Michigan Farm Bureau’s member-developed policy supports strategic investments in the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) with funding priorities including food safety, regulatory program oversight, animal and plant disease protection, producer security, integrity of agricultural products, market access inspections, statistics and information, and industry & trade advocacy.
These guide the organization’s position and decision-making as we advocate for funding during the annual state budget process.
The Legislature finalized a 1,000-plus page appropriations bill on June 28. Passing on party-line votes of 61-47 in the House and 26-10 in the Senate, the $15.2 billion general fund budget for 2023-24 now awaits Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s final approval. MDARD will receive $92.7 million of the general funds available, and MSU Extension and AgBioResearch will receive an impressive 5% boost. While the department’s budget reflects a 10% decrease from the prior year, it's mostly due to the conclusion of one-time funding measures.
Read this update for details on MDARD programs and MSU Extension and AgBioResearch funding.
New funding initiatives
$7 million for the new Agricultural Climate Resiliency Program with its purpose being to, “promote the usage and implementation of best regenerative agricultural farming practices and new technologies related to environmental sustainability, including measures to address the impacts of climate change.”
$6 million and five new fulltime positions dedicated to soil health, instructing MDARD to work with partner organizations to build “farmer-to-farmer networks to disseminate practices and information to improve adoption of soil health and regenerative agriculture practices…”
$3 million to establish a grant program to expand minority businesses in food and agriculture.
$500,000 for the Laboratory Animal Welfare Program.
$100,000 for the MiFarmLink to create a pilot project in the Washtenaw Conservation District.
Continuing MDARD programs
$4.1 million to continue MDARD’s work to identify, respond to, and mitigate emerging contaminates, including PFAS, affecting agriculture and related food industries.
$3 million for the Michigan Alliance for Animal Agriculture
$3 million for local conservation districts
$2 million for the Fair Food Network’s Double Up Food Bucks program
$2.5 million for county fairs
$1.8 million for food and agriculture supply chain investment to support accessibility of cold storage, distribution and processing facilities, and implementation of advanced technologies. MDARD will also receive $10.1 million in federal funds through the American Recovery Plan Act to deal with food resiliency systems infrastructure.
$60,000 in federal funds for farm stress assistance programming
There are three additional areas Michigan Farm Bureau would still like to see addressed:
Among many industry partners, MFB is supporting a $16 million funding request to enhance plant-based commodity education, outreach, and research of technologies that promote environmental sustainability. Learn more
Agricultural Workforce Funding
MFB supports efforts to continue addressing the farm employee shortage by pursuing reinstatement of a grant program that helps farms maintain high quality housing and build additional housing for workers.
Supporting Beginning Farmers
MFB supports creation of a beginning farmer tax credit or grant program where the tax credit or grant could be applied to an established farmer who rents or allows purchase of any agricultural asset to a new farmer.
Senate Bill 11 was introduced by Rep. Joe Bellino, Jr. on Jan. 12 to support this effort. The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance, Insurance and Consumer Protection Committee.