from April 25
MEAT INDUSTRY OFFERS PRAISE OF NEW U.S. AG SECRETARY PERDUE
The U.S. Senate has confirmed former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue as the new U.S. secretary of agriculture. Perdue was confirmed yesterday (4/24) on an 87 to 11 vote.
NCBA President Craig Uden and U.S. Meat Export Federation Chief Executive Officer Philip Seng both praised Perdue.
“We are excited to have a secretary that comes from the industry, understands the complexities of our business and is willing to stand up and fight for the hard-working men and women in rural American,” said Uden.
“Secretary Perdue’s track record as governor and his recent testimony before the Senate leave no doubt that he understands the important role of international trade in enhancing the profitability of U.S. livestock producers and the entire U.S. supply chain, and that he is very committed to expanding U.S. exports,” said Seng.
from April 24
COURT DECISION COULD TRIGGER AMMONIA EMISSION REPORTING
The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals recently struck down a 2008 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation that exempted livestock operations from reporting emissions of certain substances, such as ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, under the Comprehensive Emergency Response, Compensation and Liability Act and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. According to the court, EPA lacked the statutory authority to grant such an exemption. If the decision is not appealed, livestock operations could have to start reporting ammonia and hydrogen sulfide emissions from manure as soon as the end of May. Under current EPA thresholds, 100 lbs. per day of ammonia must be reported, which is estimated to be the amount generated from 208 head of cattle.
NCBA and KLA are pursuing both legislative and regulatory relief, as the law never was intended to require reporting of diffuse emissions like those from livestock manure. KLA will provide further updates on the status of reporting requirements as more information becomes available.
from April 21
CANADIAN DAIRY POLICIES CONDEMNED BY TRUMP
President Donald Trump criticized Canada this week for unfair trade practices discriminating against U.S. dairy imports. His comments were related to a new Canadian pricing policy that effectively blocks American dairy imports.
Trump made the comments during an appearance in Wisconsin. He blamed the situation on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and said his administration soon will propose changes to the trade agreement.
“We’ll be reporting back some time over the next two weeks as to NAFTA and what we’re going to do about it,” Trump told reporters.
Earlier this month, U.S. dairy industry leaders urged President Trump to take immediate action against Canada’s disregard for trade obligations under NAFTA.
from April 20
KANSAS BQA CERTIFICATION NUMBERS GROW
Nearly 500 producers were certified through six Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) training sessions held in January, February and March. Workshops were held in Russell, Paola, Dodge City, Clay Center and Atwood, with an online webinar geared toward high school agriculture and FFA students. The meetings were organized by the Kansas Beef Council.
Ranchers, feeders, dairymen and veterinarians attending the checkoff-funded sessions learned more about animal husbandry best management practices, downed animal care, humane euthanasia and low-stress cattle handling techniques.
Anyone interested in becoming BQA certified can take advantage of free online training, sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica. The online modules are customized to meet the needs of cow-calf, stocker, feedyard and dairy producers. To become certified, click here.
Many who have gone through the training and implemented BQA practices report increased efficiency and profitability. Certification also reassures consumers they are purchasing a safe, wholesome product.
from April 19
DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR KLF WILDFIRE RELIEF IS MAY 15
Kansas ranchers who lost cattle, fence and other assets to wildfire this year can apply for relief funds from the Kansas Livestock Foundation (KLF). The applications are available here. Completed applications must be postmarked by May 15.
Donations to the KLF wildfire relief fund had reached $2,028,267 as of April 18. Contributions have been made by 2,810 individuals, companies and organizations.
Large contributions last week were received by KLF from Elanco at $10,000, Glass Farms of Alva, OK, at $10,000 and Leslie Family Trust of Alva, OK, at $10,000.
Numerous livestock markets and production sales have held “roll-over” auctions to generate relief funds for those affected by wildfire. Donations last week came from Dunlap (IA) Livestock Auction at $16,400, Willoughby Livestock Sales of Sheridan, IN, at $10,657, Parsons Livestock Market at $10,256 and Cherokee (OK) Livestock Sales at $7,558.
A large number of donors have given to KLF wildfire relief by purchasing one of a limited series of signed and numbered prints. Gallery-quality prints of “A Walk Through Henry’s Dream,” created by Eva Gardiner of Ashland, can be purchased for $250 each by clicking here. All proceeds go to the relief fund.
Every dollar collected by KLF will be used to help Kansas ranchers affected by this year’s wildfires. Donations are tax-deductible. KLF has a proven process of equitably distributing donated funds. Contributions can be made here or by sending checks to KLF at 6031 S.W. 37th, Topeka, KS 66614.
from April 18
TAX EXEMPTION APPLIES TO REPLACING FENCE DESTROYED BY WILDFIRE
Ranchers affected by wildfire in 2016 or 2017 are eligible for a sales tax exemption on reconstructing, replacing or repairing agricultural fences that were damaged or destroyed. Approved by the Kansas Legislature, signed by Gov. Sam Brownback and supported by KLA, the exemption went into effect March 23. It applies to materials purchased in 2017 and 2018 for fences being rebuilt due to wildfires that occurred in 2016 or 2017. Labor for rebuilding fences also is exempt.
Those who purchased fencing materials for this purpose and paid sales tax may apply for a refund through the Kansas Department of Revenue (KDOR). Eligible producers who want to claim the exemption at the time of purchase will need a certificate from KDOR. Information about the refund application and exemption certificate is available at www.ksrevenue.org/wildfires.
Those purchasing fence materials for donation to fire victims are not eligible for the exemption. The exemption is limited to individuals who own or lease land in Kansas where fence was destroyed by wildfire.
from April 17
BILLS SUPPORTED BY KLA AWAIT GOVERNOR’S SIGNATURE
Kansas legislators adjourned April 7 and will reconvene for the wrap up session May 1. When lawmakers return, they will focus on the 2018 and 2019 state budgets, a new school finance formula and a likely increase in income taxes.
Two key bills supported by KLA were passed and sent to Gov. Sam Brownback before adjournment. One of these measures was HB 2095, which would increase the legal gross vehicle weight limit from 85,500 lbs. to 90,000 lbs. for trucks equipped with a six-axle semi-trailer combination. This law, if signed by the governor, would become effective July 1 and be limited to trucks hauling agricultural inputs and commodities.
A second bill supported by KLA that was forwarded to Gov. Brownback for his signature was SB 46, which would change the Water Conservation Act and provide more flexibility for feedyards and dairies in using existing water rights. This measure also would modify the law regarding claims for water right impairments. Under current law, a water right holder with an impairment claim can either go straight to district court or file a complaint with the chief engineer of the Division of Water Resources. SB 46 would funnel all impairment cases through the chief engineer before a water right holder could go to district court.
Legislation that would allow landowners to acquire transferable deer hunting permits (HB 2208) and a bill that would designate the wild blackberry plant as a county-option noxious weed (SB 117) failed to advance before adjournment and likely will not be considered again until the 2018 Kansas legislative session. KLA supports both bills.
from April 14
APPLICATIONS FOR WILDFIRE RELIEF FUNDS DUE MAY 15
Kansas ranchers affected by wildfire need to complete an application to be considered for relief funds from the Kansas Livestock Foundation (KLF). The deadline for completed applications is May 15, 2017.
Questions on the application ask about cattle and fence lost, grazing acres burned and veterinary costs to treat sick and injured animals. Applicants do not have to be KLA members.
KLF has a proven process to equitably distribute donated funds. The application is available here or by calling the KLA office at (785) 273-5115.
from April 12
SMOKE MODELING TOOLS HELP RANCHERS BE GOOD NEIGHBORS
Ranchers and landowners facing a narrow window for prescribed burning should include the impact of smoke in any management decisions. Online tools at www.ksfire.org can be accessed in advance to predict smoke contributions from individual counties in the Flint Hills area, as well as the direction smoke will travel from a single burn. The online modeling tools are part of the Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan, which is a voluntary approach to maintaining air quality in downwind cities.
As an example, Wamego rancher Joe Carpenter explains how and why he uses the smoke modeling tools in a video appearing on the Kansas Beef Council Facebook page. His goal is to be a good, responsible neighbor to those in downwind communities.
While the plan leaves flexibility in the hands of those conducting prescribed burns, it suggests the practice should be avoided when prevailing conditions could cause smoke problems in highly populated areas.
Success of the plan is key to preventing regulation of burning by the Environmental Protection Agency. Government restrictions could be implemented if smoke exceedances from pasture burning frequently cause air quality problems in Wichita, Kansas City, Lincoln, NE, or other downwind cities.
from April 11
KLA ENDORSES ESTES FOR CONGRESS
The KLA Board of Directors, at the recommendation of the KLA Political Action Council, has voted to endorse the candidacy of Ron Estes for the 4th Congressional District of Kansas. Estes is the Republican nominee to replace Mike Pompeo in a special election that became necessary after Pompeo was confirmed as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. All registered voters in the 4th District will be eligible to vote in today's election.
Estes grew up on a farm in Osage County, where his mother maintains her KLA membership. He currently serves as the state treasurer for Kansas.
from April 10
TRUCK WEIGHT, WATER BILLS SENT TO GOV. BROWNBACK
Prior to adjourning the 2017 regular session, state legislators passed and sent to Gov. Sam Brownback a KLA-supported bill that would increase the legal gross vehicle weight limit from 85,500 lbs. to 90,000 lbs. for trucks hauling agricultural inputs and commodities. HB 2095 would restrict the new weight limit to trucks equipped with a six-axle semi-trailer combination. If signed by the governor, the new law will become effective July 1, 2017.
Also last week, the House and Senate passed the conference committee report on SB 46 and sent it to Gov. Brownback for his signature. Supported by KLA, the bill would modify the current water conservation areas law and provide more flexibility for feedyards and dairies in using existing water rights. SB 46 also includes changes in law for consideration of a water right impairment. Under current law, a water right holder can either go straight to district court or file a complaint with the chief engineer. SB 46 would funnel all impairment cases through the chief engineer before a water right holder could go to district court.
In other action, lawmakers passed a “rescission” bill before adjourning. This bill makes several adjustments to the state’s 2017 budget and erases the estimated $280 million deficit.
When Kansas lawmakers reconvene May 1, they will focus on the 2018 and 2019 budgets, a new school finance plan and a tax increase to pay for future state expenditures.