The state House and Senate this week approved their final version of the agriculture budget, along with all other state department budgets. The funding proposal for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) passed on mostly party-line votes; 22-16 in the Senate and 69-39 in the House.
According to Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) Legislative Counsel Rebecca Park, the budget responsible for operating critical programs for the state’s farmers remains stable thus far.
“While there was a slight decrease in general fund dollars, the MDARD budget received an increase in restricted funds and overall is netting a 2% increase,” Park said. “That said, Gov. Whitmer is able to line-item veto any program or initiative put forward by the Legislature and has until September 30th to make those decisions, before the start of the new fiscal year.”
Park also conveyed the organization’s appreciation for the work agriculture appropriations subcommittee chairs Sen. Roger Victory and Rep. Greg VanWoerkom.
“We’re pleased with the many additions in the conference committee’s final product because it protects essential programs important to Farm Bureau members and it bolsters programs that foster economic development and research development, like the Michigan Alliance for Animal Agriculture.”
Notable items or changes reflected in the Legislature’s proposed agriculture budget include:
The current $2 million in M-AAA funding is subject to an annual budget allocation process. While M-AAA was not included in Gov. Whitmer’s recommendation, the House and Senate are proposing $3 million in ongoing funding.