You need to have the Adobe Flash Player installed to see this calendar.


Proposed Policy


Local Resolutions


999 Farmland and Open Space Preservation

COUNTY SPECIFIC RESOLUTION

In 2002 the Macomb County Board of Commissioners adopted 28 policy recommendations to help preserve farmland and open space in Macomb County. In partnership with other organizations, agencies and businesses the recommendations focused upon business planning, smart growth tools, education of the non-farming community, assistance to municipalities and lobbying efforts. 

RESOLUTION: Be it resolved that the Macomb County Farm Bureau continues to support the policy recommendations of the Board of Commissioners and the County Executive, which urges board members to review and update the recommendations with input from the PDR committee and local farmer representation (organization or interested individual).

999 Signage for Direct Farm Marketers

COUNTY SPECIFIC RESOLUTION

Economic development in Macomb County has become more dependent upon small business and, for many agricultural producers, this is taking the form of direct marketing locally produced agricultural products to the public. The Tourist Oriented Directional Sign (TODS) program provides directional signs to eligible tourist attractions located off the state rural roadway system. The program is administered by Michigan Logos, Inc. under MDOT supervision. The programs have been a benefit to local tourist-related businesses at a reasonable cost. However, these signs are limited to rural state non-freeways outside of incorporated cities or villages. They are not to be located at interchanges on expressways or freeways.

RESOLUTION: The Macomb County Farm Bureau recommends that the Macomb County Road Commission partner with state agencies to enable affordable, multiple signage on county roads that directs tourists to local greenhouses, farm markets and other local tourist attractions.

999 Unlawful Trespassing Due to Residential Development

COUNTY SPECIFIC RESOLUTION

As the growth and development of Macomb County increases in the rural areas, the impact on adjacent agricultural operations also increases.  The added risk of trespassing, crop damage and liability exposure places an undue hardship on these agricultural operations.

RESOLUTION:  The Macomb County Farm Bureau resolves that when a residential development is proposed bordering on agricultural operations, a fence or landscaped barrier must be required by the local governing body.  It will be created at the developer's expense before construction commences.

999 Support for Agriculture in Macomb County

COUNTY SPECIFIC RESOLUTION

Of Macomb County's 306,670 acres of land, 20 percent remains classified as farmland.  About 4000 acres presents residents and visitors with a view of homesteads surrounded by woodlands, ponds, pastures for grazing or forage production.  Corn, soybean and small grain production comprises the majority of cropland use (over 60 percent) while vegetable production generates over $6.5 million in revenue.  Combined with fruit production, over half of this combined revenue is in direct-to-consumer sales, making Macomb the third ranking county in the local food movement, as well one of the top producers of sweet corn and pumpkins. Livestock products such as meat, milk, eggs and fiber are produced on some 136 farms, providing consumers with these local choices as well.

During the spring months, sales of annual and perennial flowers, trees, shrubs and sod have made Macomb the sixth ranking producer of these crops. In the fall thousands of families enjoy festivals, tours, wineries, U-Pick, and other Agri-tourism opportunities in celebration of the diverse agriculture in our community.

While many consumers enjoy the benefits of these farms, few understand the tremendous challenges inherent in maintaining a livelihood by producing, processing and marketing agricultural products.

RESOLUTION

Macomb County Farm Bureau members encourage the Macomb County Executive Office and Board of Commissioners to work with agriculture and related businesses in whatever capacity they can to help mitigate the risks from overly restrictive policy to the growth of the farm and food industries in the county, region and state.

999 Special Purpose Millages

COUNTY SPECIFIC RESOLUTION

The recent passage of two special county wide millages for the purpose of providing a stable funding source, for the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit Zoo, has raised concern over the ever increasing tax burden on agricultural property.

RESOLUTION

Be it resolved that Macomb County Farm Bureau supports amending the Art Institute Authority Act and the Detroit Zoo Authority Act to exempt non-homestead agricultural property from the assessed millages.  Furthermore, Macomb County Farm Bureau supports exempting non-homestead agricultural property from future assessments of a similar nature.


State Resolutions


099 Weight Laws

099 HIGHWAYS

Agriculture is dependent on a sound transportation system to move materials to and from farms to market. We are especially concerned about deteriorating roads and bridges in rural Michigan.

The current Michigan weight laws for heavy trucks allow loads greater than 160,000 lbs. No other state allows loads of this magnitude without permits.

RESOLUTION:  We support the lowering of Michigan weight laws for trucks to that of surrounding states.

NEW 000 State of Michigan Definition of Farming

000 MISC - STATE AFFAIRS

There are a number of departments, divisions and agencies of the state government that have regulatory authority over agricultural operations.  Unfortunately there are also various characterizations of what constitutes a "farming operation" and this can lead to confusion and difficulty in compliance.

RESOLUTION

Be it resolved that one inclusive definition of agriculture or farming be adopted from the definition out of "right to farm act" for use in state regulatory functions and that this be modeled after the Michigan Department of Agriculture definition which currently exists.

NEW 010 Agri-tourism

010 DIRECT FARM MARKETING AND AGRI-TOURISM

Macomb County Farm Bureau supports public policy that defines farming in a manner that includes both production and marketing. We support the Generally Accepted Agriculture Management Practices for farms and farm markets to provide guidelines for agricultural tourism or entertainment farming. 

Definition:  Macomb County Farm Bureau believes that when an established agricultural business offers farm related entertainment or products to attract customers for retail sales, this "value-added" enterprise should not constrain or redefine that farming operation.  We urge communities throughout the state to support producers who seek to add value to their products by direct marketing, entertainment or food processing. 

Be it resolved that Agri-Tourism requires its own generally accepted guidelines.

084 Water Buffer Strips

084 NONPOINT SOURCE POLLUTION AND WATERSHED MANAGEMENT

The use of impervious surfaces such as concrete or asphalt in such areas as roadways, parking lots, and driveways, create large amounts of run off.  Vegetative techniques such as grass swales, green roofs, pervious landscape retention areas are techniques that can reduce storm water runoff.  Restore permeability, give filtration.  Providing cleaner run off going to streams and rivers.

RESOLUTION:  We encourage the state and local government to use buffer strips.

094 Agricultural Property

094 TAXATION

Agricultural Property in Michigan is taxed at 50% above the national average, which is a significant cost.

We Support:

• No change in current estate tax provisions.

• Single purpose agricultural structures such as silos, grain bins, and greenhouses be treated as agricultural production tools and not be subject to personal or real property taxes, as referenced in the State of Michigan Revenue Administrative Bulletin 2002-15.

• Development of legislation that voluntarily allows landowners to enroll in a program that assesses farm buildings' at half their current taxable value and farmland, including managed wood lots, at a maximum property tax rate of $5.00 per acre.  The rates would be assessed in exchange for temporary preservation of farmland for a contract period of 20 years.  A recapture penalty for early withdrawal would be in imposed for benefits received plus interest.

• Units of government to continue to classify equine operations as agricultural for zoning and tax purposes.

055 Towing

055 NO-FAULT AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE

When there is an automobile accident the police immediately have the vehicle(s) towed to impound.  The owner is not given an option to have it towed to their choice of a location.  This results in towing and impound fees charged to the owner or insurance company.  This contributes to high insurance prices.

Be it resolved that in the event of an automobile accident the owner of the vehicle, if competent, should be able to choose the location to tow the vehicle to.

067 Agricultural Representation

067 LOCAL GOVERNMENT

We believe:  Persons representing agriculture interests on councils, commissions, and boards created by counties, cities, villages, and townships shall be involved in commercial production agriculture.

073 Agricultural Drainage

073 AGRICULTURAL DRAINAGE

(page 82, lines 72-79) add "including adjacent property owners"

*The implementation of structures that affect the flow in waterways where the design outcome negatively impacts agriculture. For all new construction, a detailed drainage plan must be submitted and made available to all interested parties, including adjacent property owners, to ensure appropriate planning for the handling of increased storm water due to

development.  Alternatives to storm water retention ponds should be considered.

094 Qualified Agricultural Exemption

094 TAXATION

The qualified agricultural exemption now allows the property to set idle for 1 year without losing the exemption.  Under certain conditions the property may set idle for 2 or more years due to weather related conditions.

Be it resolved that if a county is deemed a disaster county by the state governor or the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) the qualified agricultural exemption shall remain in place.

NEW 094 Education Tax Free Weekend

094 TAXATION

Do to the high cost of going to school, we as a state should provide some monetary relief for parents and students.

Be it resolved that the Michigan Farm Bureau support a tax free weekend, prior to the start of the school year, for purchasing clothing, computers, books, school supplies, footwear, etc.

066 Title Transfer

066 LAW ENFORCEMENT

Some properties are purchased that have vehicles left on them. 

After the agreement has expired to remove these vehicles by the prior owner, they become the property of the new owner. 

RESOLUTION:  The new property owner should be able to acquire a title in their name on the vehicles left by the prior owner, pending a police title search, without having the original title.

NEW 046 Agricultural Energy Use

046 STATE ENERGY POLICY

In 2002 farm production used 1.7 percent of total energy consumed in the United States.  This included the direct consumption of energy sources such as electricity, diesel fuel, gasoline, natural gas and liquid petroleum gas used in planting, tillage, harvesting, drying, transportation, irrigation, climate control and others.  Commercial fertilizers and pesticides can also use large amounts of energy in their production. There are periods of time when energy usage on the farm is time-critical, such as greenhouse heating, irrigation, livestock housing ventilation, production, cooling and grading etc.  Energy interruption during these activities can cause significant loss of agricultural products.

The amount of energy used in US farm production could be reduced with the use of energy efficient techniques that might require some capital investment.

RESOLUTION:  We recommend the following measures to protect farms from short-term interruptions due to high-energy use and to reduce on-farm energy consumption:

• The development of data needed to help evaluate energy use and develop energy-saving strategies for livestock facilities, dairies, nurseries and greenhouses

• Energy choice supplier contracts must be in sync with the local utilities billing cycle

Farm Bureau members should be willing to enter into research projects with MSU when possible to test new energy saving technologies.

NEW 046 Responsible Locations of Renewable Energy

046 STATE ENERGY POLICY

Solar energy collection and transmission is often taking farm land out of agriculture by choice and through eminent domain.

RESOLUTION: We support keeping tillable acreage in agriculture by utilizing brown field, industrial, residential and agricultural buildings and reducing easements across farms.

NEW 049 Waiver Extension for Seasonal Employers

049 AGRICULTURAL LABOR

Currently one of the requirements of receiving unemployment insurance is that each of our employees has to "conduct and report a weekly work search to be eligible for unemployment benefits".  This has proven extremely detrimental to agricultural employers as we are losing our temporarily laid off skilled, trained, and educated professionals.

Be it resolved that a bill be introduced to extend the current "Registration and Seeking Work Waiver" from a 45 day waiver to a 12 week waiver from having to seek work for employees that are temporarily laid off and have a weather dependent return to work date.

NEW 086 Trespassing (Cheboygan County)

086 PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS

This is a policy to make the use of Purple Paint Legal to Denote "No Trespassing".

Boundaries can be marked with a clearly visible purple-paint marking, consisting of one vertical line no less than 8 inches in length and 2 inches in width, and the bottom of the mark not less than 3 nor more than 6 feet from the ground or normal water surface.

The painted marks must be affixed to immovable, permanent objects that are no more than 100 feet apart and readily visible to any person approaching the property.

Posts can be capped or otherwise marked on at least the top 2 inches.  The bottom of the cap or marking must be between 3 feet and 6 feet from the ground or normal water level.  Posts marked in this manner can be no more than 36 feet apart and must be readily visible to anyone approaching the property.

Even if landowners post their land with purple paint, they must post written signs at all roads, driveways or gates of entry onto the posted land which are clearly noticeable from outside the boundary line.

This policy would give land owners the option of using purple paint to post their land.  It would not change Michigan's trespassing laws in any other way.

We support the development and implementation of a "purple paint law" which authorizes the posting of property through the use of a specific paint color.

NEW 081 Responsible Locations of Renewable Energy

081 LAND USE

Solar energy collection and transmission is often taking farm land out of agriculture by choice and through eminent domain.

RESOLUTION: We support keeping tillable acreage in agriculture by utilizing brown field, industrial, residential and agricultural buildings and reducing easements across farms.

NEW 091 Crop Damage (from 2017 District 6)

091 WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT

Several wildlife species are causing considerable damage to our area crops. The constant high damage from these critters results in lower returns on our investment and causes replanting in some areas.

• We support an additional doe hunt if determined by the DNR as deemed necessary.

• Sandhill Cranes, we recommend open hunts

• Wild Turkeys, we recommend an increase from 1 to 2 birds be taken in the spring and fall hunting seasons.

D6 094 Renewable Energy

D6 2017 NEW

Renewable Energy - Industry Support:

As a mature industry in Michigan, renewable energy developments continue to benefit from federal and state tax incentives. Going forward, wind and solar developers should compete fairly against other forms of energy without added taxpayer subsidies.

Be it resolved that District 6 recommends the following:

S094 TAXATION (page 122, line 79-80) remove "as well as windmill and solar power"

* The state of Michigan providing tax incentives rather than tax the production, distribution or sale of renewable energy or fuel including, but not limited to, wood, cherry pits, biodiesel, ethanol, methane digester power, geo and hydro power, as well as windmill and solar power. If the majority of the energy is used for onsite purposes, the generation of the energy and associated equipment should be tax exempt.

S046 STATE ENERGY POLICY (page 55, line 8-9) add "excluding windmill and solar power"

*Legislation and zoning that will allow alternative energy production and marketing on farms, excluding windmill and solar power.

S046 STATE ENERGY POLICY (page 55, line 11-12) add "excluding windmill and solar power

*Incentives to upgrade and expand our current electrical generating systems and grid, excluding windmill and solar power.

D6 081 Renewable Energy - Land Use and Development

D6 2017 NEW

081 LAND USE

Grid-scale solar power developments are incompatible with production agriculture when implemented on productive cropland. District 6 recommends limits on solar panel installations greater than 2 acres in size and supports correct use and valuation of agricultural land in the implementation of renewable energy projects in Michigan.

D6 000 Organic

D6 2017 NEW

000 MISC - STATE AFFAIRS

District 6 supports creating another commodity advisory committee for organic growers.

D6 080 Land Use: Eminent Domain

D6 2017 NEW

As Michigan pursues energy infrastructure upgrades, farmers and landowners need additional protection to ensure proper valuation and treatment of agricultural land.

Be it resolved that District 6 recommends the following:

S080 LAND ACQUISITIONS FOR PUBLIC PROJECTS (page 94, line 4)

Add new bullet point under "We Support"

" Direct and verifiable communication informing landowners, in plain language, of projects seeking eminent domain."

S080 LAND ACQUISITIONS FOR PUBLIC PROJECTS (page 94, line 12)

Add "Prime agricultural land should not have a lower ranking than other types of land when calculating impact statements."

*A complete agricultural impact statement before productive agricultural land is condemned. The statement should evaluate all direct and indirect physical and economic impacts to agriculture.  Prime agricultural land should not have a lower ranking than other types of land when calculating impact statements

S080 LAND ACQUISITIONS FOR PUBLIC PROJECTS (page 94, line 33)

Remove "The ability of non-elected boards, agencies, and commissions, public or private, to utilize the eminent domain process."

Replace with "We support eminent domain proceedings that affect more than one legislative district should be under the jurisdiction of the state legislature instead of the Michigan Public Service Commission."

D6 021 Dairy

D6 2017 NEW

021 MICHIGAN DAIRY INDUSTRY

During the last decade, the environment for the dairy industry has changed greatly- especially in regard to milk pricing. Dairy farmers have found more unpredictability, smaller margins and longer periods of unprofitable prices. Dairy farms in Michigan- particularly the small and moderate sized farms- have suffered greatly in this environment. We support:

1) The AFBF Dairy Revenue Protection Program, as an insurance option to pair with other available programs.

2) A sound, practical and useful margin protection program to help producers during unprofitable periods. 3) A program that is flexible and helpful to farms of all sizes. 4) A program that is applicable to a farm in any area of the country.


National Resolutions


502 Climate Change

502 CLEAN AIR

Carbon dioxide is an indispensable plant nutrient required to sustain all life on earth.  The EPA is currently drafting rules that would regulate CO2 emissions on everything from large farm machinery to small gas engines. 

RESOLUTION:  Be it resolved that the Macomb County Farm Bureau opposes any regulation of CO2 under the Clean Air Act without conclusive scientific evidence indicating that human activities are contributing to climate change.  Furthermore, we oppose any carbon based cap and trade system that might be implemented to regulate CO2 emmissions.

439 Farmland Easement Donation

439 TAXATION

The fact that a farmer's land is a major retirement resource is a deterrent to the enrollment of such land into the PDR program.  Augmented tax credits would provide a further incentive for a landowner to consider this option. 

RESOLUTION:  When a landowner is entering into a Purchase of Development Rights agreement with a governmental or non-profit organization, the value of any easement donation by the landowner will be matched by a tax credit for a charitable donation from the Federal Government to the landowner.

154 Health Insurance Billing Transparency

154 HEALTH & HEALTH INSURANCE

Under the Affordable Care Act some health insurance premiums are subject to a tax.  Not every insurance provider itemizes their bills to show you how much tax is included in your premium. 

RESOLUTION:  Be it resolved that the insurance providers itemize their billing so the consumers know what the actual cost of insurance is and how much their insurance is being taxed and by who.

165 Unmanned Aircraft System

165 UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS

Macomb County supports AFBF policy 165, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, with the additional bullet under, We Support:

-MFB to work with Federal and State legislators to develop clear laws and penalties for UAS systems for trespassing in and on private land and airspace

NEW 402 Agricultural Energy Use

402 ENERGY

In 2002 farm production used 1.7 percent of total energy consumed in the United States.  This included the direct consumption of energy sources such as electricity, diesel fuel, gasoline, natural gas and liquid petroleum gas used in planting, tillage, harvesting, drying, transportation, irrigation, climate control and others.  Commercial fertilizers and pesticides can also use large amounts of energy in their production. There are periods of time when energy usage on the farm is time-critical, such as greenhouse heating, irrigation, livestock housing ventilation, production, cooling and grading etc.  Energy interruption during these activities can cause significant loss of agricultural products.

The amount of energy used in US farm production could be reduced with the use of energy efficient techniques that might require some capital investment.

RESOLUTION:  We recommend the following measures to protect farms from short-term interruptions due to high-energy use and to reduce on-farm energy consumption:

• The development of data needed to help evaluate energy use and develop energy-saving strategies for livestock facilities, dairies, nurseries and greenhouses

• Energy choice supplier contracts must be in sync with the local utilities billing cycle

Farm Bureau members should be willing to enter into research projects with MSU when possible to test new energy saving technologies.

NEW 154 Health Insurance & Health Share Organizations

154 HEALTH & HEALTH INSURANCE

Since the passage of the "Affordable Care Act" insurance premiums have soared while policy choices have declined.  Health Share Organizations provide an alternative to the Health Insurance Model.  Member's choose their own health care providers, negotiate the cost of services, and share one another's health needs.  They currently operate nationally and internationally.

Be it resolved that Macomb County Farm Bureau opposes a nationalized health care system.  We do support legislation that would enhance the viability and proliferation of Health Share Organizations.

NEW 136 Waiver Extension for Seasonal Employers

136 GENERAL LABOR ISSUES

Currently one of the requirements of receiving unemployment insurance is that each of our employees has to "conduct and report a weekly work search to be eligible for unemployment benefits".  This has proven extremely detrimental to agricultural employers as we are losing our temporarily laid off skilled, trained, and educated professionals.

Be it resolved that a bill be introduced to extend the current "Registration and Seeking Work Waiver" from a 45 day waiver to a 12 week waiver from having to seek work for employees that are temporarily laid off and have a weather dependent return to work date.

2017 ADOPTED POLICY RESOLUTIONS

To view the MFB and AFBF Policy Books, please go to:

https://www.michfb.com/MI/Policy_and_Politics/