More good agriculture news from Lansing

I’m happy to report that I have more good agriculture news from Lansing.

Recently, Gov. Rick Snyder signed Public Act 22 of 2011 (Senate Bill 144), which makes agricultural processing, information technology and other innovative technology-based industries eligible to participate in the Michigan 21st Century Jobs Fund. This is fantastic for Michigan’s second largest industry: agriculture.

The new law amends the Michigan Strategic Fund Act and expands the definition of “Competitive Edge Technology” to include information and agricultural processing technology. The measure also adds a significant “catch-all” provision to include any other innovative technology.

I am confident this statute will encourage economic growth in both Michigan’s agriculture and information technology sectors. By expanding the 21st Century Jobs Fund, we are sending a clear signal to innovators and entrepreneurs across the state, and throughout the nation, that Michigan is a great place to do business.

Senate Republicans began working on this measure after Gov. Snyder called for expanding the 21st Century Jobs Fund to include the agriculture industry in his State of the State address. Agriculture is one of the few industries in our state experiencing growth; we need to do everything we can to foster and encourage successful industries.

A significant percentage of all agriculture commodities are produced in Michigan, but then are sent out of state to be processed, only to be returned to the state as a final product for consumers. There is plenty of room for agriculture-related economic growth. Plain and simple, what’s produced in Michigan should be processed in Michigan.

I was proud to support this new law and look forward to it taking root. We shouldn’t pick winners and losers; we should encourage innovation in all sectors of the state’s economy.

Sen. Joe Hune represents the 22nd state Senate District, which includes Livingston and Shiawassee counties, and the southern part of Ingham County. The Ingham County portion includes Bunkerhill, Leslie, Stockbridge and Vevay townships, and the cities of Leslie and Mason.