Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) provides services to

Michigan residents as well as the food and agriculture sector through a variety of food

safety, consumer protection, environmental protection, and animal and plant health programs.

The governor’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2017 recommends total funding of $91.6 million, of which

$48 million is general fund. The general fund recommendation for fiscal year 2018 increases by $1.2

million to $49.2 million.

Highlights of Governor’s Budget Recommendation

Funding for core programs of the department is maintained including food safety and consumer protection programs as well as plant and animal health, and disease response.

• The state’s agricultural laboratory program provides services to farmers, industry and consumers. The governor proposes to increase laboratory funding by $3.1 million general fund. The additional funding for the Geagley laboratory will support new staff who will work to facilitate timely export of Michigan agricultural products utilizing internationally accepted testing methods, while ensuring that tainted commercial products are removed from the marketplace before they reach the consumer. Funding will also support updated equipment to facilitate quick identification of foodborne illness, and corresponding data upload onto shared platforms with the Centers for Disease Control, local public health agencies, and hospitals. The added resources within the Heffron laboratory will aid in consumer protection efforts including inspections of gasoline quality, product labeling, and accuracy of commercial scaling equipment.

• Included in the governor’s fiscal year 2017 recommendation is $1.2 million general fund to implement on-farm food produce safety requirements under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This federal law is designed to develop food safety programs with a focus on prevention, and will require the establishment of minimum standards regarding the production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables. Half of the additional funding will be allocated to the Michigan State University Extension and various local conservation districts to provide training, education and technical assistance for Michigan produce farmers.

• Public Act 411 of 2012 created the rural development fund to be used for grants and loans for projects that address the expansion and sustainability of agriculture, mining, forestry, oil and gas production and tourism. The Executive Recommendation contains $2 million to fund this program.

• The governor proposes an additional $500,000 general fund for the Farmland and Open Space Preservation program to replace declining restricted revenue. The Farmland Preservation Program was established in 1975 to preserve Michigan farmland in exchange for certain tax benefits including a state income tax credit.

• The governor proposes to focus more resources on the refined petroleum product cleanup program in the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) by gradually shifting most refined petroleum fund from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to the DEQ. To accomplish this, the Executive Recommendation adds general fund to MDARD to maintain their critical laboratory services. At the end of 3 years, $500,000 refined petroleum revenues will remain in MDARD to support gasoline and oil inspection programs.

  • In order to focus available revenues on high priority programs, the Executive Budget reduces general fund support for several discretionary programs by approximately $1 million.