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Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD), formerly the Michigan Department of Agriculture is a department of the Michigan state government created in 1921 to enforce laws regarding agriculture production and distribution. Agriculture in the State of Michigan is now a $104.7 billion industry.[2] A five-member commission heads the Department with a Director of Agriculture & Rural Development to administer the day-to-day activities.

Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
Department overview
HeadquartersLansing, Michigan
Employees508 (2018 Fiscal Yr)
Annual budget$110.2 million (2019 Fiscal Yr)[1]
Ministers responsible
  • Trever Meachum, Commission Vice Chair
  • Brian Pridgeon, Commission Secretary
  • Dru Montri, Commissioner
  • Patti Bergdahl, Commissioner
  • Charlie Meintz, Commissioner
Department executives
  • Gary McDowell, Director
  • Kenneth McFarlane, Chief Deputy Director
  • James Averill, Deputy Director

Under Governor Rick Snyder, MDARD is now part of the "Quality of Life" group within state government, along with the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Environmental Quality.[3]

The mission of the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development is, "To protect, promote and preserve the food, agricultural, environmental and economic interests of the people of Michigan."

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has six divisions, which work to cultivate and expand new economic opportunities for the food and agricultural sector; safeguard the public’s food supply; inspect and enforce sound animal health practices; control and eradicate plant pests and diseases threatening the food and agriculture system; preserve the environment by which the farming community makes their living and feeds consumers; and protect consumers by enforcing laws relating to weights and measures



The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (then known only as the Department of Agriculture) was brought into existence in 1921 by the provisions of Act 13 of the Public Acts of 1921. Previous to this time, the regulatory work affecting agriculture was administered by commissions, departments and individuals. The act creating the department brought under one head the administering of all regulatory laws affecting agriculture. Commissions were abolished and all their work turned over to the newly created department.

Along with a proposed merger of the Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Natural Resources, in 2009 former Governor Jennifer Granholm issued an Executive Order making the Department's Director appointed by the Governor instead of the Agriculture Commission.[4] In 2011, then Governor Rick Snyder renamed the department to Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, giving it an expanded mission in the rural areas to include economic, social, and educational.[5]

Director of
Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development
AppointerGovernor of Michigan[4]
Formation1921 The Director


  • Agriculture Development Division
  • Animal Industry Division
  • Environmental Stewardship Division
  • Food and Dairy Division
  • Laboratory Division
  • Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division
  • MDARD Executive Office
  • Human Resources is now part of Quality of Life Group HR Division[6]

List of DirectorsEdit

Boards and CouncilsEdit

  • Pesticide Advisory Committee (PAC)
  • Michigan Craft Beverage Council
  • Fertilizer Research Advisory Committee
  • Rural Development Fund Board

The Office of Racing CommissionerEdit

Racing Commissioner
Michigan Department of Agriculture
Final holder[[]], acting

Executive Order No. 2009 — 45 signed on October 8, 2009 transfer the duties of the Racing Commissioner from MDARD to the Michigan Gaming Control Board and abolishes the office effective January 17, 2010.[8]


  1. ^ "State of Michigan Fiscal Year 2018-19 Appropriations Summary and Analysis" (PDF). website. State of Michigan. 2008-03-06. Retrieved 2017-02-05.
  2. ^,4610,7-125-1572-7775--,00.html
  3. ^ Luke, Peter. "Gov.-elect Snyder says environmental departments will focus on "quality of life"". Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Governor Granholm Issues EO on Agriculture, DNR; Recommits to Gubernatorial Appointment of Directors". December 1, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
  5. ^ a b "AP Interview: Ag director takes on rural mission in Michigan". Flint Journal. The Associated Press. February 12, 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2011.
  6. ^ "MDARD Divisions" (PDF). website. State of Michigan. June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-08.
  7. ^,4610,7-125-1572-202290--,00.html
  8. ^ a b "Horse racing industry undergoes changes, Sports Creek Raceway attendance declines". Swartz Creek News. Booth Newspapers. 2009-10-16. Retrieved 2009-10-21.