Stabenow Stands Up for Michigan Asparagus
Preserves $15 Million Program in the Farm Bill
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today announced the defeat of an amendment to the Farm Bill that would have stripped out a Stabenow provision that would provide $15 million to asparagus farmers that have been adversely affected by unfair trade agreements. The amendment sponsored by Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), was defeated by a vote of 39 to 56.
"As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I led the effort to put this important assistance for our asparagus growers in this Farm Bill," said Stabenow. "Today on the Senate floor this program came under attack. The defeat of this amendment represents a victory not only for our asparagus growers in Michigan, but for fair trade for all our growers."
Since the enactment of the Andean Trade Preference Act's (ATPA) in 1990, domestic asparagus growers have been forced to compete with cheap Peruvian imports. Since then, domestic asparagus acreage has dropped 54 percent and will continue to decline due to the recent adoption of the Peruvian Free Trade agreement. The Asparagus Market Loss Program would provide $15 million to compensate domestic asparagus growers for the loss to their industry caused by these agreements and to invest in more efficient planting and harvesting equipment.