KANSAS CITY, Mo.
— Kansas Gov.
Sam Brownback has rejected a bill that would increase the cost of agricultural production, despite an outcry over the bill’s potential impact on rural communities and the environment.
“We want to make sure that the farmers have the best of conditions,” Brownback said during a meeting with farmers Thursday.
“And if they have to raise prices, we want to do that.”
The bill was introduced by Kansas Rep. Chris Taylor, a Democrat who also serves as a state Agriculture Department commissioner.
The Kansas Farm Bureau Federation and the Kansas Environmental Council were among the groups that sent a letter to Brownback in late March asking him to reconsider the bill.
The group said the bill would cause rural communities to lose jobs, increase pesticide use and exacerbate the impacts of climate change.
“The proposed bill would allow the Kansas Agriculture Department to set up a state farm facility that would be subsidized by taxpayer dollars, without regard to the impact on the environment, wildlife or the public,” the letter stated.
The bill passed the House last week and will now go to the Senate for approval.
Brownback’s office declined to comment on the bill at the time of this report.
“I think it’s the right thing to do.
It’s important for us to be responsible stewards of our resources,” Taylor said of the bill on Thursday.
The legislation has also come under fire from Kansas Farm Service Association President Greg Stoltz, who said the legislation would “devastate the state’s agricultural sector” and have “far-reaching” impacts on local communities.
“Kansas is a farm state,” Stoltzen said.
“If the bill passes, farmers and ranchers will lose jobs and be forced to move away from the state.”
Taylor said the farm bill was not the first time Brownback had supported agricultural subsidies.
The governor previously signed a bill in 2014 that gave the state $10 million per year in funding to provide subsidies to rural counties.
The Kansas Farm Coalition, a coalition of Kansas farmers, has called for the governor to release more details on the funding that is being provided to counties and local governments.
The Associated Press contributed to this report