Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Cavitt: Oppressive mandates will close dairy farms long before the avian flu
RELEASE|May 3, 2024
Contact: Cam Cavitt

State Rep. Cam Cavitt on Friday called out excessive and misdirected mandates issued by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The order, aimed at curbing the spread of avian influenza (HPAI), encompasses all dairy and commercial poultry facilities statewide.

State Ag Director Tim Boring’s order has sparked concern among the agricultural community, particularly dairy farmers. The mandates, which go into effect on May 8, require farmers to sanitize every vehicle that enters their farm, among other strict requirements. Dairy farms are highly frequented areas, meaning sanitizing every vehicle that comes and goes could equate to a full-time job. For example, the mandates could mean that every time a UPS delivery person drops of a package their vehicle would need to be sanitized before they leave.

“These mandates represent a significant burden on our dairy farmers, who play a vital role in Northeast Michigan’s economy,” said Cavitt, R-Cheboygan. “While we must address the risk of avian flu, we cannot afford to overlook the unintended consequences these measures may have on dairy production and farmers’ livelihoods.”

The emergency order requires dairy farms to implement extreme biosecurity practices, including the designation of a biosecurity manager, the establishment of secure perimeters with limited access points, and stringent cleaning and disinfection protocols for vehicles and individuals.

“Dairy farmers are already working for 12-plus hours a day. Now, the state is expecting them to become experts in biosecurity too,” Cavitt said. “No one is questioning the danger of the avian flu. But these mandates are yet another example of the state imposing extreme and confusing requirements with little to no notice. Rural farmers already have a hard time accessing resources. Instead of helping, MDARD is now making things even more difficult. We’re only weeks away before we start seeing farmers get hit with crippling fines and punishments for not keeping track of which grandkids showed up on which day.”

Cavitt noted that several dairy farmers in his district have already reached out to express serious concerns regarding the mandates, which were introduced just days ago.


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