Farm Bureau members, agribusinesses, commodity partners and other stakeholders have submitted more than 800 comments opposing the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy’s (EGLE) draft permit for large livestock operations.
With the comment period closed as of Dec. 18, farmers now await the final permit’s release in the coming months. The permit is proposed to take effect Apr. 1, 2020, but if EGLE doesn’t issue the final version by then, farmers’ current permits will automatically be extended.
Michigan Farm Bureau President Carl Bednarski shared his appreciation for the strong response to the organization’s request for members to submit public comments.
“This was a textbook example of grassroots strength and advocacy,” Bednarski said. “On behalf of the MFB board of directors, I want to express my thanks and appreciation for the time everyone took to submit comments and share the information with other farmers and supporters.
“This permit is regulatory overreach and will negatively impact those who raise animals, grow crops for livestock feed, or fertilize with manure. Your board members also took action by sending a letter with our concerns directly to EGLE Director Liesl Clark.”
MFB’s Agricultural Ecology Department Manager Laura Campbell indicated the organization is reaching out to EGLE and discussing options for future action now that the comment period is complete.
"We’d like to meet with the department’s leaders and permit staff to discuss how the regulation can be rewritten in a way that is more science-based and which better reflects a balance of environmental protection with economic realities,” Campbell said. “We are looking for collaboration and transparent communication that will help improve the current situation.
“We also know the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development as well as Michigan State University have submitted comments weighing in on the permit, so hopefully that too will help the department recognize there are significant improvements to be made.”
Keep reading the Michigan Farm News to follow the issue, as well as MFB’s social media platforms and other communication vehicles. Members with questions on how the draft permit will impact their farm should contact Laura Campbell, 517-679-5332.