The Senate Agriculture Committee, on which Senator Jud Gilbert sits, has been taking testimony on legislation that would clarify permit requirements for large livestock farms in Michigan. As a local farmer, I urge Senator Gilbert to not get too hung up on a single agricultural sector.
On the specific issue of large livestock farms, Senate Bills 501-504 contain strict enforcement provisions for farms that pollute. The legislation addresses many of the environmental community's concerns over the regulatory oversight and expansion of concentrated animal feeding operations, but does so in a way that targets convicted violators without casting a black cloud over the rest of agriculture.
For the greater good of our agriculture industry locally and across the state, the bills would strengthen the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, which helps farmers of all sizes and all commodities proactively eliminate and reduce environmental risks.
The legislative package represents a delicate balance, and I urge the support of Senator Gilbert.