Kansas

The Kansas Corn Commission began operations outside of the state system July 1.

Legislation passed earlier this year placed the Kansas corn, soybean, wheat and grain sorghum commissions in the private sector.

"Really, those who deal with the commissions will see very little change in the way we operate," Corn Commission Chairman Ken McCauley, White Cloud, said. "In fact, it will be easier. Grain purchasers will remit checkoff collections for all four commodities to one location-the Kansas Department of Agriculture."

The corn commission has contracted with the Kansas Corn Growers Association for administration services. KCGA will be responsible for handling refund requests, executing contracts for commission projects, meeting planning and other administrative tasks for the commission. First purchasers have received new Kansas Corn Commission refund stamps.

"We wanted to make the transition nearly seamless," KCGA Executive Director Jere White said. "The commodity commissions are working closely with the Kansas Department of Agriculture to ensure the structure change goes smoothly."

The administration change is the first visible difference, but this legislation will bring about many other positive changes and benefits for growers.

"After a 18-month waiting period, commissioners will be elected by growers, instead of being appointed by the governor," McCauley said. "Also, while we were in the state system, all interest earned on commission funds was lost to the state's General Fund, as well as a privilege fee that the commissions paid to the state."

Being out of the state system saves the four commissions over $500,000 in interest and fees that went to the state. The commissions can use that additional money for research and market development to benefit growers. However, the commissions remain accountable to the state. The commissions will continue to be subject to Kansas open meetings and records laws.

"The commissions still are chartered by the state, and we will answer to the state legislature every year," McCauley said. "If anything, I would say our accountability is increasing. We will be more accountable to the legislature, and because commissioners will be elected, we will be more accountable to the growers."

The Kansas Corn Commission staff can be contacted at 785-448-2626.

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