Kansas Officials Push for Farm Reform

Kansas’ Agriculture Secretary and Governor Sam Brownback are pressuring state lawmakers to repeal 80-year-old state laws limiting the influence and power of corporate agriculture.

Kansas law currently limits the ownership of agricultural land to family farm corporations, family partnerships, and corporations with 15 or fewer stockholders. The purpose of these laws are to protect small farmers and family farm corporations in an era where more and more agricultural production is being concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer corporate farmers.

While attempts to repeal or reform these laws over the past few decades have been met with fierce resistance from small farmers, Governor Brownback and his administration have recently begun a new push to open Kansas for corporate agriculture. Brownback recently claimed the laws were of “questionable constitutionality” and the Agriculture Secretary recently told incoming lawmakers, “Our corporate farming laws need to be repealed.”

Both men have cited recent concerns raised by the business community as the impetus for these farm reforms. According to Brownback, several businesses seeking to open or expand in rural areas have expressed concern over these laws and have hinted that repealing these laws will help improve the state economy.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer