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Proposed consolidation of State Conservation Districts discussed
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Governor Sam Brownback has proposed to consolidate the State Conservation Commission into the Kansas Department of Agriculture, creating the Division of Conservation using his authority under an Executive Reorganization Order.

The commission has been very concerned about the resulting fundamental changes to the commission, conservation districts, conservation district law and how future program funding would be impacted. However, the state agriculture secretary and staff met SCC officials with open minds and a willingness to develop a structure that could benefit both parties.

After extensive discussion and negotiation between the commission and KDA, Secretary Dale Rodman, the Executive Reorganization Order was crafted to include the commission’s concerns.

Those primary concerns are:

1. K.S.A.2-1907 et seq. regarding the structure and function of the conservation districts will remain unchanged.

2. The structure and powers and duties of the SCC as outlined in K.S.A. 2-1904 will be retained.

3. SCC funds must transfer to the Department of Agriculture for the purpose for which they were derived.

4. The SCC will retain responsibility for all existing statutes and regulations that authorize current programs.

5. The SCC will retain its seat on the Kansas Water Authority.

6. The executive director of the SCC shall retain signatory power for SCC contracts.

7. The executive director will be hired by the SCC and the secretary of agriculture, and serve at the pleasure of the secretary and the commission.

The ERO was signed Feb. 7, 2011, by Brownback.