MICHIGAN FARM BUREAU ELEVATES GRASSROOTS POLICY TO NATIONAL LEVEL

Delegates from Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) have advanced several policy recommendations for the state during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 2018 Annual Meeting in Nashville, including revisions to dairy and farm program policy.

At the 99th business session, delegates concluded national policy debate and voting on Jan. 9, 2018, for over 180 policies recommendations. According to MFB President Carl Bednarski, many recommendations originated from a grassroots policy network of county Farm Bureau annual meetings, advisory committees, district meetings, the farm bill task force and MFB’s annual meeting this past November.

An amendment to AFBF’s policy on Inspection and Grading of Meat, Poultry and Seafood Products started at the grassroots level in Kent County and was approved without debate.
Broad discussion and debate also focused on AFBF’s National Farm Policy and dairy provisions.

“MFB delegates were a key part of the discussion in developing an AFBF policy framework that can result in a more effective safety net for dairy producers who are struggling right now,” Bednarski said.

Michigan approved policy that called for added language to provide a path of eligibility for conservation program funding, regarding farms previously not in compliance. Michigan’s delegates also effectively encouraged changes to AFBF policy on the Conservation Reserve Program, which now supports landowners being given six months’ notice by FSA before an official termination of their contract, with payments being made through the termination date.

There was also discussion on farm-labor policy, Worker Protection Standards, improvements to H2A and H2B programs, and a potential guest worker program like H2C.

Policy was also passed to give precedence to U.S. Army Corps of Engineer funds for updating locks and dams, as well as cleaning channels, in the Mississippi River and Great Lakes water system. Delegates debated milk labeling and approved policy language — urging changes to the fat percentage labels on bottled milk.

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