Farmers, along with other rural and urban residents, are concerned about nonpoint source pollution of Michigan's surface and groundwater. Protecting surface and groundwater from contamination is a priority and we recognize agriculture shares the responsibility with many others.
Nonpoint source pollution programs implemented by state and federal agencies should reflect a coordinated, integrated and consistent management approach. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) should be designated as the agency to coordinate all agricultural nonpoint source pollution programs.
Michigan's conservation districts are an important component of MDARD’s nonpoint source pollution programs. These voluntary programs are best administered by locally elected conservation district boards who understand their community's needs and problems.
Agriculture should lead watershed management, or EPA will make efforts to place permits on the industry. We encourage full representation of agricultural interests in watershed initiative projects that are publicly funded through the Clean Water Act. Any management practices prescribed by the project should be voluntary rather than mandatory. We support the continued MAEAP verification of all farms and recognize Michigan law that offers MAEAP-verified farms presumption of meeting the obligations for watershed pollutant loading determinations.
We encourage Michigan Farm Bureau to work with state and federal agencies, land grant universities and stakeholder groups to develop standards that indicate 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 the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (MDEGLE) should not be more restrictive than federal standards.
Municipalities share the same responsibilities to our environment and should be held to the same standards and penalties as private individuals.