RESOLUTIONS OF THE MICHIGAN STATE HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY 2004
1. USDA – FSA
Whereas the United States has adopted a cheap food policy for its citizens;
Whereas the Federal Government recognizes this and has 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 Michigan State Horticultural Society requests the USDA-FSA (Farm Service Agency) to improve their payment delivery system to the specialty crop grower to equal that of other commodity payment programs.
Whereas the Michigan State Horticultural Society has requested that the Michigan Department of Agriculture be empowered and mandated to remove or facilitate the removal of orchards and vineyards that have been abandoned;
Whereas abandonment is defined as those trees and vines that 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;
Whereas the State of Michigan has lost 23% of its apple acreage (mostly to abandonment) since 1997 and the cost of crop production has escalated in recent years;
Be it resolved that it is critical that the Michigan Department of Agriculture take immediate positive action to remove abandoned orchards and vineyards that have been neglected for one growing season.
Be it further resolved that cost of removal is the landowner’s responsibility and if not paid, it becomes a state tax lien against the property.
3. HOMELAND SECURITY
Whereas food safety is of concern for Homeland Security and Country of Origin is an important component of food safety;
Whereas there is a great concern for food safety since September 11, 2001;
Whereas a lack of inspectors at Ports of Entry into the United States can result in the import of chemically and biologically contaminated foods into the U.S. food supply;
Therefore be it resolved, that the Michigan State Horticultural Society requests that the Federal and State regulatory agencies increase funding to train and place additional inspectors at all ports of import into the country, that the originating country have U.S. prior product approval, that 100% of products imported into the U.S. are inspected and meet the same quality and residue standards as products grown domestically. We petition the Federal Government to look into implementing tariffs and quotas to create a more equitable playing field. We support mandatory Country of Origin labeling for fruits and vegetables and the necessary funding to implement a program to accomplish this by 2005.
4. REAFFIRM WATER RIGHTS
Whereas we recommend that the Michigan State Horticultural Society continue to monitor water issues that negatively impact Michigan Agricultural production and create working relationships with State legislators, Michigan Farm Bureau, and other groups to protect water rights for Michigan producers of food and fiber. Water use permits must be handled by MDA. No water shall be diverted from the Great Lakes.
5. STATE FISCAL BUDGET
Whereas the State of Michigan is experiencing a shortfall in revenue to cover the normal services to the citizens of the State;
Whereas agriculture spending has been cut to the point of only a maintenance level;
Be it resolved that the Michigan State Horticultural Society recommends the Legislators and the Governor of this State not curtail further funding to the Michigan Department of Agriculture, Michigan State University, Michigan State University Extension, and Michigan State Agricultural Experiment Stations.
Therefore, it is requested that all patents and property rights be reviewed and approved by the various funding entities prior to assignment or sale for commercial propagation or commercial manufacture.
6. CROP DAMAGE FROM ROAD SALT
Whereas road salt has been shown to cause significant crop damage;
Whereas increased use of road salt is becoming an increasing problem.
Therefore be it resolved Michigan State Horticultural Society encourages the use of environmentally friendly deicing materials on all roads.
7. CHINESE FRESH APPLE IMPORTS
Whereas the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been requested to speed up approval of phyto-sanitary standards for Chinese fresh apple imports into the United States;
Whereas this is highly detrimental to U.S. apple producers;
Therefore be it resolved Michigan State Horticultural Society urges USDA to encourage full compliance of phyto-sanitary standards on Chinese fresh apple imports;
And be it further resolved Michigan State Horticultural Society supports initiative of organizations such as USApple and other partners to encourage USDA in this process.
8. FARM LABOR HOUSING
Whereas State approved and inspected employee housing is a common facet of agriculture and farm labor is a necessary part of agriculture;
Whereas this housing should not be infringed on by the spreading of suburbs;
Whereas township boards often oppose these housing units;
Therefore be it resolved that the Michigan State Horticultural Society encourages township boards to allow the existence of agriculture employer-provided housing.
Therefore be it resolved that the Michigan State Horticultural Society encourage township boards to recognize the Agriculture Labor Camp’s language covered in Part 124 of Michigan Public Health code.