The Kansas Health Institute conducted an HIA on the Kansas Agriculture Growth and Rural Investment Initiative, which was introduced during the state’s 2013 legislative session. The bill would remove operating restrictions for certain agribusinesses and amend the definitions of limited agriculture partnerships, family farm corporations, and other ownership structures. Though it received a hearing, the legislation did not pass, but similar bills will probably be introduced in the future.
The HIA focused on an increase in the number of swine and dairy operations, which was the most common concern identified during a review of stakeholder testimony on the bill, and assessed possible health impacts resulting from changes to residential property values, employment, economic development, water quality, amount of waste produced, and antibiotic use.
The HIA found that an increase in the number of swine and dairy operations could provide new employment opportunities to boost health but also could result in decreased property values, especially for the closest residents. In addition, an increase in the volume of waste produced and antibiotics used could lead to poorer air quality and exposure to antibiotic-resistant organisms, especially for employees and neighboring residents. The HIA made several recommendations, including increasing the minimum distances that separate large-scale operations and creating a public website to detail all regulated animal feeding operations in Kansas.