Jim Byrum is serving as the President of the Michigan Agri-business Association (MABA) as well as serving as the chair of the Michigan Commission of Agriculture. He discusses his career, goals, and policy views.
Migrant labor housing in Michigan is regulated under part 124, of Act 368 of 1978 as a part of the public heath code. The administration of part 124 of the act falls under the purview of the Department of Environmental Health (DEH).
A brief summary of the ramifications of the 2007 USDA Agricultural Census for Michigan.
Agriculture Tax Incentives
Written by Qasim Abbas
Tuesday, 28 February 2012 17:03
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.
Michigan Farm Bureau Supports Snyder's Plan to Split the DNRE
Sunday, 19 December 2010 23:04
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.
On November 12, 2010, the Michigan Department of Agriculture confirmed the findings of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in Emmet, Macomb, and Ottawa counties. Native to Asia, the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid are an invasive insect species that feed exclusively on coniferous trees. The insects damage the trees by sucking sap from the twigs at the base of the needles which eventually causes the tree to lose its strength and the needles to fall off. Unlike insects that feed off the nutrients of sap, the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid feeds on stored starches. These starch reserves are critical to the tree's growth and long-term survival. If the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid go unmonitored, they can kill an entire tree within one or more years.
The positive sites in Macomb and Ottawa Counties were reported by two arborists and the one in Emmet County was discovered by an inspector with the MDA. This reinforces the importance of citizen involvement in the discovery and reporting of exotic pest infestations. Early detection will allow the infestation to be treated and eradicated. Homeowners are being asked to check any hemlock growing on their property looking for cottony white masses at the base of the needles and report any findings to the MDA. Infested trees will be removed and destroyed. Any new hemlock should never originate from infested areas and should have proper certification.
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid was first discovered in 1951 in Virginia and has spread over an area from Georgia to Maine. The insect has decimated hemlock in the Eastern United States. The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid was first discovered in Michigan in 2006 in hemlock trees planted in Harbor Springs for residential landscaping. The trees, from an infested nursery in West Virginia, were removed and the area was treated and surveyed for several years after. It is believed that the current infestation also originated from hemlock nurseries in infested area of the United States.
Hemlock trees play an important role in the ecology of Michigan's forests, providing habitats for many animals including deer, birds and fish. There are over 100 million trees in Michigan's forests. Michigan law bans moving hemlock to the state from infested areas. Details on the hemlock quarantine and additional information on the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid can be found at www.michigan.gov/mda.
Can Michigan Make Up for its Lost Agricultural Revenue?
Friday, 05 November 2010 11:51
Over the past three years, Michigan's $64 billion agricultural industry has encountered many unfavorable weather conditions for yielding a favorable number of crops. In January of 2009, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) gave low-interest emergency loans to eligible Michigan farmers whose crops suffered unfavorable weather conditions in 2008. According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA), the USDA's 2008 designated impact covered 80 of Michigan's 83 counties (Michigan Department of Agriculture).
The USDA's 2008 designated impact covered 41 Michigan counties for frost and freeze weather that occurred during the months of March through May. In addition to frost and freeze weather, 28 counties were eligible for loans due to storms that caused excessive rain, flooding, and high winds which began on April and ended in September. The summer of 2008 was also well known for its drought which directly impacted 46 counties and an additional 24 neighboring counties were eligible for USDA assistance. Farmer's had until August of 2009 to apply for loans to cover up to 100% of weather related crop losses (Michigan Department of Agriculture).
In 2009, Michigan experienced a wonderful fruit season with a near record level of apple yields. Based on federal data, the state harvested 1.15 billion pounds of apples and 208 million pounds of tart cherries. On average, apples contribute approximately $700-$900 million to the state's economy. Field crops did not perform nearly as well as fruit. According to the Michigan Farm Bureau, the USDA designated 74 Michigan counties as, "primary natural disaster areas due to ‘freeze, frost, excessive snow, low temperatures, and cold weather'"(Michigan Farm News). Towards the end of the summer in August, many counties also experienced an early frost.
Besides cold weather effects, other counties from April 1 through September 1 suffered from excessive rain and flooding in addition to lightning, hail, high winds, and tornadoes. From May 2009 through the fall season, a number of counties battled with drought. All of these disasters have resulted in a loss of revenue for farmers and the state (Michigan Farm News).
This year, farmers have experienced mixed results. Michigan's fruit crops did not fare as well as last year due to a cold spring and late frosts. Michigan's field crops fared much better than last year despite a number of strong storms and some cooler than typical temperatures. The ground thawed early this year enabling farmers to plant their crops earlier than usual (Devaney and Rogers). According to the Michigan Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, since September 26, farmers were able to harvest 19% of Michigan's corn crop and 17% of Michigan's soybean crop. At the same time last year, farmer's harvested 0% of Michigan's corn crop and only 1% of Michigan's soybean crop.
All of these numbers yield good news for Michigan's field crops, but there have been a few catches. Farmers in southern Michigan have been less fortunate with field crops due to constant battles with excessive early rain and drought in other instances (Michigan Farmer). This years loss of fruit crops has resulted in lost revenue. With three years of tough weather and mixed crop results the ultimate question remains as to whether or not Michigan can make up for its lost agricultural revenue.
Michigan Department of Agriculture. 1/26/09 http://www.michigan.gov/mda/0,1607,7-125--210462--,00.html
Tim Devaney and Christina Rogers. The Detroit News. 8/24/10 http://detnews.com/article/20100824/BIZ/8240369/Ripe-season-for-Michigan-s-field-crops--but-less-so-for-fruits
West Michigan Tourist Association http://www.wmta.org/michigan-apple-quickfacts-28/
Farm Bill Awards Michigan with Specialty Crop Grants
Saturday, 02 October 2010 00:42
United States Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, included a specialty crops title in the most recent Farm Bill which has come to benefit Michigan. According to a press release from Senator Stabenow, the 2008 Farm Bill also known as the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 was the first bill in history to recognize the importance of specialty crops which are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, nursery products, and floriculture. As of September 17, 2010, 54 grants have been announced totaling approximately $55 million which will fund 827 projects.
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.