Agriculture - KFB 2017 Resolutions

Agriculture - KFB 2017 Resolutions

A Voice for Agriculture

AG-1

The resolutions and policy guidelines of our organization are determined by farmers and ranchers. Farm Bureau will speak out for farmers and ranchers at every appropriate opportunity, giving voice to the concerns of agricultural producers. We will seek to cooperate with other organizations to tell the agriculture story of providing safe, plentiful and economical food and fiber for the nation and the world.

We will work diligently to implement our adopted policy positions in a manner that furthers good public policy for agriculture and the state.

Agricultural Bankruptcy

AG-2

We support legislation that provides unpaid cash agricultural product sellers a superior priority claim above all other liens, except current statutory agricultural liens, when a handler files for bankruptcy.

Farmers should not be required to deliver commodities under contract to bankrupt purchasers, unless they have been paid in full at or before delivery.

Farmers should not be required to repay money already received for delivered commodities.

We support the recognition of scale tickets or warehouse receipts as valid certificates of title that prevent such commodities from being listed as an asset in federal bankruptcy hearings.

We support legislation ensuring farmers be allowed to remove commodities in which they have retained ownership at any time during bankruptcy proceedings.

The proceeds of agricultural product sales should be held in trust, out of bankruptcy and away from creditors, to assure payment to the seller of those agricultural products.

We support holding proceeds from pre-paid contracts for agricultural supplies and inputs out of bankruptcy to help assure delivery of product or reimbursement to the buyer.

Agricultural Chemicals and Fertilizer

AG-3

We support complete and detailed labeling of all agricultural chemicals. Persons who use agricultural chemicals in accordance with product label instructions should not be held liable for environmental damage. We oppose the intentional misuse of agricultural chemicals.

We support the ability of producers to manage production in a manner that lends to timely nutrient and plant protection application.

We encourage regulatory agencies to recognize modern agricultural practices and to promulgate regulations that allow producers and dealers to be responsive to agronomic, weather, environmental and production management needs.

We oppose regulations in the storage, handling, application and transportation of agricultural inputs that create additional expense to agricultural dealers and producers without positive cost-benefit analysis.

We support a uniform, safe, effective and scientifically based system of regulating agricultural chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides, which is consistent with federal and state law and administered by appropriate federal agencies and the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

We strongly support the continued exemption in Kansas law, which allows for the bartering or trading of services applying fertilizer or restricted use pesticides and other agricultural practices.

No governmental agency should have the authority to ban, or continue the ban on, the manufacture or use of any agricultural chemical unless there is conclusive, reliable scientific proof that such use is detrimental to society.

We support procedures that allow chemicals currently prohibited from regular use to be utilized by certified applicators in an emergency to control agricultural pest infestations.

We support the availability of state funding to provide cost-share monies to producers building facilities for the storage and handling of fertilizers and farm chemicals.

We encourage educational efforts to increase the knowledge applicators and producers have regarding chemical impacts on sensitive crops.

We support research and development of methods to control weeds that are becoming resistant to chemical control measures.

Agricultural Commodity Storage

AG-4

We support the continuation of an effective and adequately funded state grain warehouse program requiring licensing and bonding of all commercial elevators and grain warehouses in Kansas.

We recommend and support legislation to require grain dealers and grain brokerage firms to be bonded or otherwise provide proof of financial responsibility.

We recommend licensing and bonding regulations be strengthened to protect farmers in the storage of agricultural commodities in private or public storage facilities.

To ensure consistency in price discounts and crop insurance indemnities, we recommend grain buyers base any applicable mycotoxin discounts on tests conducted by trained personnel at RMA approved labs, and we support the efforts to develop programs that would allow local elevators and feed mills that utilize RMA approved personnel, testing equipment, and procedures to become RMA approved labs.

We support the creation of a Kansas grain indemnity fund.

Agricultural Contracting

AG-5

We strongly support the ability of producers, both as individuals and collectively, to enter into production and/or marketing enterprises, including contractual and cooperative enterprises in an environment free from unfair trade practices.

Producers must have the ability to seek professional legal, financial and agricultural production advice on contract terms, obligations and responsibilities. Producers should be allowed to discuss and compare contracts with other producers. Disclosure of contract terms must not require revelation of trade secrets or require a producer to divulge personal financial information or production practices.

Contracts should include a readable, understandable summary of material risks.

We support a priority lien for a producer for amounts due under a production or marketing contract. We encourage private organizations, governmental agencies and educational institutions to develop and promote educational programs and materials that provide technical and practical information about contract production, marketing contracts and cooperative businesses.

Contractors should be prohibited from prematurely terminating a contract with a producer who has complied with the provisions of the contract.

Agricultural Credit

AG-6

Farmers and ranchers need a variety of credit facilities to finance operating and ownership expenses. Special programs should be designed at federal and state levels to specifically deal with credit and financing issues of young farmers and ranchers who are entering or expanding agricultural operations.

We support the low-interest agriculture production loan program and request adequate allocations to assist financially stressed agricultural producers during times of low commodity prices, weather related losses or sanctions on export markets.

Any changes to lending procedures, statutes, rules or regulations should not disadvantage agricultural producers. Specific agricultural liens exist under current law. We oppose any measures that would eliminate or pre-empt this statutory prioritization of lienholders.

Agricultural Product Utilization

AG-7

We support increased efforts to develop, promote and utilize products derived from the crops and livestock produced by our nation’s farmers and ranchers.

We support consumer education, promotion efforts and incentives, including retailers’ incentives, to expand the production and use of agricultural-based alternative and renewable fuels.

We support elimination of the mandatory labeling requirement for ethanol. Suppliers should be encouraged to identify or voluntarily label pumps as a promotional tool.

We support reduced state fuel tax rates on biodiesel and ethanol blends of E20 and greater. As additional blends of ethanol become available, they should be taxed at a rate similar to E85. Biodiesel should be taxed at a lower rate than 100% fossil-based diesel.

We encourage the state to develop and implement an aggressive plan for increasing bio-fuel usage in state vehicles and machinery. We recommend all state fuel purchases be bio-fuels.

“Bio-diesel blend” fuels should contain at least 2% methyl esters.

We support additional research and development to find non-traditional farm products that have the potential to become viable enterprises for agricultural producers.

The state should authorize incentives encouraging farmers and ranchers to invest in producer-owned cooperatives and value-added businesses.

We encourage producer education and increased use of new technologies that have been scientifically proven safe and effective at making agriculture more productive and are not harmful to the well-being of our animals or the environment.

Agritourism

AG-8

We support agritourism as a tool for local and regional economic development. We encourage agritourism businesses to register with Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. We support regulations that enhance agritourism.

We support the provisions of the Agritourism Promotion Act including limits on the liability of landowners who invite the public onto their land to experience by observation and participation, rural agricultural culture and natural attractions.

Tax credits should continue to offset the high cost of liability insurance premiums and encourage others who may desire to augment their farm income through agritourism activities.

Animal Care

AG-9

We support the Animal Health Division of the Kansas Department of Agriculture, which is best suited to protect and preserve the animal health and safety of the state’s livestock industry.

We support the current voluntary herd testing and certification program for Johne’s disease, and encourage continued federal assistance of testing costs.

We support federal and state funding and efforts to eradicate feral swine in Kansas as part of their disease mitigation efforts.

We support research on animal stress and livestock production practices, along with practical ways to implement proven research findings on farms and ranches. Research utilizing animals is necessary to ensure more effective human and veterinary medical practices.

We support aggressive educational programs by Farm Bureau and other interested organizations, which will present the facts of animal and poultry production to legislative bodies, governmental regulators, the general public and school children. We also encourage programs to inform and assist livestock producers on methods of dealing with animal rights activists who may threaten, harass or commit acts of vandalism.

We support and encourage implementation of animal disease traceability within the state of Kansas. The disease traceability program should be easy to comply with and affordable.

We encourage a joint effort between the Kansas Division of Animal Health and the Kansas State University College of Vet Medicine to permanently identify PI positive cattle and help promote best management practices for those animals.

We support the Kansas Department of Agriculture - Division of Animal Health’s efforts to test and control Trichomoniasis in Kansas cattle. If a positive case of Trichomoniasis is found, we support notification of the potentially affected livestock owners by the Kansas Division of Animal Health. The owner of the positive animal shall not be held responsible for economic damages unless negligence can be proven. We encourage proper quarantine and care of exposed livestock.

We support proper animal husbandry of all animals. We support protections against slanderous media and other materials that may have been acquired from an agricultural production operation unknowingly or without written permission.

We oppose legislation or regulations that limit a producer’s right to manage livestock or domestic animals on the farm. We also oppose any mandatory requirement that producers establish psychological profiles or daily psychological monitoring of individual animals.

Aquaculture

AG-10

Aquaculture and commercial fisheries should be treated as agricultural enterprises. State activities affecting aquaculture and commercial fisheries should be under the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Appropriations for aquaculture and commercial fisheries should be directed toward research, market development and consumer education.

We favor the use of government-produced fingerlings for private uses only when privately produced sources are not available.

Biotechnology

AG-11

We support:

1. The peer review process for validating biotechnology research.

2. Increased efforts to educate the public worldwide regarding the safety and benefits of products developed through biotechnology.

3. Protections being afforded to producers who plant non-GMO crops from cross-pollination or contamination from another producer’s GMO crop.

4. Maintaining U.S. export markets by securing foreign regulatory acceptance of biotech products.

5. Protections from liability for producers who plant GMO crops from cross-pollination or contamination to another producer’s non-GMO crop.

Manufacturers of GMO seed planted according to the label should be liable for any damages from cross-pollination to another producer’s crops. Adequate and accurate information on acceptable markets, and market and planting restrictions must be provided in writing to producers prior to the time they purchase the original input product. Manufacturers should be primarily responsible for encouraging acceptance of GMO products.

We oppose:

1. Foreign countries imposing any import restrictions, labeling or segregation requirements on any agricultural product enhanced through biotechnology, once such commodity has been certified by the scientific community as safe and not significantly different from other varieties of that commodity.

2. The insertion of genetic seed sterilization technology as a means of protecting intellectual property.

3. Recovery of technology fees from a producer who planted non-GMO seed that later exhibit GMO traits.

Commodity Promotion Programs

AG-12

We support the commodity commissions that place producers in charge of the commission activities and the farmer check-off dollars. We strongly urge all producers to actively participate in and continue their support of commodity check-off programs for research, utilization, public education and/or market development of their commodities and products.

We support increased assessments when necessary to maintain adequate funding of Kansas’ public crop breeding and research programs.

Controlled Prescribed Burning

AG-13

We recognize the practice of controlled prescribed burning as an important and necessary ecological and agricultural practice. The practice may include, but is not limited to, clearing debris from building sites, and the burning of crop residue and rangeland.

We recognize that the practice of controlled prescribed burning must be done in a reasonable and prudent manner so as to protect property and lives. Therefore, we support stronger involvement of local fire and law enforcement officials in the administration of the regulations. While we support reasonable restrictions on the ability to burn, as those restrictions may apply to excessive wind speed, proximity to structures, airports, and roadways, the opportunity to use a controlled prescribed burn as an agricultural practice must be retained. We encourage landowners to use innovative burning practices. We encourage our Universities and Extension Service to maintain nationally recognized programs in rangeland management, including research on alternative burning practices, to support the livestock industry in Kansas.

There should be clarifications made either in the governing statutes or regulations which set out specifically which governmental entity the landowners or tenants must notify, and under what circumstances those who wish to use controlled prescribed burning must notify the appropriate governmental entity.

Corporate Farm Law

AG-14

We support the opportunity for agricultural producers to operate under any business structure authorized by Kansas law. Economic or tax incentives should be equally available to any farming operation, whether a sole proprietorship, partnership, family trust, limited liability company or corporation.

Agriculture businesses established in Kansas must be economically viable, good community partners and responsible stewards of the land. In addition, we support environmental standards that are based on practical research and sound science for agricultural production entities that are authorized, constructed and operated in Kansas. Protecting water quality, quantity and controlling odors are high priorities.

Crop Diseases

AG-15

We believe crop diseases pose a significant economic threat to the Kansas grain industry. Funding for the development of varieties with enhanced resistance to fungus and disease should be increased.

We encourage farmers to consider, and ultimately implement best management practices such as crop rotation and the use of seed and/or foliar treatments to combat the presence and subsequent spread of fungus or disease.

We strongly recommend inspection and certification, by trained personnel, of custom harvesting equipment entering the state of Kansas.

Fence Laws

AG-16

We support legislation which will prevent any increased liability for owners of land or livestock. The responsibility of the majority of county commissioners in each county to serve as “fence viewers” for settling disputes regarding fences must be maintained. All affected parties should be notified in any fence viewing dispute.

We oppose any legislation or regulation affecting normal pasturing operations, which would require fencing livestock from streams, rivers or other bodies of water.

We support Kansas’ partition fence law allocating the costs of constructing and maintaining fencing equally between adjoining landowners. We recommend the common practice be enacted into law which divides the responsibility for installation and maintenance of partition fences to each landowner's right of a fixed point or midpoint as each views the fence from his land, unless there are other oral agreements or written contracts. Adjoining landowners, including governmental entities and private trusts, which use a fence to restrain livestock should share in the construction and/or maintenance of partition fences.

We encourage law enforcement and animal control officers to notify owners of domesticated livestock running at large.

Food Policy Committees

AG-17

Food Policy Committees should be voluntary and should include agriculture producer members from local rural communities. We encourage Farm Bureau members to participate in Food Policy Committees. We oppose Food Policy Committees creating any recommendations or standards that negatively alter our current food production system.

Food Product Labeling

AG-18

We support consumer friendly, science-based labeling of agricultural products that provide consumers with useful information concerning the ingredients and nutritional value.

We support Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) programs that are feasible and reasonable to agricultural producers.

We encourage all levels of government to vigorously enforce laws regarding the fraudulent and misleading labeling of any agricultural products.

We oppose the use of names of natural farm products on substitutes for such natural foods.

Food Safety and Security

AG-19

Kansas Farm Bureau encourages federal, state and local units of government, research institutions and the agricultural industry to make every reasonable effort to protect livestock and crop production in Kansas from acts of bioterrorism and from accidental infestations of animal and plant pests or diseases. Agencies and producers should develop voluntary science-based biosecurity protocols to address their specific operations. Any on-farm inspection should be pre-arranged.

We support the Kansas Bioscience Authority (KBA) in examining Kansas' strengths in the bioscience industry, establishing priorities and determining strategic goals.

We strongly support the greatest penalty provisions provided by law be applied to those individuals convicted of bioterrorist or ecoterrorist activities.

We support the prosecution of any or all individuals or groups that work to compromise and undercut our nation's food security by attacking our production agriculture system.

Kansas Brand Laws

AG-20

We encourage all cattle owners to obtain and use registered brands, to keep a regular count of their livestock and report all losses to local law enforcement officials.

For the protection of individual cattle owners, we favor a statewide brand inspection system that makes it mandatory that cattle be inspected for brands at licensed public sales, feedlots and packing plants.

Kansas Department of Agriculture

AG-21

The Kansas Department of Agriculture should be a strong and vigorous advocate for production agriculture. Agriculture must have cabinet-level importance in any administrative structure. We recommend the department continue to be named the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

We support the existence of the State Advisory Board of Agriculture and its role in providing advice to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Governor. The duties and responsibilities of the Board should include oversight to ensure the agency's regulations are effective in protecting public safety, are reasonable, scientifically-based and promote a strong agricultural industry.

The responsibilities of appropriating water and promulgating rules and regulations should be functions of the Chief Engineer, Division of Water Resources at the Kansas Department of Agriculture. The Chief Engineer should remain a classified position within that agency.

We strongly support the state Meat and Poultry Inspection Program administered by the Kansas Department of Agriculture. Meat is inspected for the protection of all consumers; thus, the program should be supported primarily by State General Fund appropriations.

Regulatory functions provided primarily for the protection of the general population, including milk and waste management inspections, should receive significant funding from State General Fund monies. Programs that have a more limited scope or benefit may be candidates for a funding mix that includes reasonable user fees. We support modest (minimal) fee increases where it is in the best interest of Kansas producers to protect their investments. Fee funds should remain with the program generating that revenue. State General Funds for the Department of Agriculture should be maintained at current levels or increased. The Department of Agriculture should be fully funded.

We support legislation requiring the Kansas Department of Agriculture to establish rules, regulations, specifications and standards for inspection of grain analyzers used in commerce in the State of Kansas.

Product integrity is a priority for food, fiber and fuel producers. As such, the Kansas Department of Agriculture should have regulatory oversight of state food inspection programs.

We support KDA/USDA based hay, grain, oilseed and livestock price reporting because of the need to gather information for national reporting purposes. We suggest the modernization of the reporting system by using electronic/automatic reporting of receipts and cooperation with other market reporting sources in order to defray state funds and expand the number of reporting stations for a more accurate assessment.

Local Food Systems

AG-22

We support all producers having the right to choose their production system. We support food systems, based on sound science, that:

1) Encourage healthy eating habits and choices;

2) Have availability and access of locally grown food;

3) Educate consumers how food gets from producer to plate;

4) Increase economic development in communities;

5) Continue stewardship of agricultural land;

6) Connect all facets of the food system.

We oppose:

1) Systems that leverage restrictions on private or government land use;

2) Systems that enforce production quotas on unwilling producers;

3) Programs that give one food system an unfair advantage over another.

Noxious Weeds

AG-23

We support the current shared responsibility for compliance and implementation of the noxious weed law between landowners, counties and the state. Landowners need added flexibility to use a variety of chemical and non-chemical control practices. Counties should be authorized to adopt control practices best suited to the local area. The state should provide technical assistance and provide increased oversight authority.

When considering placement of a weed on the statewide noxious weed list, sound science, a risk analysis and timely action should be included in the process. This process should be administered by the Kansas Department of Agriculture and provide opportunity for input by producers, agronomists and weed scientists.

A system of classifying noxious weeds should be developed to focus the limited resources on weeds posing the most serious challenges and on implementing the most realistic control measures. The process should allow counties to monitor and develop control measures for weeds not yet known to exist in the county, but moving toward it.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture, which administers the noxious weed law, should prohibit the sale of any seed containing noxious weed seed and require vigorous enforcement of noxious weed laws by County Weed Directors on both privately and publicly held lands. All private landowners, including absentee landowners, governmental entities, railroads, rail trail sponsors and utilities holding or managing land should control and work toward eradicating noxious weeds.

Control procedures and cost-share should include the use of herbicides, cultural practices and biological methods. Landowner and tenant cost-share incentives for herbicides should be available through County Weed Departments and private agricultural chemical dealers.

We recommend hay and forage producers implement practices to reduce the levels of noxious weed seeds in hay and forages. When hay is inspected for weed free certification, no additional fees should be charged when recertifying following a killing freeze.

To assist landowners in controlling all noxious weeds and Old World Bluestem, we support additional state, federal and industry funding that is required to increase research needed to develop more effective products, procedures and practices. We encourage the partnering of governmental entities, private landowners, agricultural chemical companies and others to implement effective control programs.

Organic Food Production

AG-24

We support uniform national standards for organic food production that are rigid and strictly enforced. The cost of residue testing should be borne by the organic farmer.

Advertisements containing undocumented claims that organically grown food is more nutritious or healthful than traditionally grown food should be prohibited.

Prompt Payment

AG-25

We support legislation to provide prompt payment at all levels of the agricultural marketing chain.

Rural Revitalization and Renewal

AG-26

The revitalization of rural communities must be a high priority for private citizens, as well as local, federal and state governments. We support initiatives that will:

1. Encourage the development of a program to link retiring farmers with persons wanting to enter or expand agricultural operations, and encourage participation in such a program. The legislature should consider tax incentives for property owners who sell land to buyers who will keep the land in production agriculture.

2. Build a skilled and increasingly inclusive leadership group with capacity to improve and sustain our rural communities in Kansas.

3. Retain and attract youth and young families that are involved in their rural communities.

4. Create community charitable foundations in order to retain a portion of the wealth that will transfer between generations.

5. Provide a key role for rural revitalization which rests with energizing rural entrepreneurs and rural entrepreneurship.

6. Improve the general potential of rural communities to attract, retain and expand business and industry.

7. Include all types of farming operations in economic development and incentive programs.

8. Support efforts and initiatives to enhance growth in rural communities.

Efforts should be made to ensure equity in funding between rural and urban areas.

Seed Law

AG-27

The Kansas Seed Law protects both the buyer and seller of seed. The Kansas Seed Law should continue to allow private treaty sales between farmers of varieties not covered by the federal Plant Variety Protection Act.

The prohibition on the sale of seed containing any noxious weed seed or restricted weed seed exceeding statutory tolerances should be strictly enforced.

Because of our concern about the possible spread of grain fungi or disease; we support the programs within the Kansas Department of Agriculture relating to seed cleaners, custom harvesting and grain transportation equipment. We support action by the Secretary of Agriculture to help protect the state from grain fungi and disease infestation by regulating seed conditioning equipment.

Tannin sorghum seed should be conspicuously labeled and the crop identity preserved. We urge prohibition of undisclosed sales of tannin sorghum. Blending of tannin sorghum for sale should be prohibited. We support the continued availability of bird resistant seed for use in areas where significant bird damage occurs.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

AG-28

We support having UAS’s fall under current state privacy laws as opposed to UAS specific laws.

Wildlife Damage and Predator Control

AG-29

Agricultural producers should have the option of using all reasonable and lawful means of controlling damaging wildlife and predatory animals on privately owned land.

The coyote is a predatory animal and we oppose efforts to designate this predator as a fur-bearing animal. Hunting, trapping or otherwise taking coyotes should be allowed at all times.

We strongly oppose the release of predatory animals to control overpopulated species.

Persons found harboring or seeking to profit from maintaining or increasing feral swine populations should be held legally liable for property

damages and subject to criminal penalties.