Adopted by Kansas Farmers Union Delegates to the KFU State Convention on December 5, 2014
The Kansas Farmers Union represents its members who are engaged in various farming and ranching pursuits through cooperation, legislation, and education.
The Kansas Farmers Union takes pride in defining our policy. We believe policy should address the needs of people. The moral and ethical decisions made by individuals and governments have an impact on our daily lives, and on the lives of future generations. Recognizing that fact, our policy strives to assure those decisions maintain a just and ethical basis.
Our policy also addresses the use of our natural resources and environment with the same fervor. We must not allow greed, ignorance, or carelessness to bring about exploitation of our natural resources, or of our fellow man.
We believe family ownership of farm land is the basis for the world’s most viable system of food and fiber production, and maintaining this family farm system will preserve our country’s natural and human resources.
We believe this policy would develop farm programs that will diminish hunger, foster peace, justice, and the preservation and protection of our natural resources and local economies.
A policy of parity prices, fair trade, and humanitarian aid should be established by our country and promoted around the world.
We support the following guidelines for a farm policy to enhance agriculture and communities.
Farmer owned reserve (market-driven inventory system)
Safety net – affordable crop insurance, permanent disaster program
Farm program payment limits
Conservation programs and stewardship
Food and nutrition programs
Public funded research
Country of Origin Labeling
Fair and competitive markets
Enhance transportation infrastructure
Accessible and affordable agricultural credit
Full funding of farm and conservation programs
GMO liability and oversight
Beginning farmer rancher program & minority program
Sustainable agricultural water use
Farm Service Agency Reorganization
Kansas Farmers Union opposes efforts to dismantle the Farm Service Agency (FSA) delivery system through office closures, elimination of county office positions, or change employees classification to civil service. We support adequate funding and staffing to support the FSA service centers.
We support the continuation of farmer-elected committees and strongly oppose any effort to reduce the number of such committees or any attempt to make the position of committeemen appointed.
We oppose the formation of any national oversight committee which supersedes state or county committee jurisdictions.
Persons Actively Engaged in Farming & Significant Contribution of Active Personal Management
Persons eligible to be designated as “actively engaged” in farming are family members contributing at least 1,000 hours or 50 percent of their commensurate share of the total hours necessary to operate a farm of comparable size, using any combination of labor or active personal management. There is no limit to the number of family members who qualify under the above labor criteria.
The number of persons, either family or non-family qualifying solely by providing a “significant contribution of active personal management” is limited to one. The person qualifying solely under the “significant contribution of active personal management” designations must meet the following criteria:
approval by Congress and that those should be fully aired and debated.
Makes a significant contribution of management to the farming operation necessary for the farming operation, as determined by the secretary, taking into account the size and complexity of the farming operation and the management requirements normally and customarily required by similar farming operations;
Is the only person in the farming operation qualifying as actively engaged in farming by using the farm manager special class designation, and together with any other persons in the farming operation qualifying as actively engaged in farming, does not collectively receive, directly or indirectly, an amount equal to more than the applicable limits;
Does not use the management contributions under this paragraph to qualify as actively engaged in more than one farming operations; and
Manages a farm operation that does not substantially share equipment, labor, or management with persons or legal entities that with the person collectively receive, directly or indirectly, an amount equal to more than the applicable limits.
International Trade Agreements
We urge Congress and the Administration to re-negotiate trade agreements so they reflect the needs of mankind.
We oppose “trade promotion authority” that circumvents the ability of Congress to negotiate trade agreements.
We support the democratization of free trade agreements.
We oppose the fast-track authority for trade agreements/approval by Congress and that those should be fully aired and debated.
We oppose the trans-pacific partnership trade agreement.
Food for Peace
We support the P.L. 480 P peace and economic justice for all.
Insurance and Disaster Programs
We support a federal premium subsidy of at least 50% for all levels of coverage. Yields should be based on APH (actual production history) over a 5 year period. FSA yields should be updated to reflect the true county averages. We urge a minimum level of multi-peril crop insurance (50%) be provided as a benefit of farm program participation to traditional family farm size units.
We support subsidy limits on crop insurance premiums, coupled with conservation compliance.
We support limiting crop insurance premium subsidies for any single business entity or individual to $75,000.
We support continuation of disaster programs until such time as crop insurance is fully a functional alternative.
Whenever a natural disaster strikes destroying any programmed crops, affected producers should receive an IDP payment based on the county average yield.
We oppose the Risk Management Agency allowing premium discounts promoting the use of specific crop inputs and or farm equipment.
We support full disclosure of crop insurance subsidy payments received by participants in the crop insurance program.
Crop insurance coverage regions should reflect feasibility of crop production in the region.
CRP ground should be ineligible for receiving crop insurance until five years of crop production history has been established or subject to approval by the NRCS county committee.
We support the development and expansion of products that allow producers of non-program commodities, diversified farming operations of specialty and minor crops to have equitable insurance coverage based on the market for which it is produced.
We support the Livestock Gross Margin Program.
We support the Margin Protection Program (MPP) for dairy.
Since the Kansas Farmers Union’s goal is a safe food supply, for all consumers we support the following:
Ban BSE presumptive positive animals from the human food supply.
Ban imports of live animals and processed meat without documented labeling and verification.
Ban all ruminant meat protein products for feed.
Implement a voluntary, affordable and workable national animal identification program implemented and administered by the federal government, and not by a private entity.
Implement a fully funded Country of Origin Labeling (COOL).
Label processed feedstuffs.
Review the food processing system and add additional inspection.
Provide incentives for a more decentralized packing industry and food system.
We support full public disclosure of all GMO ingredients through food labels.
We support compensation, by the patent holder, of producers experiencing income losses due to drift and cross-contamination.
We support the enforced USDA inspection of all imported foods to meet the same requirements as inspected products in the United States.
In order for meat to be labeled a United States product, it must be bred, born, raised, processed and packaged in the United States.
We oppose any reduction of import quotas on dairy products.
Animal Communicable Diseases
Livestock and poultry imports: All livestock entering the U.S. Must be held in quarantine until such time there is proof positive the imported stock is disease free.
We oppose a ban on the slaughter of unwanted horses and other meat species, and the criminalization of individuals processing, shipping, transporting, purchasing, selling, delivering, or receiving any meat, flesh, or carcass for the purpose of harvest. We call for the reinstitution of facilities to deal with the humane disposal of horses.
Inter-state Marketing of Processed Meats
We support federal legislation to allow the smaller independent meat packers, who meet state meat inspection standards, to market inter-state.
We urge all universities to pursue additional research and support sustainable agricultural endeavors, including but not limited to, organic farming, local food and sustainable agriculture practices and cooperate with other entities doing such research.
Corporate Vertical and Horizontal Integration and Price Fixing
We demand the strict enforcement of the anti-trust laws.
We fully support the Kansas Legislature establishing a comprehensive producers protection act.
We also call for state and federal legislation that would require binding mediation in the events of disputes between growers or their organizations and contracted processors or marketers. We support legislation to abolish packer/feeder combinations that control more than 2% of the market share.
Federal Anti-corporation Farming Law
We support legislation which would prohibit direct investment by corporations or private corporation size entities and their stockholders in the business of farming.
Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act
We support the “Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act (AFIDC).”
United States Postal Service
The Kansas Farmers Union has a long history in support of the United States Postal Service (U.S.P.S.), including rural free delivery of mail. We are deeply concerned with the systematic dismantling of the postal service structure, based on fiscal pressure unduly inflicted upon the U.S.P.S. by Csongress. We believe the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act requiring the institution to pre-fund retiree pension funds decades in advance is unwarranted and the primary culprit in the financial issues facing the U.S.P.S..
The potential elimination of Saturday and door-to-door delivery, coupled with the loss of good-paying postal jobs over the entire nation, will negatively affect the economy. Rural america will be dealt an additional first class blow under this mis-guided policy. Local and regional newspaper delivery to outlying areas will be delayed for days. This not only damages the circulation numbers of the newspapers, but also devalues local information and advertising.
The U.S.P.S. was established in the Constitution, Article I, section 8, clause 7, Congress shall have the power to establish post offices and post roads.” We stand firm in our conviction to protect this great freedom and commonwealth from attacks and privatization.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission
We believe the historic system of commodity futures trading continues bankrupting family farmers, ranchers and consumers and is not a prudent risk management tool. The following should be enacted:
Transfer regulatory authority of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to the Security Exchange Commission (SEC).
Support regulations that maintain prices above the cost of production.
We oppose ag commodity options as a substitute for farm programs.
We are opposed to any government involvement in ag options or futures trading as a substitute for or in conjunction with farm programs.
We oppose any speculative trading of commodities futures by any foreign governments, companies or individuals.
All commodities sold on futures or options shall be treated as a positive sale and taxed the same as any ordinary sale of the same commodity.
We support legislation requiring all speculative futures contracts to be assessed any federal check-off.
We support the elimination of speculative short selling of commodity futures contracts.
Federal Grain Inspection Service
We recommend that the percentage of allowable dockage be reduced. We support legislation to prohibit adding foreign material to any commodity.
Kansas Farmers Union requests that the State of Kansas require that the grain trade give equal credit to grain that exceeds the standard weight in direct proportion to the discount for grain under standard weight.
We support the principle of the progressive income tax.
The Kansas Farmers Union supports the phase out of all tax preferences that made agriculture a tax shelter for outside, speculative investment.
We recommend a change in the federal income tax laws to eliminate income tax liabilities of forced liquidations.
Road tax on farm fuels should be exempt at point of sale. We support the continuation of the deduction of state and local property taxes from federal tax returns.
We support income tax averaging for family farmers.
We support increasing the number of tax brackets to facilitate a more equitable tax structure.
We support the tax incentives to encourage the use of wind, solar and other renewable energy systems.
Individuals should be allowed the same health insurance deduction as corporations.
We support increasing the limit on calculating Social Security tax.
We support an estate tax with a five million dollar exemption.
We support a state-wide property tax in conjunction with an income booster tax, to supplement education funding, and provide local property tax relief.
We oppose an increase of state sales tax.
We recommend a graduated state income tax.
We support the reinstatement of a fair and progressive state income tax.
We oppose the elimination of the corporate income tax.
We support exempting road tax on farm fuel at the point of sale in lieu of refund. We are in favor of the current homestead property tax exemption and we support its increase to $25,000.
The Kansas Farmers Union supports the continuation of a mineral production tax on oil, gas, salt and coal to provide additional funding needed for school financing and road and highway construction and maintenance. We support a property tax on the trans-Canada Keystone pipelines.
We support a fair and reasonable tax on personal property.
We support a state-wide intangible earnings tax to be used for property tax relief and funding education.
We urge the reinstatement of the double exemption for individuals over 65.
We support an estate tax with a five million dollar exemption.
The Social Security fund should be held in its own entity and not be used to finance other government operations. Adjustment should be made in the Social Security system to abolish “notch year” discrimination.
To be viable and assure benefits into the future, Social Security must be a mandatory, universal system. We oppose proposals that would privatize any segment of the system.
Campaign Finance Reform
We demand meaningful campaign finance reform, specifically public funding of congressional and presidential campaigns. We oppose the use of “soft” money (super pacs) in campaigns.
We support elimination of corporate campaign finance through “corporate citizenship.”
We support full, timely disclosure of all campaign finance sources.
Federal Commodity Check-offs
We oppose all federal check-off programs.
Fraud and abuse of check-off resources and money must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
All check-off programs must be subject to a referendum vote by mail ballot every three years.
We support meaningful reform of the beef check-off.
State Commodity Check-offs
We support voluntary check-offs at point of sale.
The F.D.I.C. (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) should not have authority to “classify” loans due to reduction of land values.
We oppose any federal effort to eliminate Chapter 12 Bankruptcy and any other action to further lessen the borrowers’ rights. We support the right of mediation to prevent bankruptcy.
We support conservation as the major effort to reduce energy requirements. We support the research and development of renewable energy resources such as solar, geothermal, wind, hydrogen, ethanol, biodiesel and algae with emphasis on community-owned generated power.
Federal and state low-interest loans and tax credits should be made available for these and other programs to develop energy self-sufficiency.
We urge producers to adopt farming practices and crop mixes that will permit efficient utilization of locally produced fuels and nitrogen fertilizers, thereby reducing agricultural dependence on the petroleum industry.
We favor rationing of fuel if needed. We are opposed to excessive taxes and/or price increases to control fuel use.
We favor the abolition of take or pay contracts. We oppose the deregulation of natural gas prices.
We support a resilient expanded electrical grid system that allows for dependable transmission nationwide.
We support a 15% renewable energy mandate for electrical generation.
We support securing 25% of the nation’s energy utilization from renewable sources by 2025 (25×25).
We are opposed to retail wheeling and deregulation of energy.
We support C-BED (community based energy development).
We support net metering of electricity, with a 12-month averaging period.
We support storage of energy from renewable generation.
We support the Renewable Portfolio Standard established by the Kansas Renewable Standards Act.
We support renewal of the national Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit.
Rural Electrification Administration
We oppose any effort to “privatize” the REA system.
We strongly oppose loss of rural electric territory to private power companies.
We urge the continuation and further development of reasonable priced, state of the art telecommunication service to rural customers.
We oppose consolidation of telecommunication providers.
We support net neutrality of the internet.
We support using a single payer health insurance system.
Health care coverage must be comprehensive and there should be public education to promote healthier life style choices.
Until such time as universal single payer coverage is enacted, we support a 100 percent tax deduction for health insurance premium paid by the self-employed, and we support equalization of Medicare payments to rural and urban hospitals alike.
We support incentives for the purpose of encouraging doctors to practice in rural and other underserved areas. Doctors who receive aid to practice in Kansas for a specified period of time be required to fulfill their obligation. We support prescription coverage under the Medicare and medicaid system.
We oppose the sale of Kansas Blue Cross Blue Shield.
We support medicaid expansion in Kansas.
We urge the revitalization of our nation’s passenger and freight railroad system. We oppose the closing of branch rail lines, which serve rural communities.
We oppose the deregulation of all non-competitive transportation enterprises.
We support the retention and expansion of existing Amtrak routes in Kansas and across the nation.
We oppose all coal slurry pipelines.
We oppose the cumbersome IRS regulation requiring farmers to log farm cars, pickup and truck mileage.
We oppose foreign ownership of domestic railroad lines. We oppose the privatization of highways and bridges used in the agricultural transportation system.
We oppose the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
We support increasing the transportation trust fund through higher gasoline taxes.
Agricultural cooperatives should be further strengthened in the American farming system to enable farmers to achieve greater bargaining power both in marketing and purchasing.
Farmers Union opposes any attempt to interfere with the present capital structure of the cooperative and its present tax status. We are opposed to any co-op manager or non-members serving on the board of directors of our local or regional co-ops.
We support current legislation that requires 10 members to form a co-op.
We oppose the distribution of severance pay to board members, CEO’s and other executives due to mergers or acquisitions.
We oppose changing regulations that require a 2/3 vote of members to change the articles of incorporation.
We oppose planned entry into livestock breeding and feeding facilities which will place our cooperative into a vertical integration position.
We must not use our cooperatives’ resources in any way which creates direct competition or weaken our memberships financial well-being.
We support the Rochdale Principle (one member/one vote).
We strongly oppose any cooperative entity from creating an alliance with any companies who have the intent on market control.
We urge the Kansas Legislature and the U.S. Congress to provide assistance in funding a program to provide information, consultation and referrals to rural residents. We support locally owned and operated value-added endeavors.
We also call for the rejuvenation of a rural development initiative for the benefit of the local community.
We support maintaining rural post offices.
We urge the Kansas legislature to conduct public hearings on income and wealth disparity, in order to devise equitable tax policy.
Foreign Investment in Agricultural Land
We urge passage by the Kansas State Legislature of a law to prohibit entry into business of farming and ranching or the ownership of agricultural land by alien investors, except those resident farm families or individuals seeking United States citizenship.
We urge passage of legislation strengthening the reporting of Kansas agricultural land owned by aliens, corporations, and limited partnerships.
State Banking Regulations
We support the system of independent rural banks and credit unions. We urge those banks to support Kansas family farmers and to serve the credit requirements of Kansas family farmers. We favor the same regulations for savings and loans.
We support reform in the banking industry. We support the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and/or Glass-Steagall Act.
Interstate Branch Banking
We oppose the Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Act mandates that an out-of-state bank be allowed to purchase banks across state lines without regard to individual state law.
We support state legislation to opt-out of the interstate branching provision of the Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Act.
State legislation should prohibit speculation in the futures market by grain elevator owners and operators, except in the case of legitimate hedging. State legislation should also prohibit involvement by elevators in delayed or deferred pricing schemes.
Grain elevator operators should be required to submit more detailed financial information to the Kansas Grain Inspection Department. We support timely and in depth audits.
We support the acceleration of the receivership process for financially troubled elevators, with provision for a temporary receiver to be named insuring immediate supervision of a bankrupt elevator to guarantee that grain is protected while the courts appoint a permanent receiver.
We support farmers being given priority through “Farmers FIRST Lien” in elevator bankruptcy proceedings.
We oppose the grain warehouse trust fund concept funded by a checkoff assessed against grain sold by farmers.
We endorse a federal or state insurance program protecting any stored and/or priced grain for all state and federally inspected elevators, similar to the FDIC for banks.
Warehouse receipts and scale tickets shall be recognized as legal proof of ownership of grain, and should be guaranteed by the government.
We support similar protection for the sale of livestock through public auction.
Initiative and Referendum
We support the concept of initiative and referendum, which allows our citizens to vote on major issues and to initiate ballot questions by petition.
We support maintaining the county option vote with regard to corporate swine and dairy operations.
We support county home rule.
We encourage all eligible voters to get out and vote.
We oppose efforts to enact restrictive voter ID requirements.
Kansas Department of Agriculture
We support the concept of a Secretary of Agriculture appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.
Pharmaceutical GMO Production
We support strict regulation and public disclosure of any Kansas grown pharmaceutical GMOs. All field research sites of GMOs must be approved and have permits issued by the Kansas Department of Agriculture.
We oppose the “patenting” of life forms.
Kansas Seed Law
Kansas Seed Law should not restrict producers of wheat, barley, oats, soybeans or alfalfa from replanting or selling seed produced on their farm.
We oppose any efforts to introduce or allow the use of the “terminator gene” on our nation’s seed supply.
We urge the establishment of mandatory livestock brand inspection at all markets.
We support a floor on the basic formula price, i.e., the base price for determining the milk price for producers.
We support the use of the marketing order system in Kansas to effectively set a floor on dairy prices paid to the dairy farmers.
We support an appeal process for the American dairyman when an inspection is considered unjust by the farmer.
We oppose the practice of tail docking on dairy cattle.
State Meat and Poultry Inspection
We oppose the elimination of the state’s Meat and Poultry Inspection Division.
Noxious Weed Law
We oppose any legislation that would discontinue the current practice of county noxious weed departments selling, distributing and applying pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals.
Industrial Water Use
We recommend industries, which are heavy users of water, be required to use surface water instead of ground water, and to recycle, when possible.
We urge that all oil and natural gas producers be prohibited from using fresh water in flooding for secondary oil recovery (hydraulic fracturing). We oppose the use of any Kansas water for the transportation of coal slurry.
We strongly urge that present irrigation practices and future development conform to strict conservation principles to assure the wisest use of water to minimize the possibilities for adverse environmental and economic impact on affected communities.
We support elimination of the “use it or lose it” rule on irrigation wells.
We recommend any multi-year variable groundwater right program include a mandatory reduction in total allocation as a conservation measure to offset potential unintended consequences.
We recommend that all wells have meters.
We oppose the transfer of surface or ground water from one watershed to another, including the transfer of water from the Missouri River.
Water and Wind Rights
Water and wind rights must not be severed from surface ownership.
Water Retention Structures
We support flood control by the use of area watershed projects as opposed to large general dams. We support continuing tax benefits to remain in effect on lands with donated easements for the entire life of both new and existing structures.
State Funding for Conservation Practices
We support state funding and technical assistance for soil and water conservation practices.
Construction Work in Progress (CWIP)
The Kansas Farmers Union is opposed to costs for power generating facilities under construction being added to current utility rates.
A. Eminent Domain
We oppose the taking of private property without due process.
We oppose granting eminent domain power for private profit, including foreign entities.
We oppose the use of (eminent domain) by the department of wildlife and parks to acquire land that has been cultivated for more than 10 years, that has been designated wetlands.
Preservation of agricultural land should be given priority in all zoning decisions.
C. Regional Planning
Required appointment on zoning or planning boards for farmers, assuring them representation on a par with non-agricultural interests in the region.
We support legislation that allows farmers a voice in establishment of new game or predator species in their area. We require the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to notify the public of any previous or future releases.
We support efforts to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases and toxic pollutants.
We support research for climate change adaptation.
2015 Special Orders of Business
All special orders have to be renewed annually as long as the delegates wish to retain them. Otherwise, they automatically expire.
Farmers Union Educational Center
Kansas Farmers Union supports the National Farmers Union Educational Center in Bailey, Colorado.
We support all aspects of the National Farmers Union Youth and Education Program and continue full utilization of our Bailey camp facilities so that it is available for our present and future Farmers Union membership.
We recognize and respect all the dedicated efforts that went into making our educational center a reality by thousands of loyal Farmers Union members across the United States.
Hydraulic Fracturing Operations
We support a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing operations in oil and gas recovery until an environmental impact study, guided by sound science, proves the activities safe.
Kansas Corporate Farming Law
We, the delegate body of the Kansas Farmers Union Convention, strongly believe the County Option should be preserved in Kansas’ Corporate Farming Laws. For over 80 years, Corporate Farming Laws have protected family farms and ranches from the threats of unfair competition by corporate and foreign interests, and all-out repeal threatens the future of family agriculture across Kansas.
The County Option, the last remaining protection of citizens’ rights when it comes to corporate agriculture, must be preserved and protected. We find it very disconcerting that both elected and appointed officials, who have touted the virtures of local political control and smaller government, now feel the need to take away this last protection.
We believe Kansas counties should be able to opt out of consideration by any corporation looking to relocate to the state. We also believe Kansas citizens should be able to petition registered voters and bring corporate farming issues to a public vote.
We believe Kansas is better off when those who own and work the state’s farms and ranches are individuals and families who have the opportunity to control their own land and labor, and a desire to create a future for family farming and ranching, and for all of rural Kansas, that is socially just, economically equitable, and environmentally sound.
Family farms and ranches are the foundation that built this state, and they continue to drive and lead its economy. We believe Kansas’ family farmers and ranchers should expect every protection the state can provide.
Beef Checkoff Reform
Whereas, Kansas Farmers Union does not support the beef checkoff in its current structure; and
Whereas, the beef checkoff has not been revisited since 1985; and
Whereas, more contractors should be allowed to participate; and
Whereas, a majority of the delegation should be cow/calf producers; and
Whereas, the executive committee should maintain the same ratio of the delegation; and
Whereas, no packers should serve on the board; and
Whereas, no importers should serve on the board; and
Whereas, no policy groups should be represented; and
Whereas, representation should be solely on a geographical basis; and
Whereas, the beef checkoff should solely promote U.S. beef; and
Whereas, the board should take a more proactive role in agenda setting;
Therefore, be it resolved, Kansas Farmers Union encourages an expedient vote on the beef checkoff under the 1985 Beef Promotion Act and urges its elimination.
Be it further resolved, Kansas Farmers Union supports a national beef checkoff under the 1996 Commodity Promotion Act.
Be it further resolved, Kansas Farmers Union would support a fee no greater than $3 per head, and only at the time of harvest under the newly established checkoff program.
Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration
We support full funding of the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), and the critical services provided to our nation’s farmers, ranchers, and consumers.
We oppose any effort to privatize the inspection and weighing of grains exported from the United States.