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

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Local ResolutionThe first issue the newly formed 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 for all road construction and maintenance to a more equitable method of a gasoline tax. The motor fuel tax thus allows everyone who uses the roads to contribute 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 equitable 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. 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 (autos and light trucks). 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” rather than “build more roads” mindset within the road commission officials. The Monroe County Farm Bureau opposes any local property millage be established for local road funding.
Local ResolutionAs changes in our Monroe County Farm Bureau’s mission, funding, and relationship to both our members and the Michigan Farm Bureau organization may need to be updated or modified, we are recommending that the Monroe County Farm Bureau adopt the following resolution and make any appropriate bylaw changes. We recommend that a bylaw change be made at the 2022 Monroe County Farm Bureau annual meeting to add this scheduled review in the current bylaws. Resolved: As it is good and sound practice for any organization to take a look at how the organization can improve the delivery of beneficial and practical service to its members, we recommend the Monroe County Farm Bureau amend its bylaws to establish regular review of the organization’s structure and bylaws. Such amendments should include: • At what regular intervals should such a review be completed • Any review committee should be comprised of either former board of director’s members and other such members from outside of any past board roles. Current elected board members and/or representatives from the Michigan Farm Bureau organization may be included in a non-voting advisory capacity. • Recommendations from the review committee shall be sent in written form to the current Monroe County Farm Bureau Directors for discussion and timely presentation to the voting regular membership.
038-Wheat IndustryMSU is currently in a collaborative long-term study (Y.E.N.) looking at the production practices of wheat producers. This information is looking to provide a standard for practices that provide a consistent return on investment. This research has been done broadly across the corn and soybean industries and is long overdue in the wheat industry. Therefore, be it resolved: We commend Dennis Pennington on his efforts to be proactive and innovative in the start of this program. We support the continuation of this program and encourage industry stakeholders get involved by funding this research. Insert after line 12 of MFB #38
002-Agricultural Innovation and Value-Added InitiativesThe recent pandemic and resulting disruptions in the normal business cycle, has caused the market for new agricultural processing or agricultural business venture to be at risk due to supply chain, marketing or labor issues. The governmental actions to battle this pandemic has also caused many people who would like to start or begin any new agricultural enterprise to weigh the economic viability in the “new world economics of 2021”. At the same time, it has also caused many current workers to re-assess their career path and thus creating an opportunity for people to either retire or choose to “do something different” in their lives. The federal government’s response to the economic disruption caused by business lockdowns and numerous “stay-at-home” mandates, was to authorize the spending of Trillions of dollars in both additional spending in direct payments, reimbursements to states for their pandemic efforts, and funds sent to Michigan for “Economic Assistance”. While this “windfall” will be short lived and any additional federal dollars will not be coming “our way”, now would be the time to direct some of this “windfall” towards agriculture. As now may be an opportunity to create, staff, and offer a “new career opportunity” which will benefit Michigan agriculture. Resolved: We recommend creating a new bullet after “We support” in the current MFB Policy # 2: “Agricultural Innovation and Value-Added Initiatives”: • We support a set percentage of any new federal funding into the Michigan Economic Development Corporation or other appropriate agency or entity to be used exclusively for the creation or expansion of agricultural processing opportunities.
074-Conservation DistrictsMichigan’s system of county based, farmer led Conservation Districts have been and remain dedicated to serve and assist farmers, rural communities and local municipalities with sound advice and a variety of programs. At one time, these county Conservation District (then known as Soil and Water Conservation Districts) received a majority of their operation funding from the State of Michigan. This funding was eventually reduced or eliminated, forcing either consolidation or termination of this valuable service in some counties. Currently Senate Bill 77 (S-1 as passed by the Senate)…which sets the amount of dollars to be appropriated in the current 2021 – 2022 fiscal year budget…has created an annual $ 3,000,000 (Three million) funding to operational support for local county Conservation Districts. These funds will be distributed equally amongst the state’s currently operating County Conservation Districts. This appropriations bill awaits the Governor’s review and approval. Resolved: We recommend the following language be added to the first bullet, starting after the first sentence of current MFB policy # 74 “Conservation Districts”: • Michigan Farm Bureau supports the newly authorized appropriation for statewide funding of all local Conservation Districts as recommended in Michigan Senate Bill S-1 In addition, we support: Until such state funding is approved, we encourage local Conservation Districts to: • We encourage all local municipalities and townships to continue to financially support the efforts and programs of their local Conservation Districts and explore any new co-operative opportunities to expand the role of their local Conservation District. • We encourage all local Conservation Districts explore and apply for grants which could help fund both existing and new program opportunities.
081-Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance ProgramMichigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) is an outstanding voluntary environmental program which recognizes farmer’s efforts to environmentally and responsibly produce food and fiber. Therefore, be it resolved: Additional benefits, both economic and regulatory protections, be created for farm owners and operators who achieve verifications. We are adamantly opposed to any attempt to change MAEAP to a mandatory regulatory standard.
045-State Energy Policy When agricultural land become a prime location for such Green Energy projects such as the establishment of large scale solar installations of commercial wind turbines, and is enrolled in Michigan’s PA 116 Farmland Preservation program, many issues such as township zoning controls and the collection of PA 116 property tax credits may arise. As prime solar installations especially located on open farmland are in such demand, placement and other siting concern should be followed per township zoning standards. Resolved: We recommend creating these new bullets after “We Support” in current MFB Policy # 45 “State Energy Policy”: • We support uniform and standardized municipal and township zoning for the establishment and locating (set-backs, required fencing and/or screening) on any renewable energy generation projects. • We encourage local townships to regulate Solar Generation installations as a Special Land Use under their township zoning ordinances. Associated concerns of nuisance problems such as excessive noise, electro-magnetic issues and the maintenance of a proper ground cover must also be addressed and be enforced. • We recommend any landowner who is considering a contract for the establishment of any renewable energy project should consult with an attorney who specializes in the establishment and operation of such energy producing systems. Michigan Farm Bureau should maintain and make available this listing of legal firms specializing in solar and wind energy generating installations. • PA 116 property tax credits are not allowed on land that is being developed for renewable energy generation.
061-ElectionsThe national election of 2020 will be remembered for a very long time. Not just for the outcome, but also the months and months of debate and dissention it left in its wake. This has left more voters concerned that their votes may not have been counted or processed correctly while other centralized ballot counting procedure gave rise to the appearance of numerous voting irregularities. While any attempt by the state legislature to address these perceived weaknesses or review voting integrity have been labeled as attempts to disenfranchise voters. We are now faced with a strong push by the Democrats to “federalize” all future elections, removing most local control and replacing Michigan’s voting procedure with a “Universal” process to vote. All this is proposed to both stop any state level review of voting procedures while (in their words) to “make voting easier”. Therefore, we offer the following Michigan Farm Bureau policy recommendations be adopted by the Monroe County Farm Bureau. Resolved: We recommend creating these new bullets after “We Support” in current MFB Policy # 61 “Elections”: • We encourage any and all Farm Bureau members to become actively involved in your local voting precinct as a poll worker, election inspector or as a partisan observer. • 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, on 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: We recommend creating these new bullets under the “Ballot Reform” section in current MFB Policy # 61 “Elections”: • 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 should not be mailed to all registered voters and must stay under the direct control of the local clerk. Absentee ballots must CLEARLY INDICATE that the named voter has selected the option of being used for the current election only OR for all future elections. • We oppose the unsupervised collection of completed voter’s ballots outside of the local township or municipal clerk’s control or designated office or location. • We oppose 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. • We strongly oppose any new federal legislation or presidential order which will replace Michigan’s voting procedures, regulations, and controls with a universal federal voting process.
102-Political Action ProgramWe encourage the MFB AgriPac Committee to develop a list of questions for use by local County Farm Bureau Candidate Evaluation Committees to evaluate county or City Prosecutor election races.
103-ElectionsThe national election of 2020 will be remembered for a very long time. Not just for the outcome, but also the months and months of debate and dissention it left in its wake. This has left more voters concerned that their votes may not have been counted or processed correctly while other centralized ballot counting procedure gave rise to the appearance of numerous voting irregularities. While any attempt by the state legislature to address these perceived weaknesses or review voting integrity have been labeled as attempts to disenfranchise voters. We are now faced with a strong push by Democrats to “federalize” all future elections, removing most local control and replacing Michigan’s voting procedure with a “Universal” process to vote. This proposed federal legislation is designed to stop any state level review of voting procedures while (in their words) “making voting easier”. Resolved: We recommend adding a new bullet under “We Oppose” in section 3 of the current AFBF Policy # 103 “Elections”: • Any federal legislation or presidential order which will replace the State’s voting regulations with a universal federal voting process. We oppose passage of any legislation that attempts to supersede or replace any State’s constitutional right to regulate, revise or control statewide and local voting rules and procedures (such as outlined in the proposed “We the People Act”).
178-Law EnforcementLaw enforcement and the prosecution of crime is the basis of a civil society. Unequal enforcement and prosecution of the law is not new but is on the rise recently. Examples include rioters and looters released back on the street with no bail or charges, people with political power protected by the media given a slap on the wrist, celebrities given generous deals to avoid jail time, and the list goes on and on. Progressive prosecutors are responsible for many of these injustices. They determine what laws they want to enforce or not and initiate generous release procedures. There is no justice to the victims of crime when the law is not enforced equally. Therefore, be it resolved: We oppose unequal and selective prosecution of the law. We encourage voters to research where Prosecutors stand on law enforcement before electing them to office.
137-ImmigrationIllegal crossings at the U.S. southern border are at record numbers. This raises many issues, including risks to our national security. Most of those who illegally enter and are apprehended are seeking asylum. The present system for handling asylum claims is overwhelmed. This has resulted in the release of many illegal migrants into the U.S., with the only requirement being that they appear at a hearing at some later date. Many of these people never show up for their hearing, adding to the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. Resolved: We recommend adding these points to AFBF policy # 137 Immigration under “We support”: • Develop a law enforcement plan in cooperation with Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to enhance border security. • Where needed, utilize physical barriers or surveillance technology to protect the border. • Renegotiate and strengthen Mexico’s capacity to hold asylum seekers. • Increase U.S. capacity to process asylum claims. • Target the root causes of migration from the Northern Triangle countries.
404-Renewable FuelsUncertainty regarding small refinery exemptions and E15 policy looks to continue but the low price of ethanol indicates a continuation of the 10% blend rate. Renewable fuel coalitions hope that the EPA and Biden administration will take a more judicious approach to the SRE than the previous administration with elements including requiring refiners to show that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) itself is the cause of any economic harm they are claiming (rather than outside factors such as Covid) and that refiners must show they can’t pass these costs on. The Biofuel Coalition believes the EPA may only use hardship caused by the RFS to justify granting exemptions. The previous EPA administration granted 88 small refinery waivers, totaling 4.3 billion gallons of biofuels blending demand destroyed, according to Growth Energy. To date, there are 50 pending SRE petitions for 2019-2020 and the recent Supreme Court decision in favor of small refineries may result in a significant increase in the number of SRE’s granted by the EPA. While the EPA announced in January 2021 that it would cease granting hardship exemptions to small refineries that had not received continuous exemptions since 2011, renewable fuel advocates are concerned this recent court decision could increase the number of waivers given. Data for 2021 EPA exemptions could not be found. Resolved: We continue our support of 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 continued sale of E15 year-round and the establishment of national quality standards for biodiesel, renewable fuels and related products and the enforcement of such standards. It shall be noted that we do NOT support the increase in Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) extended to 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 SRE’s further hurt farmers and the agricultural industry by reducing the demand for corn for ethanol production.
404-Renewable FuelsMany may be unaware that ethanol was being blended with diesel fuel. In 2020, as the largest producer of ethanol in the world, the United States produced over 13.9 billion gallons of ethanol. At 42 gallons of oil per barrel, this ethanol production saved 330 million barrels of petroleum from being imported from overseas last year alone. • Diesel fuel can be blended with ethanol up to 15% with additives known as emulsifiers. • Blended diesel fuel improves engine power and specific fuel consumption and reduces emissions. • Although this mixture burns cleaner, it does lower the flash point and lowers the cetane number. • This diesel fuel/ethanol blend is available for light trucks and can be purchased at Exxon and Mobil gas stations. Resolved: Farm Bureau continues to support biodiesel blends and ethanol blends with diesel and gasoline.
336-Agricultural ChemicalsWith the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recent ban on chlorpyrifos being released in late August 2021, more scrutiny has been piled onto the models they use to evaluate pesticide environmental and endangered species risks. However, these models were created based off of advice from the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodentcide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) which are appointed by the EPA Administrator with no or little agricultural industry/farmer representation. With consistent pressure to eliminate some of the most historically safe and studied pesticide products that we use today as farmers, serious consideration, evaluations, and calibrations need to be performed on these current models. For example, chlorpyrifos has over 4,000 studies and 50 years of proven history of safety when it comes to human health and environmental safety. Therefore, be it resolved: We support a yearly peer-review by land grant universities, of the two EPA models used in the “Revised method for National Level Endangered Species Risk Assessment Process for Biological Evaluations of Pesticides” that analyze both areas where endangered species could be affected and risk factors to endangered species affected by pesticides. We also support farmer and agricultural industry representation on the FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel.
547-Water QualityResolved: Farmers are opposed to the rewriting of the WOTUS rule as presented under the Trump administration. The Trump administration version was clear and eliminated the uncertainty of the Obama proposed rules. We are strongly opposed to any version of WOTUS which deletes "Navigable Waters" language and allows regulations to be open to interpretation. Add to AFBF # 547 Section 5.4
455-Agricultural ReportsThe United States Department of Agricultural National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and Michigan Agricultural Statistics Service (MASS) have often changed their production, carry out, demand, and acreage reports. These incorrect assumptions utilized in the reports has cost American agriculture producers hundreds of millions of dollars in lost opportunities. Therefore, be it resolved: We request a third party within the United States Department of Agriculture or Office of Management and Budget to do a forensic review of past year reports. Past year reports would be compared to actual Risk Management Agency (RMA) data collected from counties, regions, and states. A comparison of NASS data by date compared to actual RMA harvest data by date. This analysis would illuminate the incorrect data NASS / MASS has reported. From this report, corrections to how NASS / MASS collects, compiles and releases this information can be changed and implemented. Add to AFBF # 455 as line 2.30.
237-National Conservation and Environmental PolicyMonroe county landowners have wetland determinations or appeals that have not been completed for 10+ years. Therefore, be it resolved: We request that Michigan USDA NRCS staff compile a list of outstanding wetland determinations and appeals starting with the oldest. This list should be made available to all county NRCS, Soil Conservation Districts, and FSA offices so local staff can provide updates to producers on the progress of the request. Add to AFBF # 237 as line 1.11.9. Also suggested to add to AFBF # 528 between line 1.11.7. and 1.11.8. (N&I 528 and ENV 86)
239-National Farm PolicyAs we look to the 2023 Farm Bill: In 2020, a wheat farmer could study, calculate, estimate market prices and production then select between PLC or ARC-IC, or ARC-CO and using the wrong assumption, he would receive no financial support from the programs. Another farmer could have guessed and selected a program which did payout for the program. This protection system does not protect producers of food and fiber fairly nor equitably. Therefore, be it resolved: We recommend that the PLC, ARC-IC, and ARC-CO be eliminated and allow for farm Base acres to be increased based on actual production and recognize vegetable production and alternative production. We recommend the funding from these programs be placed into RMA to develop better insurance products for all agricultural production or lower insurance costs to producers. Add to AFBF # 239 under "We Support" (8.2.1.1.) Also suggested to add to AFBF # 225
223-Federal Marketing OrdersThe cattle industry is seeing dismal times. Profits on fed cattle are extremely tight especially for those producers who market their cattle on the open cash market. The disparity is most noticed in the profits that packers are seeing in the boxed beef prices. Just a few years ago the spread between the feeder and the packer was just $21.00 per box. A year ago- in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, that spread neared $280.00 per box. These disparities are likely to continue seeing as 80+% of all cattle slaughtered in the U.S. is done by one of four major packers (JBS, Swift, Cargill, and National Beef). The number of cattle feeders continues to drop at drastic rates. The beef industry has remained as an independent industry and has not seen the vertical integration that the pork and poultry industries have seen over the last several decades. Cattle feeders know that they are sending quality beef to the consumer and this independent market approach continues to see this through. Therefore, be it resolved: We support formula/grid pricing that ties the cash price of fed cattle to a price relative to the box beef market and encourage leaders in the cattle industry to pursue actions that would lead cash and futures markets for fed cattle to price discovery more closely tied to the true value of the beef products. Suggested to add to AFBF # 223 and/or AFBF # 312