Water. Labor. The Farm Bill. These are some of the state and federal policy issues that the Michigan Floriculture Growers Council (MFGC) has selected to focus on for 2008. The MFGC Policy Committee established a comprehensive list of important policy topics affecting growers in Michigan and around the country.
The list will serve as a guiding tool for Julian Vail, a firm contracted to serve as public policy advisors, along with MFGC Executive Director Gale Arent, to monitor pertinent legislation and communicate MFGC priorities to state legislators, according to a press release.
Below is the list of issues the council will be closely watching in the coming year, along with a description of the group’s stance:
Water — Michigan growers should pay no withdrawal fees or unreasonable permit fees while having continued access to needed water resources.
Labor — Michigan growers should have continued access to labor resources within reasonable employee regulations that do not place undue burden on the employer.
Business Tax — MFGC will monitor new tax impacts from a grower’s point of view and be prepared to address unanticipated tax consequences or unreasonable tax burdens.
State Budget — MFGC will monitor and protect funding for MSU Extension, MI Agricultural Experiment Station, Michigan Department of Agriculture (pest management and agriculture statistics) and monitor the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to assess grower impact of any environmental regulations and/or fees.
Farm Bill — MFGC will monitor development of the Farm Bill with attention to the specialty crops section, the energy section and funding for the IFAFS (the Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems).
Energy Policy — MFGC will pursue energy policies that enable growers to adapt to high energy costs, focusing on energy conservation technologies and bio-energy sources.
Immigration and Labor — MFGC will monitor legislation on immigration and agricultural labor issues to assess their effect on labor resources for growers.
The Michigan Floriculture Growers Council, founded in 2006, is an advocacy group representing the interests of floriculture growers in Michigan. Their mission is to keep Michigan floriculture profitable and sustainable, as well as give a voice to the industry on state and national issues. For more information, visit the council’s website.