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Starting January 2012, the Kansas Rural Center will sponsor year two of its Legislative and Policy Watch Project.  With this project, KRC will offer Weekly E-Reports during the State of Kansas Legislative Session, and updates and alerts on the development of the 2012 federal farm bill throughout the year. Paul Johnson, Perry, Ks., farmer and former lobbyist for a consortium of church groups, will be staffing this effort. With state budget woes continuing and Governor Brownback and his cabinet team in their second year, KRC will monitor the state legislature for decisions affecting a diversified agriculture, the environment, our natural resource base, and consumers, as well as to promote a local and regional food system.

You may register to receive the weekly E-Reports on this web page.

KRCís Legislative and Policy Watch Project seeks to:

  • Educate elected officials on the economic and environmental benefits of building local food systems

  • Provide a voice in the debate on food labeling

  • Contribute to the discussion on resource issues, conservation and water quality

  • Promote access to healthy, locally-raised food to low income families and rural communities

  • Ensure that family farmers and small processors are not regulated out of business

  • Ensure an alternative voice in the defining of sustainability and policies affecting family farmers, food policy, and consumers

The project is possible due to a bequest from Jan Garton, Manhattan, who died in 2009, and left KRC a generous gift. These project services include:

  • Weekly E-Reports, January-May 2012. Registered as a lobbyist for KRC, Johnson will produce weekly E-Reports, and track and testify on bills and issues related to farm and food policy. He will also be monitoring state budget issues, including Kansas State University programs, Kansas Department of Agriculture activities, and programs impacting water conservation and quality, small meat processors promotion and regulation, farmers markets promotions, and state food policy goals.  Other issues may include rBGH milk labeling, defining sustainable agriculture in law, and existing property tax exemptions for commercial wind and 'tar sands' pipelines.

  • Teleconference Call Updates. In addition to the weekly E-Reports during the session, Paul and KRC staff will hold  teleconference calls on an as-needed basis to alert those who sign up for the weekly Updates on critical or time-sensitive issues.

  • Updates on Federal Farm Programs and the 2012 Farm Bill (Jan.-Dec.) The Weekly E-Reports also include updates or notices on developments in the next federal farm bill during the session, and special alerts the rest of the year as needed.

KRC Policy Background

For over thirty years, Kansas Rural Center, a non-profit research, education and advocacy organization, has been educating and advocating for a diverse, sustainable, economically profitable Kansas agriculture.

Our work focuses not only on the producers of food and how it is produced, but also on consumers and the health, safety and availability of food to rural and urban, including low or limited income, citizens, alike. Our vision encompasses independent family farms, healthy rural communities, and a safe and healthy food supply for all, with increasing emphasis on local and regional food production supported by partnership between farmers and consumers.

The public policy issues we are most concerned with at the state and federal farm policy level are:

  • Tying appropriate levels of government support to family farms in conservation practices and protection of natural resources;

  • Ensuring conservation of our natural resources to provide long term productivity and food security;

  • Providing rural development programs that build on the strengths and values found in rural Kansas.

  • Ensuring adequate and available supplies of good food for the most vulnerable in our society.

  • Encouraging the development of a local and regional food system.

  • Providing opportunity for the next generation of beginning farmers and entrepreneurs.

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition: The Kansas Rural Center is a member of the National Sustainable Agriculture (NSAC), a nationwide alliance of farm, rural and conservation groups, that together advocate for federal policies and programs that support long-term economic and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources and rural communities. NSAC monitors and helps shape the debate and development of the next Farm Bill, and the implementation of Farm Bill programs, offering analysis and information via news releases, Action Alerts and other updates. NSAC Weekly Updates detailing developments are available at the NSAC website. KRC Ďs new Legislative and Policy Watch Project will work with NSAC to monitor federal farm bill issues, as well as monitor state legislative issues in Kansas.  Work focuses not only on the producers of food and how it is produced, but also on consumers and the health, safety, and availability of food to rural and urban citizens alike.  Our vision encompasses independent family farms, healthy rural communities, and a safe and healthy food supply, with increasing emphasis on local and regional food production supported by partnerships between farmers and consumers.

KRC Policy Guidelines

In 2006, the Kansas Rural Center developed, reviewed and approved a series of policy guidelines for KRC as we developed projects and made recommendations for public policy or responded to policy issues.  These guidelines include:

  • Livestock Production
  • Energy
  • Trade
  • Transition to Conservation Supports
You can read these guidelines here.

2012 Farm Bill Advocacy

KRCís positions and priorities for the 2012 Farm Bill are currently under development.
You can read the KRC statement on the 2008 Farm Bill
here.


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

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