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Report: Potential Health Effects of Changes to the Kansas Corporate Farming Law

Impacts related to a possible increase in the number of large-scale swine and dairy operations

By Tatiana Y. Lin, M.A., Sheena L. Smith, M.P.P., Barb J. LaClair, M.H.A., Cheng-Chung Huang, M.P.H. | March 27, 2015

Report: Potential Health Effects of Changes to the Kansas Corporate Farming Law

Potential Health Effects of Changes to the Kansas Corporate Farming Law:
Impacts related to a possible increase in the number of large-scale swine and dairy operations


Senate Bill 191 (and its House version, HB 2404) was proposed to amend the Kansas Corporate Farming Law. Among other provisions, the bill would have removed restrictions for agribusinesses with certain forms of ownership structure (e.g., corporation, trust) to operate in Kansas. Furthermore, the bill would have removed some requirements that farms be owned by families or that family members be active in the operation of the farms. This bill did not pass during the 2013 session, but the issue continues to be discussed and similar bills may be introduced in the future.

The purpose of the HIA was to examine how some provisions of this legislation might affect the health of Kansans, either positively or negatively. Testimony on the bill was provided by various stakeholder groups. Some indicated changes to the law would open opportunities for new agribusiness in the state, creating economic growth. Although the testimony varied, the most commonly identified potential impact was an increase in the number and size of swine and dairy operations. 

This study analyzed six factors related to the expansion in the number and size of swine and dairy operations including employment, property values/taxes, population, water quantity, amount of waste produced and antibiotic use in animals. These factors can impact health. For example, people who have access to jobs enjoy better health and have slower declines in health status over time. Read the Executive Summary that reveals the key findings and recommendations from the study.

“The health impact assessment intends to expand the policy dialogue beyond economic and constitutional issues and bring health considerations into the discussion. We hope the report’s findings and recommendations will be considered by policymakers, agencies and livestock operations in order to improve the health of Kansans,” said Tatiana Lin, M.A., senior analyst and strategy team leader for KHI’s health impact assessment work. 

To read the press release, click here.

The Kansas Health Institute delivers credible information and research enabling policy leaders to make informed health policy decisions that enhance their effectiveness as champions for a healthier Kansas. The Kansas Health Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy and research organization based in Topeka, established in 1995 with a multiyear grant from the Kansas Health Foundation.