Local policy approved by delegates at the county annual meeting

CLICK HERE to view the Proposed Resolutions to be presented at the County Annual Meeting September 19, 2019

Contact the county office for information about the Policy Development process

Local Post Office Processing of Completed Absentee BallotsThis upcoming election will present many unique challenges to both township and municipal clerks and the numerous local U.S. Post Office branches. Voters are concerned…due to the current COVID-19 epidemic and possible spread of the virus…about voting “in person” at their local voting precinct. Voters across Michigan are expected to request a record number of Absentee Ballots for the upcoming November 3, 2020 national election. Ballots received by your township or municipal clerk’s office after November 3, 2020 will not be counted. The U.S. Postal Service…especially their regional distributions centers...have experienced abnormal delays in processing and timely delivery of mail. In Michigan, after the August primary election, over 10,000 completed ballots were received by election officials…after the Election Day deadline. With the potential for an unusually large number of requested Absentee Ballots and the possible delay of timely receipt of these ballots, we support the following actions to ensure that all ballots can be properly counted. Resolved: We strongly encourage all local U.S. Post Office branches and their Postmasters to enter into an agreement with the local township and municipal clerk’s offices that all completed Absentee Ballots collected by the local post office be processed manually (stamped and “canceled”) without being sent onto the regional distribution center. Ballots that are “stamped” and processed within the local post office can then be delivered directly to the proper township / municipal election officials. This will ensure timely receipt of all completed Absentee Ballots up to and including on Election Day. The Monroe County Farm Bureau shall send a copy of this resolution (if adopted) or appropriate notification (letter) to all local U.S. Postmasters c/o their local office and all local / county / municipal clerks encouraging this temporary memorandum of understanding. This resolution (or similar letter of concern) shall be issued as soon as possible after the completion of the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Monroe County Farm Bureau.
Funding of Local Road MaintenanceThe first issue the newly formed Michigan Farm Bureau organization undertook in 1919 was to fairly fund local road creation and construction. Local landowners and farmers worked to change the per foot assessment charged to the landowner to pay for road construction and maintenance to a more equable gasoline tax, so everyone who used the roads contributed to paying for them. We find ourselves…one hundred years later…facing the same choice, to fund local road maintenance and re-construction solely through a patchwork of township property taxes, or a more equable system supported by everyone who uses these roads. How to fund major road improvements and repairs will once again become issues for the Michigan legislature and governor to determine. While their concerns will be focused on highways and state roads, local roads may receive little or no additional funding. While we all appreciate smooth highways and multiple lane main roads, many of us…as residents and as farmers operating larger equipment…also need reliable and durable local roads, including both paved and gravel roads. We need a “FUBU” (For us…By us) approach to create new funding to be used exclusively on our own local roads. Therefore; we recommend the adoption of a new local Monroe County Farm Bureau resolution as follows: Resolved: The Monroe County Farm Bureau will support efforts that allow Monroe County to petition the Michigan Secretary of State to establish and collect an annual per vehicle fee of up to $25.00 per Monroe County registered vehicle. These funds would be used exclusively for maintenance, upkeep, and re-construction of local roads (both gravel and paved). Our goal is to institute a “build better (more durable) roads” approach, rather than a “build more roads” mindset by the road commission officials. An annual per vehicle fee would both keep these funds for local use and would be less costly than the recently proposed $ 0.45 per gallon gasoline tax increase which would be spent statewide. We would like to see this option included in any future Michigan legislative proposals to fund Michigan road repair and re-building efforts. We have proposed new policy language to the Michigan Farm Bureau to be considered at the upcoming MFB Annual Meeting. This will allow other counties, who desire to supplement their own local road funding, the ability to do so. We oppose local property millage for road funding. If adopted, this resolution will be distributed to local government officials and our state legislators. We will also request that the Local Issues / “PIT Crew” Committee within the Monroe County Farm Bureau be tasked with reaching out to any other county / regional / state organizations that would like to partner with us in making this proposal a reality.
Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB)In 2015, the governors of the Western Lake Erie Basin states and the premier of the Province of Ontario agreed to achieve a 40% total load reduction in the amount of total and dissolved reactive phosphorus entering Lake Erie’s Western Basin by the year 2025. In 2016, the State of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Water Resource Division created Michigan’s implementation plan to achieve the 40% reduction target. By 2016, the Detroit River reductions were already 38% from 2008 levels. This was achieved by improvements at the Detroit water and sewer districts and implementation of a fertilizer phosphorus ban. By 2016, there had been a 36% reduction in total phosphorus discharge from the River Raisin Michigan agriculture has used technology and data to make good decisions in managing both water and nutrients on our farms. Farmers have also been strategic about where to implement practices to get the greatest reduction of nutrient migration. Monroe and southeast Michigan farmers have voluntarily implemented: -Cover crops -Filter strips, buffer strips -Conservation practices -No till -Tile water control devices -Fertilizer, manure, and bio solids incorporation -Split nutrient application -Prescription fertilizer application -Grid soil sampling -Michigan Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) verification of farms in Monroe County. Therefore, be it resolved: We encourage the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to actively promote and encourage producers to participate in these and other programs. We encourage all farmers to continue these management practices and to participate in programs to improve water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin.
Drain Commission Pilot ProgramThe Monroe County Drain Commission is piloting a conservation program in the Plum Creek water shed district. The Plum Creek pilot program was presented at a public hearing and an informative workshop recently. The program allows landowners contracted with the Drain Commission to receive a discounted assessment rate for petitioned drain projects. Currently, the Monroe County Drain Commission is contracting with landowners with both existing and new filter strips. The filter strips do not receive annual payments, may be enrolled in a Conservation Reserve Program and are not required to meet NRCS standards. The goal is to reward landowners that reduce the sediment load in our county drains, creeks and lakes. The innovative approach was developed by Michigan Farm Bureau, Spicer Group Engineering, The Nature Conservancy, Fahey Schultz Law Firm and the Monroe County Drain Commission. Therefore, be it resolved: We applaud the Monroe County Drain Commission and Drain Commissioner David Thompson for being on the forefront of this innovative pilot program to reduce sediment load and improve the water quality in Lake Erie. We encourage landowners in the Plum Creek water shed district to consider enrolling in this program. We propose to change the wording of MFB Agricultural Drainage Policy 70 on lines 107-109 to read: “We encourage drain/water resource commissioners to offer incentives or credits for landowners who properly maintain drains or install filter strips located on their property.”