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October 9, 2019
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently exercised her line-item veto authority, eliminating nearly $1 billion in spending from the state budget offered by the Michigan Legislature — including striking $4.7 million in funding for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Taking the brunt of the cuts in the agriculture budget was the Michigan Alliance for Animal Agriculture, which lost its entire $3 million in program funding.
“It’s disappointing to see the program’s funding eliminated because it has proven itself to be a strong economic driver with a $10 return on every $1 invested,” says Rebecca Park, Michigan Farm Bureau legislative counsel. “This will be a tough pill for our members to swallow because they place a high value on the alliance, not only because of the research, outreach and workforce development it conducts but also because it demonstrates a unique, strong partnership between the state, [Michigan State University] and other industry partners.”
In addition to the $3 million elimination in MAAA funding, other items vetoed from the 2020 agriculture budget include:
MSU farm stress program — $500,000
county fair capital improvement grants — $1 million
conservation district resource needs assessment — $200,000
“Michigan Farm Bureau will continue to keep our members up to date if the budget situation changes and will certainly engage them if an opportunity arises to influence their elected officials and advocate on behalf of their grassroots policy funding priorities for MDARD,” Park adds. “With all vetoed monies going back to the general fund, that nearly $1 billion is, for all intents and purposes, unassigned to any department or program.”
Subsequently, the State Administrative Board convened — only the second time in state history — to make its own series of budget moves.
Comprised of the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer and a few other key leaders, the board finalized several transfers within MDARD.
The board removed all funding for the Food and Agriculture Investment Grant Program — $4 million in total — and transferred funds to the following:
animal disease prevention and response (Bovine TB programs) — $782,700
pesticide and plant pest management — $1,500,000
environmental stewardship — $520,000
emergency management/emerging contaminant coordinator — $200,000
qualified forest program — $997,300
MDARD funding included in the general government budget remained intact, including $1.3 million for industrial hemp program administration and $5 million for licensing and inspection systems.
Source: Michigan Farm Bureau, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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