By Tess Van Gorder
I started in the Agricultural Ecology Department at Michigan Farm Bureau in February 2019, so last year was my first experiencing the organization’s grassroots policy-development process. I got to see ideas start at the county and district levels, voted on by delegates, and finalized in the policy book.
One of the policies I saw make that journey was the one creating our new Water Policy Task Force; see policy #85: Water Use in the Great Lakes Basin. It called for creating a member-led task force focused on water policy for agriculture, from water use to water quality.
MFB President Carl Bednarski appointed a group of members from diverse locations, backgrounds and experiences in the numerous areas the water policy covers. Their directive is to examine our current policies to (a) see what’s already there and (b) produce a report to help county and regional policy development committees with ways for improving our members’ water policy.
While the COVID-19 stay-at-home order prevents in-person meetings, this group will meet virtually to discuss the array of water policy topics impacting you all today: everything from nutrient management and water use regulations to drainage and comparing standards of Great Lakes states and provinces.
If you are as interested in water policy as we are, and you want to learn more about what the Task Force is doing, do not despair! They’ll send a report to all county Farm Bureaus during this year’s policy development season, or you can reach out to any of its members:
Got a water policy question or issue? Contact any member of MFB’s Ag Ecology Department: Laura Campbell, Emily Reinart or myself.
Tess Van Gorder is an associate policy & regulatory specialist in MFB’s Agricultural Ecology Department.