The Michigan Senate referred a "general property tax act" (Senate Bill 862) to the Finance Committee for review on December 1, 2011. The bill would extend tax incentive provisions from Public Act 116 designed to encourage and preserve the agricultural sector in the state. Specifically, the act stipulates, "any contiguous parcel owned by the same taxpayer, more than 50% of the assessed value of which is used in agriculture operations, shall be classified as agricultural real property." Furthermore, such a property "shall be classified as agricultural real property even if the contiguous parcels are located in different local tax collecting units" within the state of Michigan. The bill also provides for a specific definition of commercial farm property that cannot be classified as directly engaged in "agricultural operations." About two thirds of the draft addresses the types of property not exempted under the proposal. For instance, "commercial storage, processing, distribution, marketing, or shipping operation is not part of agricultural operations" and therefore not eligible for tax exemption. As of now, the bill continues to be under review by the Finance Committee, and has been sponsored by Republican Senator Bruce Caswell.
Proposed Promotion of Urban Agriculture by Land Banks
Written by Chelsea Neblett
Friday, 26 February 2010 21:52
Senate Bill 1015 would amend the current Land Bank Fast Track Act, specifically sections 2 and 4. The Land Bank Fast Track Act presently allows state and local governments "to assemble or dispose of public property...to promote economic growth". Senate Bill 1015 would add the promotion of urban agriculture to the current act. The bill would prohibit the Land Bank Fast Track Authority from procuring profits related to agricultural operations that involve raising livestock and poultry.
The United States Department of Agriculture's 2007 Agricultural Census has been released. An article in the MuskegonChronicle provides a nice summary from a Michigan perspective. The good news is that Michigan livestock and crop sales increased by 53 percent from the previous census in 2002 in terms of dollar sales. Also of note is the fact that gross sales per Michigan farm grew by 45 percent, also in terms of dollar sales. The bad news is that production costs increased enough that the average net income per farm actually fell. Furthermore, the survey results do not accurately reflect the prices farmers are currently receiving for their products. The price of farm commodities has generally fallen since the census.
Also of note is that 14 percent of Michigan farms accounted for 90 percent of sales leaving 86 percent of all farms with less than $100,000 in sales. As one would expect, this concentration has stemmed partly from a surge in CAFOs.
rBST in Milk
Written by Peter Goralski
Thursday, 04 December 2008 00:01
This video from the Michigan Farm Bureau discusses the discontinued use of rBST in milk. The use of rBST increases milk yields so farmers who stop using it can expect decreased yields. Assuming that rBST is harmless to both cows and humans, should the Michigan Farm Bureau engage in a public education effort?
Farmland Preservation and Wind Power
Written by Peter Goralski
Friday, 07 November 2008 21:24
Farmers enrolled in Michigan's farmland preservation program, commonly known as PA 116, and wishing to have wind turbines installed on their land, have faced uncertainty over their status under PA 116 until now. The Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) has issued a statement regarding the department's stance towards the placement of wind turbines on farmland under PA 116. The statement is favorable towards farmers with some caveats.
The Michigan Policy Network is a student-led public education and research program to report and organize news and information about the political process surrounding Michigan state policy issues. It is run out of the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, with participation by students from the College of Social Science, the College of Communication, and James Madison College.
The thoughts, opinions, and positions represented herein are solely those of the participating students and in no way represent an official position or policy recommendation of Michigan State University.