UNDATED, MI (WTVB) - Three state lawmakers whose efforts in 2012 helped ensure the prosperity of Michigan agriculture were honored for their efforts today at Michigan Farm Bureau's (MFB) 2013 Lansing Legislative Seminar. MFB's highest award for lawmakers, the Silver Plow symbolizes the non-partisan organization's appreciation for legislative leadership and support for measures that benefit Michigan's $91.4 billion farm and food sector. Among those recognized was Branch County’s representative in the Michigan Senate, Republican Bruce Caswell of Hillsdale who is serving his second term representing Michigan's 16th Senate District (Branch, Hillsdale, Lenawee and St. Joseph counties), Caswell earned his Silver Plow by sponsoring three pieces of farm-friendly legislation in 2012:
- SB 946 amended the Insect Pest and Plant Disease Law, implementing a risk-based approach to nursery inspections and capping inspection fees at no more than the Consumer Price Index.
- SB 1121 amended the Michigan Vehicle Code to better define "implements of husbandry," making it more consistent with neighboring states.
- SB 862 amended the General Property Tax Act to apply farm land tax exemptions to undeveloped parcels contiguous to farm land.
"According to the Senate Fiscal Agency, SB 862 will save the agriculture industry somewhere between $10 million and $20 million," said MFB Legislative Counsel Rebecca Park. "It's something we're very excited about."
"Senator Caswell's background is in the rural community," said Jay Williams, president of the Hillsdale County Farm Bureau. "He understands what we're facing in Hillsdale County and in the district, and does a good job responding to our concerns."