Resolutions approved at the 2019 county annual meeting

View the resolutions below that were approved at the 2019  county annual and submitted to the state policy development committee to be considered at the Michigan Farm Bureau annual meeting. 

Contact the county office for information about the Policy Development process

TitlePolicy
039-Agriscience-Food and Natural Resources Education and the FFA OrganizationWe the farmers, agri-businesses, food processors, Veterinarians, farm marketers and/or other related individuals of Clinton County Farm Bureau strongly support the establishment of a full time Clinton County Agriscience, Food and Natural Resources (AFNR) Technical, Vocational and Career Education Program at the beginning of 2022-2023 School Year. We encourage a collaboration between Clinton County RESA and/or a local high school in either Fowler or St. Johns, to locate the four-year Technical, Vocational and Career Education Program where an instructor can build consistency with facilities that are sufficient for a strong AFNR program. We believe the following to be key reasons why we respectfully request this to please be granted and acted upon in a timely manner. 1. Agriculture is one of the leading industries in Clinton County and growing every day. We are home to several agribusinesses, farms, food businesses and processing facilities, including the new $550 Million Glanbia/MWC and Proliant Food Processing facility which opened in 2020 and was the state’s largest new food processing development, according to the Michigan Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Development. 2. We have researched the numbers of students who participate in the Clinton County 4-H Fair both in 2020 and 2021. We believe the students to operate a full-time program not only exist but easily could be expanded in the future, with proper leadership and support. This quality, full-time program could offer students a multitude of opportunities for further educational advancement, technical training and/or employment in the agriculture, food technology and natural resources industry. 3. Clinton County 4-H Program Coordinator stated in 2020 that: “Currently County-wide we have 467 members enrolled at this time. We do have youth in our County 4-H Program that go to Laingsburg, Ovid-Elsie, Fulton and Ionia Career Center that have the opportunity to join the local FFA Chapter, after being on a waiting-list. St. Johns Schools has 229 4-H members currently. Fowler School has 12 members currently. P-W Schools has 10 Members Currently. Thus, there’s 251 4-H members in Clinton County just in these 3 school districts that currently do not have an Ag Program.” 4. Demand for qualified employees in the AFNR industry is at all-time highs with these jobs being well paying jobs that contribute greatly to the Michigan and Clinton County economy. 5. We believe a strong AFNR program along with a FFA chapter to develop strong agricultural, food processing and natural resources leaders not only benefits our diverse industry but our community as a whole. Several past FFA members have been or are currently members of: Schools Boards, County Boards of Commissioners, Township, City and Village Boards, the State Legislature and Governor of Michigan. 6. We believe in the 3-circle model for AFNR education. This includes a classroom education component that is overlapped into a hands-on practical experience component (SAE) and a strong leadership skills training component (FFA). 7. Clinton County voters have already approved a vocational education millage of 1.0 mills which funds many vocational, career and technical education programs in Clinton County RESA and aids area high schools. 8. Michigan State University is now training and producing many high quality AFNR instructors every year which will be available to lead this program in the future. Our community is also eager to have a program like this in Clinton County that a strong, diverse advisory committee will certainly be available to aid the new instructor. Next, we encourage the following key steps to be taken for a successful program in Clinton County: • School support is essential from the beginning, so getting the CTE staff and local Superintendent(s) on board with our plan is vital as well as informing local School Board Members. • Contact MSU and Michigan Department of Education FFA and Career, Technical and Vocational staff early on to learn important timelines and program requirements. • Create an advisory committee of community members to help maintain that community’s support for your program and to ensure its priorities are incorporated. • Coordinating with the school district’s financial staff, draft a budget to cover classroom needs, FFA project supplies and event expenses. • Begin fund raising- be resourceful and reach out to supporters as well as explore state and federal grant opportunities to establish a strong AFNR program and FFA Chapter. • In coordination with your school district’s curriculum officials, develop class structures and lesson plans, always keeping in mind your students’ needs and interests. • Develop an outreach plan to keep your community informed about and local high school students to be convinced of — the value of an AFNR program with a FFA Chapter. In conclusion we support the hiring of a full- time instructor at the beginning of 2022-2023 School Year and encourage a collaboration between Clinton County RESA and/or a local high school in either Fowler or St. Johns, to locate the new four-year Technical, Vocational and Career Education Program where an instructor can build consistency with facilities that are sufficient for a strong AFNR program.
039-Agriscience-Food and Natural Resources Education and the FFA OrganizationWith the development of the new Federal Perkins V Legislation, CTE programs are now required to align instruction to industry-based credentials. These credentials must reflect the skills they have attained while completing their high school program. While there are well-known high school certification programs in health care and other industries, Michigan agriculture, food and natural resources (AFNR) programs have faced a lack of a well-recognized industry credentials which students can earn while in high school. Furthermore, it’s hard for students to articulate the skills attained and leadership development they complete in agriscience and FFA to employers. Michigan Farm Bureau supports the development of an agricultural credential which high school AFNR students could use to gain employment in the agricultural and natural resources field. The development of this credential should include input from agricultural business, teachers and educational specialists to ensure the certification represents the skills learned through the program in a way that’s meaningful for agricultural employers. The goal of this credential would be to increase students’ likelihood of gaining employment while providing standardized, vetted, statewide certification to better assist employers wishing to hire talent in agriculture, food and natural resources.
098-Safety on RoadwaysThe safe operation of farm equipment and interface with traffic on Michigan roads is a priority. One way that makes passenger vehicles easier to see is the consistent use of headlights and taillights. Most modern passenger vehicles include Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) that operate separate from head and taillights when the vehicle is running. DRLs drastically improve vehicle visibility during the day. However, when only running lights are used, the vehicle’s taillights are not on which does not improve that vehicle’s visibility from the rear. The regular use of both headlights and taillights during all weather and at all times of day would ensure the visibility of all vehicles, including those not currently equipped with DRLs. All vehicles would be more visible from the front and rear, not only for farmers sharing the roadways with them, but for other motorists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists. Clinton County Farm Bureau recommends adding the following language to MFB Policy 098-Safety on Roadways: We support legislation requiring the use of both headlights and taillights on all motor vehicles at all times.
047-Utility PlacementPlacement of utility lines, both above and below ground remains a concern for agricultural producers. Above ground utility poles and lines are often difficult to work around, especially with larger machinery and equipment. The damage to both overhead and underground lines that can be caused by farming operations is not only disruptive and costly, but dangerous as well. Underground lines, when not buried deeply enough, can be disrupted with deep tillage equipment. However, burying lines four feet deep, as current state policy is written, is impractical and incurs excessive cost. Producers who need to install new service are not provided with up-front costs until they have made the commitment to install. This makes it difficult to determine the costs and feasibility of projects. Clinton County Farm Bureau reaffirms Michigan Farm Bureau Policy #47, especially, We Support: - The MPSC’s cost review for line extensions, transformer upgrades and moving charges, and comparing these costs with other utility charges for the same work. Clinton County Farm Bureau supports alternative as follows: - Legislation or regulation to create a minimum height requirement for all overhead lines to align with NESC Code 230E1, which has a minimum line height requirement of 15.5 feet. All new underground utilities shall be installed and maintained at least four three feet under the surface. Clinton County Farm Bureau supports additional language to Policy #47: - Utility companies providing itemized cost estimates for utility line extensions, transformer upgrades and moving charges.
073-Climate ChangeClimate change is widely thought to be responsible for recently devastating weather events and patterns including drought, unusually heavy rain events, extreme heat and cold, and stronger hurricanes and other storms. All these patterns and events are of significant risk to American agriculture and food security. Greenhouse gas emissions, specifically carbon dioxide, are thought to be one of the primary contributors to climate change. One of the ways farmers can contribute to the climate solution is by sequestering carbon. In order to provide producers the opportunity to profit from their sustainable practices that result in the sequestration of carbon, many private and non-profit groups are creating programs to pay farmers for their climate-smart practices. As a result of the multitude of players and different programs offering carbon credit to farmers, most producers are confused and hesitant to proceed. To address these concerns, the bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act has passed the U.S. Senate and is currently waiting to be addressed by the House of Representatives. The act includes four primary components: 1. USDA Certification: Certification for third parties that would help farmers generate and sell and/or verify credits. 2. USDA Website: Sets up a one stop shop for farmers and foresters interested in participating in voluntary carbon markets. 3. Advisory Council: Creates an Advisory Council that must consist of at least 51% farmers, ranchers or private forest owners. The purpose of the advisory council will be to update the USDA on carbon markets. 4. USDA Report to Congress on voluntary markets. With the understanding that there is a lot to learn about carbon sequestration and markets, Clinton County Farm Bureau supports legislation such as the Growing Climate Solutions Act with the following stipulations: - Any program should be offered strictly through legislation/acts of Congress as opposed to agency regulation, and - All such legislation should be bipartisan. All programs within legislation should be voluntary.
503-Climate ChangeClimate change is widely thought to be responsible for recently devastating weather events and patterns including drought, unusually heavy rain events, extreme heat and cold, and stronger hurricanes and other storms. All these patterns and events are of significant risk to American agriculture and food security. Greenhouse gas emissions, specifically carbon dioxide, are thought to be one of the primary contributors to climate change. One of the ways farmers can contribute to the climate solution is by sequestering carbon. In order to provide producers the opportunity to profit from their sustainable practices that result in the sequestration of carbon, many private and non-profit groups are creating programs to pay farmers for their climate-smart practices. As a result of the multitude of players and different programs offering carbon credit to farmers, most producers are confused and hesitant to proceed. To address these concerns, the bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act has passed the U.S. Senate and is currently waiting to be addressed by the House of Representatives. The act includes four primary components: 1. USDA Certification: Certification for third parties that would help farmers generate and sell and/or verify credits. 2. USDA Website: Sets up a one stop shop for farmers and foresters interested in participating in voluntary carbon markets. 3. Advisory Council: Creates an Advisory Council that must consist of at least 51% farmers, ranchers or private forest owners. The purpose of the advisory council will be to update the USDA on carbon markets. 4. USDA Report to Congress on voluntary markets. With the understanding that there is a lot to learn about carbon sequestration and markets, Clinton County Farm Bureau supports legislation such as the Growing Climate Solutions Act with the following stipulations: - Any program should be offered strictly through legislation/acts of Congress as opposed to agency regulation, and - All such legislation should be bipartisan. All programs within legislation should be voluntary.
462-Role of USDAThere can be large discrepancies from county to county in staffing availability, reliability, and customer service in the USDA Farm Service Agency and NRCS offices. The Covid 19 pandemic made these differences more obvious. Changes in programs and rules are often handed down quickly and require office staff to learn a great deal of technical information. Staff turnover, especially in NRCS offices, causes • inconsistent customer service and unnecessary delays. • High turnover and instability and staffing shortages in local offices. • Inefficient program servicing. • Potential cost increases for producers. All USDA offices should endeavor to provide excellent customer service utilizing experienced, knowledgeable and skilled staff. Electronic signature programs such as DocuSign are used securely and successfully by financial institutions and others and could also be used for required documents for USDA programs. Doing so would expedite procedures and provide more efficient customer service. Therefore, Clinton County Farm Bureau reaffirms AFBF Policy 462/Role of USDA, specifically: 10: USDA should: - Upgrade computer technology and appropriate software to allow the NRCS, FSA, RMA and NASS to utilize and share the same farm program enrollment information and production, and reduce duplicate reporting and surveys, provided appropriate privacy disclosures and safeguards are utilized. - Encourage “one stop shopping”. All farm program agencies, where feasible, should be located in the same building. - Provide notifications of job positions (openings) within FSA should be opened as soon as the job becomes available or notification of a transfer, retirement, termination or resignation. Finding qualified applicants should be a priority without a waiting period or other unnecessary delays. - Employ and make available county personnel based on workload, acreage and number of farms. - Be allowed to hire temporary employees on a contracted basis to assist during special farm program sign-up periods, including retired employees without impacting their pension. Clinton County Farm Bureau supports adding the following language to AFBF Policy #462: We support: - Staffing county offices with professional personnel who have experience in administrative duties, agricultural production and communication skills. - USDA filling FSA and NRCS vacant positions in a timely manner to facilitate implementation of programs and practices. - Modifying the system for county office classifications to attract staff with greater talent and experience. - Online options for program sign-ups, including the use of DocuSign. - Revising regional NRCS hiring policy to meet the needs of local producers.
045-State Energy Policy Farmers need to have programs to generate their own power in order to keep power costs low, benefit from cost savings, help farmers generate and sell and/or verify carbon credits, and sell extra power back on to the grid. Clinton County Farm Bureau reaffirms Michigan Farm Bureau policy, specifically: - The development of state energy policy which gives high priority to agricultural enterprises, such as production, processing, and storage facilities, allowing them the same power quality and timely access as other commercial industries, regardless of utility territory. - Net-metering legislation or regulation enabling producers to sell excess power generated on farms. - Including agricultural representation on the MPSC. Clinton County Farm Bureau supports adding language to Michigan Farm Bureau policy, specifically: - Landowners who put power back onto the grid should be credited at the going rate, never less than one to one; that power put back onto the grid should make up no more than 120% of the landowner/producer’s annual power usage. Standardized formulas set by an unbiased body for showing carbon credits created by using solar, wind, and bio energy. - Unlimited ability for farmers to install and use solar, wind, and bio energy. - Lifting the 2008 1% cap that limits the number of solar installations that investor-owned utilities are required to connect to the grid. - Enacting state legislation that allows for the development of farm and agricultural solar projects in Michigan. - The creation of State and Federal programs that aid farms in the creation of their own power and carbon credits for the selling of power. - Agriculture having consistent, reliable, and affordable access to all forms of energy, including natural gas, even as the demand for natural gas increase by former coal burning power plants.
044-Renewable and Biomass ProductsThe production and sale of corn-based ethanol fuels is an important market for Michigan farmers. Widespread adoption of E-15 would be a benefit for producers as well as consumers; in fact, E-15 has been tested safe to use in vehicles built in 1980 or later. The more ethanol that is added to gasoline, the cleaner it burns. Also, fuels with ethanol added are priced less than gasoline, making it less expensive for the consumer. Therefore, we support amending Michigan Farm Bureau Policy #43, “Biomass/Renewable Fuels” by adding: We also support the year-round, state-wide availability of E-15.
069-Streamlining Michigan GovernmentWhile significant progress has been made in reforming Michigan’s state and local governments, including public schools and public charter schools, additional reform is needed to continue to address Michigan’s economic and fiscal conditions and promote the general health, safety and welfare of its citizens. While the use of Michigan’s Emergency Financial Manager Law and Federal Bankruptcy filing in City of Detroit appears to have gone well following the five years since the U.S. Bankruptcy Judge’s final order, the use of Michigan’s Emergency Financial Manager Law and other decisions made in City of Flint have not gone well. As for Flint, there’s little dispute that state, federal and local officials failed to assure the city’s water was safe and public health was protected when the state approved switching Flint’s drinking water in 2014 to the Flint River. They’ve since switched back with significant higher cost to taxpayers. Resolution Therefore, Be it Resolved, we support the following: 1. Full transparency of government financial transactions at all levels, including public schools, public charter schools, state and local governments. This includes use of a Dashboard on their Website that’s easily understood and available to public. Also, Annual Financial Audits must be completed by Certified Public Accountants which should meet current Statements of Governmental Accounting Standards issued by GASB (Governmental Accounting Standards Board) to provide taxpayers, administrators, municipal bond analysts, state and local elected officials and others with information that is useful to their decision-making process regarding state and local governmental entities. 2. The concept of a Michigan Emergency Financial Manager Law to streamline local government operations and provide state oversight, including public schools and public charter schools that are under financial emergency, through review and revision of entity policies, procedures, contracts and changes in public utilities systems. Any significant changes in their operations and public utilities systems by the appointed Michigan Emergency Financial Manager must also be ratified by local elected governing board and Michigan Governor, before the local operational changes and changed public utility systems become effective. 3. Allow appointed Michigan Emergency Financial Manager to declare Federal Bankruptcy and its relevant chapter for specific local government or public schools or public charter schools, that has the financial emergency and failure. However, this declaration must also be ratified by either given local elected governing board or Michigan Governor, before the Federal Bankruptcy Declaration becomes effective and official. 4. State and local governments, including public schools and public charter schools, should move by 2020 to a defined contribution retirement system for all new employees.
012-Direct Farm Marketing and AgriTourismAgritourism should have a separate commodity advisory committee to allow people involved in agritourism to develop and promote relevant questions and practices. Therefore, we support the creation of a separate MFB Agritourism Commodity Advisory Committee.
031-Right to FarmAgricultural producers farming practices are continuing to be challenged by local township planning officials across the state. In some cases, individual producers have received MDARD Right to Farm rulings regarding their practices, only to be challenged again when a local board turns over its officials. Therefore, we propose to change current Michigan Farm Bureau policy #31 Right to Farm to state: - If a case determination is made by MDARD in favor of the farmer, the ruling shall be communicated from MDARD, and stand as long as the operation has not changed.
011-Dairy IndustryDuring agriculture’s recent economic downturn, Michigan dairy farmers have taken significant losses of income. Indeed, many are still struggling to stay in business. Of the main reasons for these losses is the gradual decrease in consumer demand over time. Competition for consumer dollars includes the marketing of soy, almond, and other “milk-like” products as actual “milk”. These products are often promoted in slick packaging in order to appeal to different market segments. Meanwhile, the packaging of a gallon of actual milk never changes. Therefore, we encourage milk co-ops and the United Dairy Industry of Michigan to work with processors and retailers to enhance milk and dairy product packaging and marketing to better compete in the current marketing environment. We support Farm Bureau collaborating with the United Dairy Industry of Michigan and Michigan Ag Council educating the medical community and education system about the benefits of milk/dairy consumption, especially for youth.
065-Local GovernmentA new line item be added at the bottom of current MFB Policy 065 – Local Government under the “We Support” section. This line item will read “Enforcement actions against the improper use of the Slow-Moving Vehicle sign. The SMV emblem shall be prohibited from uses that identify permanently stationary objects such as driveway markers.”
Local ResolutionAs Clinton County is home to one of the largest dairy manufacturing plants in the Midwest and is a big hub for the Michigan Dairy industry we strongly encourage that white milk, chocolate milk and real butter be served at the Clinton County Annual meeting each year.