RESOLUTIONS OF THE MICHIGAN STATE HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY 2002
1. APPLE REFEREDUM
Whereas the Michigan Apple industry is in need of further opportunity through promotion, profitability and new and expanded markets;
Whereas during the first quarter if 2003 producers will have an opportunity to review the effectiveness of the Michigan Apple Committee by voting whether or not to continue the program;
Therefore be it resolved that the Michigan State Horticultural Society urges eligible Apple producers to become informed and educated regarding the referendum, the value that continuation will provide, and participate by making an objective decision in their vote.
Whereas The United States has adopted a "cheap food policy" for its citizens;
Whereas The Federal Government recognize this and have extended USDA program benefits to minority and specialty crops;
Whereas USDA assistance to minority and specialty crop producers seems to be extremely slow;
Therefore be it resolved that MSHS request the USDA-FSA (Farm Source Agency) to improve their services delivery system by upgraded to equal other program delivery system at FSA.
3. TART CHERRY
Whereas the Tart Cherry Industry needs to match as much as possible the supply of tart cherries with the demand for them;
Whereas the Tart Cherry Industry needs a means of maintaining inventory reserves of finished product to meet as much as possible the customers needs in years in which the demand exceeds the available new crop supply;
Whereas the Federal Market Order has provisions for new products and new market development that need to: be strengthened and more effectively used to encourage new products and new markets: involve marketing specialists in the decision making process to determine which new products and/or new markets qualify for diversion/exemption credits;
Whereas the Michigan Horticultural Society agrees with the premise that the industry stands to benefit more from working together than independently;
Therefore be it resolved that on the condition that more recognition is given to the development of new products and markets, the Michigan Horticultural Society urges the Tart Cherry growers and processors to support the continuance of the Tart Cherry Federal Market Order.
Whereas the Michigan State Horticultural Society requests that the Michigan Department of Agriculture be empowered and mandated to remove or cause to be removed orchards and vineyards, which have been abandoned. Abandonment is defined as those trees and vines, which create the potential for disease and/or insect transfer to commercial production within one mile, and are not being managed and cared for according to Generally Accepted Agricultural Practices.
5. HOMELAND SECURITY
Whereas food safety is part of a concern for Homeland Security and country of origin is an important part;
Whereas there is a greater concern for food safety since 9/11;
Whereas a lack of staffing at points of entry can allow low quality products with higher chemical residues into the country;
Therefore be it resolved that the Michigan State Horticultural Society requests that the Federal and State court better fund training, increase inspectors at all points of entry into the country, and that all products imported into the country meet the same quality and residue standards as products grown domestically, and that the Federal government look into implementing tariffs to create a more level playing field.
6. MICHIGAN APPLE LOGO
Whereas packers and processors display their label about all else;
Whereas the Michigan logo on packaging for apple products lacks prominence and uniformity on the label;
Therefore be it resolved that the Michigan State Horticultural Society recommend that all packers and processors agree to give the Michigan logo more exposure on packaging and signage.
7. MICHIGAN AGRICULTURAL PRESERVATION FUND BOARD
Whereas the Michigan Agricultural Preservation Fund Board is charged with establishing the guidelines for the distribution of state funds to counties and other municipalities for the purpose of preserving agricultural lands;
Whereas Michigan has a diversified agriculture which includes many specialty crops including many horticultural crops;
Whereas Michigan is a leading producer of many of these horticultural crops only because of the availability of unique growing conditions in several areas throughout the state of Michigan;
Whereas property in many of these areas is being converted from agriculture at an alarming rate higher than land moving out of agriculture even in areas having land considered "prime agricultural land";
Whereas under the MAPF proposed scoring criteria many counties with these lands have lower priority for funding;
Therefore be it resolved The Michigan State Horticultural Society request the Michigan Agricultural Preservation Fund Board revisit the proposed scoring criteria, and give Michigan’s "unique" agricultural properties an opportunity for protection under the program.
8. WATER RIGHTS
Whereas we recommend that the MSHS continue to monitor water issues that may negatively impact Michigan Agricultural production and create a working relationship with State legislation’s, Michigan Farm Bureau and other groups to protect water rights for Michigan producers of food and fiber.
9. DISASTER RELIEF
Whereas the Michigan Grape Industry has grown into a more significant part of the economy;
Whereas the Grape Industry has suffered two significant crop losses in a row;
Whereas these crop failures have caused great harm to both the industry and to the communities that surround the Grape growing areas;
Therefore be it resolved the Michigan Horticultural Society approach the State and Federal government to request disaster assistance.
(The following 2002 Resolutions are REAFFIRMATIONS OF THE 2001 RESOLUTIONS)
10. GENERALLY ACCEPTED AGRICULTURE AND MANAGEMENT PRACTICES: RIGHT TO FARM LAW
Whereas on farm retail sales of Michigan Agricultural Commodities, raw and value-added, have become necessary for survival of many fruit and vegetable farms in Michigan;
Whereas the retailing of fruits and vegetables in fresh and value-added form has become commonplace on Michigan farms;
Whereas retail sales of farm commodities provide consumers with family value and entertainment, while greatly contributing to both the agriculture and tourism industries, Michigan’s second and third largest industries;
Whereas retail farm sales, or farm market sales are not addressed as a generally accepted agriculture and management practice under the Michigan Right to Farm Law;
Now therefore be it resolved that the Michigan State Horticultural Society strongly urges the Michigan Department of Agriculture to address retail farm sales, or farm market sales as a generally accepted agriculture and management practiced under the Michigan Right to Farm Law.
11. REAFFIRMATION OF P.A. 344
Whereas the Michigan fruit industry is facing economic hardship in the world marketplace;
Whereas the numbers of processing facilities are declining and the farm-to-retail price spread is ever increasing;
Therefore be it resolved that the Michigan State Horticultural Society is reaffirming its commitment to P.A. 344 to improve the net farm income in Michigan. All processors – cooperative and independent – must comply with P.A. 344. Maintaining equitable opportunities in purchasing the raw product will ensure the continued growth of our state’s fruit industry.
12. FAMILY FARMS
Whereas the foundation of agriculture in America has always been considered to be the family farm;
Whereas the instruction and upbringing of children on the farm has more often than not produced young adults who are trustworthy, hard working and a benefit to society;
Whereas in order to protect the financial future of family farms many have formed formal partnerships, LLCs, and corporations;
Now therefore bet it resolved that a family farm be defined as an agricultural entity operated by blood or marriage relatives; and
Be it further resolved that the same regulations concerning employment of children apply to all family farms, be they sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation;
Be it further resolved that appropriate legislation be enacted.
13. MIGRANT LABOR CAMPS
Whereas all migrant labor camps in Michigan are State inspected and;
Whereas prior to licensing all infractions must be corrected and;
Whereas prior to habitation of the living units a second inspection is performed and;
Whereas on demand inspections by the U.S. Department of Labor could be construed as harassment, especially when frivolous infractions are cited;
Therefore be it resolved that the Michigan State Horticultural Society strongly urges the U.S. Department of Labor to consider a current license as proof that a labor camp is acceptable for habitation.