This came from Foodspeak list serve sorry for any cross postings but this is an important event for Michigan ag.


From: Linking growers, consumers, and all those in-between [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jean Doss
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2007 8:13 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Senate Passes CAFO Bills


These bills are expected to be referred to the House Agriculture Committee. Individuals wishing to express their views should contact their state representatives, especially if they are a member of this committee.


Remember to keep all communications concise, and respectful & positive in tone.


To read the text of each bill and an analysis, go to this site and type in the bill number:


To find your state representative (and his/her fax/email/phone #s) go to:


To see members of the House Agriculture Committee go to:




Gongwer Michigan Report

Volume #46, Report #119 --Wednesday, June 20, 2007

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A controversial series of bills making major changes to the regulation of concentrated animal feeding operations - legislation vigorously opposed by environmentalists and just as vigorously supported by most agriculture interests - passed the Senate on a series of divided votes on Wednesday.

Not dealt with, however, was a measure that critics said would subject individuals trying to monitor and report CAFO violations to potential harassment because it would require individuals filing a complaint about a CAFO to identify themselves.

The bills - SB 504*, passed 21-17; SB 447*, passed 22-16; SB 448*, passed 21-17; SB 501*, passed 22-16; and SB 503*, passed 23-15 - now go to the House where environmentalists expect they will either be killed or substantially changed.   As now drafted the bills are not supported by the administration of Governor Jennifer Granholm, and the Department of Environmental Quality distributed a letter on the Senate floor listing its objections to the package.

The bills passed mainly on party-line votes with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed.   Sen. Jim Barcia (D-Bay City) and Sen. Bruce Patterson (R-Canton) switched from their caucuses on the main bills, SB 504 and SB 448.

Sen. Gerald Van Woerkom (R-Norton Shores) said the package would both provide greater protection for the environment by requiring farmers running CAFO operations to be certified and help promote the growth of agriculture in the state.

And in reaction to charges that the legislation would leave the state with less environmental protection, Mr. Van Woerkom said that agriculture relies on clean water in order to prosper.

Throughout the debate on the bills, supporters said agriculture was the state's second largest industry, one of the few growing sections of the economy and that individuals now had to recognize that the era of the family farm had given way to larger operations.

SB 504 is the main bill in the package and Mr. Van Woerkom said it will require that CAFOs get either certified as an agricultural environmentally approved facility or a permit from the DEQ.   The measure will also require annual inspections as well as soil testing and call for creation of a committee to research where pathogens in waterways originate.

SB 448 also sets requirements and standards for shutting down CAFOs and fining them if they violate pollution laws.

But Sen. Liz Brater (D-Ann Arbor) said regulation of CAFOs by the Department of Agriculture would not be as vigorous as by the DEQ.   The potential environmental effects of a CAFO are enormous, she said, especially when a farm with as many as 700 cattle can produce as much waste as a city with a population of 16,000.

She also questioned how much economic activity the bills would generate, citing a study that suggests large CAFO operations actually have a negative effect on a local area's overall economy.

Senate Democrats attempted and failed to win approval of a five-year moratorium on any new CAFOs in the state.   Mr. Van Woerkom the definition in the bill would take into account smaller farms along with CAFOs.   "This would have a chilling effect on the industry," he said.

And Senate Majority Floor Leader Alan Cropsey (R-DeWitt) said the U.S. is helping feed the world because it has the freedom to allow production methods like CAFOs.   Critics of CAFOs are probably opposed to animal farming in general and "should turn vegetarian."




Jean Doss

J. Doss Consulting, LLC
216 N. Chestnut Street
Lansing, MI 48933-1021
Ph: 517/999-3165

Cell: 517/202-2302
Fax: 517/484-3332
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