A front page article in last Friday's Detroit Free Press touts the opportunity for the Hungarian Mangalitsa pig to add to life to the Michigan hog industry. The Mangalitsa pig is known for its thick lard and tasty flavor and can be found on the menu in trendy restaurants in San Francisco, New York and Chicago. Traverse City businessman Marc Santucci is bringing the tasty pig to Michigan, but his biggest barrier in the long run may not be market acceptance for the new product but rather Michigan's unfriendly regulatory system.

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Agriculture remains a mainstay in the Michigan economy, consistently ranked along with manufacturing and tourism as the three most important segments in the state for generating income and jobs. Like manufacturing, agriculture is subject to extensive state regulation, which is a critical factor in how competitive Michigan will be in the future.

Agriculture is Michigan's original green industry and its health is important to the state's economic future. Policies that would help agriculture in the state thrive include:

  • Governor and Attorney General should defend Michigan's Right to Farm Act by resisting efforts to water it down through legislation or in the courts.
  • Do not subject farms without point discharges to permitting requirements in the Clean Water Act that are designed for manufacturing facilities and municipalities.
  • Ensure that the primary role of the Department of Agriculture is to promote sound agriculture and is overseen by an independent agricultural commission.
  • Do not support silly activities like meatless days which only serve to send a negative message regarding the state's commitment to agriculture.  

Regulatory reform is needed in the state to once again enable Michigan businesses to compete, and this is especially true for Michigan's agricultural industry.