Michigan Farm Bureau’s (MFB) positions and actions are based on organizational policies adopted by our members annually at the local, state and national levels. Every member has an opportunity to participate and voice concerns about issues important to their farm and Michigan’s food and agriculture industry.
Following are several briefs to help familiarize you with current areas of focus. Learn more about MFB and American Farm Bureau Federation policy.
Farm Bureau policy encourages the state’s agriculture department to be proactive, focus on core programs and eliminate redundancies where possible. We support investment in resources through the budget process for industry research, workforce development and diagnostics, all while ensuring essential services are maintained. Especially in a time of economic recovery, inspections and licensing services are paramount to agriculture-based businesses and to the safety of Michigan residents.
We support ongoing research investment from the state to address emerging agricultural issue needs in the livestock and plant-based industries through programs like the Michigan Alliance for Animal Agriculture and Project GREEEN (Generating Research and Extension to meet Economic and Environmental Needs).
Farm Bureau policy supports protection of agriculture’s water-use rights. We remain committed to supporting proactive, voluntary efforts on farms to continue to manage water-quality issues and minimize potential pollution risks through programs like the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP).
Workforce development initiatives in high schools and post-secondary institutions remain a priority to ensure the food and agriculture industry has qualified, skilled labor. We support enriching students’ skilled trades training options, funding, and educational reforms that increase opportunity for student participation in career and technical education programs like agriscience.
MFB supports legislative reform that provides short- and long-term access to a legal and stable agricultural workforce. Reform must address a solution for the current workforce and an updated guest worker program that will provide a future flow of agricultural workers for seasonal and year-round positions. We also oppose legislation that would mandate E-verify without providing agricultural employers access to a legal current workforce and a new temporary worker program.
Our organization believes Michigan’s Right to Farm Act provides nuisance protection that allows all sectors of commercial agriculture to utilize existing and new technologies through adoption of voluntary, generally accepted management practices. MFB policy states the law should not be weakened or jeopardized by including practices that are not integral or directly related to farming.
MFB continues to advocate for increased support and resources for farm businesses offering agritourism opportunities for consumers. Our member-developed policy calls for a more concrete definition of agritourism and supports initiatives that protect farms’ ability to conduct agritourism activities.
MFB supports efforts to enhance our state’s infrastructure including energy expansion, broadband access and transportation network improvements. Many farms and agricultural businesses are in underserved areas and lack adequate broadband and natural gas access, which can inhibit expansion—as can roads and bridges that are in poor condition or even closed. We support access to energy and technology that is consistent, reliable and affordable as well as user fees when revenue is needed for roads and bridges.
MFB continuously works to defend and expand trade opportunities for Michigan agriculture. Our member-developed policy advocates for fair and open trade and supports initiatives that: open new markets or expand existing ones, provide assistance to producers impacted by retaliatory tariffs, eliminate non-tariff trade barriers, protect farmers from unfair trade practices and more.
Our members support rulemaking process reforms to ensure that federal regulations are supported by science and created in a transparent manner, while identifying opportunities that improve farmers’ ability to remain productive and competitive.
The food and agriculture sector were not immune to the economic and social disruption caused by coronavirus. MFB continues to proactively identify and respond to industry needs so farms can remain viable and provide a safe and abundant food supply. We will support and defend the industry as issues arise within the food supply chain and as budget priorities are determined by local, state and federal governments looking to address shortfalls.