Kansas Farmers Union highlights important ag issues in 2011

10 01 2011

McPHERSON—Kansas Farmers Union (KFU) recently added three special orders of business to their policy for 2011. The topics include the call for the repeal of the sorghum tax, support of the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) proposed rule and the demand of an investigation into unwarranted basis levels.

The special orders of business were accepted at the 2010-2011 KFU Convention to be added to Kansas Farmers Union’s policy for 2011. The full policy, with the 2011 special orders of business can be found at ksfarmersunion.wordpress.com/policy.

In the first order, Repeal of the Sorghum Tax, Kansas Farmers Union “urges farmers and landowners to reject the recently enacted National Grain Sorghum Tax in the February 2011 referendum vote.”

“The increase in the sorghum tax was astronomical in terms of percentage of taxation.  Many counties were contributing $8,000 to $20,000 with the old system, are now paying $65,000 to over $100,000,” said Tom Giessel of Larned, author of the special order. “That money is lost, and does not have the opportunity to circulate through the local economy.”

The second order addressed an issue that has been featured in many livestock discussions last year, the proposed GIPSA rules. Since the rules have not been decided on yet, Kansas Farmers Union wanted to show their continued support for their passage as written before the comment period.

“More disclosure of the markets can only be good for Kansas Cattle producers. The scare-mongering being spread about claiming that all niche-markets would be eliminated is simply not true,” said Donn Teske, KFU President.

The USDA’s comment period on the proposed rules ended just before Thanksgiving in 2010. The comments are now being reviewed by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and the USDA staff. More information on the outcome is expected this summer.

The final order, KFU Demands a Department of Justice Investigation into Unwarranted Basis Levels, Kansas Farmers Union “strongly believes the current historically wide basis levels beg for government investigation. These exorbitant levels have cost farmers and rural economies hundreds of millions of dollars in the last year alone.”

“The simple fact in regard to the wide margins in grains remains, farmers are getting paid 50 to 80 cents less on every bushel of wheat sold,” said Giessel, who also wrote the third order. “Without pressure from regulators and Congress, these wide margins will become the new norm, costing rural economies in perpetuity.”

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