Issues That Matter
Michigan Farm Bureau’s positions and actions are based on organizational policies adopted by 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 you become familiar with our current areas of focus.
Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development
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.
Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program
Farm Bureau supports proactive, voluntary efforts on farms to promote environmental stewardship and minimize potential pollution risks through programs like the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP). We support continued funding and growth of MAEAP, through which farmers receive technical assistance for adopting and strengthening conservation practices and risk mitigation plans.
We support 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.
Right to Farm
Farm Bureau supports Michigan’s Right to Farm Act, which provides nuisance protection that allows all sectors of commercial agriculture to utilize existing and new technologies through adoption of generally accepted management practices. Our member-developed policy states the law should not be weakened or jeopardized by including practices that are not integral or directly related to farming.
We support 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 growth—as can roads and bridges that are in poor condition or closed.
Farm Bureau continuously works to defend and expand trade opportunities for Michigan agriculture. We advocate for fair and open trade and support initiatives that: open new markets or expand existing ones, assist producers impacted by retaliatory tariffs, eliminate non-tariff trade barriers, protect farmers from unfair trade practices and more.
We support rulemaking process reforms to ensure that federal regulations are supported by science and created transparently, while identifying opportunities that improve farmers’ ability to remain productive and competitive.
The food and agriculture sector is not immune to the economic and social disruption caused by coronavirus. Our organization 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.
2023 Farm Bill
In partnership with the American Farm Bureau Federation, Michigan Farm Bureau—alongside county members—seeks to identify proposals for inclusion in the 2023 Farm Bill. We will work to make sure farmers continue to have the tools necessary to navigate uncertainty, fight diseases and pests, grow markets and conserve our land.
Farm Bureau continues to advocate for programs and policies to support rural communities, including those that provide stress assistance programs, increase farmer-facing training opportunities, and increase awareness and reduce stigma surrounding mental health challenges.
Farm Bureau supports a permanent fix to estate tax and capital gains taxes that help farm families transfer the business from one generation to the next. We’ll also continue fighting for a variety of other tax planning tools that give farmers the ability to manage the seasonal and cyclical nature of their businesses and be able to invest in their businesses.
Our policy supports voluntary, incentive-based tools and technical assistance to help maximize carbon sequestration and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. This includes private sector greenhouse gas markets, incentives for climate-smart practices, incentives for energy savings and on-farm energy production, and other tools that promote economic prosperity for our members.
Policy development is not static. It is an ongoing process of identifying developing issues that could impact agriculture. Identifying, researching and gaining insight and information into these emerging areas of concern are a critical part of the policy development process. Below are a number of issues Michigan Farm Bureau members and staff are keeping an eye on and may require formal Farm Bureau policy development in the future.