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
Local ResolutionThis 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.
Local ResolutionThe 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.
Local ResolutionIn 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.
080-Nonpoint Source Pollution And Watershed ManagementIn 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.
Local ResolutionThe 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.”
070-Agricultural DrainageThe 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.”
060-ElectionsThe citizens of Michigan have enjoyed high confidence in the established rules and guidelines which have insured “one person…one vote.” Until recently, no one doubted that only qualified voters were casting votes and that their votes were properly and correctly counted. We are now faced with technological challenges and calls to “make voting easier” which threaten our confidence in the integrity of casting our votes. The passage in 2018 of proposals which allow same day voter registration and the need to provide an environment which promotes “social distancing” and other measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, have placed extra burdens on our local voting officials and township / municipal clerks. Voters in Michigan, by using paper ballots, requiring photo identification to request and cast a ballot, and by mandating that vote tabulation machines are NOT connected electronically, have enjoyed high confidence that all votes are counted and were cast properly. We must continue to be national leaders in voting integrity and avoid creating new pathways of potential voter fraud. With an anticipated increase in absentee ballot requests and questions about the U.S. Postal Service delivering your completed ballot, we offer these suggestions to insure proper and equitable voting. Therefore, we offer the following policy be adopted by the Monroe County Farm Bureau: Resolved: (In MFB Policy # 60, after line 37 – create a new bullet under - We support:) • That all township and municipal clerks institute an every-other (every two) year review of eligible voters contained on their voter rolls. Voter rolls should be “purged” of deceased voters and voters who no longer reside in the voting district, in non-election (state and national) years. Clerks should be authorized to use available tools such as the Social Security “death listings” and ownership changes that are processed through the local or county assessor’s departments to maintain their voter rolls. Resolved: (In MFB Policy # 60, after line 92 –create new bullets under - We oppose:) • The Michigan Secretary of State, county clerks, or local municipal clerks from mailing to all registered voters a blank voter ballot with instructions to mail to or otherwise provide “completed ballots” to their local voting official. Requests for absentee ballots must stay under the direct control of the local clerk. • Any collection of completed voter’s ballots outside of the local township or municipal clerk’s control or designated office. • Any attempt to weaken or modify the township, county or municipal clerk’s authority to maintain their “chain of control” of ballots. The ability to track ballots from eligible voter request through tabulation and the retention of all ballots for possible recounting must be maintained.
096-Highways And FundingWhile Michigan’s highways, state trunk lines, and major roads fall under the control of the Michigan Department of Transportation or federal highway authorities, repairs, maintenance and re-construction of local county roads falls to the county road commissions. A durable and reliable local road…be it a gravel road or paved road…is just as important and needed as the major highway and state trunk lines are. With an increase in both the number of and the size of vehicles and farm equipment using these local roads, concerns about “making roads last” should be part of every road maintenance and re-construction decision. Every county must deal with a different set of road maintenance concerns. Sandy and wet soils require a different set of standards than areas with well drained or heavier types of soils. It is very disheartening to see newly paved roads (ground and repaved) begin to “sink”, develop “potholes” in the same place, and watch the new road edges crumble after only a few years since being “re-built”. Even gravel roads may fall prey to constant and excessive maintenance if these basic road-base issues and proper roadbed construction are not addressed. Local road maintenance and re-construction should be done using a system approach instead of a “deal with the fire at your feet” mind-set. To provide a better and more durable local road system, county road commissions must prioritize road re-construction and build to a higher durability standard. County road commissions should work in conjunction with local drain commissions and other resources to maintain and re-construct reliable local roads. Therefore, we propose the following policy changes to be adopted by the Monroe County Farm Bureau: Resolved: (create a new bullet item(s) after line # 37 in current MFB Policy # 95 Highway Improvements and Maintenance) • We support any efforts which allow local counties to establish additional funding sources to be used exclusively for local road maintenance and re-construction. • County road commissions must begin to address on-site issues which will impact and reduce the durability and reliability of local roads. These additional funds must be spent to “build better roads”, not just “build more roads.” • We support the concept of allowing county governments to petition to collect a per vehicle (auto and light truck) fee to be used exclusively on their county’s local roads.
026-Michigan Department Of Agriculture And Rural DevelopmentTherefore, be it resolved: We commend the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for creating virtual online courses to earn restricted use pesticide licensing credits. We recognize the department's efforts to implement testing for new licensees. (C&M 29)
037-Wheat Industry Therefore, be it resolved: Amend Farm Bureau Policy #37 (Wheat Industry) to add the words: We support the pending wheat checkoff renewal in March 2021.
044-State Energy Policy Affordable energy is critical to moving Michigan’s economy forward. We support the use of renewable energy – wind and solar – as outlined in MFB Policy #44 (State Energy Policy). We are concerned about the utilization of P.A. 116 farmland for renewable energy, but we respect landowner’s private property rights. Therefore, be it resolved: • We support P.A. 116 farmland for use of renewable energy, as long as P.A. 116 credits are not allowed on the land. • We support the reclamation at the decommissioning of renewable energy sites to its previous use. • We support uniform and standardized municipal regulations for construction and locating of renewable energy generators.
047-Agricultural LaborGovernor Whitmer’s August 3 executive orders violate the civil rights of a specific minority group in Michigan's workforce. This action has impacted agriculture's ability to grow and process food for consumers in Michigan and the United States. The action has slowed food processors ability to harvest, clean, process and package food and deliver it at a volume that meets demand at affordable prices. The order requires seasonal farm workers to be Covid-19 tested before allowing them to work. Employees are not allowed to work until tested. Other industries, businesses, and nursing home employees are not required to be tested prior to being allowed to work. Due to the large number of Hispanic/Latino migrant and resident workers in the fruit, vegetable, and food processing industries, Governor Whitmer has discriminated against them. Therefore, be it resolved: We support lawsuit case 1:20-CV-751 brought by Castillo, Vasques, Botello and other farm workers against the State of Michigan contending that Governor Whitmer's executive order violates the civil rights of Michigan's farm workers.
052-Mi-OSHAThere are about 40,000 farms in Michigan and agriculture is recognized as one of the most hazardous occupations. While MIOSHA has helped to improve workplace safety, it was originally written to cover manufacturing accidents. We also feel MIOSHA has had very little outreach in the agricultural community including providing information pertaining to MIOSHA requirements. This information should be included by the Secretary of State when purchasing commercial plates, the MIOSHA contact number and all phone books with the first responder information and basic farm related regulations included in all farm owner, liability and commercial vehicle insurance policies. Therefore, be it resolved: We support this addition to policy #52, after line 23: Farm Bureau's continuing efforts to work with legislators to amend MIOSHA regulations to be more agriculture relevant and greatly expand publications of MIOSHA regulations.
081-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 #81 Oil, Gas and Mineral Rights, after line 34 add: We oppose injection wells in Karst and other highly sensitive geological areas.
225-Risk Management/Crop InsuranceMany farmers have the option to use crop insurance as a marketing tool so they can contract grain sales earlier than they could have without it. With reasonable prices for insurance available, they can choose to contract up to 80% insured grain to use as a safety net. Knowledgeable crop insurance agents are available to educate on multiple programs such as Catastrophic (CAT) or 85% coverage and options for increased coverage. These agents also help explain handling of unpredictable weather events such as the 2012 drought or the excessive rain in 2019. See table below for prevent plant acreage for these years. Certified Prevent Plant Acreage per Farm Service Agency Michigan 2012 2019 Corn 525 522,774 Soybeans 301 363,921 Wheat 24,797 20,285 Resolved: As crop insurance is expanding to cover more crops, we would like to see the following improvements/adjustments: • As set dates-dates do not change after insurance sign-up deadline • Better clarification of the 20/20 rule (20% of acreage planted or 20 acres must be planted in 2 different sections) • Remove corn and soybeans as cover crop options for prevent planting • Possibility of reduction of insurance premium for planting cover crops • Premiums be at the same rate for both standard and enterprise units, regardless of sections or county lines.
252-International TradeWe support American Farm Bureau Federation Policy #252 (International Trade). We support bilateral and multilateral trade agreements. We encourage open and transparent negotiation of free and fair trade. We respect the administration's approach of using tariffs and the proposal of tariffs to facilitate trade discussions. Many of the 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 trade agreements with Japan, Mexico, Canada and China. • Amend AFBF Policy #252 by adding line 8.5 to state “We support the initiation of negotiations of a new bilateral or multilateral trade agreement with the European Union (EU) and Great Britain (UK).” • We are grateful for the Trump administration's support of American farmers.
029-Payplant Pests And DiseasesTherefore, be it resolved: We commend the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for creating virtual online courses to earn restricted use pesticide licensing credits. We recognize the department's efforts to implement testing for new licensees. (SA 26)