Boards, Councils, and Commissions
The Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development has the responsibility to recommend, and in some cases determine, policy on food, agricultural, and rural development issues. The Commission is a bipartisan body of five citizens appointed by the Governor. State law dictates that no more than three Commission members may be from the same political party.
The Agricultural Preservation Fund Board is charged with managing the distribution of grants to preserve farmland and help conserve Michigan's agricultural heritage. The Board consists of seven members including the director of the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (or his/her designee) and the director of the Department of Natural Resources (or his/her designee). The five board members appointed by the Governor include two individuals representing agricultural interests and three individuals representing the general public. Act 451 of 1994, Part 362; abolished in Executive Order 2009-45 and re-created in Executive Order 2009-54.
MDARD has legal, fiscal and program oversight responsibility for 15 legislatively established commodity boards that have producer check-offs or producer assessments. The Director is a non-voting member of these entities, which are administratively housed within the Department as component units of state government, but they are independent, and their producer funded budgets are not part of the state appropriations process.
The Craft Beverage Council will award grants for research into winemaking, hops, barley, beer and spirits; conduct market surveys and analysis; and offer other programs to encourage the agricultural elements related to Michigan’s craft beverage industries. The Council’s activities are funded exclusively by non-retail, non-wholesale liquor license fees. The Director of MDARD serves as chair and is a non-voting member.
Under Part 87 of PA 451 of 1994, the Director shall establish the Council representing a wide range of agricultural and environmental interests. The Director appoints members; a representative from Michigan State University and a farmer member are co-chairs. The Council advises the Director on MAEAP standards and other components of the MAEAP program.
The Michigan Farm Produce Insurance Authority, created by P.A. 198 of 2003, is a ten-member (eight voting) board, representing farmers, grain industry, banking interests, and has the responsibility of establishing, administering and promoting the Farm Produce Insurance Fund. Director is the non-voting chair; others appointed by the Governor.
The Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, PA 451 of 1994, Part 85 created a Fertilizer Advisory Committee to advise the Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development on research necessary to ensure the adoption and implementation of practices that optimize nutrient use efficiency, ensure soil fertility, and address environmental concerns regarding fertilizer use.
The Horse Racing Advisory Commission was created within the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development to establish procedures governing the operation and promotion of horse racing in this state and make recommendations to the legislature that would improve the regulatory structure of horse racing with a goal of maintaining its long-term viability in Michigan.
The Large Carnivore Act was created in 2000 due to public health and safety concerns related to ownership of large carnivores, including animal care issues and major injury and fatality incidents. The statute as passed did not allow zoos to run or participate in breeding programs for these animals. After several years of discussions and negotiations, the Legislature amended the Act in 2018 to allow for breeding programs. The Large Carnivore Breeding Advisory Committee was also created to provide input on the applications for the licenses that are now available.
The Migrant Labor Housing Advisory Board serves in an advisory capacity to MDARD. It is authorized under Part 124 of the Public Health Code, Agricultural Labor Camps, at MCL 333.12421 and implemented in MDARD’s rules. The board ceased meeting years ago. Along with the recently released report on rural housing issues generally, reconstitution of this board is a major step in addressing the needs of rural Michigan.
The Rural Development Fund Board, housed in the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, has oversight of the Rural Development Fund. The Board is charged with advising the Department on how to distribute tax revenue collected from mines to improve and strengthen local communities. Director is a voting member and makes final decision on projects (Public Act 411 of 2012).
Under this 2018 law, (PA 94 of 2018), the Director appoints the five-member advisory committee to provide guidance on the content of yet to be promulgated rules, recommend whether to grant permission to plant uncertified see potatoes, and other matters relating to the industry. The committee will also consult the director on the administration and enforcement of the law.