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Dairy and feedlot operators review regulatory issues

By Jennifer M. Latzke

The Kansas Department of Agriculture Dairy Inspection Program and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Livestock Waste and Management section hosted three forums Nov. 7, 13 and 14 in Seneca, Hutchinson and Garden City, Kan., respectively.

The forums brought together dairy and feedlot operators to discuss the inspection and regulatory process for dairies and confined animal feeding operations. KDA and KDHE program managers were on hand at each to discuss future regulations and common mistakes that might happen during inspections.

KDA Agribusiness Coordinator Thad Geiger said the forums were meant to bring together regulators and those being regulated to communicate their needs.

“It is a cooperative effort between regulators and local producers,” Geiger said. “Local producers pay state taxes, and that in turn pays to run the agencies like KDA and KDHE.” And everyone is working in the best interests of the consumers, he added.

Attendees learned about the various permit categories and how they might pertain to their operations. Terry Medley, chief of the Bureau of Water’s Livestock Waste Management Section of KDHE, also talked about the set up of KDHE and the new statute change that deals with the separation distances between any habitable structure and the new construction of a concentrated animal feeding operation.

“In the last legislative session, HB2207 was passed, which changes the time of certification of separation distances,” Medley said. “Previously, separation distance was certified at the time of the completed application.” This caused problems, he explained, because some people opposed to the new facility would put up a temporary structure within the separation distance and claim it was habitable, all during the 18-month period it takes to complete an application for new construction.

The change in statute was producer-driven, Medley said. Geiger added that what had happened in the past was that in the review period of the expensive planning, engineering, design and approval process, some anti-agriculture activists had put up any old or temporary structure in the separate distance and try to say it was habitable to throw a wrench into the planning stages.

George Blush, the dairy program manager for KDA, also discussed dairy regulations and how dairymen might be able to avoid infractions.

Jennifer M. Latzke can be reached at 620-227-1807 or jlatzke@hpj.com.

Date: 11/25/2013

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