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Archive for Friday, March 8, 2013

Brownback administration pushes to repeal restrictions on corporate agriculture; opponents say family farms will suffer

March 8, 2013

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— Backed by powerful agricultural interests, Gov. Sam Brownback's administration on Friday pushed to repeal corporate farming restrictions, saying the repeal would grow the Kansas economy.

But other groups, such as the Kansas Farmers Union and Kansas Rural Center, said the repeal would hurt family farmers and destroy local control.

Senate Natural Resources Committee Chairman Larry Powell, R-Garden City, said he planned to have the committee work on the Senate Bill 191, but didn't know when.

One of the major provisions of the measure would eliminate the requirement that corporations get the approval of county commissioners to set up operations.

Tim Stroda, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas Pork Association, said that requirement is causing many corporate interests to locate elsewhere.

"These are large companies. These are professionals. They are not used to having to beg to do business," Stroda said. When large corporations are told they need approval from local officials, he said, "Your meeting starts to go downhill in a heck of a hurry.

"What this bill really does is take away the need for folks to come in and go to a county commission and say 'Please let me build a swine unit in your county,' " Stroda said.

But opponents of the bill said local control was crucial to maintaining family farm operations and as a check on environmental issues.

"I oppose Senate Bill 191 because it will encourage greater corporate control of Kansas agriculture and further erode independent agriculture, rural economies, air and water quality," said Donald Stull, an anthropology professor at Kansas University, who has written extensively on industrial meat and poultry production.

But the Brownback administration also says the current restrictions on corporate farming are unfair.

"Currently, an individual farmer, family farm corporation, or authorized farm corporation can establish a dairy or swine farm without approval from the county commissioners, but a corporation, a limited company, or limited partnership cannot," said Chad Bontrager, an economist with the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Bontrager said the bill has the potential to expand beef and hog operations by 10 percent, which would produce 1,500 jobs and add $183 million to the Kansas economy.

But Stull claimed repeal of corporate agricultural restrictions would have the opposite effect by reducing the number of family farms. He also said corporate animal confinement facilities significantly increase the scale of production and waste disposal problems.

Donn Teske, president of the Kansas Farmers Union, told the committee the demand for milk basically stays level.

"You're deciding who is going to produce that milk and it's not going to be the family farmer," he said.

Teske added, "Every time a 2,000 cow dairy goes in, it takes 20 dairy farmers out of a community. That is not economic development; that is rural depopulation."

In general, Kansas limits corporate ownership of agricultural land to family farm corporations, family partnerships or corporations with 15 or fewer stockholders, who must all be Kansas residents. The state also requires at least one partner or shareholder to live on the land or be actively engaged in supervising the work.

There are exceptions for feedlots and poultry operations. Also, counties can allow corporate dairies and hog farms within their borders, and legislators last year made it easier for them to do so.

Kansas has had limited farm ownership since 1931, when it enacted a law barring corporations from producing wheat, corn, barley, oats, rye or potatoes, or running dairy operations.

Comments

Chris Golledge 1 year, 1 month ago

From the article:

...Stroda said. When large corporations are told they need approval from local officials, he said, "Your meeting starts to go downhill in a heck of a hurry.

I'm wondering if that last statement is true because the corporations know that the local officials, representing the people who live there, will generally think it is a bad idea.

2

verity 1 year, 1 month ago

I grew up on a family farm which still is a working farm, as are many in that area. Don't try to tell me that family farms don't exist. Just because they may have incorporated or become an LLC doesn't mean that they are not a family farm. These kind of farmers tend to practice conservation as they want the farm to be handed down through the generations.

What is being talked about as corporate farms is the operations owned by outsiders who have little or no stake in the community and who are only interested in profits, not in maintaining quality of life in the community. I rather hope all who are supporting that kind of operation get to enjoy living next to one.

2

seniorcitizen 1 year, 1 month ago

Stain, don't blame the farmers for Brownback's election. There are way more non-farmers in the state than farmers. Farmers do tend to vote, but there are a lot of registared voters who do not bother to vote

1

seniorcitizen 1 year, 1 month ago

Caughtinthemiddle I want to explain Kansas Farmer's Union a bit. It is not a UNION in the sense that you think of a labor union. Check out http://www.kansasfarmersunion.org/

1

Steve Hicks 1 year, 1 month ago

Best comment I've seen on corporate personhood is the bumper-sticker: "I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one."

3

ottawa 1 year, 1 month ago

Check out cjonline.com regarding "Legislator/farmer helps cut hog-ties on pork industry" dated Dec. 5, 2012. It's about Rep. Sharon Schwartz's part in all this and it's disgusting.

4

Bob Forer 1 year, 1 month ago

A great example of "What's the Matter with Kansas?"

3

juma 1 year, 1 month ago

Not sure but I thought the insurance company Stare Farm endorsed Brownback. If so, then yes the Kansas farmer, unfortuantely, reaps what they sowed. Propose ALL Ks farmers dump State Farm.

3

Machiavelli_mania 1 year, 1 month ago

It should be mandated in this that these corporate farms have to go organic with the animals.

1

Kontum1972 1 year, 1 month ago

well once he is out of office...he be smart not to stay here...some people do not forget.

3

Kontum1972 1 year, 1 month ago

i am planning to move to fla., also my fiancee' has a home there...i am giving my home to my son.

3

Richard Heckler 1 year, 1 month ago

Sam Brownback and the GOP legislators are politicians being fed this message of facism. These politicians have no clue if what they are being fed is true. Since this message is coming from wealthy sources these politicians ASSUME what they are fed is true and like rubbing elbows with facist pigs.

Of course a few will profit from these new tax dollar rip off schemes.

Sam Brownback will profit sweetly from the new tax legislation so he is all over it.

A lot of people in Kansas obviously are NOT paying attention to the politicians they vote into office. However come 2013 tax time in 2014 a lot of republicans are going to realize Sam Brownback effectively screwed them over.

2

UneasyRider 1 year, 1 month ago

Amazing how stupid average Kansan is. My KPERS max is effective July 1, 2013. Due to IRS rules, I will take it effective 12/1/13. Due to what nutcase republicans have done to this state, I will be leaving state as soon as possible after that.

3

overthemoon 1 year, 1 month ago

Highly recommend the new book 'Foodopoly' by Wenonah Hauter of Food & Water Watch.

www.foodopoly.org.

Its time we really understand the true nature of corporate control of our food supply.

5

Trumbull 1 year, 1 month ago

Amazing how the Republicans get people to support them in spite of there best interests. They fear monger and try to convince you that Democrats are Socialists.

These big corporate factory farming conglomerates are governments in themselves. Monopolies is what they are and monopolies are just as bad (if not worse) than big government.

This is a strike against the little guy, the family farmers, and many Kansans. Lets hope we will begin to see past the (R) when we vote.

8

JohnBrown 1 year, 1 month ago

Another attack on small government by those who profess to favor small government.

Liars.

JohnBrown

8

avarom 1 year, 1 month ago

There is more bipartisanship that goes on behind the scene than we are aware of. Democrats and Republicans do a lot more lobbying together than we know. There is a lot of “pork barreling” that goes on—politicians engage in behavior that benefits their constituents (in return for their political support, either in the form of campaign contributions or votes). A member of one political party regularly reach across party lines to vote or lobby on specific issues that would benefit that individual, in return, when another bill comes up for vote their counterpart returns the favor. This is nothing more than a modern day depiction of George Orwell 1942 Animal Farm, which shows how government organizations work. The key to George Orwell’s novel is that Governments often manipulate voters for their own benefit and end up being as bad, if not worse than their opponents.

They call it Pork Barreling for a reason, for it's all POLITICAL HOGWASH and manipulation and good people suffer......Welcome to Kansas....... Pathetic!

4

UneasyRider 1 year, 1 month ago

Simple fact, the Kochs told Brownback to increase their income, so that is exactly what he trying to do. He's bought and paid for, they say jump, he quickly says "How high". He likes the steady income known as "campaign contributions" to finance his lifestyle.

4

introversion 1 year, 1 month ago

Sam Brownback is the Once-ler.

1

Gotland 1 year, 1 month ago

Anyone that still has a "family farm" is worth millions of dollars. No sympathy here. The most effecient operaions should thrive.

0

Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 1 month ago

Find one commenter here in support of Brownback. Just one. It's not possible. Brownback has become so openly against the citizens of our state that he represents no more than a few hundred people.

Remember when Seabrook tried to locate just one or two miles outside of Great Bend? Seabrook, with headquarters in Johnson County, thought that a huge hog operation would be good for central Kansans. The next day, all the county commissioners who voted for the hog giant were removed from their positions. If Seabrook and others like them get their way, I propose that it sets up shop just outside Cedar Crest, or would that be a problem?

6

rockchalk1977 1 year, 1 month ago

Another liberal hit piece de jour. No wonder Gov. Brownback's rating are so low. At least we won't have to worry about KU renaming the School Of Journalism anytime soon.

0

Ken Lassman 1 year, 1 month ago

This topic has a legacy of hard fought battles between corporate hog farming interests and the smaller family operations that have been largely wiped out. The Center for Rural Affairs in Nebraska led the anti-corporate hog farm education programs in the '70s and 80s ( http://www.cfra.org/ ) and the Kansas Rural Center http://www.kansasruralcenter.org/ took that cue and has been instrumental here in Kansas. If you're sick of watching the smaller family farms get squeezed out in favor of the big monied corporate hog operations, don't sit around and complain about it on this website, do like the earlier poster suggested and go to the KRC website and put your money where your mouth is. This is a one way street where you can't roll back the changes once they're done.

7

In_God_we_trust 1 year, 1 month ago

Perhaps Gov. Brownback should also make a requirement on large corporate farms, that the concentration of swine can not exceed "X" number of swine per acre. This would limit the pollution and smell factor to that of a family farm. It would also help level the playing field between family farms and large corporate farms.

1

JayhawkFan1985 1 year, 1 month ago

Government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich...elected by the stupid.

7

1Dem 1 year, 1 month ago

Corporate pigs at the trough. This stinks.

5

cabmando 1 year, 1 month ago

loved that lead picture on article, now we know what Mr. Brownback and all his cronies look like when they are in a political "pack"!

5

JohnSickels 1 year, 1 month ago

By voting for Brownback, rural Kansas signed its own death warrant. Destruction of the education system....destruction of the family farm. They voted for it, they're going to get it.

10

Robert Rauktis 1 year, 1 month ago

Actually, I think Nebraska and Iowa threw out or drastically restricted these pig "farmers". The idea of the concise economy being to get the pigs close to the subsidized corn. Even the corn farmers with a ready market (besides Cuba) saw these guys for what they were.

They should have unrestricted access to their business in Afghanistan. I bet the Taliban would appreciate pork farming.

PS: The LJW could do a service to enlighten the good citizens of Kansas by investigating a town named Princeton (not NJ but MO), north of Columbia.

6

Les Blevins 1 year, 1 month ago

Big corporate interests have the objective of taking over Kansas and they have an enabler in the Kansas statehouse in Gov. Sam Brownback who is their Trojan horse. The people who elected him are the ones who opened the gate for the corporate oppressors.

8

Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 1 month ago

I am glad that those who blindly support the GOP get what's coming to them. Then again, if they aren't smart enough to figure out what conservative politics really means, then they never will.

5

kansasdaughter 1 year, 1 month ago

With the biotech industry in charge it won't be long before pigs really do fly. Eliminate or reduce your consumption of meat of all kinds.

4

Doug Harvey 1 year, 1 month ago

Fascism: corporations will decide what happens because democracy is inefficient -- it makes your meetings "go downhill in a heck of a hurry." Mussolini would be proud. Soon, we'll be told how Mussolini was really a good guy and the liberal historians got it wrong.

12

Bob_Keeshan 1 year, 1 month ago

This is only further the decline in population of rural Kansas, counter to a stated goal of Il Marrone.

It will also likely increase the flow of immigrants to our state.

8

oldexbeat 1 year, 1 month ago

PS given the food situation coming up, how are all those Kansas GOP Tea Party folks going to feel about all the land being purchased by China ? Huh ? Hold on. Brownback will do that with out a thought, as will the Koch Brothers LLC....

9

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 1 month ago

This is just another example of what's really behind the Republicans' love affair with corporations-- the accumulation of ever more wealth by the already wealthy with absolutely no accountability to anyone for anything they do in that endeavor.

12

Paul R Getto 1 year, 1 month ago

One of the major provisions of the measure would eliminate the requirement that corporations get the approval of county commissioners to set up operations.

"I love the smell of pig s$it in the morning. Smells like victory." We rape our MOTHER for cheap breakfast meat.....

12

oldexbeat 1 year, 1 month ago

It becomes clearer each day -- first the LLCs are let out of state income tax -- then all road blocks to huge corporations -- with LLC divisions -- taking over all the land. Brownback is Selling Kansas -- I mean actually selling it -- and after the high bidder comes and buys, then Sammy will become CEO of Kansas. We won't need to spend money on silly things such as elections, or health inspectors. Saves the Kansas LLC a fortune, won't it. All hail the LLC -- the Party is always Right.

11

Richard Heckler 1 year, 1 month ago

Sam Brownback represents Facism plain and simple.

11

Richard Heckler 1 year, 1 month ago

Remember all the while Brownback was in the beltway the economy did not grow. Big time debt grew and millions upon millions upon millions of jobs went abroad. When he says his actions will grow the economy we can safely say he does not know what he is talking about.

--- RECKLESS GOP Tax cuts = THE GOP ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy which do nothing to make an economy strong or produce jobs. Tax cuts are a tax increase to others in order to make up the loss in revenue = duped again. Bush Tax Cuts aka
http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

--- In the end big debt and super duper bailouts HAVE BEEN the results which does not seem to bother Republicans, as long as they are in power.

In fact, by the time the second Bush left office, the national debt had grown to $12.1 trillion:

This GOP ENTITLEMENT - Over half of that amount had been created by Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy.

This GOP ENTITLEMENT - Another 30% of the national debt had been created by the tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

This GOP ENTITLEMENT - Fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

If the economy does begin to grow it will have nothing to do with Brownback. The economy went to hell under Brownback and his GOP in 2007. It stands to reason that in a few years the economy might bounce back. Yes he will say " look what Sammy boy has done" which of course will be another lie.

8

Robert Rauktis 1 year, 1 month ago

The corporate feedlots outsource all the socialization costs of the low cost slaves they import as employees. Schools, hospitals, roads, police, and environmental consequences (Laugh, they don't care...look up lagoons and North Carolina disasters!) all become the responsibility of completely outmatched tiny local government. Even Jack Reacher (not the Cruise version) can't deal with these mammoths.

These are economies of scale like the Mongol invasion.

PS: The carcasses go back to China to pay for more cheap stuff, production of which destroys their environment. My Shoe Pork.

15

I_Like_Ike 1 year, 1 month ago

Everyone is so fixed on the Kochs they ignore usual politics. Look at Sam's contributors. This issue is ALL Seaboard Corporation.

16

tolawdjk 1 year, 1 month ago

"These are large companies. These are professionals. They are not used to having to beg to do business," Stroda said. When large corporations are told they need approval from local officials, he said, "Your meeting starts to go downhill in a heck of a hurry.

"What this bill really does is take away the need for folks to come in and go to a county commission and say 'Please let me build a swine unit in your county,' " Stroda said.

I...I...I can't see how this is a bad idea. Ever been down to liberal and smelled that operation down there that feeds the hog plant in Oklahoma? That whole county reeks. And pig stink is a -whole- different ball game than cow stink. I ain't saying a cow lot smells like a field of wildflowers, but that pig smell burns into your nose to the point you want to rip it off your face.

12

headdoctor 1 year, 1 month ago

They don't have to get into farming completely to make a lot of money from this. The already have Koch Fertilizer, LLC, Matador Cattle Company, Koch Agronomic Services, L.L.C and Koch Agriculture Company plus all the subsidiary companies.

12

Bob Forer 1 year, 1 month ago

Look for the Kochs to move into farming if this law is passed.

11

Vinlandmom 1 year, 1 month ago

  1. Voted for Brownback and am so embarrassed I hate to say so BUT we all make mistakes.
  2. Corporations are corporations, not people. If they are, then they should not be able to vote as a private citizen. You get one vote not two.
  3. Corporate farms have no vested interest in the land or their neighbors, only the almighty dollar. "Currently, an individual farmer, family farm corporation, or authorized farm corporation can establish a dairy or swine farm without approval from the county commissioners, but a corporation, a limited company, or limited partnership cannot," said Chad Bontrager, an economist with the Kansas Department of Agriculture.
  4. Most all family farms (corporate or authorized) have been operating in Kansas for several years (some decades) and have a vested interest not just in the land, but their economy, neighbors, ecology and future. They live within the dirt, not on it.
  5. Allowing corporate farming in allows the increase of animals being contained in "lots" which is not conducive to healthy living or healthy production of products.
  6. Reducing/destroying the family farm not only eliminates jobs, it eliminates a way of life. I had an international student stay with me and we visited a family farm. She was so excited to be in such close contact to cows in a field and a single cow (not 10-50 cows) in a pen she in high heels no less, walked up to the cow and started petting it. Could you allow a novice or young city children to do this with a feedlot full of hundred pounds of beef do this?
  7. I'm all for doig more with less, but to a point. Animals are healthier not being neck to neck in a feedlot, our food is much safer /cleaner when animals are allowed the breathing room they need for high food productivity.
  8. Thanks for the podium
16

buckjennings 1 year, 1 month ago

Perhaps Governor Brownstain should live downwind from one of those awful, corporate pig farms with their huge stinking lagoons of pig feces to see how he likes it. Counties have voted against these things for a good reason, but when it comes to corporate greed, Brownstain knows no equal.

7

George_Braziller 1 year, 1 month ago

What he really means is they want free-reign to set up a hog farm wherever they want and not be required to go through the review process by the County. If you've ever lived within five miles of even small hog farm operations you know the smell.


"These are large companies. These are professionals. They are not used to having to beg to do business," Stroda said. When large corporations are told they need approval from local officials, he said, "Your meeting starts to go downhill in a heck of a hurry.

"What this bill really does is take away the need for folks to come in and go to a county commission and say 'Please let me build a swine unit in your county,' " Stroda said.

8

toe 1 year, 1 month ago

There are no family farms.

3

Stuart Evans 1 year, 1 month ago

Republican politicians = the right hand of corporate business. Democrat politicians = the left hand of corporate business. Two sides of the same screwing.

2

Souki 1 year, 1 month ago

Brownback's secretary of agriculture is a corporate-farm type. It's the only agriculture he knows. He worked for Cargill for 130 years or something like that.

The administration is looking forward to the day when western Kansas is nothing but 10,000-acre farms, each with two or three employees. And a few days after that, a desert.

12

Nani700 1 year, 1 month ago

I wish conservatives would make up their minds. Local control is good until it isn't according to the majority party and its king. Why shouldn't county commissions have the right to decide who is going to pollute their air and use their limited water supply? If it is local farms, at least it is THEIR local farms.

6

UltimateGrownup 1 year, 1 month ago

From the story: "Currently, an individual farmer, family farm corporation, or authorized farm corporation can establish a dairy or swine farm without approval from the county commissioners, but a corporation, a limited company, or limited partnership cannot," said Chad Bontrager, an economist with the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

In other words, this is discrimination. There was no need for this regulation in the first place. All it does is give county commissioners the leverage to pull off pay-for-play schemes, Blagojevich-style.

2

Uhjh 1 year, 1 month ago

What a joke Brownback is!

7

raypetty 1 year, 1 month ago

This same political mentality thinks corporations are PEOPLE! Reasonable, moderate people in Kansas need to wake up and smell the coffee NOW -- or else you'll soon be smelling something not quite so aromatic. We don't need to kowtow to these special interests - we need a new populist movement in Kansas. VOTE OUT THESE CRACKPOTS!

16

tomatogrower 1 year, 1 month ago

"These are large companies. These are professionals. They are not used to having to beg to do business," Stroda said. When large corporations are told they need approval from local officials, he said, "Your meeting starts to go downhill in a heck of a hurry.

I don't know too many businesses who do not have to follow local zoning rules. It's our community, and we will decide if we want you there, so go somewhere else if you don't like it, and take your unhealthy nasty feed lots with you. Brownback isn't even pretending to hide his big business agendas at the expense of local communities and the people who live in Kansas.

20

bad_dog 1 year, 1 month ago

You know, Koch Industries or one of their numerous entities used to have feedlot operations in numerous states. I thought they were getting out in the late '90's. Perhaps not.

3

Chris Golledge 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm ambivalent about the economies of scale that corporate farming brings to the market, but I think it is dishonest of the corporate representatives to imply that there are no negative impacts on local residents. It is the responsibility of local officials to look out for the interests of their constituents.

"Please let me build a swine unit in your county" - What a bunch of cry-babies.

8

nedcolt 1 year, 1 month ago

I sold the last of my hogs 2 wks ago,,lost money as usual,,the corporate farms have put small farms out of business,they can raise a million hogs a year and make 6 dollars a head profit,,thats 6 million dollars,,,i cant raise feed and haul my hogs or cattle for 6 dollars a head profit,,even organic hogs cant compete at a premium,,there are not many hog farmers in this county that raise for a profit,,the others raise for pets or 4-h,,,I lived by the old hogfarm n of lawrence and that was a nasty stinkin mess,,the ponds there are still polluted...ned colt,,x hog farmer

15

parrothead8 1 year, 1 month ago

Brownback won't be satisfied until Kansas is unsuitable to support human life.

9

Larry Sturm 1 year, 1 month ago

Nobody will want to come to Kansas with a lot of stinky pig farms, and more feed lots.

6

Larry Sturm 1 year, 1 month ago

How much farm land does Brownback own that he wants to sell to corperate farms.

11

Catalano 1 year, 1 month ago

"swine unit" = CAFO. At least be honest and call it what it is.

I thought Gov #heblowsalot supported the FAMILY unit. Oh, wait. It's the "family" on C Street he supports.

14

yourworstnightmare 1 year, 1 month ago

Pity the poor rural Kansas farmer.

Abortion is so important to him that he is willing to destroy his own livelihood and way of life by voting in politicians like Brownback.

"...That is not economic development; that is rural depopulation.""

When you put it like that, bring it on. If Kansas farmers are too stupid or ideological to vote in their bests interests, then rural Kansas farmers deserve to be depopulated.

16

Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

This just sickens me.

At least farmers who supported Brownback are finally feeling some of the pain of this C Streeter, wholly owned by the Kochs, whose only plan is to make Kansas a test site for a right-wing theocracy/plutocracy.

Farmers: This is what you voted for.

22

Joe Hyde 1 year, 1 month ago

Imagine that: Governor Brownback using the power of his office to help corporate farming rub out family farms, in this case by "liberating" big corporations to install huge operations anywhere they choose, even over the objections of local residents and county governments.

Well, at least this is work the governor is expert at -- spreading the stink, environmental injury and social decay caused by unrestricted corporate pork.

24

headdoctor 1 year, 1 month ago

There goes family farms and the Ogallala Aquifer. I don"t suppose there is any thing in Brownbacks plan to provide hazmat suites for the people in Western Kansas. Cancer is already the 2nd leading cause of death in Kansas. Guess it will now have a chance at the number one slot. It may already be if one could get the actual statistics for Western Kansas. I am not sure that the numbers from all counties are included in the overall State picture since they always leave several counties out of the list.

18

Hooligan_016 1 year, 1 month ago

"Bontrager said the bill has the potential to expand beef and hog operations by 10 percent, which would produce 1,500 jobs and add $183 million to the Kansas economy."

This was mentioned previously, expanding these kinds of operations puts an ever greater strain on our dwindling water supplies. If Brownback is truly concerned with preserving the aquifers, he would reject this proposal (wishful thinking, I know).

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