What is Farm Bureau doing for me? | Policy, Action | Michigan Farm News

What is Farm Bureau doing for me?

Category: Opinion

by Carl Bednarski, president, Michigan Farm Bureau

Farmer working on equipment
When it comes down to it, you’re the one guiding our efforts.

What is Farm Bureau doing for me?

I get asked that question more frequently than I would like.

There are many things happening every day in agriculture, and Michigan Farm Bureau is constantly addressing them. We realize that farmers in the field simply cannot do it alone. We have your back. It’s part of our mission to represent and protect the interests of our members.

That’s a big job. With today’s vast array of communication tools, it can be difficult to identify how each member would like to be updated without being a nuisance.

I’ll admit sometimes we get so busy with the issues that we don’t do the best job communicating back out to the countryside. We know you don’t want to be inundated with the daily details, but we also have a responsibility to keep you informed on what issues are being addressed on your behalf.

Can we be more transparent? Absolutely. But I would also encourage members to recognize this as your organization, too. Member means participant, and the more you take an active role, the less you’ll feel like you’re on the sidelines. Find a way to use your talents and get involved in any way, big or small.

There are so many opportunities to do what you enjoy while advancing the ag industry in a positive way. A great way to start is to reach out to your county Farm Bureau and the volunteers in your area. You can always contact the various departments at home office with a specific question or concern, too.

Michigan is a wonderfully unique and agriculturally diverse state, so involvement is never going to be one-size-fits-all. Similarly, the updates we provide to you aren’t going to be either.

Thanks to our grassroots policy process, MFB is confident in the direction from our members and is able to resolve a lot of things before they become real issues. This just goes to show how important it is to make your individual voice heard through involvement as a member. When it comes down to it, you’re the one guiding our efforts.

With that being said, let me give you a small sample of things Michigan Farm Bureau is working on currently:

  • Waters of the U.S.
  • Water quality & threat of more regulations: Western Lake Erie Basin efforts
  • Consistent regulation & standards for application of biosolids
  • Working with DNR and NRC to reduce deer numbers, mitigate crop damage and spread of disease
  • Responding to USDA on deer herd reduction and impact on Bovine TB
  • Working with townships to defend and protect your rights to grow your farm businesses using the Siting GAMPS and Michigan’s Right to Farm Law
  • Joined livestock organizations in petitioning DOT for waiver and limited exemption from Electronic Logging Device mandate
  • Farm Bill Taskforce: recommendations, policy input and working with congressional committees who are starting to write the next farm bill
  • NAFTA renegotiation
  • Monitoring DEQ’s lawsuit with Michigan Sugar
  • Assisting with further development of the new Blueberry Commission
  • Updating Animal Industry Act
  • Health insurance tax: effort in Congress to get this repealed
  • Working with Ag Workforce Coalition to introduce federal legislation authorizing a new agriculture guest worker program
  • Working with US House Appropriations committee on language that would broaden the use of Sec 514 housing for H2A labor
  • Right to Repair: Digital Millennium Copyright Act exemptions

Just by scanning this list you’ll likely see there are things that affect you and things that don’t. In addition, we consistently defend our Right to Farm, fight for appropriate taxation of our industry and do our best to ease regulatory burden. There are many things happening, and we’ll do our best to keep you informed on the right things at the right time.

Thank you for asking what Farm Bureau is doing for you. It’s an important question and a step toward involvement. As I’m making my way around the state to county annual meetings, it’s nice to hear feedback and be able to talk to so many people with diverse ag backgrounds to see how they’re engaging in Farm Bureau. I look forward to talking with YOU!