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ALM - Michigan Agriculture Opposes New MISS DIG Law
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Agricultural Leaders of Michigan have releassed a statement regarding Senate Bills 1083 and 1084 recently passed by the Michigan Senate.


Source: Agricultural Leaders of Michigan

Michigan Agriculture Opposes New MISS DIG Law


Farmers and agricultural businesses understand the value of utilities and broadband communication and support reasonable efforts to minimize damage to infrastructure. However, this legislation as written creates an unreasonable burden on farmers, increasing their liability and requiring hours of extra labor spent digging holes when farmers could be working in their fields.
The MISS DIG law was intended to regulate excavators, not farmers, and normal farm tillage should not be considered excavation.
We recommend the following changes to address the concerns of the agricultural community:
  • For normal tillage practices above 12 inches in depth in the road right of way, and 24 inches in depth in the field, landowners, tenants or custom operators shall not have to call MISS Dig or be held liable for damage to any buried utilities.
  • A landowner, tenant or custom operator shall not be held liable for any accidental or inadvertent breakage or disruption of service on utility lines, cables or pipelines that are not properly installed, marked or maintained.
  • MISS DIG markings of utilities should be accurate within one foot.
  • A utility company should promptly settle for damage to crops.
  • Utilities should notify landowners in writing when a new line is being installed.
  • All new underground utilities shall be installed and maintained at least 2 ½ feet under the surface.
  • When locating new utility line depths, utility owners should take into account previous land uses such as agricultural tillage to avoid future line breakage or interruption of service.
Michigan’s farmers and agri-businesses have been farming responsibly for decades without causing significant damage to buried utilities. It makes no sense to require them to now contact MISS DIG for the same work they have been doing for years.The House is expected to take up the bills during the “lame duck” session and action could occur as early as Tuesday.Please contact your state representative by Tuesday, December 11 at 9:00 a.m. to express opposition to the legislation and ask for our concerns to be addressed prior to moving forward.You can find your representative online at www.house.mi.gov.​