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Kansas Technical Committee Minutes—November 15, 2018

Kansas Technical Committee
Teleconference Meeting
November 15, 2018

Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) hosted a general teleconference if the Kansas
Technical Committee (KTC) on Thursday, November 15, 2018 to discuss the following topics:

  • Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) planned pit closures
  • Ephemeral Gully Erosion
  • Update on fiscal year (FY)2019 Programs

The meeting was called to order by Joel A. Willhoft, Resources Conservationist at 2:00 p.m.
In attendance were:

  • Joel A. Willhoft, Resources Conservationist, NRCS, Hays, Kansas
  • Kindra K. Brandner, Acting Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, NRCS, Salina, Kansas
  • Lynn E. Thurlow, Soil Conservationist, NRCS, Salina, Kansas
  • R. Dean Krehbiel, State Resource Conservationist, NRCS, Salina, Kansas
  • Shawn T. Sherraden, Acting State Engineer, NRCS, Salina, Kansas
  • Tracey L. Burgess, Office Assistant – Programs, NRCS, Salina, Kansas
  • Ryan Flickner, Senior Director, Kansas Farm Bureau, Manhattan, Kansas
  • Kent Askren, Public Policy, Kansas Farm Bureau, Manhattan, Kansas
  • Mark Nelson, Director of Commodities, Kansas Farm Bureau, Manhattan, Kansas
  • Gabriel Polson, Assistant Agronomy Manager, Great Bend Co-op, Great Bend, Kansas
  • Andy Nelson for Matt Smith, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism, Wilson, Kansas
  • Orrin Feril, Manager, Big Bend Ground Water Management District #5, Stafford, Kansas
  • Cammie Vaupel, Agronomist, Great Bend Co-op, St. John, Kansas
  • Mark Bauer, Precision Ag Specialist, Great Bend Co-op, Great Bend, Kansas
  • Andrew Lyon, Watershed Management, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Topeka,
  • Kansas
  • Mike Beam, Senior Vice President, Kansas Livestock Association, Topeka, Kansas
  • Ron Klataske, Executive Director, Audubon of Kansas, Manhattan, Kansas
  • Jude Kastens, Research Associate Professor, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

The following topics were addressed and brought open for discussion by Joel Willhoft:

  • FY 2019 Farm Bill and Programs
    • Currently there is no FY19 Farm Bill and we are working under a continuing resolution
    • National Headquarters has made the following decisions and actions with regards to the Environmental Quality Initiative Program (EQIP):
      • FY 19 EQIP will proceed for the time being under FY 2014 Farm Bill Policy & Guidance
      • Twenty-Five percent (25%) of funds have been allocated to the program
      • It is anticipated that total allocations once a Farm Bill is passed, will total somewhere between $18 and $20 million dollars
      • Conservation and Assessment Ranking Tool (CART) will not be used for FY19 EQIP.
      • Program Rollout is scheduled for the week of December 3-6, 2018. There will be a few ranking changes to go over with the Areas during Rollout
      • FY19 EQIP evaluation cut off will be the third Friday of December.
  • Treatment for planned KDHE Pit Closures:
    • In July 2018, KDHE sent out letter to producers who no longer operate feeding lots that also have resource concerns on the land which need to be addressed.
    • Kansas NRCS will have an initiative for those applications which require remediation
    • Funds will be taken off the top of the General Allocation to EQIP
    • There will be one (1) ranking category State wide
    • There are a dozen applications or so turned in at this time. We anticipate more 
    • The initiative will have the same ranking questions and criteria as for Livestock Waste accept for the questions regarding animal feeding operations.
  • Ephemeral Gully Erosion (EGE) associated with Highly Erodible Land (HEL) Compliance:
    • Office of the Inspector General (OIG) performed an audit and found NRCS in several states to be inadequate in complying with policy. Some states were not addressing ephemeral and gully erosion on HEL. Kansas, however, has always recognized ephemeral gully erosion must be addressed on HEL and have worked with producers accordingly. In light of the HELC inconsistencies found by OIG, some states have offered a special EQIP initiative to address ephemeral and gully erosion on HEL.
    • Kansas will not enact a special initiative to address for this purpose but will continue to address EGE in the EQIP Water Quality ranking category. Applications with HEL noted, or HELC Review Variances, will become High Priority applications.

Open Discussion:

  • Andy with KDHE: We believe this a good step where EGE is concerned. At some point, with there be quantification information made available regarding the soil loss?
    • Dean: Sheet, Reel and Wind Erosion all have prediction models which can quantify the data. EGE actually measures all the physical aspects of the erosion with field work, such as depth, length, width, and from that information, calculates the amount of soil voided.

Meeting was adjourned at 2:25 p.m.