Proposed policy resolutions approved by delegates at the county annual meeting

View the resolutions below that were approved at the county annual and submitted to the state policy development committee to be considered at the Michigan Farm Bureau annual meeting. 

Contact the county office for information about the Policy Development process

TitlePolicy
082-Nonpoint Source Pollution and Watershed ManagementThe University of Michigan found that the Detroit River delivers 25% of the phosphorus that flows into Lake Erie contributing to the Western Lake Erie Basin’s (WLEB) algae bloom. U-M researchers compiled and analyzed data from U.S. and Canadian water-quality monitoring programs between 1998 and 2016 and gathered data from both countries phosphorus sources. The report, “Watershed assessment of the Detroit River phosphorus loads to Lake Erie,” is a summary of a three-year study. They found that 63% of the U.S. phosphorus originating within the watershed came from single, identifiable sources called point sources, which include wastewater treatment plants, sewer overflows and industrial facilities, such as food processing and metal finishing plants. The report concluded nonpoint sources primarily from agriculture represents approximately 20% of the Detroit River phosphorus load, further reductions could be achieved through the following practices: planting cover crops, adding filter/buffer strips, creating or restoring wetlands, and incorporating fertilizer and manure into the soil. Additionally, focusing those practices on specific areas within fields and at positions in the watershed where phosphorus loading is highest are most effective at reducing overall phosphorus loading from agriculture. Researchers also tested the theory of simply reducing nutrient rate application and found that in most cases, it was not very effective at reducing loading. Michigan agriculture is using technology and data to make good decisions about managing both water and nutrients on our farms, and being strategic about where to implement practices to get the greatest reduction of nutrients ingratiation. Monroe and Southeast Michigan farmers have voluntarily implemented: • Cover crops • Filter/Buffer strips • Conservation practices • No till • Tile water control devices • Fertilizer, manure, and/or bio solids incorporation • Split nutrient application • Prescription fertilizer application • Grid soil sampling Therefore, be it resolved: We encourage all farmers continue these management practices and to participate in programs to improve water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin.
083-Oil, Gas and Mineral RightsWHEREAS: • The Michigan Farm Bureau currently does not have a specific Public Policy position on permitted Type 2 waste injection wells in high risk karst geological areas. • Karst limestone formations are highly porous and fractured in nature, and are not suitable for use as a confinement layer to prevent migration of injected fluids into underground sources of drinking water and deeper irrigation water strata. • The economic ramifications from contamination of these underground waters would be disastrous to areas of SE Michigan, in particular Monroe County, where many high value vegetable crops are grown; and with 27.3% of the population as of the 1990 U.S. Census without access to municipal water systems, relying on rural water wells for their drinking water. • The Michigan Farm Bureau should be supportive of any legislative action to safeguard Production Agriculture's interests regarding banning Type 2 wells in highly sensitive karst areas, such as SE Michigan. THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: In MFB Policy #83 Oil, Gas and Mineral Rights, after line 35 add: We oppose injection wells in Karst and other highly sensitive geological areas.
083-Oil, Gas and Mineral RightsWHEREAS: • The Oil and Gas Advisory Committee advises MDEQ on industry related matters of regional statewide significance related to oil and gas production. • This 8 person Committee is comprised of six members from the oil and gas industry, one from academia at Western Michigan University and a representative of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs. There is currently no representation from Production Agriculture to safeguard our industry's best interests. • The majority of all statewide oil and gas leases are in rural areas and located on productive farm land that could be adversely affected, if permitted activities and operations are not adequately monitored, resulting in a waste disposal well failure causing significant groundwater contamination. • It is worrisome that a Regulatory Department has only input from the industry it is charged to regulate, without meaningful commentary from other industries that may be adversely affected by the decisions it makes, based upon the counsel of its biased industry advisory body. THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: Michigan Farm Bureau needs to actively lobby EGLE and / or the Governor to gain Production Agriculture's representation on this Oil and Gas Advisory Committee without further delay.
097-HighwaysMajor “road funding” proposals are being discussed in the Michigan Legislature. While emphasis is being focused on the rehabilitation of U.S. Highways, state trunk lines, bridges, overpasses and primary local roads, proper funding for local (county) roads must be maintained. Therefore, be it resolved: • We support the creation of a county road funding program. This would take the form of a fee added to the annual State of Michigan license plate renewal for all vehicles. The fee shall be collected and forwarded to the county where the vehicle is registered. These funds would only be allocated to county roads. County Road Commissions would be prohibited from using these funds for administrative or operational purposes. • We encourage county road commissions to use a higher durability and longer service life criteria when road and bridge rebuilding projects are designed and constructed. • In keeping with the common sense concept that user fees and fines collected through use of the county roads should be spent on repairs needed by those same county roads. We support allocating 50 % of all overweight truck fines collected in a county be used for local road and bridge repair / rebuilding in that same county. • We oppose the creation of any new property tax mileage to fund county road repairs and rebuilding. ------------------------ Road and Infrastructure Funding (Background information) Michigan Farm Bureau was formed in 1919 to give farmers and property owners a voice in how road construction was paid for. Over time, we moved away from a system which put 100% of the road building expense on the property owner to a system where everyone who used the roads paid the cost to build and maintain them. Here we are again 100 years later, and Michigan leaders are discussing how best to pay for the desperately needed funds repair and rebuild Michigan’s roads. Durable and safe roads, highways, bridges and the associated infrastructure are vital to Michigan agriculture and to all citizens of the state of Michigan. Most estimates hold that Michigan needs to fund an additional $ 2.5 BILLION dollars annually for at least the next 10 years. Transportation is one of the “large ticket” expenditures in the Michigan budget. In fiscal year 2019, Michigan will spend the following amounts (source; www.michigan.gov/openmichigan): Total expenditures……………………………… … …….. $ 56,277,808,600 Of this amount, Michigan will spend Schools & Higher Ed……………………… $ 16,843,416,900 Total for ALL State Agencies……… ……...$ 39,434,391,700 Of spending allocated to ALL Agencies (not all agencies are listed) Health & Human Services………………. $ 24,880,165,600 Transportation……………………………. $ 4,843,089.900 Corrections…………………………….….. $ 2,010,110,900 Technology, Management & Budget…… $ 1,272,563,000 Talent & Economic Development......….. $ 1,115,295,600 State Police……………………………….. $ 716,459,500 Agriculture & Rural Development…….... $ 107,948,100 Attorney General……………………….… $ 103,648,900 The Michigan legislature is currently debating the most equitable way to fund Michigan road and bridge rebuilding. The State of Michigan must first determine the needs and best use for the tax dollars they currently received, before “going to the well” again and again for more funding. We support any efforts to re-purpose the taxes and fees currently collected to best utilize all current user fees BEFORE increasing or creating new taxes. While we wait to see how the Michigan legislature decides to fund statewide road repairs and construction, we offer the following resolution concerning the funding of local road, bridge, and infrastructure maintenance and rebuilding. (TAX 92)
031-Plant Pests and Diseases With the increase in herbicide tolerant and resistance across many species of weeds, it is more important now than ever to make sure that farmers and landowners control these noxious weeds. Michigan currently has a law to address noxious weeds (Act 451 of 1994), however, this law is not up-to-date with the current noxious weeds found in our state. Therefore, we recommend the following language be added to MFB Policy #31 Plant Pests, and Diseases line 59, under “We support”: • Swift action by our state legislature to update and revise Act 451 of 1994 to accurately reflect the current noxious weed species. • Periodic review of this law by our legislature to ensure that the current list of noxious weeds remains up-to-date.
002-Agricultural Innovation and Value-Added InitiativesProviding incentives to offer more locally produced foods in school lunch programs could benefit our children’s health, as well as their future eating habits. It could also benefit Michigan’s diverse agriculture. One incentive program that has been proven successful on a pilot basis is the “10 Cents a Meal” program. This program is now in its third year. It has provided matching fund grants to school districts to buy Michigan grown fruit, vegetables and dry beans. More funding would make it possible to offer this program statewide. Therefore, be it resolved to add this line to MFB Policy #2 (Agricultural Innovation and Value-Added Initiatives) under we support: • Incentive programs that help schools and childcare centers purchase more locally grown agricultural products, including Michigan’s “10 Cents a Meal” matching grant program.
031-Plant Pests and Diseases Trial lawyers are running ads in search of “victims” who have used glyphosate herbicide, claiming it may cause cancer. The claims are not supported by scientific evidence, but are affecting the public’s perception of “dangers” associated with this product. Glyphosate has been used safely for more than 30 years. When it became available as a broad-spectrum herbicide, it was used in place of products that were much more toxic to the user and the environment. The true story of this product needs to be told to counter the misleading advertisements that are being run. Therefore, be it resolved: We encourage MFB to work with AFBF to develop a video response to the attacks on glyphosate herbicide that includes factual, financial and personal concerns of all users.
081-USDA Conservation ProgramsMove and add text to Lines 42-43 and 48-50 to follow Lines 31-32 and add text following Lines 31-32 so they read under “we support and recommend the following:” • Utilization of filter strips with flexible standards, such as a minimum width of 10 feet. • [RELOCATED TEXT] Filter strip plant variety recommendations should include pollinator supportive plants. • [RELOCATED TEXT] Support the FSA in enrolling more acres in the Conservation Reserve Program around ditches and streams to decrease the amount of nutrient runoff on fields. • Directing NRCS and FSA to allow farmers to prioritize the utilization of filter strips as a nutrient management tool with flexible standards such as allowing mowing of filter strips and removal of vegetation.
336-Agricultural ChemicalsTrial lawyers are running ads in search of “victims” who have used glyphosate herbicide, claiming it may cause cancer. The claims are not supported by scientific evidence, but are affecting the public’s perception of “dangers” associated with this product. Glyphosate has been used safely for more than 30 years. When it became available as a broad-spectrum herbicide, it was used in place of products that were much more toxic to the user and the environment. The true story of this product needs to be told to counter the misleading advertisements that are being run. Therefore, be it resolved: We encourage MFB to work with AFBF to develop a video response to the attacks on glyphosate herbicide that includes factual, financial and personal concerns of all users.
404-Renewable FuelsBy reducing vehicle exhaust emissions, ethanol fuels and biodiesel contribute to a clean and safe environment while also being an excellent source of renewable energy. We are thus concerned by some recent trends in the production bio fuels (statistics from the National Corn Growers Association’s website): • USDA projects a decline of 105 million bushels of corn used to produce ethanol in 2018-19 compared to 2017-18. • 1.82 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons were waived in compliance year 2017 vs 790 million gallons waived in 2016. • Ethanol prices hit a 13-year low when news of the waivers hit the markets. Therefore, be it resolved: We continue our support of the production of biomass products such as ethanol as we work to expand alternative energy options. Specifically, we support the retention of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) alternative energy options, the increase of E-15 to year round. We support the establishment of national quality standards for biodiesel, renewable fuels and related products and the enforcement of such standards. In addition, we support an increase in the production of ethanol and encourage the use of federal subsidies to help smaller biomass fuel production facilities stay competitive. We encourage the use of tax and cost-share incentives to aid in research and innovation to help said companies adopt new technology, update facilities and reduce costs in the production of biomass fuels. We oppose the increase in small refinery exemptions (SREs) extended to fossil fuel companies by the EPA. In light of the current trade war, tariffs, decreased exports, reduced prices and climate-related challenges, we urge the current administration to honor the federal Renewable Fuel Standard. These SREs further hurt farmers and the ag industry by reducing the demand for corn for ethanol production. We ask for the reinstatement and reallocation of the volumes of renewable fuels lost as a result of the SREs.
252-International TradeWe support American Farm Bureau federation policy 252 International Trade. We recognize the negative impact tariffs have had on the agricultural economy. We also recognize the effect of tariffs to getting trading partners to the negotiating table. We support bilateral and multilateral trade agreements. We encourage open and transparent negotiations for free and fair trade. We respect the administration's approach of using tariffs and the proposals of tariffs to facilitate the trade discussions. Many of these antiquated trade agreements have long needed modernization and updating. Therefore be it resolved: • We commend the Trump administration and Trade representative Robert Lighthizer for the great progress made on the trade agreements with Japan, Mexico and Canada. • We respectfully ask and expect congressman Walberg, Senator Stabenow and Senator Peters to support these trade agreements (Japan and USMCA) • We asked administration for an expedient resolution to the China trade negotiations. • We are grateful for the administration's support of American farmers with the USDA Market Facilitation Program (MFP).
462-Role of USDADue to the excessive volume and frequency of rain this spring many parent seed crops had difficulty getting planted timely. Due to the lack of growing degree units and the late plantings there may be a deficiency quality and volume of seed for the 2020 growing season. Seed companies will need to raise seed stock in the southern hemisphere. This seed will be harvested late winter, processed and shipped to the United States. Therefore, be it resolved: In order to get seed to American Farmers next spring, USDA will need more inspectors at the ports for timely processing of this seed.
092-TaxationMajor “road funding” proposals are being discussed in the Michigan Legislature. While emphasis is being focused on the rehabilitation of U.S. Highways, state trunk lines, bridges, overpasses and primary local roads, proper funding for local (county) roads must be maintained. Therefore, be it resolved: • We support the creation of a county road funding program. This would take the form of a fee added to the annual State of Michigan license plate renewal for all vehicles. The fee shall be collected and forwarded to the county where the vehicle is registered. These funds would only be allocated to county roads. County Road Commissions would be prohibited from using these funds for administrative or operational purposes. • We encourage county road commissions to use a higher durability and longer service life criteria when road and bridge rebuilding projects are designed and constructed. • In keeping with the common sense concept that user fees and fines collected through use of the county roads should be spent on repairs needed by those same county roads. We support allocating 50 % of all overweight truck fines collected in a county be used for local road and bridge repair / rebuilding in that same county. • We oppose the creation of any new property tax mileage to fund county road repairs and rebuilding. ------------------------ Road and Infrastructure Funding (Background information) Michigan Farm Bureau was formed in 1919 to give farmers and property owners a voice in how road construction was paid for. Over time, we moved away from a system which put 100% of the road building expense on the property owner to a system where everyone who used the roads paid the cost to build and maintain them. Here we are again 100 years later, and Michigan leaders are discussing how best to pay for the desperately needed funds repair and rebuild Michigan’s roads. Durable and safe roads, highways, bridges and the associated infrastructure are vital to Michigan agriculture and to all citizens of the state of Michigan. Most estimates hold that Michigan needs to fund an additional $ 2.5 BILLION dollars annually for at least the next 10 years. Transportation is one of the “large ticket” expenditures in the Michigan budget. In fiscal year 2019, Michigan will spend the following amounts (source; www.michigan.gov/openmichigan): Total expenditures……………………………… … …….. $ 56,277,808,600 Of this amount, Michigan will spend Schools & Higher Ed……………………… $ 16,843,416,900 Total for ALL State Agencies……… ……...$ 39,434,391,700 Of spending allocated to ALL Agencies (not all agencies are listed) Health & Human Services………………. $ 24,880,165,600 Transportation……………………………. $ 4,843,089.900 Corrections…………………………….….. $ 2,010,110,900 Technology, Management & Budget…… $ 1,272,563,000 Talent & Economic Development......….. $ 1,115,295,600 State Police……………………………….. $ 716,459,500 Agriculture & Rural Development…….... $ 107,948,100 Attorney General……………………….… $ 103,648,900 The Michigan legislature is currently debating the most equitable way to fund Michigan road and bridge rebuilding. The State of Michigan must first determine the needs and best use for the tax dollars they currently received, before “going to the well” again and again for more funding. We support any efforts to re-purpose the taxes and fees currently collected to best utilize all current user fees BEFORE increasing or creating new taxes. While we wait to see how the Michigan legislature decides to fund statewide road repairs and construction, we offer the following resolution concerning the funding of local road, bridge, and infrastructure maintenance and rebuilding. (TRANS 97)
235-Conservation Reserve ProgramDelete and add text at Line 3.13: Haying and grazing of CRP acres be permitted at the discretion of the county FSA office in weather-related or other emergency situations, and haying on filter strips to reduce nutrient loads as a maintenance management tool in a timely manner.