Michigan budget creates new ag programs

The Michigan legislature has funded several new projects in the state’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for the next fiscal year.

Legislative Counsel Rebecca Park with Michigan Farm Bureau tells Brownfield $13 million was allocated for agricultural climate resiliency and soil health efforts by farmers.

“Whatever the state can do to provide a conduit to assist them with some of those conservation practices that provide that long-term sustainability in agriculture, I think is a win-win for everyone across the state,” she says.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says the funds will support research of new regenerative agriculture practices and help farmers reduce runoff and increase crop diversity.

A new program will receive more than $4 million for Emerging Contaminates in Food and Agriculture, like PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

“I think there’s a lot to be learned over what’s happened, and I think the dollars allocated to this will help in those research efforts to figure out, you know, what is the best course of action to take as we move forward in the agriculture industry.

A Michigan beef farm last year was found to be contaminated with PFAS after using biosolids from a wastewater treatment facility as fertilizer.

Park says Michigan Farm Bureau would have liked to see farmworker housing addressed in the budget and hopes to work in other departments that did receive housing funding.

Other new program funding will support: animal industry/laboratory animal welfare, food and agriculture supply chain investment, the Michigan Craft Beverage Council, county fairs, minority-owned food and agriculture ventures, northern Michigan herd protection & management, and the Washtenaw Conservation District’s MiFarmLink Pilot Project.

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