Michigan's farmers are encouraged by Gov. Rick Snyder's state of the state address. Even though Michigan's economy has already shown improvement, his address offered more proof that this administration will continue to provide the leadership in making the tough decisions that are in the best long-term interest of Michigan.
Michigan Farm Bureau's member-approved policy clearly supports Gov. Snyder's focus on investing in our state's infrastructure, along with several other key initiatives. In fact, our members identified infrastructure improvements this past fall as their highest priority in voting on our organization's Michigan's Ag Plan (MAP)—an initiative championing three key priorities: market access, workforce development and regulatory reform.
Clearly, the time to invest in Michigan's crumbling transportation network is long overdue. Farmers understand a thing or two about the importance of good roads and bridges throughout Michigan, and the value of making wise, long-term investments.
Improving our infrastructure isn't just about safety and efficiency; it's about ease of trade—streamlining the vital commerce linking Michigan businesses and their markets, including the New International Trade Crossing—a promising and desperately needed new link to Canada, our largest international trading partner.
As one of the state's few growth industries, Michigan agriculture provides ample job opportunities for skilled workers, but often struggles to find adequately trained applicants. Building a strong new generation of farmers requires unique educational resources. As Gov. Snyder referenced, opportunities in the skilled trades are a crucial foundation of Michigan's agricultural workforce, and we applaud his administration's priority to bolster this often overlooked need.
Thinning the ranks of state regulation by some 1,000 rules—most of them obsolete and burdensome—is an outstanding example of the kind of common-sense leadership Michigan's farmers have sought for decades. One rule for every 10 stricken from the books, we feel, is a strong indication this administration is pointed in the right direction.
The prosperity of Michigan agriculture—steady and consistent, even through the recent recession—should be a point of pride for everyone who calls Michigan home. Farming is our business, our culture, our way of life and our passion. Michigan's 48,500 farm families appreciate the 'relentless positive action' that Gov. Snyder's administration has pursued in reinventing Michigan.