The House Agriculture Committee this week passed state Rep. Dan Lauwers’ plan to update and streamline the state’s laws protecting Michigan’s animal food agriculture. “This solution is a great example of legislators and constituents working together to serve Michiganders and make government more efficient,” Lauwers said. “Our farming technology has changed dramatically since this law was first enacted in the 1980s, and I am pleased to see the important work of updating the law move forward. Thank you to our partners in the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and various industry representatives for their work on this plan.” The bills’ movement signals great progress on a multi-year effort between the Legislature and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) to update Michigan’s animal husbandry laws that began in 2015, when Lauwers chaired the House Agriculture Committee. This legislation also carried personal significance for Lauwers. His daughter, Lauren Lauwers, worked on this issue in 2015 while an intern for MDARD. She returned to the department after her internship to continue working on the issue. “These crucial changes bring order to Michigan’s Animal Industry Act, making it easier to follow and government more transparent,” said Dr. James Averill, deputy director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “By updating and streamlining the Act, Michigan will be more nimble in its response to technological advances in agriculture. I commend Rep. Lauwers on his work to move this important bill through the legislative process.” Since its enactment in 1988, Michigan’s animal industry law has been amended sporadically many times, which resulted in a hard-to-follow mishmash of regulations. Updates were needed to reorganize and streamline the law, making it easier for Michigan’s farmers to follow. “Making the law easier to reference and follow will help Michigan’s farmers and agribusiness owners take all necessary precautions to protect all aspects of food animal production,” Lauwers said. HBs 6205, 6206 and 6214-15 will proceed to the full House for consideration.