KLA members discussed and approved policy on issues including taxes, trichomoniasis and prescribed burning during the group’s annual convention, November 28-30 in Wichita. The policy process started in November when members provided input at regional KLA roundtable meetings, continued during committee and council meetings at the convention and concluded with the general membership giving final approval to resolutions during the annual business meeting.

“Many KLA members were involved in creating policy for 2013,” said KLA President Mark Harms, a rancher from Lincolnville. “This broad participation makes for strong policy that will help KLA effectively represent the business interests of its members.”

One of the founding principles of KLA suggests the livestock industry is best served by free enterprise. Members acted on this philosophy by reaffirming a long-time resolution opposing attempts to narrow the business options or limit the individual freedom of livestock producers to innovate in the management and marketing of their production.

With regard to taxes, KLA members reaffirmed policy supporting the reduction and ultimate elimination of the federal estate and gift tax.

Language in a resolution on trichomoniasis was amended to support required testing for all non-virgin bulls and virgin bulls over 18 months of age each time these animals change ownership in Kansas. KLA members also support state law or regulations requiring timely notification of those with neighboring herds when a trichomoniasis case is confirmed in Kansas.

The Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan, which relies on voluntary cooperation to reduce emissions from prescribed burning, was the subject of a resolution amended by KLA members. They approved language opposing actions by the Environmental Protection Agency to create regulations that inhibit prescribed burning of native grass, lower allowable levels of ozone and penalize cities for nonattainment of federal clean air guidelines when infrequent air quality problems are caused by prescribed burning.

Members amended a resolution on water appropriation encouraging the chief engineer of the state’s Division of Water Resources to either repeal or amend consumptive use regulations to make it less burdensome and costly for water right holders converting from irrigation to stockwater use. This policy also suggests such a change more accurately reflects actual irrigation usage in the recent history of the water right.

A new resolution supports legislation to limit the scope of the Kansas Nongame & Endangered Species Conservation Act and the regulatory authority of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to policies no more restrictive than the federal Endangered Species Act.

Another new resolution opposes listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken under the Endangered Species Act. Instead, KLA members support voluntary, incentive-based efforts like the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative and the Five-State Range-Wide Lesser Prairie Chicken Conservation Plan as a means to preserve and enhance the species.

KLA members approved policy supporting the use of euthanasia, fertility control and humane harvesting to reduce and manage the population of wild horses instead of relocating the animals to other regions of the U.S.

Existing KLA policy recognizes how Kansas agriculture relies on immigrant labor for a significant portion of its work force. This resolution was amended to acknowledge the U.S. Supreme Court decision that the federal government “has broad, undoubted power over the subject of immigration and the status of aliens.” Therefore, KLA members oppose state legislation that would enact more restrictive immigration policies than exist under federal law.

For more information, visit www.kla.org.