Sen. Cherry continues to champion state conservation efforts through proposed investments and initiatives

LANSING, Mich. (May 3, 2024) — Yesterday, the Michigan Senate passed appropriations bills for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and funding distributions for the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. As Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and Natural Resources, Sen. John Cherry (D-Flint), is proud to have worked with his Senate colleagues to continue to preserve and protect Michigan’s natural resources for years to come.

Overall, the funding makes significant investments in Michigan’s agriculture and natural resources. With innovative programs geared toward collaboration between farming, conservation, and preservation, the proposals reflect the Senate’s bold commitment to bolstering Michigan’s agricultural economy while ensuring that sustainability and resource availability are protected for the next generation of Michiganders.

“From our woods to our waters, Michiganders take great pride in our state’s natural resources,” said Sen. Cherry. “These budget proposals continue the progress we made in the 2024 budget to protect and restore the environment in which we live, work, and play, keeping a critical focus on long-term conservation solutions to build a cleaner, healthier, and ultimately, stronger Michigan for generations to come.”

Senate Bill 758, which funds MDARD and passed with strong bi-partisan approval, proposes $6 million to continue the vital work of Michigan’s conservation districts in conjunction with Michigan State University Extension. To support the farming and food economy, the proposal includes $2 million for a Farm to Family Program to boost regenerative farming and agriculture supply chains and promote Michigan food products cooperatively. Additionally, building off last year’s budget, Senate Bill 758 recommends investments in the state’s minority-owned food and agriculture businesses.

Included in the recommendations for the DNR, Senate Bill 759 proposes more than $17 million to support state parks and provide a deserved exemption for veterans. Further, the proposal continues the Senate’s efforts to prioritize wetland protection, dedicating an additional $3 million for wetland restoration initiatives and funding an innovative pilot program to reduce the cost of flood insurance via wetland restoration measures. Senate Bill 759 also invests in nonprofits combatting hunger, including Sportsmen Against Hunger, whose pipelines of harvested deer serve families in need.

“Michigan’s wetlands play a crucial role in the health of many other natural resources across the state, and this budget will ensure we have the tools necessary to protect those resources to the fullest extent possible,” said Sen. Cherry. “From natural lands to our park trails and playgrounds, these Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund investments will bolster Michigan’s recreational opportunities while protecting land known for its environmental importance and scenic beauty.”

Lastly, Senate Bill 817 allocates $27.3 million for 53 recreation development projects across Michigan through the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF). The projects include two grants for Senate District 27, one to aid Genesee County with improving Flint River access at the confluence of Swartz Creek and one to assist Grand Blanc Township with a shared-use path along Cook Road and Dort Highway.

Sen. Cherry has been instrumental in protecting Michigan’s natural resources throughout his tenure as a lawmaker. In the 2023 state budget, Sen. Cherry helped secure $10 million in funding for wetland conservation, and in the 2024 budget, Sen. Cherry helped secure, for the first time in Michigan history, ongoing general fund support for wetlands restoration. Earlier this year, the Ducks Unlimited organization selected Sen. Cherry to receive their 2024 National Wetland Conservation Achievement Award.

In addition to these investments in conservation districts, food access, and our state’s waters and parks, some other highlights of the proposed MDARD and DNR budgets include:


  • One-time funding for animal shelters;
  • Support for soil and health workshops and education; and
  • Financial resources contracted to Michigan State University Extension to assist the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program.
  • Funding to help develop a mass timber market in the state;
  • Support for initiatives that help Michigan’s forests adapt to climate change; and
  • Resources for invasive species management.
As the Legislature and governor’s office work to finalize the budget, Sen. Cherry will continue to promote the use of state dollars for the conservation of Michigan’s natural resources, ensuring our forests, farms and everywhere in between are clean and healthy for the ways of life they sustain. The recommendations passed will now go to the House of Representatives for further consideration.