Alongside four county Farm Bureau member leaders, Michigan Farm Bureau ag labor safety service specialist Craig Anderson was appointed by the state to the Migrant Labor Housing and Advisory Board.
He and the appointees represent five agriculture seats, five migrant labor seats and four seats from other migrant-labor organizations. They will work with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to create adequate migrant labor housing and improve worker conditions.“Even during stable and predictable years, the number and complexity of challenges surrounding migrant labor housing can be quite overwhelming,” MDARD Director Gary McDowell said in a statement. “Natural disasters, urban sprawl, social and political shifts, climate change, out-of-state competition, and now even pandemics take these complexities to a whole new level. A shortage of migrant labor housing can easily lead to the devastation of an entire farm—thousands of acres of high-quality produce can literally die on the vine.“This new board will help us navigate a rapidly changing world and keep Michigan a national leader in the food and agriculture industry.”MDARD in 2020 created the Food and Agriculture Housing Task Force, which investigated the need for housing in the state’s growing $104.7 billion food and agriculture sector.Some of task force’s findings include a statewide survey using GIS mapping to determine where food and ag housing is needed, and working with the Migrant Labor Housing and Advisory Board to build housing for ag workers and employers at a low cost.(View the entire release here.)The following individuals will serve on the advisory board:
The first virtual board meeting is scheduled 1 to 3:15 p.m. Feb. 12. The appointees’ terms will expire on Feb. 12, 2025.“Seasonal housing has long been a necessity for many agricultural sectors,” Anderson said. “With over 4,000 licensed units with occupancy over 25,000, it is important have proper oversite while stimulating economical facility updating and expansion.“Numerous and sometimes conflicting regulations, coupled with zoning issues and a reticence of commercial lending, have stifled needed expansion. We look forward to improving options to meet this critical need.”