KLA Membership Sets Direction on Key Issues

Dec 18, 2015

Credit Montgomery County Planning Commission / Flickr Creative Commons

From Kansas Agland:

WICHITA – Members of the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) approved resolutions on animal identification, taxes, noxious weeds and other issues affecting their business interests during the group’s annual business meeting Dec. 4 in Wichita. The organization’s policy process started with member input in committee and council meetings and ended with final approval from the general KLA membership.

“Broad member input and constructive debate strengthen KLA policy and give clear direction to the officers and staff,” said KLA President Matt Perrier, a rancher from Eureka.

The membership approved a new resolution supporting the beef industry’s long-range plan. Developed by a national task force that included two KLA members, the plan is built around the single objective of increasing the wholesale beef demand index by 2 percent annually from 2016 through 2020.

Existing policy on animal identification and disease traceability was amended to include language supporting the long-range plan for beef. A provision of the plan calls for the cattle industry to secure the broad adoption of an individual animal identification disease traceability system that equips the industry to effectively manage a disease outbreak, while enhancing both domestic and global trust in beef. KLA members elected to support efforts by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and USDA to develop such a system.

KLA members reaffirmed a resolution supporting regulatory and/or statutory changes in the mandatory country-of-origin labeling program for meat that achieve compliance with World Trade Organization rules and avoid trade disruptions or retaliatory action.

Taxes are another policy priority for the membership. KLA supports property, sales, income and inheritance tax policies that encourage, promote, preserve and protect agricultural activities and provide a favorable business climate for farms, ranches and other livestock operations. KLA members oppose efforts to modify the use-value appraisal methodology used to value agricultural land for property tax purposes. Specific support was expressed for continued sales tax exemptions on inputs, farm machinery and equipment and livestock.

A new resolution supports state legislation that would make changes in noxious weed laws. The membership supports enhanced enforcement of noxious weed violations on state and federal land. Language in the resolution supports authorizing the Kansas secretary of agriculture to add or remove plants from the noxious weed list based on the recommendations of an advisory committee. It also supports allowing county officials to declare noxious weeds within their jurisdiction, with oversight from the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Another resolution reaffirmed by KLA members opposes attempts by the Environmental Protection Agency to seek regulatory proposals that inhibit the prescribed burning of native grasslands. This policy suggests air quality problems caused by prescribed burning are rare events that should not serve as the basis for penalizing cities for non-attainment of federal clean air guidelines.

Member policy directs KLA to continue monitoring any pending rule or regulatory changes that could affect the ability of futures markets to provide a meaningful risk management function.

The membership reaffirmed their opposition to state legislation that would enact more restrictive immigration policies than currently exist under federal law. Additionally, KLA continues to support federal immigration policy that allows for an efficient and adequate guest worker program and provides opportunities for employees found to be unauthorized workers to legally complete the immigration process.

These were among 55 resolutions KLA members approved for 2016. Other issues addressed in KLA policy range from motor vehicle regulations to water appropriation to animal health matters.

KLA is a 5,200-member trade organization representing the state’s livestock business on legislative, regulatory and industry issues at the state and federal levels. The association’s work is funded through voluntary dues dollars paid by its members.