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Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies

Emerging Issue: Long-term Viability of Agricultural Processing

Image credit: Getty images
Date Posted: April 13, 2023

To support the diversity of Michigan agriculture, there also needs to be a robust agricultural processing sector and opportunities for farms to pursue value-added initiatives. Having a robust processing sector can help insulate the food system from market shocks, support the consumption of local food, and help decrease food insecurity.

There are several regulations that can govern agricultural processing and on-farm value-added initiatives. One is groundwater discharge permitting, managed by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. This permit covers wastewater from agricultural processing that is land applied, or otherwise put in/on the ground. Food safety regulations and private sector requirements around food safety can also be a large factor when it comes to food processing. Some agricultural processing sectors have been impacted by regulatory burden and consolidation, which has impacted farmers’ access to timely and available processing and competition in the market.

Policy References

MFB #2 Agricultural Innovation and Value-Added Initiatives

MFB #28 Michigan Meat Processing Industry

MFB #61 Antitrust

MFB #83 Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, & Energy Policy

AFBF #341 Food Quality and Safety

Additional Resources

Starting Food Processing?

Fact Sheet: Slaughterhouse/Meat Processor Groundwater Discharge Permit

MSU Extension Safe Food & Water

Antitrust enforcement in Agriculture

Thoughts to Consider

What barriers to entry exist for additional food processing or on-farm value-added initiatives?

What is impacting current agricultural processors’ ability to remain competitive and in business?

What support is needed to ensure the longevity of current processors?

Ernie Birchmeier headshot

Ernie Birchmeier

Senior Industry Relations Specialist
517-679-5335 [email protected]
Theresa Sisung headshot

Theresa Sisung

Industry Relations Specialist
517-323-6729 [email protected]
Tess Van Gorder

Tess Van Gorder

Conservation & Regulatory Relations Specialist
517-323-6711 [email protected]