 1st back on the ag committee,” said Marshall. “I’m proud to be able to say today that we have delivered on that promise.”
     Marshall and his House Ag Committee colleagues will deal with important legislation affecting farmers and ranchers during the 115th Congress.
     “The appointment of Congressman Marshall to the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture could not have come at a more opportune time,” said KLA Chief Executive Officer Matt Teagarden. “His input on behalf of Kansas livestock producers will be vital as Congress deals with serious issues including the onerous GIPSA rule and a new Farm Bill.” 

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from January 12

ADVANCED BEEF CATTLE CARE TRAINING SESSIONS SCHEDULED

     The Kansas Beef Council (KBC) will host five advanced beef cattle care and health training sessions across the state during January, February and March. In addition, KBC will host an online training session for Kansas FFA members.
     Kansas State University veterinarian Dan Thomson will lead the training. The curriculum will include Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) recommendations on animal husbandry best management practices; downed animal care and humane euthanasia; and low-stress cattle handling techniques. Those attending the sessions will earn BQA certification, which is valid for three years.
     Dates and locations are January 24 - Russell Livestock; February 6 - Paola Livestock Auction; February 9 - Winter Livestock, Dodge City; February 20 - Clay Center Livestock Sales; and March 7 - Rawlins County Fair Building, Atwood. The online training for FFA members will take place February 13.
     All the workshops start at 6:00 p.m., are free to attend and include a meal. Preregistration one week or more prior to the chosen session is requested by calling KBC at (785) 273-5225 or emailing john@kansasbeef.org.

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from January 11

STATE INVESTIGATOR HELPS RECOVER STOLEN CATTLE

     Kansas Special Investigator Kendal Lothman recently reported he’s opened more than 60 livestock theft cases since his appointment by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt in late 2014. Lothman, who also collaborates with the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) Division of Animal Health, currently has 40 open cases in at least 35 Kansas counties.
     During 2016, Lothman helped recover 39 stolen cattle and assisted in identifying and returning 28 strayed animals. He credits the cooperative efforts of local law enforcement officials, auction market operators and theft investigators in neighboring states for the success in solving many of these thefts the past two years.
     The state attorney general’s office and KDA are studying the feasibility of hiring a second cattle theft investigator for Kansas. Brand registration fee revenue currently funds livestock theft investigation efforts. The current brand fee is $45 for a five-year registration. Additional funding for a second investigator likely would require a significant increase in the brand registration fee. KLA policy committees will review this proposal in the coming weeks. 

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from January 10

CATTLE STOLEN IN RILEY COUNTY

     A KLA member has reported 50 heifers and 1 Angus bull stolen between December 26 and January 5 from a pasture northwest of Randolph. Most of the heifers are black in color, with a few that are smokey grey in the group. Forty of the heifers have a S with a bar in the bottom (forming a “D”) branded on the left hip. These cattle carry a yellow tag in the right ear and a white tag in the left. The remaining 10 heifers, have a broken bar over CC branded on the right hip, an ear notch at the point and bottom of the right ear and a white tag in the left ear.
     KLA is offering up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thieves. The reward program only applies when the producer is a KLA member. Anyone with information on these cattle should contact the Riley County Sheriff’s Office at (785) 537-2112 or Jan Dreith at (785) 293-2198 or (785) 632-4848.  

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from January 9

LEGISLATIVE AGENDA FULL WITH BUDGET, EDUCATION FUNDING, AG ISSUES

     The 2017 Kansas legislative session convenes today in Topeka and state lawmakers are expected to immediately begin deliberating Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposed solutions to the $350 million deficit for the current budget year. Brownback unveils his budget adjustments and agenda for the session tomorrow (1/10).
   This year’s session involves many new players, as more than a third of the House and Senate are newly elected. In addition, only two of the top six leadership positions in the House and Senate are holdovers from the previous session and many committee chairs are new as well.
     The high-profile issues for 2017 are expected to be the state’s financial status and an attempt to craft a new K-12 education funding plan, with a pending state Supreme Court ruling likely to direct the Legislature on this matter. Answers to these challenges undoubtedly will require consideration of bills that would amend state income tax law to generate additional revenue.
     On the agricultural agenda, amendments to the state’s water conservation area law and the water rights impairment claim process are expected to be deliberated. In addition, reform of the state’s noxious weed law and modifications to the deer hunting permit system will be debated this session. KLA will be one of several agricultural organizations that will ask legislators to increase maximum truck weights to 90,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight, on six axles only, to more closely harmonize Kansas law with neighboring states.
     KLA legislative affairs staff will monitor and provide input on these and other issues at the Capitol on a daily basis. Weekly updates will appear in the KLA News & Market Report

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from January 6

ROBERTS RATIFIED FOR SECOND TERM AS SENATE AG COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN

     The U.S. Senate Republican Conference has ratified the selection of Sen. Pat Roberts as chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. His appointment as committee chairman for the 115th Congress will be his second term in the position.
     “I look forward to another productive year with a majority in Congress and now with a Republican administration,” said Roberts. “We have an aggressive agenda lined up, from passing a Farm Bill to repealing and replacing Obamacare to meaningful tax reform, reducing regulations and much more.”
     Under his chairmanship in the last Congress, the Senate Ag Committee passed bipartisan legislation and addressed polarizing topics like child nutrition and food labeling. Specifically, Roberts led the committee as it passed emergency wildfire legislation, resolved the country-of-origin meat labeling trade dispute and protected the Farm Bill from proposed changes and cuts.
     Roberts is the only member of Congress in history to hold the chairmanships of both the Senate and House Ag Committees, as well as the title of ranking minority member with both committees.  

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from January 5

K-STATE TO HOST EDUCATIONAL SERIES IN EARLY 2017

     Kansas State University will be hosting two different educational series over the next two months. One will be focused on calving and the other on winter ranch management. 
     Calving schools will be held in various locations across the state through January 17. Conference speakers will share tips on when and how to intervene to assist a cow or heifer giving birth and demonstrate proper use of calving equipment on a life-size scale.
     The winter ranch management series, which will run in January and early February, will include comments from extension educators on profit-enhancing strategies for beef producers. Some of the topics to be discussed will range from winter feeding and cow management to bull buying to vaccination and animal health issues, including the new Veterinary Feed Directive. Each meeting will feature a “town hall” style question and answer session.
     For more information on each series, including dates, locations and how to make reservations, go to www.ksubeef.org.

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