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EPA- Policy Issue; FDA; and, the Ag Economy- Friday
Government
Monday, 31 March 2014 12:06
By Keith Good

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)– Policy Issues

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was a guest on yesterday’s AgriTalk radio program with Mike Adams where, in part, the conversation focused on recent EPA water related issues.  An unofficial FarmPolicy.com transcript of yesterday’s complete discussion with Mr. Adams and Sec. Vilsack is available here.

Mr. Adams queried yesterday: “A lot of news this week, a lot of conversation about the release by EPA concerning a clarification of the Clean Water Act, and really the waters of the U.S. and the interpretation there. Now we have heard it explained that this is a protection for agriculture, that the exemptions will not only be kept in place, but enhanced, in some cases. But we’re hearing a lot of skepticism and criticism from some in agriculture saying they still think it’s an overreach by EPA. Now USDA is included in this as far as a consultation with EPA. What’s your interpretation of it, and what is USDA’s role in this?”

Sec. Vilsack indicated that, “Well, I think we have been working with EPA and the Corps of Engineers for the last couple years to make sure that they fully understood and appreciated what goes on on the farm and on ranches around the country, so as they crafted a response to litigation or response to their statutory responsibilities in terms of the Clean Water Act that they could take into consideration what’s happening on the ground.
Read more...
 
Climate- Policy Issues; COOL; Ag Economy; Biofuels; Immigration; Biotech; and, EPA- Monday
Government
Monday, 31 March 2014 12:04

 By Keith Good

 Climate Issues- White House Proposal, and Farm Bill Issues

Justin Gillis reported on the front page of today’s New York Times that, “Climate change is already having sweeping effects on every continent and throughout the world’s oceans, scientists reported Monday, and they warned that the problem is likely to grow substantially worse unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control.

“The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that periodically summarizes climate science, concluded that ice caps are melting, sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing, water supplies are coming under stress, heat waves and heavy rains are intensifying, coral reefs are dying, and fish and many other creatures are migrating toward the poles or in some cases going extinct.”

Chapter Seven of the report, which is available here, is titled, “Food Security & Food Production Systems.”

Meanwhile, Amy Harder reported in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal that, “The Obama administration on Friday directed several federal agencies to clamp down on emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas emitted from natural gas and other industries, fleshing out an initiative that attempts to address environmental concerns without harming the nation’s booming natural-gas industry [Fact Sheet, Full Report].”

Read more...
 
Farm Bill; EPA Issues; Ag Economy; Biotech; and, Tax Extenders- Thursday
Government
Thursday, 27 March 2014 16:41

By Keith Good

Farm Bill- Policy Issues

USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden was a guest on yesterday’s AgriTalk radio program with Mike Adams where the conversation focused on Farm Bill implementation.

Mr. Adams queried on the radio program yesterday: “What is the biggest challenge, when you’re looking at that commodity title and you say it’s going to take the rest of this year, what is the biggest hurdle you have to overcome to get that thing going?”

Dep. Sec. Hardin indicated that,  “It is complicated.  And because it does lock in producers for the life of the farm bill, we want to make sure that they can make decisions that is right for them.  A lot of changes.  There are IT changes, you know, getting our systems up-to-date and making the changes, training our personnel, making sure we’re communicating with producers so that they have the information to make informed decisions.  There’s a lot of steps in this process.  We’re going to make sure we take each step and do it right so producers can make good decisions and not just a quick decision.”

Mr. Adams also asked, “We knew all along about direct payments going to go away and the shift now over to these other types of programs.  How big of an adjustment is that for you at USDA to make that kind of a shift?”

Dep. Sec. Harden noted that, “It’s a big difference, it really is.  It is a change in course.  Obviously a lot of folks saw that coming.  We assumed direct payments would go away.  That had been the talk for some time, you’re exactly right.  But what would replace it we didn’t really know, and you can’t preempt what Congress might do, so we really could only prepare up to a point before Congress actually acted.  So it is complex, it’s complicated, but in the long run I think it will be good for producers.  We’ll get the right information out there.  We’re hopeful they’ll make really good decisions.  We’ve just got to make sure we do this in a systematic, careful process.”

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Agricultural Economy
Government
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 13:38

Keith Good 

 Tony C. Dreibus and Neena
Rai
reported
yesterday at The Wall Street Journal Online that, "U.S. wheat futures
surged 4.6%, the biggest one-day percentage gain in more than 17 months, as
traders fretted that *Ukraine's escalating crisis* will slow grain exports
from the eastern European country.

"Wheat prices jumped after Russia's military appeared to tighten its
control of Ukraine's Black Sea region of Crimea. The tensions led traders
to speculate that buyers of wheat and corn will shift purchases from
Ukraine--one of the world's biggest grain exporters--to shippers such as the
U.S."

Read more...
 
Kansas Legislative Happenings
Government
Monday, 24 February 2014 15:23

Bill Number
and Sponsor

Bill Subject

Current Status

Last Action

This resolution states that the Kansas House of Representatives does not support President Obama's climate plan.

SB 276

Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee

Enacting the state sovereignty over non-migratory wildlife act

House Agriculture and Natural Resources

02/14/2014 - House
Referred to Agriculture and Natural Resources

This bill declares the state's sovereignty over non-migratory wildlife. It is aimed at efforts by USFWS about prairie chickens.

SB 277

Senate Ways and Means Committee

Extending the alternative calculation for the local option budget under the school finance formula

In Senate Ways and Means

01/17/2014 - Senate
Referred to Ways and Means

This bill extends the ability to "stretch" the LOB under the school finance formula as if the BSAPP was $4,433. The current statute sunsets on June 30, 2014. This extends it to June 30, 2019.

SB 278

Senate Ways and Means Committee

Establishing the state board of veterinary examiners within the animal health division of the Kansas department of agriculture for a two-year period

On General Orders in Senate

02/13/2014 - Senate
Committee Report recommending bill be passed by Ways and Means

This bill moves the Board of Veterinary Examiners into the Division of Animal Health within the Department of Agriculture for a two year period beginning July, 1, 2014. This is a compromise with the KVMA and others to have a trial period for this transition.

SB 279

Senate Utilities Committee

Right of first refusal for incumbent electric transmission owners

In Senate Utilities

01/22/2014 - Senate
Scheduled Hearing in Utilities: Tuesday, 1/28/2014, 1:30 PM, Rm 548-S

This is Westar's ROFR bill. The bill is identical to HB 2457.

SB 281

Rob Olson, R-23rd

Removing redbelly and smooth earth snakes from the nongame and endangered species conservation act

In Senate Natural Resources

01/30/2014 - Senate
Scheduled Hearing (cont'd) in Natural Resources: Friday, 1/31/2014, 8:30 AM, Rm 159-S

This bill requires KDWPT to not include the redbelly snake and smooth earth snake as an endangered or threatened species.

SB 286

Senate Agriculture Committee

Extending sunset date on certain agriculture fees from July 1, 2015, to July 1, 2019

On General Orders in Senate

02/11/2014 - Senate
Committee Report recommending bill be passed by Agriculture

KDA bill extending fee sunset from 2015 to 2019.

SB 294

Senate Commerce Committee

Tax levy for rural housing incentive districts

In Senate Ways and Means

01/23/2014 - Senate
Referred to Ways and Means

Rural Housing Incentive districts

SB 295

Senate Commerce Committee

Tax credits for community service contributions; youth apprenticeship and entrepreneurship

In Senate Assessment and Taxation

01/22/2014 - Senate
Referred to Assessment and Taxation

The bill expands the definition of community services eligible for tax credits to include "youth apprenticeship and technical training" with an emphasis on rural construction projects.

SB 296

Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee

Water supply district authorization to issue refund for general obligation bonds

In Senate Assessment and Taxation

02/13/2014 - Senate
Scheduled Hearing in Assessment and Taxation: Wednesday, 2/19/2014, 9:30 AM, Rm 548-S

This bill allows Public wholesale water supply districts No. 13, 20 and23 to issue general obligation bonds like districts 4, 11, and 12.

SB 298

Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee

Eliminating the Kansas mortgage registration fee

In Senate Assessment and Taxation

01/27/2014 - Senate
Scheduled Hearings in Assessment and Taxation: Pro - Wednesday, 1/29/2014, 9:30 AM, Rm 548-S; Opp - Thursday, 1/30/2014, 9:30 AM, Rm 548-S

This bill repeals the mortgage registration fee. There is talk of a "compromise" to keep rural counties whole on funding.

SB 318

Senate Commerce Committee

Prohibition on the application of 2,4-D and related pesticides during certain times of the year

In Senate Agriculture

01/29/2014 - Senate
Referred to Agriculture

Senator Holland's 2-4D bill.

SB 319

Senate Commerce Committee

Protecting surface property owners' rights

In Senate Natural Resources

01/29/2014 - Senate
Referred to Natural Resources

Sen. Holland's amendments to the Surface Notice Act.

SB 323

Senate Ways and Means Committee

Amending the duration of a conservation easement

In Senate Natural Resources

02/06/2014 - Senate
Scheduled Hearing (cont'd) in Natural Resources: Friday, 2/14/2014, 8:30 AM, Rm 159-S

This bill requires conservation easements created after July 1, 2014 to end on a date certain or at the death of the grantor.

SB 325

Senate Ways and Means Committee

Appropriations for FY 2014, FY 2015, FY 2016, FY 2017 and FY 2018 for various state agencies; capital improvement projects

In Senate Ways and Means

01/30/2014 - Senate
Referred to Ways and Means

Budget bill

SB 344

Senate Transportation Committee

Size and weight limitations for special permits on oversized loads

In Senate Transportation

02/06/2014 - Senate
Scheduled Hearing in Transportation: Thursday, 2/13/2014, 8:30 AM, Rm 546-S

This bill removes the requirement for trucks that are overweight with a special permit to be overweight from having to have an "oversize load" sign on the vehicle. The bill also allows such vehicles to operate 24 hours per day.

SB 353

Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee

State valuation and assessment of complex industrial property by the director of property valuation

In Senate Assessment and Taxation

02/10/2014 - Senate
Scheduled Hearing in Assessment and Taxation: Wednesday, 2/12/2014, 9:30 AM, Rm 548-S

This bill requires statewide appraisal of complex industrial machinery. The bill also allows for a county to abate a certain portion of such machinery and equipment.

SB 380

Senate Agriculture Committee

Establishing the local food and farm task force

In Senate Agriculture

02/12/2014 - Senate
Scheduled Hearing and Possible Action in Agriculture: Wednesday, 2/19/2014, 8:30 AM, Rm 159-S

This creates a local food and farm task force through Dec. 31, 2015.

Here's a look at what it contains

SB 390

Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee

School finance; phase out of school facilities weighting and transfer of funds to supplemental general state aid

In Senate Ways and Means

02/13/2014 - Senate
Referred to Ways and Means

Appears to change the wording regarding LOB, but does not change the 25%.

HB 2247

House Local Government Committee

Counties; abatement of nuisances, procedure; disposition of vehicle

In House Local Government

01/15/2014 - House
Scheduled Hearing in Local Government: Tuesday, 1/21/2014, 1:30 PM, Rm 281-N


HB 2247

House Local Government Committee

Counties; abatement of nuisances, procedure; disposition of vehicle

In House Local Government

01/15/2014 - House
Scheduled Hearing in Local Government: Tuesday, 1/21/2014, 1:30 PM, Rm 281-N

 

HB 2417

Jim Kelly, R-11th

Expansion of rural opportunity zones

In House Agriculture and Natural Resources Budget

02/13/2014 - House
Scheduled Hearing in Agriculture and Natural Resources Budget: Tuesday, 2/18/2014, 1:30 PM, Rm 142-S

Expands Rural Opp Zones to include Cherokee, Labette, and Montgomery counties.

HB 2419

Ray Merrick, R-27th

City annexation; fire district territory; detachment

On General Orders in House

02/14/2014 - House
Committee Report recommending bill be passed by Local Government

This is the Speaker's bill that deals with annexation of fire districts.

HB 2429

Joint Committee on Administrative Rules and Regulations

Making the water conservation program part of and supplemental to the Kansas water appropriation act

In Senate Natural Resources

02/13/2014 - Senate
Referred to Natural Resources


HB 2439

House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee

Water; creating the sustainable drinking water source protection fund and fee; authorizing Kansas water office to execute certain contracts and issue revenue bonds; repealing K.S.A. 2013 Supp. 82a-953a

In House Agriculture and Natural Resources

02/06/2014 - House
Scheduled Hearing in Agriculture and Natural Resources: Tuesday, 2/11/2014, 3:30 PM, Rm 346-S

This is a Sloan bill that creates the water source protection fund to be used for 1)sedimentation source, measurement, control and removal to protect water quality; 2) drinking water supply quantities; and 3) flood and drought protection capacities. The fund is funded by fees on public water supply systems and industrial users.

HB 2447

House Judiciary Committee

Real property; trespass and liability

On General Orders in House

02/12/2014 - House
Committee Report recommending bill be passed as amended by Judiciary

This bill locks in the current common law definition of trespassing.

HB 2456

House Taxation Committee

Defining commercial and industrial machinery and equipment for property tax purposes

On General Orders in House

02/14/2014 - House
Committee Report recommending bill be passed as amended by Taxation

Ash Grove's M&E bill.

HB 2457

House Energy and Environment Committee

Right of first refusal for incumbent electric transmission owners

In House Energy and Environment

01/22/2014 - House
Scheduled Hearing in Energy and Environment: Tuesday, 1/28/2014, 9:00 AM, Rm 582-N

This is Westar's ROFR bill. The bill is identical to SB 279.

HB 2458

House Energy and Environment Committee

Net metering excess energy credits and fixed charge

In House Energy and Environment

02/10/2014 - House
Scheduled Final Action in Energy and Environment: Tuesday, 2/11/2014, 9:00 AM, Rm 582-N

This is Westar's net metering bill that changes the Net metering credits to be paid at a rate of 150% of the utility's monthly system average cost of energy per kilowatt hour. It is identical to SB 280.

HB 2460

House Energy and Environment Committee

Utilities and the sale of renewable energy

In House Utilities and Telecommunications

02/06/2014 - House
Scheduled Hearing in Utilities and Telecommunications: Wednesday, 2/12/2014, 9:00 AM, Rm 582-N

This appears to be Sloan's retail wheeling bill.

HB 2487

House Utilities and Telecommunications Committee

Construction of electric transmission lines and certificates of public convenience and necessity

In House Utilities and Telecommunications

02/12/2014 - House
Scheduled Hearing in Utilities and Telecommunications: Wednesday, 2/19/2014, 9:00 AM, Rm 582-N

This bill includes construction of transmission lines into the certificate of public convenience statute. The bill also adds the word necessity to the certificate and exempts the 180 day decision time frame on certificates for mergers, acquisitions or transmission-only certificates of public convenience and necessity.

HB 2499

House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee

Enacting the state sovereignty over non-migratory wildlife act

In House Agriculture and Natural Resources

01/24/2014 - House
Referred to Agriculture and Natural Resources

State sovereignty over non-migratory wildlife act dealing with the 10th amendment issue and prairie chickens.

HB 2529

House Appropriations Committee

Appropriations for FY 2014, FY 2015, FY 2016, FY 2017 and FY 2018 for various state agencies; capital improvement projects

In House Appropriations

01/30/2014 - House
Referred to Appropriations

Budget Bill

HB 2538

House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee

Giving landowner right of first refusal for antlers of deer illegally shot on landowner's property

In House Agriculture and Natural Resources

02/12/2014 - House
Scheduled Hearing in Agriculture and Natural Resources: Monday, 2/17/2014, 3:30 PM, Rm 346-S

Gives the landowner the right of first refusal for deer antlers on deer illegally shot on their land.

HB 2545

House Agriculture and Natural Resources Budget Committee

Extending sunset date on certain agriculture fees from July 1, 2015, to July 1, 2019

In House Agriculture and Natural Resources Budget

02/13/2014 - House
Scheduled Hearing in Agriculture and Natural Resources Budget: Wednesday, 2/19/2014, 1:30 PM, Rm 142-S

This bill extends the KDA fees from 2015 to 2019.

HB 2548

House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee

Creating the water program management fund and transferring the air quality fee fund

In House Agriculture and Natural Resources

02/12/2014 - House
Scheduled Hearing in Agriculture and Natural Resources: Monday, 2/17/2014, 3:30 PM, Rm 346-S

This bill creates the water program management fund. The fund takes the money generated by water quality control permit system fees and utilizes those funds to conduct numerous water related projects.

HB 2559

House Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee

Discrimination based on employment status prohibited

In House Commerce, Labor and Economic Development

02/03/2014 - House
Referred to Commerce, Labor and Economic Development

This bill states that you cannot discriminate in hiring someone who has been or is currently unemployed.

HB 2574

House Taxation Committee

Reclassification of property upon termination of IRB tax exemption

In House Taxation

02/10/2014 - House
Referred to Taxation

This is Rep. Kleeb's bill that requires property that uses IRB to retain the classification that it had for the IRB after the IRB expires.

HB 2608

House Taxation Committee

County special road and bridge fund mill levy; rate increase; protect petition

In House Taxation

02/12/2014 - House
Referred to Taxation

This bill expands that ability of counties to raise up to 5 mills (currently 2 mills) for road and bridge repair. It also expands the extension of the levy beyond the 5 years allowed.

HB 2616

House Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee

Secretary of labor; explore agreement to allow state of Kansas to enforce OSHA standards

In House Commerce, Labor and Economic Development

02/12/2014 - House
Referred to Commerce, Labor and Economic Development

 

HB 2628

House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee

Including a presumption in the definition of land devoted to agricultural use

In House Agriculture and Natural Resources

02/12/2014 - House
Scheduled Hearing in Agriculture and Natural Resources: Tuesday, 2/18/2014, 3:30 PM, Rm 346-S

This bill creates the presumption that the non-productive areas of an operating unit, devoted to the production of crops and animals is also land devoted to agricultural use. The bill is good policy, but is not necessary. The issue was handled last year through KDOR.

HB 2642

House Taxation Committee

Income tax deduction for net gain on the sale of certain horses, cattle or livestock

In House Taxation

02/14/2014 - House
Scheduled Hearing in Taxation: Tuesday, 2/18/2014, 3:30 PM, Rm 582-N

This bill allows for the deduction of capital gains from the sale of certain livestock to be deducted from Kansas income for income tax purposes. Essentially, it eliminates the capital gains tax on livestock. This is to fix an unintended consequence of the tax bills passed over the past two sessions.

HB 2643

House Taxation Committee

Classification of commercial and industrial machinery and equipment as personal property

In House Taxation

02/13/2014 - House
Referred to Taxation

This is the Chamber's fix to CIME. The bill adopts the PVD guide book into statute and also sets out the three prong test to determine questionable property.

HB 2654

House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee

Amending the powers and duties of the Kansas department of agriculture division of conservation and the state conservation commission

In House Agriculture and Natural Resources

02/13/2014 - House
Referred to Agriculture and Natural Resources

This bill allows the SCC in KDA to take such actions as are necessary to restore, establish, enhance and protect natural resources for the purpose of compensatory mitigation required under section 404 of the federal clean water act

HB 2661

House Appropriations Committee

Kansas electric transmission authority and prior approval for construction of electric transmission lines

In House Energy and Environment

02/13/2014 - House
Referred to Energy and Environment

Bill would require utilities to seek approval of the Kansas Electric Transmission Authority (KETA) before building a DC transmission line in KS.

This is Rep. Schwartz's new bill in response to Clean Line project. For more information, click here

HB 2683

House Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee

Unmanned aerial vehicle regulation act

In House Federal and State Affairs

02/14/2014 - House
Referred to Federal and State Affairs

Section 3 of this bill makes it illegal to operate "drones" in Kansas unless exempted by the bill. This could cause problems as agriculture is beginning to use this technology for multiple purposes.

HB 2693

House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee

Providing for testing by community colleges for commercial driver's licenses and allowing temporary commercial driver's license holders the ability to drive class A commercial vehicles

In House Transportation

02/17/2014 - House
Referred to Transportation

The bill authorizes Hutchinson community college, Pratt community college, Barton county community college, Garden City community college, Fort Scott community college, and Dodge City community college, upon each community college's request, to administer
the knowledge and skills tests

HB 2695

House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee

Increasing civil penalties in the water appropriation act and creating a criminal penalty for sprinkling irrigation water on highways

In House Agriculture and Natural Resources

02/17/2014 - House
Referred to Agriculture and Natural Resources

This is Seiwert's bill removing end guns that hit the roadways and increasing fines for overpumping.

HB 2697

House Appropriations Committee

Obesity prevention and management task force

In House Health and Human Services

02/17/2014 - House
Referred to Health and Human Services

 

HB 2713

House Transportation Committee

Removing vehicles weighing 26,000 pounds or less from definition of commercial vehicle; property tax; refunds

In House Transportation

02/17/2014 - House
Referred to Transportation

This bill raises the weight limit for commercial vehicles in the state from 10,001 pounds to 26,001 pounds.

Bill Number
and Sponsor

Bill Subject

Current Status

Last Action

HB 2715

House Transportation Committee

Farm machinery and equipment annual highway permits

In House Transportation

02/17/2014 - House
Referred to Transportation

This is the implement dealer's transportation bill allowing them to transport machinery on state roads.

 

Source: Kansas Farm Burea/Kansas Agland/Kansas Legislature

 
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