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Kansas Rural Center Policy Guidelines

In 2006, the Kansas Rural Center Board of Directors developed, reviewed and approved the following policy guidelines for the KRC as we develop future projects and make recommendations for public policy or respond to public policy.


The Kansas Rural Center recognizes that livestock play essential roles in the balanced diets of many peoples, the sustainability of diversified family farms, and the economic balance of many rural communities. KRC also recognizes that domesticated livestock will naturally forage across a landscape and that concentration and confinement of animals often creates a variety of concerns related to water quality, animal health and stress, nutrient concentration and agri-terrorism. 

KRC supports Livestock Production Policies that fit these guidelines:

1. Uses management practices, which disperse livestock populations whenever practical and feasible to improve livestock health, enhance the environmental landscape, sustain diversified family farms, and minimize targets for agri-terrorism.

2. Utilizes and promotes livestock production practices that optimize food safety and human health.

3. Encourages direct marketing of livestock products which maximize relationships between producers and consumers and minimize market influences and controls by outside forces.

(Approved May 2, 2006 - Executive Board Meeting


The Kansas Rural Center recognizes the problems associated with continued reliance on fossil fuels, including future cost increases due to depletion of petrochemicals, and also environmental deterioration due to global warming and pollution. The most efficient use of energy must be the first consideration in energy policy. Energy needs should be increasingly met through reliance on renewable resources, firmly taking into account the ecosystem expenses necessary for their generation.

Development of renewable energy should be undertaken in a manner that truly bolsters regional economies, maintains unique ecosystems, and avoids marring scenic viewsheds, critical habitat, or undisturbed areas. KRC encourages research and development of renewables prioritized as follows:

1. Energy conservation remains the lowest cost method of insuring an adequate energy supply. Farmers and society at large should pursue economic choices and production models that conserve energy.

2. Development of community owned wind projects (versus externally owned commodity wind), should be a top priority. Public policy should encourage siting in cultivated or disturbed agricultural landscapes rather than in native prairies. Sites which despoil unique ecosystems or damage wildlife should be avoided. Public policies should be enacted which encourage local ownership and regional marketing and use of wind energy.

3. Community owned solar energy projects should be developed, taking the same landscape and ecosystem goals into account.

4. The ecosystem limits to biomass production, especially the risk of soil mining, must be closely monitored. But if best management practices are observed, and harvest is limited so as not to exceed the amounts of carbon fixed through the interaction of solar energy and carbon accumulators, biomass crops, such as switchgrass, offer a viable source of energy.

5. KRC remains concerned about grain-based ethanol and biodiesel, primarily because of the great need for fossil fuel in their production and the enormous acreages of cropland to be converted from food production to energy production, with only marginal impact on our nation's fuel supply. Studies have consistently indicated, at best, only marginal Energy Profit Ratios when fossil fuel is used to manufacture these products. KRC also questions whether the grain needed would exist with the discontinuance of large governmental subsidies promoting commodity production. Cellulose based ethanol appears more feasible, but still entails the use of fossil fuel, and risks the mining of soil nutrients. KRC is concerned about the high risk ethanol and biodiesel plants pose to farmer investors.

(Approved May 2, 2006 - Executive Board meeting)


The Kansas Rural Center understands that trade between nations can be of benefit to all. KRC also recognizes that trade can be extremely disruptive to local economies, ecosystems and cultures. Trade in agricultural products should be used to increase wide spread prosperity for family farmers in rural areas, both here and abroad. To the extent rural areas are treated as economic, environmental and cultural sacrifice zones by economic interests, then trade becomes a detriment.

KRC endorses these guidelines:

1. Trade policies should not distort world markets by encouraging surplus production of commodities.

2. Trade policies should have a positive impact on local economies, the environment, and rural communities.

3. Trade negotiations should be transparent and democratic with a commitment to fair trade with those nations and constituencies that have the greatest needs or are hindered by an imbalance of power in trade negotiations.

4. Trade policies should not compel nations to accept technologies, practices, or products they consider unacceptable.

(Adopted by Board on February 4, 2006)


As a long-term goal, the board supports a transition of farm support payments from commodities to conservation and enhanced rural development. We understand that this should be undertaken gradually, with increasingly less reliance on commodity payments.

(Adopted by Board August 8, 2005)

For more information on the Kansas Rural Center and farm and food policy, contact Mary Fund at 785-873-3431 or .

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