Michigan Legislature provides significant investment in Sportsmen Against Hunger

Thursday morning the Michigan legislature completed work on the Fiscal Year 2025 budget, adjourning at 5 a.m. 

After an 18-hour session, a budget agreement was finally passed, which included funding of a conservation priority in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) budget but did not reach an agreement on the Recreation Passport Opt-Out. 

Within the DNR budget was a $550,000 investment into the Sportsmen Against Hunger program for purchasing refrigerated trailers to store harvested deer or processed venison.  

The Sportsmen Against Hunger program was created by Public Acts 116 & 117 of 2005. Since that time, the DNR has partnered with Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger (MSAH) to coordinate the efforts of Michigan hunters and Michigan-based licensed wild game processors to feed the hungry of our state.  

MSAH is an all-volunteer organization working in coordination with the Michigan DNR to facilitate licensed game processors throughout the state as drop off locations for white-tailed deer harvested by hunters. These deer are donated to local food banks to help feed communities. 

These trailers will provide important storage for donated venison, helping relieve the storage burden on processors, hunters and farmers harvesting excess deer who seek to donate the meat.  

Investments into MSAH provide for both humanitarian and deer management efforts in the state, said Justin Tomei, MUCC Policy and Government Affairs Manager.  

“A relatively small investment in the state’s overall budget is extremely meaningful to Michigan’s humanitarian and deer management efforts,” said Tomei. “We will now be able to safely store more meat headed to the plates of hungry Michiganders and incentivize the take of excess deer in the parts of the state that need it most. This is the textbook definition of a win-win.” 

The budget specifies that the money is to be used for the purchase of refrigerated trailers, and any unspent funds can go towards disease and lead testing of donated meat.  

The DNR budget did not include the Recreation Passport Opt-Out funding, which was estimated at $17 million dollars. Legislators could not come to an agreement on the program despite it being a department priority. As a result, the funding was omitted from the budget.  

A House Fiscal Analysis of the entire budget can be found HERE.  

To learn more about MUCC and its other policy priorities visit www.mucc.org.     

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