Governor-elect Rick Snyder has announced his plan to split the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) back into two departments, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Snyder presented his plan on December 1 at the Michigan Farm Bureau's annual meeting held at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. He also announced the names of those appointed to head the departments which were met with strong support.
Dan Wyant will head the Department of Environmental Quality in addition to the Quality of Life proposed by Snyder. The role of the Quality of Life will be to bring, "a more streamlined business management model to state government for the departments of Environmental Quality, Natural Resources, and Agriculture & Rural Development" (Michigan Farmer). Under Snyder, the Michigan Department of Agriculture will now be known as the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development which will be run Keith Creagh. Rodney Stokes will be the new director for the Department of Natural Resources.
Wayne Wood, the Michigan Farm Bureau President was very pleased with the plan and choices Snyder made to head the three new departments. The Michigan Farm Bureau's position has been that the Director of Agriculture should be selected by the Michigan Commission of Agriculture. This topic was not discussed at the meeting, but farmers attending felt positive about the selections.
The feeling of a member of the young farmers committee was that current Governor Granholm has not been supportive of agriculture and the former DEQ director made things difficult for farmers. He was excited that Governor-elect Snyder wants to expand food processing within Michigan and sees this as a sign of a bright future for him and his children. He believes that processing food here in Michigan rather than shipping for out of state to be processed will create jobs and help improve the state's economy. Another vegetable farmer was supportive of Snyder's appointments because he felt all were knowledgeable about the farming industry (Cammel, Ron).
Taken from the article Dan Wyant Group Executive of DEQ, DNR and Agriculture & Rural Development, compiled by staff from the Michigan Farmer, the authors give a detailed description of the new directors:
About Dan Wyant
Wyant currently is the president and chief operating officer of the Edward Lowe Foundation, which promotes entrepreneurship and helps second-stage business owners accelerate growth for their companies, a position he's held since 2005. Prior to that, he served as director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture in the administrations of Governors John Engler, a Republican, and Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat. Wyant serves on the Board of Directors of the Nature Conservancy, Michigan. Wyant holds a bachelor's degree in food systems management from Michigan State University and an MBA from American University in Washington, D.C.
About Keith Creagh
Creagh has held several leadership roles in state government and the private sector. He currently is director of industry affairs and Hacco operations at Neogen Corporation. Creagh joined the Michigan Department of Agriculture in 1974 as an inspector and rose in positions of responsibility throughout his 33-year career at the department, ultimately serving as chief deputy director and deputy director of land use. Creagh holds a bachelor's degree in forestry from Michigan Technological University.
About Rodney Stokes
Stokes began his professional career with DNR in 1977 and held leadership positions at the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund program, Grants Administration, and then as director of the Parks and Recreation Division from 1997 to 2002. Stokes also served as interim director and deputy director of the Detroit Recreation Department, and as director of the Gainesville, Fla., Recreation and Parks Department. Stokes returned to the Michigan DNR in 2004 where he served as its legislative liaison, chief of staff, and chief of its office of science and policy. Stokes has a bachelor's degree in recreation administration from Tennessee State University and master's degree in parks and recreation resources from Michigan State University.
Michigan Farmer Staff