• Last modified 72 days ago (May 9, 2024)


Federal land grab or farmers' right to choose conservation?

Staff writer

A woman who travels from county to county encouraging commissioners to pass a resolution opposing a federal initiative called the “30x30 Program” explained to commissioners Monday why she thought they should pass such a resolution.

Angel Cushing was invited to speak at commissioner Kent Becker’s request, made two weeks ago. He’d heard her speak at a Patriots for Liberty meeting. Her speech was in opposition to the federal government’s plan to “grab” 30% of the nation’s land.

Before Cushing spoke, however, Hesston resident Steve Schmidt, who owns land in Marion County, talked to commissioners about his concerns with what had been said by Becker.

“My main point is to suggest that you be very careful about adopting something similar to Butler County’s opposing the 30x30 initiative and things related to that, so you don’t inadvertently preclude or discourage national historic trails of preclude or discourage conservation easements,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt said he’d been involved with Santa Fe National Historic Trail at both local and national levels.

He also has experience with conservation easements.

The National Historic Trails Program does not interfere with private property rights or block projects, he said.

Schmidt also said that different conservation easements had different benefits and drawbacks.

“I think a Pike National Historic Trail designation would be a good thing for Marion County, just as the Santa Fe National Historic Trail has,” Schmidt said.

He added that he thought conservation easements could be good, and that the county should support personal property rights and not get involved in advocating what a person should or should not do with his or her land.

Cushing, part of a group that portrays the 30x30 program as a “land grab,” showed commissioners a map of federally protected land. Areas in Kansas include state fishing lakes, parks, and wildlife areas.

“Down in Kansas, we don’t have much,” Cushing said.

She then showed them a Department of Agriculture map of land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, telling them that each dot on the map represented 1,000 acres of land.

“I now know that you people are the first victims,” she said of farmers who enroll in the program.

The government’s plan is to “depopulate the areas so there is no one to fight,” Cushing said.

Cushing claimed that in western states, once original landowners die, the federal government “becomes evil” until the original landowners’ descendants move away.

“They keep saying, ‘we have to protect the land, we have to protect the land,’” Cushing said. “And I say, protect it from who?”

Cushing said 27 Kansas counties had passed resolutions opposing the 30x30 Program. She passed out copies of their resolutions. Butler County’s resolution is her favorite, she said.

She also showed commissioners a proposed bill that she wrote and said it would be introduced in the next state legislative session.

After Cushing’s talk, Schmidt asked whether she had time to visit in the hallway.

“I think there will be a lot of discussion in the hall,” commission chairman Dave Mueller said.

Becker asked that Cushing be put on next week’s agenda again.

Last modified May 9, 2024