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k-289
Senior Advisor

Re: Water Quality Credit Trading

SW  - What do you hear on the Ladder Creek West latest pork development  - water issue of  availability seem to be drafting some head winds ---  

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sw363535
Honored Advisor

Re: Water Quality Credit Trading

Yes I have been seeing the news on it for a while and I did see that KDHE gave approval... Other than that I am far enough away from it and not on any boards that would be discussing it regularly...

We work in and around the production here, closer to the plant... 
We have enough buildings within 70 miles to support two large feed mills both within 14 miles of our work... by same company..

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Other than that I don't know too much on that specific project.

 

Reviewing the process in our area....... in which I served on a zoning board dealing with the beginnings and growth of that company....I have doubted that the water issue was going to be a successful means by which to deter their growth.

Our filed water rights are inflated to reality and in nearly every case a sizeable reduction in water use can be shown on paper in the change from irrigation to livestock production..  Similar to the dairy growth in Hamilton County.

 

IMO    1  I have admired the state of kansas for choosing to protect personal property rights of the individual to sell or lease to whomever he chooses.

        2    Kansas water law is a product of local and community activism.  And therefore is ineffective in its intent of moderating water use.

        3.  Vertical integration in agriculture is propelled much more by legislation than economics. ---- The bigger we are the easier to meet the requirements of the laws.  Many of which are written to curb growth,  the opposite is accomplished..  There are more laws and regulations than most individuals will tackle..

        4.  For many, there is the cold reality of what land is actually worth without "irrigateable" volumes of water... Like natural gas in the sw, water in western Ks has been the mirage of wealth.  We have a lot of inflation in land values to unwind.  This makes it hard to oppose a land buyer....... even an undesirable one...

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Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

Re: Water Quality Credit Trading

But, the economics drive legislation/regulation, at least to a point. 

 

Your apt observation that smaller producers are driven out by the sheer weight and complexity of compliance is right on point.  I cannot tell you how many of our former hogfarming neighbors have leased or shuttered smaller farms since we came here in 1995. 

 

Part of that is due to the aggravation of having to do the  recordkeeping, which takes days out of productivity each year.  Training to be a certified operator of a waste management system is an ongoing task/expense/drag, too. 

 

Couple that with the magnitude of a fine - most voiolations are allegedly for improper paperwork here - which could easily strip all of your profit in a small setup, and you can see why there are so few who continue to bother.  When forgetting to sign a form in your waste plan manual can cost you everything you earn from actully working with the animals and properly managing their waste for months on end, why bother? 

 

I always say to Mike that when it gets to where I cannot fathom this morass of regulations, there will be precious few who still can.  That is not meant as arrogance, just factual, as I have developed pretty extensive experience in permit language, and spent most of tweny years doing volunteer work on a watershed council.