February 07, 2011

Attention KS Goat Producers!! New Fees and Laws Coming Your Way!

I apologize for this very late notice but I just learned about this Bill myself. There is a new and important bill in the Kansas House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources which needs your input, pro or con as a goat producer. It goes to committee tomorrow so contact your representatives today! I would also encourage goat producers and hobby farmers from other states to read this bill as something like this might be proposed in your own state in the near future if it gets passed here. Here is a link to the bill:

http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2011_12/year1/measures/hb2099/

HB 2099 is for the creation of the "Kansas Goat Council" and a proposed check off fee for every goat sold in Kansas under possible penalty of legal action, fines or imprisonment.

From Bill:

(2) "Any person who unreasonably fails or refuses to pay any assessments due under this act may be subject to legal action by the Council to recover the assessments due, plus interests and costs."

AND

"(e) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be

guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be subject to a

fine of not less than $25 nor more than $500, or to imprisonment for not

less than 30 nor more than 90 days, or by both such fine and

imprisonment."

The proposed fee is .50 cents per head at this time but that can be changed (in other words, raised) once per year by the Kansas Goat Council as the Bill is worded now. Right now this Bill does make a provision for a refund of these fees if they are more than $5 and you fill out a form. In my opinion, while it sounds good on the surface, this possible refund, (after you fill out the proper form, etc) is STILL an unfair hassle that could be taken away in the future as some people might look to remove the so called "voluntary" status of this goat check-off. I personally have to wonder just how voluntary a program is that threatens lawsuits and fines if you don't pay their fees upfront??

It is true that if a goat is sold through an auction facility or slaughter house the record keeping may not be as burdensome because the facility will likely deduct the check off fee, proposed in this new Kansas law at that time but it will be different for those who sell breeding stock and person to person sales. It will increase paperwork and force breeders to disclose their customer information. (This is a business for many people and that information should be considered proprietary and confidential.)

Of course there will always be that person that says "Well it is only 50 cents per goat sold, is that going to break you?" No, of course not, but the point is we need less government and regulations in our lives, not more. I also think it is wrong that this goat check-off was proposed and created by ONE single goat association, "The Kansas Meat Goat Association" with no input from other goat clubs, associations or long time breeders outside of the KMGA and no input from dairy goat producers before hand. It is particularly unfair to dairy goat breeders who will help support this check-off with fees for every goat they sell but nothing in return as this is a check-off to promote meat goats in the state of Kansas.

Do I think the promotion of meat goats (and dairy goats and their products too which this bill won't do) in Kansas is a good thing? Absolutely, and in theory if written properly and with the input off ALL kansas goat producers a goat check-off could be a good thing, BUT this is a bad bill the way it is written in my opinion and needs to be tabled at least or stopped so it could be looked at further and discussed with the knowledge and participation of all goat producers in KS, not just the board of the KMGA. I have never personally been a member of the KMGA as one only has to talk to past members or go to their website and read their meeting minutes to get a hint of the strife and disagreements with-in the association.

More from this Bill:

"Section 1. (a) There is hereby created the Kansas goat council.

5 (1) The council shall consist of seven members who shall be elected at the annual meeting of the Kansas meat goat association. The board of directors of the Kansas meat goat association shall act as interim council members until council members can be elected and qualified. Vacancies which may occur shall be filled for unexpired terms by the board of directors of the Kansas meat goat association from among the producers of the state."

I just do not think it is right that this Bill is the brain child of only the Kansas Meat Goat association alone with no input from other non-member breeders of goats in Kansas. It appears from what I have read that no effort was made by the KMGA too include or even make producers aware of this bill as according too even some past members of the KMGA (including a past President of the association that is still actively raising meat goats) that the KMGA never made an effort to contact them or make them aware of the proposed Kansas Goat Council while it was still being discussed by the KMGA. (As these past members have posted this themselves on goat yahoo groups over the past few days.)

The following information was posted on a goat yahoo group and I am passing it on for those that would like to contact the commitee members or testify before the committee tomorrow.
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House Bill 2099 – Creation of the Kansas Goat Council – will be heard in the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee on February 8, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. in Room 783 in the Docking State Office Building.

If you would like to testify before the committee, please call Kay Scarlett, Committee Assistant, at 785-296-7694. Please provide 35 copies of your written testimony by 8:30 a.m. the day of the meeting.

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HB 2099 is pending before the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Included below are all of the names and email addresses of the committee members. Please contact them today if you have the time and let them know your opinion on this.

3 comments:

Chicago Bears Fan said...

My first thought upon reading this was, the government needs to stay out of the goat business. As you mentioned, it's just the beginning, once the bill if passed...the fee's could climb. I hope that this bill does not pass, as I said, government needs to stay out. Thanks for sharing this, interesting.

goatpod2 said...

Wow, is all I have to say!

Amy

euthymic said...

We hope the bill is not passed. It should be clearly discussed by all stakeholders rather than just have something like this slip through arbitrarily.

Mocha Barney, Ashley Pumpernickel and Winniechurchill