To protect the environment, ensure public safety, and enhance production agriculture, we challenge state and federal agencies to work together to produce more user-friendly programs that provide clear direction and consistent regulatory authority. Oversight should focus on solving problems and not simply on penalizing the regulated community.
Farmers who violate state environmental law are under the jurisdiction of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (MDEGLE). While the vast majority of farms put forth a considerable effort and are environmentally safe, we recognize the potential for environmental problems.
We encourage Michigan Farm Bureau to work with state and federal agencies, land grant universities and stakeholder groups to develop standards indicating agriculture’s positive impact on the environment. We believe environmental credit standards should be developed and applied against any new regulations to offset the regulatory burden on producers. State regulations and standards enforced by MDEGLE should not be more restrictive than federal standards.
In addition to providing pollution prevention programs for all farms, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) should have an increased role in providing regulatory certainty to Michigan agriculture.
Public scrutiny of agriculture and increased regulation continues to challenge farmers to improve farm management and protect the environment. We urge all members to voluntarily implement pollution prevention practices. The agricultural community realizes the need to protect the environment; however, when regulations limit agricultural viability, we believe it is time to take a more aggressive approach to protect our industry. Michigan producers and MFB should aggressively work to counter propaganda that depicts production agriculture in Michigan as abusers of the environment.
The harassment of farmers adhering to the State's pollution prevention program for agriculture shall not be tolerated. We support requiring MDEGLE to notify local law enforcement and authorities before any actions are taken against farms. Individuals who lodge complaints with MDEGLE against farms must be required to provide their name for public record. If an individual makes more than three unverified complaints within three years, that individual must pay for the complaint investigation.