Budget funding would restore wetlands, support state parks and beachesdouble Michigan’s Double Up Food Bucks program, support for minority-owned ag businesses 


LANSING, Mich. (April 26, 2023) — Today, Sen. John Cherry (D-Flint) and members of the Senate Appropriations Committee voted out the budget bills for the Michigan Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR), Senate Bills 187 and 188. As Chair of the MDARD and DNR Appropriations Subcommittees, Sen. Cherry worked with his Senate colleagues on key budget proposals to protect Michigan’s woods, waters, farmland and the agricultural and recreational ways of life they sustain. 


“We are still in the beginning stages of negotiating the new state budget, but the initial state budgets are great for Michigan,” said Sen. Cherry. “These budgets passed today invest in a mix of proven and innovative programs to uplift Michigan’s residents, economy, and environment. As conversations continue, I will keep advocating for these important investments that support the needs of urban and rural residents alike and go above and beyond in supporting Michiganders.” 


The proposed MDARD budget passed today includes doubling ongoing funding for Michigan’s Double Up Food Bucks, as well as an additional $2 million in funding this fiscal year. This successful program matches Michigan-grown produce purchases dollar for dollar for Michiganders using food assistance, enabling residents to stretch their budgets further while getting twice the fresh produce for their families. The budget also proposes a new program to increase support for minority-owned food and agriculture businesses in the state. 


The DNR budget proposal builds on Michigan’s famous natural resources and abundant recreation opportunities, making investments in Belle Isle, Lake Michigan state parks, Flint State Park, and state-designated Water Trails. DNR budget funding is also allocated to expand state investment in wetland restoration. Earlier this year, Sen. Cherry successfully fought for $10 million in DNR funding for wetland restoration, enhancement and acquisitions in the Lake Erie and Saginaw Bay watersheds.    


“Water is essential to our state and its people, for enjoyment and health, and this budget funding will better protect our water and make it more accessible for all to use,” Cherry said. 


In addition to these investments in food access, agricultural entrepreneurship, and our states waters and parks, some other highlights of the proposed MDARD and DNR budgets include: 



  • Double support to Conservation Districts; 

  • Create a Soil Health and Regenerative Agriculture program to restore the health of Michigan’s soil and farmlands; and 

  • Provide support to increase market access to small agricultural producers. 


  • Expand Michigan’s Civilian Conservation Corps program; 

  • Increase funding to fight invasive species;  

  • Expand wildfire response capacity 

  • Fund pay equity for conservation officers. 

Today’s passage of these budget bills by the full Senate Appropriations Committee marks another important step in the budget process. The proposed budgets will continue to be negotiated with the full Senate, House and governor’s office.