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.
PRODUCTION POLICY GUIDELINE
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.
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.
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
KRC ENERGY POLICY
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.
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:
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
(Approved May 2,
2006 - Executive Board meeting)
KRC TRADE POLICY
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
endorses these guidelines:
1. Trade policies
should not distort world markets by encouraging surplus production
2. Trade policies
should have a positive impact on local economies, the environment,
and rural communities.
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.
Board on February 4, 2006)
CONSERVATION SUPPORTS GUIDELINE
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.
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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