In This Issue:
- MISS Dig Bills Pass in Michigan Senate, Stall in House
- Farm Bill Still Stalled
- Ag Groups Urge Action on Estate Taxes
- SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans Now Available in Michigan
- Michigan Passes Groundwater Well Dispute Statute – Again
- Michigan Farmers Concerned About Wetland Use Permits
- 2012: A Year in Review
- Excerpt from MISS Dig Bills Pass in Michigan Senate, Stall in House
Legislation creating a new MISS Dig law passed the Michigan Senate on November 29 in a 26-12 vote, but failed to make it through the House before the 2012 Legislative Session closed on December 13. Supporters plan to reintroduce the bill during the 2013 session. The MISS Dig regulations, which require permits before excavation near buried utility lines, would substantially increase a farmer’s responsibilities when they till their fields, according to Farm Bureau officials. Both the Michigan Farm Bureau and the Michigan Agri-Business Association oppose the bill as passed by the Senate.
The bill requires that farmers call MISS Dig before performing normal farming practices at any depth below 12 inches in the road right-of-way or below 18 inches in the farm field. Once the utility lines are marked, the farmer would be required to dig by hand – the bill calls it “soft excavation” – if digging within 48 inches of the line. Opponents of the bill argue that calling MISS Dig is already required by law before excavating, and that farmers engaged in routine tilling are not excavating and should be exempt.
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