Michigan farmland is enhanced by an adequate and well-managed drain system. Over half of Michigan's farmland requires drainage to produce food, feed and fiber.
Land use changes are affecting drainage systems. Michigan Farm Bureau highly encourages members to obtain and record a drainage easement for all private drains which cross neighboring properties.
The Michigan Drain Code is the legal vehicle by which landowners may organize to solve mutual drainage problems for their benefit. Urbanization, agriculture and technology have increased the need for water resource management. As they exist today, institutional structures, such as the Michigan Drain Code, Subdivision Control Act, and Wetlands Protection Act, lack the necessary uniformity to provide water management standards that meet today's demands and tomorrow's needs.
We support legislation that would revoke the 1982 Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (MDEGLE) Rule 8 under Part 31 Rules for Inland Lakes and Streams, designating several drains as mainstream portions of eleven natural water courses. If the rule is not revoked, MDEGLE should be responsible to pay for all maintenance costs of the waterway according to the County Drain standards.
Virtually all potential agricultural lands worth the initial investment have been drained. Emphasis has now shifted to maintaining or reconstructing original drainage systems, or improving drains to provide more intensive drainage of existing croplands.
We support the following provisions as found in the Drain Code:
Revisions to the Drain Code that benefit agriculture are necessary to address the following concerns. We support:
Landowners should take a proactive role and/or be notified and involved in routine drain maintenance and emergency repairs with their drain commissioners.
We encourage drain/water resource commissioners to offer incentives or credits for landowners who properly maintain drains located on their property.
We encourage landowners to voluntarily contribute to the maintenance of county drains through appropriate soil conservation practices working with Natural Resources Conservation Service and county drain/water resource commissions.
We urge MFB to promote to its members the video, “The Importance of Michigan Drain Commissioners,” created by the Michigan Association of County Drain Commissioners.
To assist farmers and our members with gaining a better understanding of the Drain Code of 1956, we direct MFB to create an educational series that is made available to the general public.