The Kansas grain industry is asking the Kansas Legislature to approve a temporary sales tax exemption for materials and services related to improvements and expansion of grain storage in the state.

Brett Myers, executive vice president of the Kansas Association of wheat Growers, testified before the House Committee on Taxation, in Topeka, representing not only the KAWG, but also the Kansas Corn Growers Association and the Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association.

The bill before the House this year, HB 2593, would provide for a two-year extension of the legislation approved by the legislature in 1999 dealing with the severe grain storage situation in Kansas.

In his testimony before the committee, Myers said bumper crops in many areas of the state combined with sagging exports have Kansas bursting at the bins, with grain piled on the ground a common sight. Myers told the committee members, "Our customers are beginning to wonder about our ability to supply high quality grain, when they see newspaper photos of grain piled high. They might expect that in an undeveloped nation, but not from Kansas, breadbasket to the world."

Meyers continued, "Clearly, our growers have asked for a level of incentive that will promote the increased construction and renovation of grain storage facilities. Last year, when the legislature passed similar legislation providing the same tax relief as this bill, our growers and many commercial entities sought to expand and renovate. 1999 was a solid step forward."

Meters told House committee members that numerous circumstances are at play, including the low commodity prices that have severely impacted available funds that farmers have to make grain storage improvements.

He commented, "Providing an additional two years tax incentive will allow producers to fund their improvements over a longer time-frame without penalty. Many producers found it hard to get improvements scheduled within the one-year time limits of last year's legislation. The need was simply greater than available materials and services."

The Kansas Association of wheat Growers represents nearly 3,000 members, who have joined forces under the common goal of maximizing members' profitability.

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