Livestock producers approve policy to guide KLA
TOPEKA – Members of the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) adopted policy addressing their business interests during the group’s annual meeting, Dec. 3-5 in Wichita. Resolutions on the beef checkoff, Clean Water Act regulations, the threatened listing of the lesser prairie chicken and trichomoniasis were among those drawing members’ attention. The process started in committee and council meetings and concluded with final approval by the general KLA membership.
“KLA policy is developed through broad member input and constructive debate,” said KLA President Jaret Moyer, a cattleman from Emporia. “The resulting resolutions will direct officers and staff as we represent the membership on various issues during 2015.”
An existing resolution on the beef checkoff was amended to support changes in the 1985 Beef Promotion and Research Act that would authorize an increase in the assessment rate. It goes further to oppose creating a supplemental beef checkoff under the Commodity Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act of 1996. Compared to the 1985 act, the 1996 act gives more control over checkoff decisions to the federal government, allows for an increased share of funds to go toward administration and does not ensure a coordinated national/state partnership.
KLA members chose to retain a resolution opposing legislation that would expand federal jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) current proposal to redefine “waters of the United States.” The resolution urges EPA and other agencies to recognize the abilities of states to best manage water resources.
Policy was amended to support the inclusion of grazing lands in the 4(d) Rule for the lesser prairie chicken. The rule currently grants incidental take protection to routine ag practices on land cultivated within five years preceding the listing of the lesser prairie chicken as threatened, but does not afford the same protection to grasslands used in livestock production.
Another resolution amended by KLA members supports changes to state law or regulations requiring timely notification of the owners of neighboring herds by Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health officials when a confirmed case of trichomoniasis is discovered.
The membership voted to retain policy supporting regulatory and/or statutory changes to the current country-of-origin labeling program that would bring the U.S. into compliance with international trade obligations and avoid trade disruptions or retaliatory action.
Another retained resolution encourages EPA to resist proposals that lower the air quality standards for ozone levels and recognize air quality problems caused by prescribed burning are a rare event for which cities should not be penalized for nonattainment of clean air guidelines.
The list of amended resolutions contains one that supports state law authorizing local enhanced management areas (LEMAs), but specifies the chief engineer of the Division of Water Resources can only approve a LEMA if it is supported by a unanimous vote of affected water right holders. This same policy supports legislation to allow unused appropriated water from a multi-year flex account (MYFA) term permit to be rolled over for use in a subsequent MYFA.
KLA members support state legislation that would create a Kansas conservation easement funding source. The same resolution opposes state legislation that would prohibit Kansas landowners from voluntarily agreeing to a perpetual conservation easement agreement.
Long-standing policy suggesting the livestock industry is best served by the process of free enterprise and free trade was reaffirmed. Members oppose narrowing the business options or limiting the individual freedom of livestock producers to manage or market their products.
As debate over immigration reform heats up, KLA members support federal policy that allows for an efficient and adequate guest worker program. The organization also opposes state legislation that would enact more restrictive immigration policy than exists under federal law.
KLA works to advance members’ common business interests on these and other issues affecting producers at both the state and federal levels. The association’s work is funded through voluntary dues dollars paid by its members.