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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Another push made to repeal limits on allowing corporate farming

March 21, 2013

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— Gov. Sam Brownback's administration on Thursday continued to try to push through legislation that would repeal limits on corporate farming.

Kansas Agriculture Secretary Dale Rodman said current restrictions are driving business to other states, and that is not good for the Kansas economy.

"The people I talk to will not look at Kansas for investment for some of these industries," Rodman told the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

But Paul Johnson with the Kansas Rural Center said the decades-old limits on corporate farms should be studied carefully before changing.

"Kansans deserve better than a rushed, end of the session discussion that is happening today," Johnson said.

He urged legislators to appoint a committee to study the issue, hold meetings across the state during the summer and fall and come up with recommendations for the 2013 legislative session.

The committee took no immediate action on House Bill 2404, but scheduled another meeting for Friday.

Committee Chair Sharon Schwartz, R-Washington, said she wanted committee members to become familiar with the issue. Schwartz said she didn't want to rush into a decision but also said she wanted to make sure that Kansas was competitive with other states.

The house bill was introduced earlier this week. A similar bill, Senate Bill 191, was heard by a Senate committee, but that committee has not voted on it yet.

Much of the opposition to the proposal is because it would eliminate the requirement that corporations get approval of county commissioners to set up operations.

The Kansas Farm Bureau testified in support of the bill even though its bylaws state that it supports the ability of county residents to determine whether non-family farm corporations may own agricultural land to operate pork or dairy production facilities.

State Rep. John Wilson, D-Lawrence, questioned Kansas Farm Bureau President Steve Baccus on how the Farm Bureau could support the bill given its bylaws.

Baccus said the decision to support the bill was made by the organization's board of directors after many hours of debate.

Kansas law now 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.

The Brownback administration contends those restrictions are unfair.

Comments

speedy47 1 year, 9 months ago

How about disposing nuclear wastes here also? It'll be great. NOT

Unreal 1 year, 9 months ago

"Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money." -- Cree Indian Proverb

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 9 months ago

"Committee Chair Sharon Schwartz, R-Washington, said she wanted committee members to become familiar with the issue. Schwartz said she didn't want to rush into a decision but also said she wanted to make sure that Kansas was competitive with other states."

Yea, we wouldn't want anybody to get ahead of us in the race to the bottom.

George_Braziller 1 year, 9 months ago

A corporate pig farm down wind from from you without having to get any County approval to set up operations might clear your sinuses about why this is so bad.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

Does a family corporate hog farm smell better?

George_Braziller 1 year, 9 months ago

No, but current law required the County to allow and approve the operation. This legislation would eliminate the County from having any say about it.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

So the bill prohibits zoning in counties? If it does then that would be wrong.

sturgen 1 year, 9 months ago

A family farm will have more impact on the local economy rather than the money leaving the state as would happen in a corporate setting. The real issue is the removal of the step where the larger farms have to get local approval before they set up shop. The way Brownsack wants it a 10,000 head hog farm can just move in next door without having to gain the approval of anybody in the area. Then your home and land are worth zilch...cause who wants to live next to a huge hog farm? The answer is nobody, except the farm, which now can purchase all the land around it for a steal. Million dollar rural home? Nope, your house would make a better spot for a containment pond.

elliottaw 1 year, 9 months ago

pig farms are not a labor intensive business, each farm may bring 10-15 jobs at best. Unlike family farms these farms don't care about the welfare of the animals and the cleanliness of the farm, they are strictly there to turn out meat and quality is not a concern.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

What evidence do you have to make such a sweeping statement? Any data to back up your claim?

Do you really think all family farms care about the animals and never abuse them?

elliottaw 1 year, 9 months ago

It has all to do with money, family farms have far less animals and tend to have those animals graze in open fields to cut down on feed cost. Factory farms tend to have a lot more heads of animals and push their animals thru the process using a number of different methods from drugs (steroids to speed up growth) to keep the animals in small pens so they can not move around (burn calories). A simple google search and you can have tons of imagines of how factory farms treat their animals. And since factories have companies contracted to take their meat quality is not an issue they worry about where as if Bobs meat farm start turning out lower quality meat they are more likely to lose their business over someone like Tyson turning out a lower quality meat, people are more likely to just ignore it.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

You really know little about farming. Family farms also sell on a contract basis. Family hog farms are not having their hogs graze in fields. They are in buildings just like the larger farms.

Go look at the so-called family farm dairies in western Kansas. They have 7000 cows or more. And they are not grazing in fields. They are housed and given hormones and antibiotics.

Drive through the country and see the family farms with the calves chained to little shelters to produce veal.

You need a reality check if you think the family farmer doesn't use the same techniques as the larger corporate farms do.

elliottaw 1 year, 9 months ago

Hence the reason I said tend to and not all

kansanbygrace 1 year, 9 months ago

Yes fred_ some family-owned farms use the same industrial model, but there are a growing number of small farms growing varied crops and critters, and there are many advantages: environmental, food quality, and economic to those "appropriate technology/sustainable and organic" methodologies that are quite competitive, and some damned smart farmers are improving it all the time.

kansanbygrace 1 year, 9 months ago

This is a great article. Factually based and very reasonable. thanks for the link, appleaday.

Lawrence Morgan 1 year, 9 months ago

This is a great article. Many, many thanks.

The same thing is true of smart phones, digital TVs, chips, etc. I work part of the time in Mountain View and Santa Clara, California, by Google, and the pollution of Santa Clara - at the heart of Silicon Valley - is terrible. Google has had to close down whole buildings because of pollution from the earlier days of Silicon Valley.

The same thing is true for smart phones and much of the other digital processes - somewhere, whether it be in the U.S. or the third world, people are working mindlessly to try to produce these products.

When Americans and other nationalities are finished with them, they just throw them out.

The Journal-World ought to get hold of this guy and interview him for the newspaper. I couldn't stop reading the article!

Robert Greenwood 1 year, 9 months ago

The Brownback administration contends those restrictions are unfair

Since when did the Brownback administration care anything about being fair?

Richard Heckler 1 year, 9 months ago

Corporate Farming = Monsanto Round-Up Laced GMO foods = contamination of the soil and weeds becoming immune to Round-Up which means a more powerful weed killer will need to be applied.

How are toxic chemicals healthy to the food chain? I know I know go ask ALEC.

Lawrence Morgan 1 year, 9 months ago

Please take a look at my article in well-commons about GMO foods. Whole Foods and now Trader Joes are going to start labeling all genetically modified foods. When will other food markets in Kansas follow suit?

Richard Heckler 1 year, 9 months ago

Will they be labeling their own labels or the entire inventory?

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

And you don't think family owned farms use GMO seed?

Richard Heckler 1 year, 9 months ago

some don't have a choice. Monsanto will sue them for not using their seeds.

Some family farms have other access.

Organic farmers do not use GMO seeds.

eatlocalfood 1 year, 9 months ago

I believe that the issue of contradictory testimony is in reference to the Kansas Farm Bureau Policy, not the organization's bylaws. Policy, if I am not mistaken, is revisited annually by delegates at an annual meeting. Delegate vote, section by section, on policy positions. The end result serves as the member-approved policy until the next annual meeting.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

I think you're right unfortunately the lobbyist often stray from the member policy when it suits them.

Michael LoBurgio 1 year, 9 months ago

speedy47 don't give the republicans any ideas!

Michael LoBurgio 1 year, 9 months ago

The Kansas House Republicans approved a $400 million middle class tax increase. Last week, Senate Republicans approved $500 million middle class tax hike. The Governor's latest tax plan includes a $700 million middle class tax hike. All of these proposals were introduced to pay for tax cuts Governor Brownback pushed through in 2012, which give the top earners in the state an average tax cut of about $20,000 while enabling business owners go income tax free. None of these plans will generate enough revenue to allow for restored funding of Kansas schools. Please share - your neighbors need to know what is happening in Statehouse.

Joe Hyde 1 year, 9 months ago

If the Brownback administration succeeds in repealing the current restrictions on corporate farming, corporate farming operations can move into any county they like, anytime they choose. And they'll move in deliberately ignoring the commonsense safety, public health and water supply concerns expressed by local officials.

By pushing so hard for this quick de-regulation measure, Gov. Brownback is trying to lay the whole state wide open to "loot and pollute" abuse by distant corporate boards and stockholders who, bottom line, don't give a damn whether the Kansas environment is profitable, or even habitable, for generations to come.

globehead 1 year, 9 months ago

Wonder why he's interested in helping corporate farms? Wonder how many of these are relatives? Sam is from Parker, KS. By the way, he doesn't want to accept money from the federal govt. for the arts because that contributes to the deficit.

EWG Farm Subsidy Database

Individual Subsidy Recipients named BROWNBACK: 1 to 18 of 18 in Kansas Last Name: BROWNBACK Rank Name Location Subsidy Total 1995-2011 (1). Glen R Brownback Parker, KS 66072 $ 395,511.74 (2). James R Brownback Parker, KS 66072 $ 348,400.58 (3). Loyd A Brownback Mound City, KS 66056 $ 233,385.15 (4). Mary K Dare Brownback Mound City, KS 66056 $ 81,562.18 (5). Sam Brownback Topeka, KS 66610 $ 48,852.00 (6). John Brownback Mound City, KS 66056 $ 42,424.04 (7). Leo Brownback Mound City, KS 66056 $ 25,350.01 (8). Carlene L Brownback Centerville, KS 66014 $ 25,263.40 (9). Marion Brownback Centerville, KS 66014 $ 19,760.06 (10). Alan L Brownback Lyndon, KS 66451 $ 5,765.00 (11). Keith Brownback Centerville, KS 66014 $ 3,687.00 (12). Herbert Brownback Lacygne, KS 66040 $ 2,831.00 (13). Nancy E Brownback Lyndon, KS 66451 $ 2,631.00 (14). Mary L Brownback La Cygne, KS 66040 $ 1,611.00 (15). Clyde Brownback Parker, KS 66072 $ 1,337.00 (16). B T Brownback Blue Mound, KS 66010 $ 1,273.00 (17) . Leona L Brownback Caldwell, KS 67022 $ 1,199.00 (18). Leora Brownback Parker, KS 66072 $ 594.00

Jeremiah Jefferson 1 year, 9 months ago

I like the smaller family farms much better. The people are better, more friendly and easy to talk to. Corporate farms means wealthy land grabbers who half of the time don't even live in this state. We need to keep Kansas land, Kansas owned.

grandnanny 1 year, 9 months ago

I particularly like the part about the jobs created and the workers required for these jobs. It fits right in with Brownback's plan to destroy public education because you do not want people who read, think, or question. Brownback wants an education system that fits the jobs being created by the large corporate farms - brainless, easily manipulated, no questions asked. How do you like being part of Brownback's great experiment? I don't.

juma 1 year, 9 months ago

I am canceling my Farm Bureau insurance policy. Suggest all Kansas farmers do the same.

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