from July 21

McCLASKEY SAYS PROPOSED EPA RULE IS “BAD FOR KANSAS”

     Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey criticized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week for its “heavy-handed overreach” in proposing to expand federal jurisdiction over ponds, ditches and, in some cases, dry land. She said contrary to public comments from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on her recent visit to Missouri, the proposed waters of the U.S. rule would narrow the current statutory exemptions for agriculture contained in the Clean Water Act and, ultimately, require more permits for routine farming activities.
     “The proposed rule is bad for Kansas,” said McClaskey.
     She said the Kansas Department of Agriculture, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Kansas Department of Transportation, Kansas Water Office and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism are cooperating to bring the negative ramifications of the proposed rule to EPA’s attention.
     “We will continue to fight to protect the rights of Kansas landowners and businesses,” said McClaskey.

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from July 18

IMPACT OF PRAIRIE CHICKEN LISTING ON WILMORE FIELD DAY PROGRAM

     The regulatory impact on farming and ranching in the lesser prairie chicken habitat range will be discussed during the August 13 KLA/Kansas State University Ranch Management Field Day near Wilmore. Earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act. Western Kansas is one of the areas in a five-state region considered as key habitat for the bird.  
 Merrill Ranch, a 17,000-acre cow-calf operation located in the heart of the Red Hills, is hosting the event. It is owned by the H.A. Merrill Trust and the Catherine Merrill Trust. Dee and Phyllis Scherich manage the ranch.
 Other field days scheduled are August 18 near Uniontown, at the operation owned by Lafe, Linda and Eric Wilson, and August 20 at Pike Trail Cattle Company near Delphos. Each event will start at 4:00 p.m., include educational and informational sessions and conclude with dinner. More specific program information will be announced in the coming weeks. Bayer Animal Health and the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas are sponsors of the field days.

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from July 17

STATE FSA APPROVES EMERGENCY HAYING AND GRAZING IN 44 COUNTIES

     The Kansas Farm Service (FSA) Agency announced today (7/17) that emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres has been approved for 44 counties effective immediately. Members of the Kansas FSA State Committee authorized haying and grazing in counties designated as D2 – severe drought on the U.S. Drought Monitor Map.
     Counties approved for emergency haying and grazing are Barber, Barton, Cheyenne, Clark, Comanche, Cowley, Edwards, Ellsworth, Finney, Ford, Gove, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Harper, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearny, Kingman, Kiowa, Lane, Logan, McPherson, Meade, Morton, Ness, Pawnee, Pratt, Rawlins, Reno, Rice, Rush, Russell, Scott, Sedgwick, Seward, Sherman, Stafford, Stanton, Stevens, Sumner, Thomas, Wallace and Wichita.
     Emergency haying will be allowed in these counties through August 15. Participants must leave at least 50% of each field or contiguous CRP field unhayed for wildlife. Hay must be removed from the field within 30 days of the end of the haying period. The hay cannot be sold. Landowners without livestock may rent or lease haying privileges.
     Emergency grazing is allowed through September 30. Livestock must be removed at the end of the grazing period or when the minimum average height reaches 5”. Producers without livestock may rent or lease grazing privileges.
     CRP participants in approved counties should first contact the local FSA office to request haying and grazing on an individual contract basis.

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from July 16

KLA PAC ENDORSES CANDIDATES IN PRIMARY RACES

 The KLA Political Action Council (KLA PAC) recently made campaign contributions to Kansas House and Senate candidates for the August 5 primary election. Below is a list of candidates, endorsed by KLA, who have a contested primary election. Candidates with uncontested races were not considered for endorsement in the primary.
 KLA PAC will meet after the primary to authorize contributions and recommend a list of endorsements for the November 4 general election.
 Funds used for KLA PAC contributions are from voluntary donations given by members. No dues revenue is used for campaign contributions.

KANSAS HOUSE

 KANSAS SENATE
DIST. NAME/HOMETOWN

 DIST. NAME/HOMETOWN
 9 Kent Thompson, Iola
   35 Marshall Christmann, Lyons
 19  Stephanie Clayton, Overland Park
   37 Molly Baumgardner, Louisburg
 21 Barbara Bollier, Mission Hills
     
 30 Ron Worley, Lenexa
   U.S. HOUSE
 45 Tom Sloan, Lawrence
   DIST. NAME/HOMETOWN
 49
Scott Schwab, Olathe
   2 Lynn Jenkins, Topeka
 50 Joshua Powell, Topeka
   3 Kevin Yoder, Overland Park
 59 Blaine Finch, Ottawa
   4 Mike Pompeo, Wichita
70
John Barker, Abilene
     
71
Diana Dierks, Salina
  U.S. SENATE
72
Marc Rhoades, Newton
  Pat Roberts, Dodge City
 91 Gene Suellentrop, Wichita
     
93
Joe Edwards, Haysville
  GOVERNOR/LT. GOVERNOR
97
Les Osterman, Wichita
  Sam Brownback/Jeff Colyer
 99 Dennis Hedke, Wichita
     
 117 John Ewy, Jetmore
  SECRETARY OF STATE
 120 Rick Billinger, Goodland
  Scott Morgan, Lawrence
 122 Russell Jennings, Lakin
   

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from July 15

ENTRIES, SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS FOR KJLS DUE AUGUST 15

     Premium books containing entry forms for the 82nd annual Kansas Junior Livestock Show (KJLS) have been mailed to all exhibitors from last year’s event. The 2014 show will be held September 19-22 at the Kansas Pavilions in Wichita.
     Show entries must be postmarked by August 15. Forms need to be signed by the exhibitor’s county extension agent or ag instructor and mailed to the show office in Wichita. Those who did not receive an entry form can contact their county extension office or go to www.kjls.org.
     During the show, KJLS will award 10 to 18 scholarships ranging in amounts from $750 to $2,500 to students from across the state. Scholarship applications are included in the show catalog and can be found on the KJLS web site listed above. Applications are due August 15.
     KLA, Kansas State University and the Agri-Business Council of Wichita are the three major sponsors of the show.

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from July 14

KLA/K-STATE RANCH FIELD DAYS COMING TO WILMORE, UNIONTOWN, DELPHOS

     The 2014 KLA/Kansas State University Ranch Management Field Days will be held August 13, 18 and 20. Merrill Ranch of Wilmore is the site of the August 13 field day. Lafe and Linda Wilson, and son Eric, will host the August 18 event near Uniontown and Pike Trail Cattle Company at Delphos will serve as the August 20 field day host.
     Each event will start at 4:00 p.m., include educational and informational sessions, and conclude with dinner. More specific program information will be announced in the coming weeks. Bayer Animal Health and the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas are sponsors of the field days. 

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from July 11

KLA ACCUSES EPA OF IGNORING AG’S SUGGESTIONS ON WATERS OF THE U.S.
    
     KLA Vice President of Legal and Government Affairs Aaron Popelka expressed disappointment after meeting with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy earlier this week to discuss the agency’s proposed waters of the U.S. rule. He said it is clear after the meeting and her remarks before the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City that EPA has “no intention of working with agricultural stakeholders to reform this deeply flawed proposal.”
     According to Popelka, McCarthy misrepresented the content of the proposed rule defining waters of the U.S. under the Clean Water Act. She said the proposal would not regulate groundwater or land use, while legal analysis by national and state ag organizations, including KLA, suggest it would greatly expand federal jurisdiction over groundwater, ponds, ditches and, in some cases, dry land.
     Instead of acknowledging the specific concerns of ag stakeholders raised with McCarthy during a July 9 meeting in Columbia, MO, she claimed farm and ranch organizations misunderstood EPA’s intent or have misread the rule. She also inaccurately suggested major ag organizations, including NCBA, asked for the proposed rule.
     “Nothing could be further from the truth and we call on the administrator to stop propagating these false statements,” said Popelka.
     KLA is a member of the Kansas Agricultural Alliance, which previously called on the state’s congressional delegation, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt to join forces against the EPA proposal. Gov. Brownback said this week the state is developing a coordinated response to the federal overreach contained in EPA’s waters of the U.S. rule.   

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from July 10

BILL WOULD PROTECT AG PRODUCERS FROM CONSEQUENCES OF LESSER PRAIRIE CHICKEN LISTING

     U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran have introduced an amendment to the bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014 that would prohibit USDA and the U.S. Department of Interior from requiring any alteration of land management practices due to the threatened listing of the lesser prairie chicken. The amendment is co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ted Cruz (R-TX).
     “As conservation efforts for the lesser prairie chicken are considered, farmers and ranchers deserve the flexibility to implement plans that fit their operations,” said Moran. “I am committed to making certain the measures implemented are based on sound science and common sense, as well as represent the best interest of producers.”
     The two U.S. senators from Kansas worked to avoid the lesser prairie chicken listing. Roberts and Moran signed onto a bipartisan letter last year requesting a six-month delay in the listing decision. This resulted in an extension to allow for further evaluation of the science behind the listing decision and for a special five-state species conservation plan to work. 

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from July 9

COALITION ASKS CONGRESS TO PREVENT NON-COMPLIANCE ON COOL

      NCBA is part of a broad national coalition urging Congress to direct the U.S. secretary of agriculture to suspend indefinitely the revised country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rule if it is found to be in violation of international trade rules. A World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel is expected to issue its final report later this month on whether the mandatory U.S. COOL rule is compliant. If the U.S. is found to be noncompliant by WTO, Canada and Mexico have indicated they will retaliate in the form of billions of dollars in tariffs against U.S. goods, including meat.
     WTO ruled against the original version of the mandatory COOL rule in 2011, finding it discriminated against imported livestock and did not meet the objective to provide complete information to U.S. consumers on the origin of meat products. The international trade body gave the U.S. until May 2013 to bring the COOL rule into compliance. However, Canada and Mexico challenged the revised rule, arguing COOL has a trade-distorting impact by reducing the value and number of cattle and hogs shipped to the U.S. market. The trading partners suggest this violates the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement.
     According to a news release issued by the coalition, if Congress fails to ensure mandatory U.S. COOL complies with international trade obligations, American jobs and manufacturing will be put at risk.
     The COOL Reform Coalition is comprised of a diverse group of associations and companies that represent the U.S. food, agriculture and manufacturing industries.  

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from July 9

EPA HEAD TO ADDRESS WATERS OF THE U.S. RULE IN KANSAS CITY SPEECH    

     Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy will discuss her agency’s proposed waters of the United States rule during a Thursday (7/10) speech to the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City. The Kansas agriculture community, including KLA, is unified in opposition to the rule. 
     McCarthy will share the Obama administration’s views on why the proposed rule is needed. She will answer questions about the implications of the rule.
     KLA is a member of the Ag Business Council. Members of the KLA legislative affairs staff will be in attendance for McCarthy’s presentation.
     The waters of the U.S. proposal attempts to bring ponds, ditches and even dry land, in some cases, under federal jurisdiction. If approved, KLA legal staff believes the rule would increase producer compliance costs and serve as a burden to routine farm and ranch activities like grazing, prescribed burning and terracing
.

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