(WICHITA) – Members of the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) took policy positions on issues affecting their common business interests during the group’s annual business meeting December 1 in Wichita. The process of gathering member input on these issues began in November at regional roundtable meetings across the state, continued during committee and council meetings and concluded with final consideration and approval from the general membership at the KLA Convention.
“Many KLA members were involved in forming policy for the year ahead,” said KLA President Lee Reeve, a cattle feeder and farmer from Garden City. “While the entire membership may not unanimously agree on every resolution, we understand working together gives us a more powerful voice and is in the best interests of our businesses and our industry.”
Among the new resolutions is one supporting modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement in a way that protects current provisions favorable to beef and other U.S. ag product exports. Canada and Mexico are two of the largest international customers for U.S. beef.
Members voted to support an exemption from Electronic Logging Device requirements for livestock haulers while modifications to the hours of service (HOS) rules are being sought. Producers and animal care specialists believe the current HOS standard is not practical and will compromise animal welfare.
New KLA policy supports federal legislation to improve livestock disaster programs, including an increase in payment limitations for the Livestock Indemnity Program and Emergency Conservation Program. This legislation addresses shortcomings identified in the wake of wildfires, blizzards and other natural disasters in Kansas the past several years.
The membership approved an amendment to existing policy supporting a mandatory national individual animal identification system for disease traceability. Language in the resolution suggests the system should minimize costs to producers, optimize the role of the private sector in administering the program and protect the confidentiality of individual animal owner records.
Another amended resolution opposes legislation that would increase the current amount of acres that can be enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program.
KLA members approved new policy supporting federal legislation to create a Dealer Statutory Trust. This trust would give unpaid cash sellers first priority to livestock and the proceeds or accounts receivable when there is a livestock dealer default.
A new resolution opposes allowing food products not derived from livestock or dairy production to use nomenclature typically associated with meat and milk. Members support legislative, regulatory or judicial action to protect livestock and dairy nomenclature from piracy.
The new resolution addressing state water plan funding is based on the fact that ranchers and farmers pay a disproportionately larger amount of fees in relation to agriculture’s benefit from the plan. Therefore, members oppose any attempt to increase fees paid by irrigators and other agricultural water users in order to fund the plan.
Members approved policy on conservation easement funding. Support was expressed for state legislation to create a Kansas conservation easement funding source, preferably through the Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Conservation. Members oppose state legislation that would prohibit Kansas landowners from voluntarily agreeing to a perpetual conservation easement agreement.
Policy retained by KLA members supports current state laws prohibiting local units of government from enacting any regulations that apply to agricultural land use or the construction and maintenance of buildings used for agricultural purposes outside of city limits. Any attempt to weaken agriculture’s exemption from local zoning authority is opposed by KLA.
In all, KLA members approved 61 resolutions for 2018. Other issues addressed in KLA policy range from animal care to limited transferable deer hunting permits for landowners. KLA is a 5,400-member trade organization representing the state’s livestock business on legislative, regulatory and industry issues at both the state and federal levels. The association’s work is funded through voluntary dues dollars paid by its members.