Many Michigan farmers are in the midst of a challenging fall harvest with excessive rainfall across the state. Despite those challenges, every farmer is still excited to see how well their crops will yield. It’s the defining moment and measure of their management skills and the decisions made during the past growing season.
Harvest is also a time farmers begin planning for next year’s crop as they watch the yield monitors. What worked, what didn’t? How will they adjust their management plans accordingly next year for even better results? It’s a never-ending cycle that every farmer follows, learning from the lessons of the past to build a better future.
In many respects, the upcoming election for a new Michigan governor is no different. Flashy campaign ads and personalities aside, many of us in production agriculture will be comparing the track-record of the two candidates. The contrast between the two couldn’t be more glaring.
On one hand, we have a candidate that managed to secure passage of three bills throughout her stellar 14-year legislative career, first as a State Representative, and then as a State Senator. She has declined, or more accurately stated, completely ignored every opportunity afforded to her during this campaign season to meet with Michigan’s agricultural industry. We hear a lot of the “what” in countless TV commercials, but the “how” in the way of solutions is woefully lacking.
Then there is Bill Schuette – a time-tested and proven supporter of Michigan agriculture, regardless of the elected office or capacity he served as a public servant since 1984. As a U.S. Representative, he served on the House Ag Committee and relied heavily on input from his Michigan farmer-constituents in crafting ag-legislation.
As Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture, Schuette and his wife Cynthia created the Michigan Harvest Gathering, raising more than $10 million and collected millions of pounds of food to assist those struggling in poverty, in addition to administering department programs in support of Michigan agriculture.
As a State Senator, he led efforts to improve Michigan’s Right to Farm (RTF) law, creating siting GAAMPS or Generally Accepted Ag Management Practices. As a result, RTF now provides consistent standards statewide, created accountability with Michigan farmers that requires them to follow the GAAMPs to be protected from lawsuits – all while protecting the environment and allowing for expansion of Michigan’s livestock industry and supporting industries.
As a judge on the Michigan Fourth Court of Appeals, and as the current Attorney General for Michigan, Bill Schuette has continued to support Michigan’s RTF, issuing a “common sense” opinion as recently as this past March supporting RTF, at the request of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development following several legal challenges.
The foresight and ingenuity of that one accomplishment alone has created significant investments, jobs and economic opportunities for farmers and rural communities throughout Michigan in just the last four years alone:
- The Clemons Food Group Pork Processing plant in Coldwater, $256 million investment, 830 jobs.
- Zeeland Farm Service’s soybean processing plant in Ithaca, $129 million investment, 75 jobs.
- Continental Dairy and Fairlife dairy plant processing expansion in Coopersville, $173 million investment, 52 new jobs.
- Foremost Dairy processing plant in Greenville, $58 million investment, 35 jobs
- Spartan Michigan LLC Cheese plant & Proliant Dairy Ingredients in St. Johns, $550 million investment, 300 jobs.
Bill Schuette’s track record of supporting Michigan agriculture is undeniable. He has consistently demonstrated his willingness to meet with farmers, hear their concerns and, most importantly, take action. His common-sense approach of state agencies working together to create consistent policies that remove unnecessary and burdensome regulations is reflected in his Paycheck Agenda for Michigan. As you head to the polls this November, help keep the momentum of Michigan’s economic rebirth going. Take a look back at the accomplishments and the results, and cast a vote for the future by supporting Michig