LANSING, Mich. — State Rep. Julie Alexander, chair of the House Agriculture Committee, recently celebrated new laws she helped pass to support Michigan agricultural producers by ensuring they may continue exporting their products.
The governor signed into law House Bills 5742-5745, 5747-5748 and Senate Bill 1058, which would ensure the state has the statutory authority to continue verifying the safety of various food and agricultural products through certificates of free sale, an important document some countries require for imports.
“Michigan communities are fortunate to have farmers who raise such a diverse array of plants and livestock, as well as manufacturers who make fertilizers, pesticides and other important agricultural products,” said Alexander, R-Hanover. “These goods don’t benefit only local families. Clarifying state authority to issue certificates of free sale will ensure people in other countries may also continue enjoying products grown and made in Michigan — and the workers who make up our state’s agricultural industry may prosper from international trade.”
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) currently issues certificates of free sale for products to be exported, verifying that they meet legal requirements to be sold in the state. Alexander and a bipartisan group of legislators sponsored the plan to clarify that MDARD has the statutory authority to issue certificates of free sale for a full range of agricultural products.
State law explicitly enables MDARD to issue certificates of free sale for food. The department also provides certificates for other Michigan goods, but clarity within the law would guarantee the department may continue to do so. The bipartisan plan would clearly authorize MDARD to issue certificates of free sale for a wide variety of goods, including dairy, livestock feed, nursery plants, fertilizers, and pesticides. Additionally, Alexander’s House Bill 5744 would update the existing authority for food-related certificates of free sale.
— Julie Alexander, Michigan House of Representatives