State Rep. Hank Vaupel this week testified before the House Agriculture Committee in support of his plan to create the Michigan Equine Commission and improve the education, research and promotion of the equine industry.
He said the goal of the commission is to increase the visibility of the equine industry in Michigan.
He said it which could add to the $2.6 billion impact horses have on Michigan’s economy today.
“Horse owners have taken notice of other agricultural groups with similar organizations – including beef, cherries, corn, pork and milk producers – and are eager to start up their own program,” Vaupel said. “Six other states, including Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, New York, North Carolina and Virginia, currently have equine check-off programs similar to the one I am proposing.”
Under Vaupel’s plan, the commission would have 11 members representing various segments of the equine industry. The commission would administer the Equine Promotion Development Fund, funded by an assessment of $5 per ton of horse feed sold in Michigan and $3 per Coggins test administered in the state.
“I know there are people who might say commodity groups should have no government involvement, but when you consider the benefits to our horse community and economy as a whole, they far outweigh this concern,” Vaupel said. “Other states with these programs have collected and analyzed data on the horse industry and its economic development, supported state FFA and 4-H groups and other youth equine programs, provided scholarship opportunities, and the list goes on.”