The Senate today passed an amendment authored by U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, that will make sure disaster assistance is available this year for Michigan fruit growers devastated by severe weather who do not have adequate access to crop insurance. The amendment to Senator Stabenow's Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act, also known as "the Farm Bill," provides an opportunity for producers who lost crops due to frosts and freezes in Michigan and other states to purchase coverage in 2012 through the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.
Moving forward, Senator Stabenow's Farm Bill includes provisions to strengthen and expand crop insurance by ensuring that there are policies available to producers who do not have them, protecting growers from similar weather disasters in the future.
The Senate is now in its second day of considering Senator Stabenow's 2012 Farm bill. The House has not yet passed a Farm Bill.
"No farming family should be wiped out because of a few days of bad weather. My provision will provide much-needed assistance this year for fruit growers with crop losses who did not have access to crop insurance," said Senator Stabenow. "I am pleased that the bipartisan Farm Bill will improve protections for Michigan farmers from weather disasters in the future."
Senator Stabenow has also urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture through a letter and conversations with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to press for low-interest loans or other support to be made available to growers and processors following the state of Michigan's request for a disaster declaration for the affected counties. Senator Stabenow is continuing to press for other forms of relief for Michigan growers.