Policy focused on property taxes, market reporting, animal health priorities and other key issues was approved by members of the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) during the group’s annual business meeting December 2 in Wichita. Ranchers, feeders and dairymen provided input during regional roundtable meetings in the fall and committee and council meetings at the convention, with final approval coming from the general membership.
“The formation of KLA policy is a grassroots effort open to the entire membership,” said KLA President David Clawson, a farmer and rancher from Englewood. “While we all may not completely agree on every position, we realize working together allows KLA to present a strong, unified voice in representing our business interests.”
KLA members voted to retain policy supporting the appropriate implementation of use-value appraisal for property tax purposes. The resolution suggests legislative attempts to modify the use-value system would be detrimental to agriculture.
The membership recognized changing cattle marketing practices have made price reporting a challenge. With USDA soliciting industry input on potential changes to mandatory price reporting, new KLA policy supports a transparent system that will allow the livestock industry to better understand the price paid for cattle.
Another resolution addressing cattle marketing suggests additional research and industry agreement is needed before wholesale changes, specifically moving to cash settlement, are made to the CME Live Cattle futures contract. Members support physical delivery, including feedyards as delivery points, as the preferred settlement mechanism.
The membership approved policy that supports requiring cattle persistently infected with bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) to be permanently identified before a change of ownership occurs, unless the animals will be quarantined until shipment direct to harvest. BVD is a virus that causes lower pregnancy rates, abortions and higher calf mortality, all of which negatively affect efficiency.
KLA members chose to support legislative approval of a new state-of-the-art diagnostic laboratory at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Policy was approved supporting current state laws prohibiting local governments from enacting regulations that would limit ag land use or the construction and maintenance of ag buildings outside city limits. The resolution supports legislative, judicial and administrative initiatives to compensate private property owners forced to defend their right to use ag land and buildings due to local planning and zoning resolutions and ordinances that violate state statutes.
Members voted in favor of a resolution supporting changes to the state’s 2015 water conservation area law. The recommended changes would allow additional flexibility by authorizing management plans that give water right holders the ability to exceed their annual authorized quantity, provided the water use does not exceed the total annual authorized aggregate quantity and rates of all water rights participating in the plan. Language in the resolution also suggests changes to current law should ensure any management plan avoids impairment of senior water rights.
A KLA resolution on motor vehicle regulations supports raising the maximum gross vehicle weight (GVW) limit to 90,000 lbs. for trucks operating in Kansas. This is based on a 2015 Kansas Department of Transportation feasibility study that showed increasing maximum GVW up to 92,000 lbs. on six or more axles would not have a detrimental effect on public roads. Increasing the limit would make Kansas more compatible with the regulations of neighboring states.
Policy on deer hunting permits was approved by KLA members. They support amending state law to allow landowners and tenants to acquire a deer tag or permit that could be transferred to a resident or nonresident for use on their respective property.
Members oppose the fee title acquisition of grazing lands by the Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies as a means of preserving the lesser prairie chicken population in Kansas.
KLA members approved 56 resolutions for 2017. Other issues addressed in KLA policy range from animal care to agricultural burning to livestock identification.
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.