The state House today approved Rep. Bryan Posthumus’ bipartisan plan to ensure Michigan agricultural products may be exported to other countries.
Posthumus, of Kent County, said certain countries require imported goods to be verified for safety with certificates of free sale. The plan approved today will clarify state law to ensure the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is authorized to issue those certificates for products grown or manufactured in Michigan.
“As a Michigan farmer, I am proud to advocate on behalf of our many outstanding fmers throughout the state,” Posthumus said. “Across the globe, Michigan products are being used and consumed every day – those exports are a huge contributor to our state economy. We must ensure our farmers can continue to seamlessly export their food and goods.”
Currently, MDARD does issue certificates of free sale for agricultural goods, verifying that the goods comply with state regulations. However, although state law explicitly authorizes the department to issue certificates for food, the law does not clearly include authority for other products.
To ensure Michigan farmers and manufacturers can continue exporting agricultural products, Posthumus and other legislators introduced House Bills 5742-5748. The plan would give MDARD clearer, broader authority to issue certificates of sale. In addition to food, the legislation would set guidelines to issue certificates of free sale for dairy products, commercial feed, pesticides, fertilizers, and nursery stock. Posthumus’ measure, House Bill 5747, protects the exportation of dairy products.
According to MDARD, Michigan producers exported nearly $2 billion worth of food and agricultural products in 2018.
House Bills 5742-5748 now advance to the Senate for further consideration.
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