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Stabenow Announces Major Victories for Michigan Farmers and Families

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Location: Washington, DC


Stabenow Announces Major Victories for Michigan Farmers and Families

Farm Bill passes Senate 79-14

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today announced Senate passage of the 2007 Farm Bill, which has for the first time recognized the importance of fruits and vegetables by creating a new specialty crops subtitle and has approved over $3 billion to fund specialty crops provisions. In addition to important traditional farm programs, the Senate Farm Bill also provides resources for alternative energy, conservation, rural development and nutrition policies. It gives a boost for the production of cellulosic ethanol and the building of biofuel refineries which will help Michigan emerge as a leader in alternative fuel production.

"The Food and Energy Security Act is a major win for Michigan farmers and Michigan families" said Stabenow. "Agriculture remains our second largest industry, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout our state, and I am pleased to have been able to lead the successful fight for our state's growers and small communities."

Specialty crops- the fruits, vegetables and other crops that keep America healthy- make up half of the nation's agricultural cash receipts, but have received little support in previous farm bills. That's why this legislation is of particular importance to Michigan which grows more diversity of crops than any other state except California. We are proud to be a national leader in the production of numerous specialty crops, including blueberries, apples, cherries, asparagus, and celery.

Also included are numerous provisions encouraging environmental stewardship, investments in our rural communities, and improvement of our nutrition programs to provide healthier alternatives to those in need. Stabenow provisions in the bill include reauthorization of a program to protect the Great Lakes by controlling soil erosion and a "Buy American" provision directing the United States Department of Agriculture to enforce current law, which states that all federal funds and all purchases for use in the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs must be from American farmers and growers.

As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Stabenow has served as a leading voice for Michigan throughout the crafting of this legislation. She has served on agricultural committees in all four legislative bodies in which she was a member, including the Michigan House, Michigan Senate, U.S. House and currently, the U.S. Senate. She is also the first Senator from Michigan to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee since Senator Phil Hart from 1959 to 1962.

The bill will now go to conference committee between the House and the Senate.

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