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Minutes for HB2726 - Committee on Water and Environment

Short Title

Establishing the non-corn irrigation grant program and the low-water-use crop grant program and authorizing the Kansas water office to issue bonds for the purpose of providing funding to such programs.

Minutes Content for Tue, Feb 13, 2018

The Chair opened the hearing on HB2726.

Staff Matt Sterling provided a briefing for the bill (Attachment 21).  He explained that the bill establishes the non-corn irrigation grant program and low-water use crop grant program, which include bonding authority through the KWO.

Dennis Anderson, citizen, spoke as a proponent for the bill (Attachment 22).  He expressed concern for the threat of drought conditions and commented on various uses for low-water crops.

Cody Freeze, PharmD, testified in favor of the bill (Attachment 23).  He noted his background in chemistry and commented extensively on one low-water crop--c sativa, also known as cannabis or hemp, which provides a wide range of uses beyond medical applications.

The following individuals also submitted written testimony as proponents of the bill:

Earl Lewis, Kansas Water Office, spoke as neutral (Attachment 28).  However, he testified that he was more an opponent of the bill.  He stated that he would be open to more research, but the bill in its present form would create problems in funding and would be difficult to promote to irrigation farmers.

Susan Metzger, KDA, testified in opposition to the bill (Attachment 29).  She said that although she appreciates the intent of the bill, programs are already in place that have resulted in increases in the use of grain sorghum, cotton, and wheat.

John Donley, Kansas Corn Growers Association, spoke in opposition to the bill (Attachment 30).  He stated that planting decisions should remain in the hands of growers.  The state should not develop policies that favor one crop over another, and if the state is going to provide bonding authority, it should include all crops..

Written testimony in opposition to the bill was submitted by Kent Askren, Kansas Farm Bureau (Attachment 31).

Members made the following comments about the bill:

  • Bonding authority is a step in the wrong direction.
  • Focusing on sorghum research would be a better direction for the bill.
  • Bonding authority to purchase water storage for John Redmond, Milford, Perry, and other reservoirs would be a better use of funds.

The hearing on HB2726 was closed.