MDARD ’25 budget would invest in people, supply chains

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director says the governor’s 2025 budget proposal adds capacity to expand the ag economy.

Tim Boring tells Brownfield the department is evaluating ways to offer conservation technicians competitive salaries and reduce employee turnover.

“Working with growers on implementing regen ag practices as high-tech stuff, we need to be adequately compensating and attracting the best and the brightest to be partnering with farmers to implement these more difficult management practices,” he says.

Nearly $2 million would support 24 Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program technicians becoming state employees, making them eligible for state wages and benefits.

An additional $4 million has been allocated for a Farm to Family Program. Boring says the funds would provide technical assistance for regenerative agriculture and address supply chain gaps.

“It doubles down on continued investments that the Biden Administration has been making into Michigan and standing up resilient food systems,” he says.

Boring has been meeting with stakeholders to discuss where department resources are needed for the future of Michigan agriculture.  He says universal Pre-K, continuation of free school meals, and free community college will invest in the needs of rural communities as well.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s 2025 fiscal year budget would adjust MDARD’s funding $24.4 million lower to $144.2 million.  The 2024 budget approved 12 separate one-time funding items.

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