Throughout the year legislative and regulatory policy issues to the agriculture industry and Farm Bureau members are deliberated by elected officials and state and federal agencies. The following are key issues currently under consideration or receiving significant attention.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality announced Nov. 10 it designated the Michigan waters of the western Lake Erie basin as “impaired” due to excessive levels of phosphorous.
While MFB has long been a partner in promoting environmental stewardship and protecting water quality, it does not support MDEQ's designation decision.
Agriculture industry members are encouraged by the decision to pursue renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Mexico and Canada account for one-third of U.S. agricultural exports, and a modernization effort provides the opportunity to build upon the gains achieved within the original agreement.
Early development and negotiations are already underway for the next farm bill set to renew in 2018. Farm Bureau staff continue to work with members to understand what has been working well within the current Farm Bill programs and what challenges and growth opportunities exist.
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) finalized rule redefines what can be regulated as a Water of the United States and is a massive overreach that will impact agriculture nationwide.
A pilot project is underway to refine the state's Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool program and site-specific review process by collecting data from monitoring wells and creating models to take into account local geologic and groundwater characteristics in five major watersheds in and around Cass County.