Senate panel approves Hunes farm-friendly legislation


LANSING ― Legislation to ensure Michigan farmers who voluntarily comply with state environmental standards receive real benefits was approved Thursday by a Senate panel, said sponsor Sen. Joe Hune, R-Hamburg Township.

“Farmers depend on the land for their livelihood and that makes them steadfast stewards of our natural resources,” said Hune, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “My legislation would guarantee benefits to farmers for the good work they already do, day-in and day-out, to protect our environment.”

If signed into law, Senate Bills 122 and 123 would significantly change the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program. Through this legislation, compliant farms will be protected from onerous civil fines and grant money from existing funds will be made available to encourage participation and compliance in the program on the part of Michigan’s farmers.

“Coming from a farming family, I know how important agriculture is to our state,” Hune said. “Agriculture pumps billions of dollars into the state economy every year. My measures make vital changes to the environmental assurance program to ensure that the state provides real benefits for farmers who voluntarily comply with environmental standards.”

Prior to serving in the Legislature, Hune owned and operated an agribusiness in his hometown of Fowlerville. The lawmaker continues to raise livestock and exotic animals on his family’s farm.

SBs 122 and 123 must go before the full Senate for further consideration.