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Kansas Technical Committee Minutes | August 21, 2012

Kansas Technical Committee Minutes - August 2012

Kansas Technical Committee (KTC) Minutes
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
NRCS Conference Center
747 Duvall
Salina, Kansas

Lynn E. Thurlow, Soil Conservationist, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Salina, Kansas, led the discussion on Geographic Area Rate Caps (GARC) for the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP). To establish GARC rates, a market analysis (MA) needs to be completed to start the GARC process. GARC rates are to be an amount that is offered to landowners for easements that the state conservationist (STC) considers a fair price and is below the MA rate. For WRP, Kansas was divided into five geographic regions for the market analysis. The results of the MA were discussed. These same areas will be used to establish GARC rates for fiscal year (FY) 2013. The draft GARC rates were developed using information from the past two years of GARC rates as compared to the MA values. These previous years information was used to determine what the average remainder value was in each of the five areas. It was determined that the average remainder value was 14 percent when excluding a high remainder for area four (Northeast Kansas). This remainder value was used to calculate draft GARC rates for FY 2013. The Kansas Technical Committee (KTC) group had concerns regarding the draft GARC for area five (Southeast Kansas). This area has historically been strong in WRP enrollments. The KTC wants to continue to see strong participation in this area and wanted to make sure the GARC value was reflective to what is happening with current land prices. A recommendation was made to utilize a five percent residual value for area five and leave the rest of the areas as proposed. This recommended change would better provide for a rate that is fair to landowners, encourages WRP participation, and is comparable with adjoining areas and neighboring states. The KTC concurred with the draft FY 2013 GARC rates for WRP with the changes as discussed and recommended the STC submit these rates to NRCS national headquarters (NHQ) for approval.

There was also discussion regarding compatible use authorizations (CUAs) activities that would provide drought relief assistance to landowners. The Secretary of Agriculture had indicated that haying and grazing on WRP would be expedited to assist landowners. Kansas had previously developed a list of compatible use practices that would be authorized on WRP easements for landowner management, maintenance, and utilization of the easement. Those authorized practices include food plots, haying, prescribed burning, temporary structures, trail mowing, vegetation management, and water level management. To assist in drought relief, it was proposed to the KTC, to add grazing as an additional practice for landowners to request through a compatible use authorization. Some discussion followed with the KTC making a recommendation to the STC to add grazing to the list of compatible use authorization practices.

The Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) and the development of GARC’s for FY 2013 was then discussed. There was explanation of how the rates were developed. The rates established had to be equal to or less than the fair market value (FMV) minus the grazing value. Kansas determined that a rate that is 30 percent of the FMV is a rate that meets the criteria for setting GARCs and would be a reasonable offer to landowners. The 30 percent rate has been based on the methodology used in appraisals of GRP lands during the years 2003-2005. There was limited discussion questioning if the 30 percent amount is too large of a percentage of the FMV for establishing GARCs. The concern was that the rate may be too low in some areas. Historically, Kansas has had GARCs that were lower than those of neighboring states. Despite this, Kansas has had no problems receiving applications and enrolling areas into the program. Ultimately, it was decided to stay with the 30 percent rate. The KTC concurred with the proposed FY 2013 GARC rates for GRP and recommended the STC submit these rates to NHQ for approval.

The following documents require Adobe Reader.

Draft Fiscal Year 2013 Kansas WRP Geographic Area Rate Caps Areas (PDF; 189 KB)
Draft Fiscal Year 2013 Kansas GRP Geographic Area Rate Caps Areas (PDF; 183 KB)

Participants

  • Darin Banks, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)
  • Mike Beam, Kansas Livestock Association (KLA)
  • Barth Crouch, Playa Lakes Joint Venture (PLJV)
  • Mike Disney, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
  • Lance Hedges, The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
  • Stephanie Manes, Ranchland Trust of Kansas (RTK)
  • Steve Sorenson, Kansas Wildlife Federation (KWF)
  • Steve Swaffer, Kansas Farm Bureau (KFB)
  • Harold Klaege, Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams (KAWS)
  • Jeffrey L. Gross, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • Lynn E. Thurlow, NRCS
  • Steven M. Ramsey, NRCS