Kansas The 1998 Kansas state legislative session was easily the most "anti-pork" session the Kansas Pork Producers Council (KPPC) has ever faced, says Mike Jensen, KPPC executive vice president. Fourteen bills were introduced that would have had some impact on the swine industry.
Fortunately, Jensen says the combination of proactive pork producers and a business-friendly atmosphere in the Kansas legislature led to a more positive outcome for the state's pork industry.
A new state environmental law will be taking effect in May. This law was supported by KPPC, and is based largely on the National Pork Producers Council Environmental dialogue.
"Many of the things producers were doing already, such as soil testing, manure testing, and filing of nutrient management plans are now required by law," Jensen says. Hog operations with 1,000 animal units or above must have annual inspections from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
"The pork producers of our state took environmentalism as a tool away from the anti-pork-industry activists," Jensen explains. "Our pork producers put their cards on the table and proved they are concerned about the environment by putting guidelines in the statute."
According to Kansas law, each county decides whether or not corporate pork production will take place in a given area. Jensen says corporate pork production was allowed in 12 counties in the state as of May 1, 1998.
Kansas lost about 30% of its pork production between 1980 and 1995. Pork industry growth is the trend now. Jensen says independent producer expansion, networking and contracting have helped the state pork industry grow 5% per year since 1995.