The power of your voice | Michigan Farm News

The power of your voice

Category: Crops

by Carl Bednarski, President, Michigan Farm Bureau

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When farmers speak, legislators listen, especially when we have a unified voice.

Michigan Farm Bureau has been working on a number of legislative issues that affect all of you – our members – on a daily basis. One in particular is the state Department of Treasury’s misinterpretation of agriculture’s sales tax exemption. Representatives and Senators ultimately agreed with farmers that Treasury was not correct, and they worked through the legislative process to provide the clarity you needed.

The issue at hand was conflict over equipment we had no doubt was for farm use. For example: a tractor loader was exempt to clean a pile of manure in a barn to be spread later, but treasury said that when it was picked up and put in a spreader, at that point it became transportation so that tractor loader was not tax exempt for that portion of the task. Examples like this were abundant and it became clear that your voice was needed.

We sent out an action request and you responded loud and clear. It made a difference. Because you acted, the Senate immediately passed the legislation. The House went on break, and when it reconvened, legislators made a few concessions and passed it out of the House.

The Senate approved again and it has been signed by the Lt. Governor. Your voice mattered. More than 600 members sent 1,800 emails to their representatives, senators and the Governor in support of the bills.

We have 45,000 farmer members and only 600 responded on an issue that could have effected every farm in this state. I think we can do better.

Sticking together

How do we stick together as the state’s largest general farm organization to help each other out on every issue, big or small? This one effected everyone in ag.

What happens if something comes up in one specific commodity or pertaining to a certain segment of the industry such as PA 116 contract holders? Even if the issue doesn’t affect your individual farm or commodity, we need to have each other’s back and stick together as agricultural producers. Speak up for your neighbor so they will do the same for you.

I encourage you to take the time and make the contacts when we need you. It is very convenient to sign up to receive a text message when Farm Bureau needs you to contact legislators.

You’ll only receive a message when it’s of the utmost importance. Simply text MIACT to the number 52886 to join. Follow the link, enter your information and submit the prewritten comments provided or edit them to personalize.

We all struggle with different things at times, but when we stand together, we lighten the load and are able to truly represent a united industry. It’s opportunities like these that show us how strong our voice can be.

Lastly, as spring has finally arrived, I would like to remind everyone to keep safety at the forefront of your thoughts as we continue our planting season.