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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

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

Hooligan_016 1 year, 9 months 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).

Mike1949 1 year, 9 months ago

conservative deserves conservative, hope you all got what you bargained for!

kuhlman 1 year, 9 months ago

Not sure where you're getting that information from, but I've seen figures that meat demand is increasing. Especially on the worldwide scale.

globehead 1 year, 9 months ago

Grover Norquist determined in the 1980s that for every $1 spent on corporate lobbying, there was a return of 126,000%.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

Help me understand your POV. How does allowing new beef or hog operations put a greater strain on the water supply when they are not using new water? The area is closed to new water permits so they have to buy existing ones. The amount of water being used doesn't change only who owns the rights and how it is used. If a hog producer buys a water right from a farmer who uses it to irrigate then the hog owners water permit is reduced considerable because of the use difference so how does it put a greater strain on the water supply.

deec 1 year, 9 months ago

CAFOs use millions of gallons of water and the used water is hopelessly polluted with waste materials, antibiotics, hormones and other stuff that's bad for the planet and its inhabitants. A crop farmer can opt for dryland techniques. Animals don't grow so good without water.

michigan.sierraclub.org/issues/greatlakes/articles/cafofacts.html#water

Alyosha 1 year, 9 months ago

Ya, freedom from pesky oversight by the people's elected representative government.

headdoctor 1 year, 9 months 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.

Greg Cooper 1 year, 9 months ago

UNION!!! What are you saying?! This is Kansas, and we don't like unions, do we?

Joe Hyde 1 year, 9 months 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.

Eileen Jones 1 year, 9 months 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.

headdoctor 1 year, 9 months ago

Yup, and they and others will vote for him again. They can't get the "Us against Them" mentality out of their minds. If nothing else they will vote the way they do because their dad, grand dad, and great grand voted the way they do.

Gina Becker 1 year, 9 months ago

It's not against our economic interests. We're free to keep our farms or sell them. It'll make our land worth more. Protectionism is never beneficial to society. Competition, in the end, helps society. From inside farming, you can see how ridiculous most government programs and subsidies are. The only reason you have to take them is that everybody else takes them, and so you'd be left the only one without, so your farm would go out of business. It's a spiraling dependency.

costello 1 year, 9 months ago

"It's not against our economic interests. We're free to keep our farms or sell them. It'll make our land worth more."

And what of your neighbor who would like to keep his farm and doesn't want a corporate pig farm next door? And what of the consumer who would like to purchase.food that wasn't raised on a feedlot? Should all public policy devolve to the question of economic efficiency and making land worth more, so people like you can sell up for a better price? What about issues like quality of life, health, and safety? Do they not enter the equation at all?

This is most certainly against the economic interests of the little guy who'd like to keep farming. The big guys will price him out of business.

yourworstnightmare 1 year, 9 months 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.

frank mcguinness 1 year, 9 months ago

This^ The interesting part of this is that corporations cannot vote (yet) (sigh) so once the small town farmers are replaced with corporations the urban areas will have a greater chance of ousting Brownback.

Catalano 1 year, 9 months 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.

Larry Sturm 1 year, 9 months ago

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

Larry Sturm 1 year, 9 months ago

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

parrothead8 1 year, 9 months ago

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

sourpuss 1 year, 9 months ago

Thank goodness that corporations are not -really- people.

nedcolt 1 year, 9 months 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

Chris Golledge 1 year, 9 months 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.

bad_dog 1 year, 9 months ago

Dishonest corporative representatives? Surely you jest. What could possibly be in it for them?

bad_dog 1 year, 9 months 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.

tomatogrower 1 year, 9 months 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.

raypetty 1 year, 9 months 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!

UltimateGrownup 1 year, 9 months 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.

chootspa 1 year, 9 months ago

Because everyone wants to live next to a massive hog farm?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 9 months ago

"In other words, this is discrimination."

No, it's not. Anyone wishing to set up a farm can do so-- they just need to follow the rather minimal rules that do nothing but require that the farms aren't absentee operations controlled from who-knows-where, who couldn't care less about diminishing the quality of life for their neighbors, or what they do to the air and water that everyone in the state needs to breathe and drink.

Lynn Grant 1 year, 9 months 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.

Bradley Kemp 1 year, 9 months 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.

Stuart Evans 1 year, 9 months ago

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

Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 9 months ago

Sometimes. I remember Sebelius taking a stand against the coal plant in Western Kansas, but it was eventually approved by her replacement lackey.

George_Braziller 1 year, 9 months 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.

Vinlandmom 1 year, 9 months 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

Janet Lowther 1 year, 9 months ago

Amen!

You hit all the points I intended to make (and more) so I don't have to!

Bob Forer 1 year, 9 months ago

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

headdoctor 1 year, 9 months 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.

Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 9 months ago

In fact, there's not much money to be made in farming because of the collusion that is allowed by major buyers. All you have to do is read Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser who exposes a practice that's been damaging to farmers for nearly 50 years.

Bob Forer 1 year, 9 months ago

Only to the extent of the small farmer. The corporate farms are making out like bandits. It's call agricultural vertical integration.

tolawdjk 1 year, 9 months 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.

I_Like_Ike 1 year, 9 months ago

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

Robert Rauktis 1 year, 9 months 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.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 9 months 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.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 9 months ago

Sam Brownback represents Facism plain and simple.

oldexbeat 1 year, 9 months 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.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 9 months 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.

oldexbeat 1 year, 9 months 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....

Bob_Keeshan 1 year, 9 months 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.

Doug Harvey 1 year, 9 months 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.

Bob_Keeshan 1 year, 9 months ago

Il Duce has nothing on Il Marrone.

Kansas. Where the 20th Century never happened.

costello 1 year, 9 months ago

I've switched to grass-fed beef. I look for beef raised locally.

Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 9 months 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.

Robert Rauktis 1 year, 9 months 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.

John Sickels 1 year, 9 months 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.

weeslicket 1 year, 9 months ago

yep. small town kansas voted away their schools, their post offices, and now their family farms. at least ghost towns don't have any abortion clinics or homosexuals.

well played, rubes.

Kate Rogge 1 year, 9 months ago

It isn't just western Kansas, nor just rural Kansas. Brownback was voted in by the good folks in Johnson County and Sedgwick County who believe patriots get out of the way of business.

Patricia Davis 1 year, 9 months ago

I agree with you. However, let's use this moment to unite Kansans who really care about our children and our state and work together first, to get rid of Brownback and two, a rational tax base to support what really needs supporting and the Koch bros are not on my list.

cabmando 1 year, 9 months 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"!

Robert Greenwood 1 year, 9 months ago

Corporate pigs at the trough. This stinks.

JayhawkFan1985 1 year, 9 months ago

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

In_God_we_trust 1 year, 9 months 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.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

I think that would be a reasonable compromise.

Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 9 months ago

Then it has no chance of consideration, let alone implementation.

tomatogrower 1 year, 9 months ago

You are forgetting. Brownback is a Teapublican. They never compromise. And that compromise could have been made already with county authorities. It's not what Brownback's puppeteers want.

Ken Lassman 1 year, 9 months 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.

Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 9 months 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?

I_Like_Ike 1 year, 9 months ago

Jkilgore is exactly right (except I think it's SeaBoard now).

FOLLOW this poster....he remembers!

Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 9 months ago

It's that kind of thinking that is destroying this state, but then, what do you care?

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

What makes farming so special? Why not restrict all corporations from doing business in Kansas. Preserve the family grocery store, the hardware store, the movie theater, etc.

I like the family farmer, but I can't see how one can restrict people from doing business based on their corporate structure. Put restrictions in place that apply to all businesses, but how is it just to say one person can do business and another can't?

tomatogrower 1 year, 9 months ago

Good, so you are all for a feed lot next door to you. Where do you live?

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

What a silly comment. No one said that corporations or any other businesses should be exempt from zoning laws. You can't put a feed lot in the city of Lawrence...a few chickens, but not a feed lot. Again, how silly.

Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 9 months ago

Well, Fred, your memory is very short or education very scant. Residents of Great Bend had to fire ALL of the their city commissioners who signed on to the Seaboard Corporation's plans to locate one very close to the city limits, and the physician who fought against them lost his license to practice medicine. Why not get yourself educated about this issue rather than spewing rightwing garbage.

It does seem silly that humans could be so stupid, but the GOP is not known for long-term thinking, only short term wallet stuffing.

Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 9 months ago

We're not lefties, we're intelligent. People who can think and reason can see that there are no local benefits to hog farms, and you aren't smart to understand that. Every single thing that hog farms produce cost the citizens of this state dearly. What Seabrook does in its absentee role is to pollute the state while stuffing their pockets. Those that you call the "landed gentry" treat their land with respect, and while you are critical of them, many "righties" such as those in Seabrook, et al, inherited far more than farmland. But then, I don't care about right and left, I care about Kansas and her citizens.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

So you're saying that KDHE is not doing its job? CAFOs are heavily regulated by KDHE so if they are polluting then KDHE must be failing in its duties.

Also, some of the worst offenders are the "family" farmer. Go to the farms and see the trash beyond the tree lines, the waste seeping into the ground because they lack the funds to put in the proper liner or repair the leaking one in their lagoon.

It is unfair to say one is better than the other. Corporations often put in higher tech systems then the little guy.

verity 1 year, 9 months ago

I don't know where you're seeing this, but I do go to the farms and I don't see a lot of what you describe. There are laws and there is pressure from neighbors. Not saying it's perfect, but I'd like to see sources before I believe that family farms are the biggest offenders.

verity 1 year, 9 months ago

". . . you inherited your "proerty" and are very wealthy."

1 Not every farmer has inherited their land.

2 Those who inherit don't necessarily inherit "large amounts." They may need to buy more at prices rising much more than inflation in order to make a profit.

3 Land wise they might be wealthy, but that doesn't mean they have a large income after expenses.

4 "Landed gentry." You might look that term up. On family farms, the owners generally work their own land and livestock, sometimes with outside help.

I don't expect you to be bothered by facts, but I don't want other readers to think that your opinions are fact.

Alyosha 1 year, 9 months ago

Your term "lefties" is meaningless. Of course, you can try to define it as you are using it, but I'll not hold my breath.

verity 1 year, 9 months ago

Worth millions? All of them? Really?

UneasyRider 1 year, 9 months 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.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

You can cite your source since it is a fact, right?

Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 9 months ago

You don't need a source if you are paying the least attention. Their legislative proposals is the source. We aren't mindless.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

So just make stuff up and say you don't need a source? If something is a fact then you should be able to provide a source or at least connect the dots on how Koch told Brownback to do this. If not, then you lack credibility.

Greg Cooper 1 year, 9 months ago

"Simple fact, the Kochs told Brownback to increase their income, so that is exactly what he is trying to do", in my opinion, after looking at the realities of his governorship, the way he treats lower income people, the way he steamrolls over any entity that does not have a direct connectio n to the Koch philosophy of slash and burn. The way he and the legislature parrott Koch-backed legislation. The way he mouths "for the good of Kansas" and acts "the good of big money. The way he has wrecked the Kansas economy for at least the nest few years while the current legislature is configured the way it is. Want more proof? Actually read, fred, actually think outside the Tea Party Neo-Republican talking points. Actually research the things you are defending. Then, if you see things that you like, let us know. Otherwise, your mindless support of the Brownbach/Koch cabal is just that: mindless. Useless in a rational discussion. Counter productive in any meaningful way if you want to see Kansas come together again.

Saying "I know you are, but what am I" is simply juvenile and means nothing to anyone who actually thinks things through.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

caughtinthemiddle, your rant was all opinion and conjecture with no fact. You don't even have me pegged right. I am not a brownback fan nor am I a republican, but I despise misinformation and personal attacks more than I do brownback. I am sure that there is legislation introduced by the legislature that the Kochs support, but to try and lay this on them is a stretch. Why not go after seaboard or the pig association?

Where did I say I know you are......? Again, making stuff up. I have an open mind, show me the facts and not just opinion and you maybe able to change my mind.

Tell me why a corporation should be prohibited from operating a business? I support zoning, size, etc. restrictions to prevent pollution and water consumption, but not singling out one corporation over another.

UneasyRider 1 year, 9 months ago

No source needed, look at Brownback's actions.

avarom 1 year, 9 months ago

Sounds right... just more pork barreling so Brownhack can bring home more $$$$ Bacon.....and many build some wells so you can buy his water....at his prices.

avarom 1 year, 9 months 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!

JohnBrown 1 year, 9 months ago

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

Liars.

JohnBrown

Trumbull 1 year, 9 months 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.

Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 9 months ago

Oh right. Those jobs pay minimum wage and suck and are then become welfare recipients. How uneducated a comment is this?

verity 1 year, 9 months ago

So, you think the corporate farms will employ more people than small or family farms? I thought there was supposed to be "an economy of scale."

overthemoon 1 year, 9 months 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.

avarom 1 year, 9 months ago

Finally....someone who sees the trees through the forest.....great comment! 8-)

UneasyRider 1 year, 9 months 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.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

To which state will you be moving and what about that state appeals to you? Just curious.

UneasyRider 1 year, 9 months ago

Probably Ga or slim chance north Fl. Major appeal being it will not be Ks. and its nutcase leadership. Property taxes will be less and Fl has no state income tax and homestead exemptions. Ga and Fl both have have their rightwing nutcases, both not near as fanatical as Ks.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

Aw give them time, they will catch up :)

UneasyRider 1 year, 9 months ago

But, until they do, I can live reasonably well. By the time they catch up, I will no longer be around to care, Fortunately all my kids, grandkids and great-grandkids don't live in Ks.

globehead 1 year, 9 months ago

At this point, the "show-me-again-but-slower" state looks vastly superior. It will be like watching Hiroshima in the rear view mirror.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 9 months 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.

Kontum1972 1 year, 9 months ago

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

Kontum1972 1 year, 9 months ago

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

juma 1 year, 9 months 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.

Bob Forer 1 year, 9 months ago

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

ottawa 1 year, 9 months 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.

Steve Hicks 1 year, 9 months ago

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

seniorcitizen 1 year, 9 months 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/

seniorcitizen 1 year, 9 months 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

verity 1 year, 9 months 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.

Chris Golledge 1 year, 9 months 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.

costello 1 year, 9 months ago

That's what it comes down to, isn't it? It isn't because "These are large companies. These are professionals. They are not used to having to beg to do business." It's not the "begging" that bothers them. It's the being told "no." And if they're being told "no," it's because the people who live there don't want them.

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