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Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies

Issue in focus: State Agriculture Funding

Image credit: Getty Images
Date Posted: April 10, 2024

Last updated: May 20, 2024

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 2024-25 annual state budget process. 

Current Status

In May the state House and Senate approved their versions of the MDARD budget. Further negotiations will take place through conference committees. Following is an overview of the funding levels proposed in the current bills under consideration:

Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program

  • House and Senate: $3 million

The House recommends keeping MAEAP technicians housed within Michigan’s conservation district structure as they are today, while the Senate proposes housing MAEAP technicians within MSU Extension via a contract between the University and MDARD.

Conservation districts

  • House: $3 million 
  • Senate: $6 million 
    • $3 million in base funding and $3 million for some conservation districts to enter a memorandum of understanding with MDARD for certain services.
  • Senate: $250,000 to conduct a study on the role and effectiveness of conservation districts.

Climate resiliency

According to the budget bill language, the climate resiliency program’s goals include “enhancing soil and plant health, soil carbon sequestration, efficient use of water, and protection of water resources.”

  • House: $6 million 
  • Senate: $1 million

Western Lake Erie Basin

  • House: Not included
  • Senate: Reallocation of more than $15 million for continued conservation efforts in the Western Lake Erie Basin including a cost-share program and mitigation costs for no-till practice adoption and soil health education. 

Farm to Family Program

According to the governor’s budget outline, the program would, “create a holistic approach to support regenerative farming, supply chain investment and promote MI food products.”

  • House: $1 million 
  • Senate: $2 million

Michigan Alliance for Animal Agriculture

  • House and Senate: $3 million to continue the program’s work to advance the Michigan animal agriculture economy.

Double Up Food Bucks

The Double Up Food Bucks Program has been matching EBT, Bridge Card and food stamp dollars spent on fruits and vegetables for 15 years in the state.

  • House: $4 million
  • Senate: $2 million

MSU Extension and AgBioResearch

Within the state's higher education budget, the House and Senate are recommending increases to MSU Extension and AgBioResearch programs.

  • House: A 3.3% increase, totaling $2.4 million 
  • Senate: A 2.5% increase, totaling $1.7 million

Additional Priorities

There are additional funding areas MFB continues to advocate be addressed: 

Innovative Research

Among many industry partners, MFB supports investment to enhance plant-based commodity education, outreach, and research of technologies that promote environmental sustainability.  

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 in early 2023 to support this effort and has yet to be considered by the Senate Finance, Insurance and Consumer Protection Committee.

Rebecca Park headshot

Rebecca Park

Legislative Counsel
517-679-5346 [email protected]