Farm Bureau members work year-round to implement grassroots policy for the benefit of the agriculture industry and likewise, to oppose initiatives that would harm the agriculture industry. Over the past 12 months, Farm Bureau was successful in advocating on the following issues:
Reinforcing Right to Farm
The Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development voted to remove zoning provisions from the site selection GAAMPs. Strongly supported by Michigan Farm Bureau, the change protects the Right to Farm Act’s integrity and helps ensure local governments cannot attempt to prevent new livestock farms. The GAAMPs, as amended, uses science-based information to determine how to best site livestock farms.
Updating the Animal Industry Act
Farm Bureau advocated for legislation making comprehensive updates to the state’s animal agriculture laws. The seven-bill package received final approval by the Lt. Gov. Gilchrist in Nov. 2019. The legislation marks the first rewrite of the laws in more than 20 years. Read more
Supporting Wagering on Horse RacesAmendments to the state’s horse racing law were made to allow advanced deposit wagering on horse races. Signed into law by Gov. Whitmer in Dec. 2019 and supported by Farm Bureau, the updated law now allows betting on horse races online or via cell phones through third-party facilitators that contract with licensed track owners.
Improving Taxation of Alternative Energy Systems
Farm Bureau supported legislation to clarify the tax classification for alternative energy systems and provide related tax exemptions. The new law prevents the installation, replacement, or repair
of certain alternative energy systems from increasing the true cash value of a residential property. It also provides owners with a personal property tax credit for commercial or industrial use of certain alternative energy systems.
Defending Science-based Oversight
Farm Bureau supported the Michigan Legislature voting to overturn Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Order that would have abolished three environmental oversight panels advocated for by Michigan Farm Bureau in 2018. Read more
Opposing an Overreaching Large Livestock Permit
Farm Bureau members, agribusinesses, commodity partners and other stakeholders submitted more than 800 comments opposing the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy’s draft permit for large livestock operations. The permit is proposed to take effect Apr. 1 barring any changes from the department. Read more
Supporting No-fault Auto Insurance Reforms
Farm Bureau supported much-needed improvements to the state’s no-fault auto insurance law. Approved by Gov. Whitmer in June 2019, the updated law:
Ensuring Viability in Tough TImes
Following an unprecedented cool and wet spring, $15 million in state funds was made available through the Agricultural Disaster Loan Origination Program. Given certain qualifications, the program pays loan origination fees and provides lower interest rates for farmers during challenging times. Additional legislation is being considered to further bolster the program by making it more clearly defined and financially sound. Read more
Improving Trade with Mexico and Canada
Farm Bureau advocated to President Donald Trump and Michigan’s Congressional delegation, urging passage of the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement to modernize trade and expand agricultural export markets.
Broadening Trade with Japan
Farm Bureau supported a new trade agreement that will allow more than 90% of U.S. food and agricultural products imported into Japan to be duty-free or receive preferential tariff access. Japan is also a $146 million trade destination for Michigan food and agriculture products and that state hopes to see continued growth in agricultural exports because of the deal. Read more
Advocating for Federal Programs
Farm Bureau was successful in advocating for the funding of several items with a federal spending bill passed in late 2019. Items included:
Asking for Tax Code Improvements
Farm Bureau supported federal legislation making improvements to the tax code. Signed into law in December 2019, the following changes were adopted: