Kansas producers set policy focused on business issues

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Dec 12, 2008
by WLJ
Kansas producers set policy focused on business issues

Members of the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) have approved policy calling for improvements in the state’s highway system, producer compliance with approved animal care practices, and the preservation of private property rights. Policy action on these and other key livestock business issues was taken during the group’s annual meeting Dec. 4-5 in Wichita, KS. “The resolutions are a result of extensive member input, starting with the fall roundtable discussions and continuing through committee and council meetings at the convention,” said KLA President Todd Allen, a Wichita cattleman. “KLA officers and staff will use this policy to help protect members’ business interests during 2009.” Transportation and energy were the subjects of several resolutions. Members support adequate state funding for a new transportation plan that improves highways, local roads and bridges. The resolution is based on the need of grain and livestock producers to have viable infrastructure for moving products to market.

Members acknowledged vehicle regulations must be reasonable so as not to impede the transportation of ag products. For example, producers support an interpretation of federal law clarifying that transporting ag products to and from market within the state does not constitute interstate commerce. Members also favor changes in the maximum gross vehicle weight limits for trucks operating in Kansas to a level more compatible with those imposed by neighboring states.

KLA members approved a resolution supporting a transition to a market-based approach for renewable fuels derived from commodities used as livestock feed. Support also was expressed for the research and development of additional renewable fuel technologies that will reduce America’s dependence on foreign energy.

New policy endorsed by the membership recommends producers implement industry-approved best management practices for cattle care and handling. The resolution also emphasizes the importance of livestock producers taking the initiative to share with consumers their round-the-clock commitment to providing quality animal care. The elimination of humane harvest for unwanted horses is a point of concern among members. Based on the increase in abandoned and neglected horses caused by various state bans on horse processing for human consumption, KLA opposes legislation or regulations that hinder the ethical and humane processing or movement of horses.

After considerable study and producer discussion, KLA adopted language strongly discouraging the movement through marketing channels of animals persistently infected (PI) with bovine viral diarrhea (BVD). The resolution encourages beef and dairy producers to consider cost-effective prevention and testing programs for BVD PI. Protecting property rights was the underlying motivation for several resolutions.

One calls for initiatives that strengthen penalties for anyone vandalizing or gaining unauthorized entry into a livestock operation. Another supports legislation to protect the property rights of landowners when an oil or gas company damages surface interests.

Potential regulation of greenhouse gas emissions gained attention during KLA policy meetings. Members support uniformity and consistency among federal and state laws and regulations dealing with climate change. They also favor maximum flexibility for livestock and other ag operations to meet regulatory obligations.

Long-held policy supporting free enterprise was reaffirmed. Language in the resolution opposes any regulatory or legal attempt to narrow the business options or individual freedom of livestock producers to manage and market their products. — WLJ