LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Roger Victory on Wednesday sponsored an agriculture budget supplemental that would direct $1.4 billion to improve Michigan’s food security and invest in rural communities.
“The pandemic exposed serious flaws in our food supply chain. We must make targeted investments to reduce rising food costs and ensure Michigan families always have access to locally grown or produced food,” said Victory, R-Hudsonville. “This supplemental budget bill prioritizes local growing, processing, and distribution for Michigan produce and food products to better secure our food supply by shortening the time and distance to store shelves.”
Senate Bill 885 would invest $350 million in food distribution security and stability grants; $144 million for bovine TB mitigation at beef and dairy operations; $45 million to help operate and expand farm markets; $75 million to support the stability and expansion of Michigan’s agriculture supply chain businesses like protein processing plants; and $15 million to help local food banks purchase fresh produce, dairy products, and meat and seafood products.
Victory’s bill also invests in rural development, including:
• $350 million to support agriculturally beneficial infrastructure projects,
• $100 million to help communities that did not receive enough federal broadband funding to complete a full-scale installation,
• $50 million to assist agricultural operations to meet Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) certifications, and
• $26 million to partially offset lost revenue from 2020 COVID-19 shutdowns for the U.P. State Fair and local fairgrounds across the state.
“Economic development in our rural communities has been neglected by the state for the last 30 years,” Victory said. “We need to invest in rural economic development at the same levels we’ve invested in our urban-based manufacturing. This proposal would remove roadblocks that have historically limited the expansion of our rural industries.”
SB 885 would also invest in education, workforce and talent development, including $45.8 million to support a modernized MSU dairy facility, $150 million to support new housing units for agricultural workers, $10 million for agriculture technical training grants, and $5 million to establish and begin operation of the Michigan Center for Agricultural Innovation as a public-private partnership between the agricultural industry and the state.