Kansas Livestock Association protects member interests at the capitol

Action was taken on a number of agricultural bills at the state Capitol recently. Kansas Livestock Association continues to monitor and provide input on these and other issues.

Rail-trail state park—The House Agriculture Committee passed SB 331 recently, which would designate the 117-mile Flint Hills Nature Trail as a state park. Committee members adopted an amendment proposed by KLA to clarify the separation distance for swine facilities and state parks does not apply to the proposed Flint Hills Nature Trail and the 51-mile Prairie Spirit Trail from Iola to Ottawa. SB 331 previously passed the Senate and now awaits action by the full House. KLA opposes SB 331.

Poultry regulations—The House passed SB 405. SB 405 is a KLA-supported bill to create a new animal unit conversion for dry litter poultry production facilities. The animal unit measurement is used to establish separation distance requirements between poultry farms and habitable structures. SB 405 has passed the Senate and awaits the signature of Gov. Jeff Colyer.

Noxious weeds—The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing recently on a KLA-supported bill (HB 2583) that would amend the state’s noxious weed laws. HB 2583 would allow the Kansas Department of Agriculture, through rules and regulations, to designate noxious weeds. Current law requires the passage of legislation to add or remove plants from the list. The bill also would allow counties to declare noxious weeds within their jurisdiction, with oversight from KDA, and require any hay or mulch used on state-owned or state-managed lands be certified weed-free. HB 2583 has passed the House.

Live cattle traceability project—Earlier this session, the House Appropriations Committee approved a $250,000 enhancement to the Kansas Department of Agriculture fiscal year 2019 budget for a cattle disease traceability pilot project in Kansas. The goal of the project, supported by KLA, would be to identify possible applications for a future national cattle identification and traceability program. A Senate Ways and Means Subcommittee did not recommend the $250,000 funding in its version of the KDA budget. The final appropriation determination for this project likely will not be determined until late in the 2018 session.