We recognize the evolving role of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) in Michigan’s agriculture and food system, as well as supporting rural development.
We support the continued individual existence of MDARD within State government. We challenge MDARD to continue to be proactive, focus on core programs and eliminate redundancies where possible. Program areas of a stronger, more encompassing MDARD might include, but would not be limited to: consumer protection, environmental protection, resource-based economic development programs, aquaculture, privately owned cervidae, commercial fishing and forestry programs.
We have concerns with the lack of expertise and understanding of farming in other state departments. Therefore, we request MDARD be the primary representative of government on our farms. We are opposed to multiple inspections by a variety of jurisdictions.
We encourage MDARD to follow these recommendations when prioritizing their current budget. Regulatory or enforcement program funding should be taken from the General Fund with a limited portion of the cost to be generated from industry fees. We support strategic investments in MDARD with the following funding priorities: