For the producers in Pratt and Stafford Counties, the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge’s water impairment findings represent a definitive shift in the water usage and, in turn, the economic fortunes of the area. Seeking to maintain an open dialogue and represent the voices of the affected producers and cooperatives, representatives of Kanza Cooperative Association, Alliance Ag & Grain – LLC, Groundwater Management District #5, the Kansas Grain and Feed Association, the National Grain and Feed Association, and the Kansas Cooperative Council met with the Kansas Department of Agriculture on August 18 in Topeka.
Attendees discussed the various issues surrounding the impairment findings and offered the points of view of those affected. “At this point in time nothing is set in stone, other than the fact that the federal government has established that Quivira does have a water impairment and that will not be going away,” said Nicholas Krehbiel, Chief Compliance Officer at Kanza. “The KDA was open to our suggestions to alleviate Quivira’s water issues, particularly what GMD #5 has put forth. We are continuing to approach this from a proactive standpoint, as digging in our heels and refusing to address the findings will produce nothing beneficial to the producers and agribusinesses in the region.”
While the solution to the impairment is at this point unsettled, Krehbiel stated that Kanza will remain engaged. “We’re going to do what we’ve always done. We’re here for our membership and when there’s an issue that affects them, we’re going to do what we can to address it. We’ve reached out to our trade associations in Topeka and Washington, and we’ll continue to do so to represent the best interests of our producers.”