Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) joined a bipartisan group of 75 Members of Congress who signed a letter addressed to the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives encouraging action on the "Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2012" (H.R. 6083), also known as the Farm Bill, before the House adjourns for its August recess.
The Farm Bill is federal legislation that establishes the general direction of America's agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and forestry policies. Farm Bills are typically enacted every five to seven years. Michigan farmers rely on the Farm Bill for crop insurance, risk management tools for growers, and conservation programs.
"From cherry orchards to dairy farms, agriculture plays a critical role in Northern Michigan's economy. Our farmers and the many industries they support expect action from Congress now. For the sake of farmers in Northern Michigan and across this nation, I am hopeful House leadership will take action and move this bill forward in a timely manner," said Dr. Benishek, a doctor from Iron River.
Dr. Benishek voiced his support for Michigan farmers in a signed a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD). The letter stresses that while the bill is not perfect, it is critical that House leadership provide adequate floor time for the Farm Bill to be debated, passed and ultimately signed into law by President Obama before Congress recesses for the month of August.
The letter reads in part: "We all share the goal of giving small businesses certainty in these challenging economic times. Agriculture supports nearly 16 million jobs nationwide and over 45 million people are helped each year by the nutrition programs in the Farm Bill. We have a tremendous opportunity to set the course of farm and nutrition policy for another five years while continuing to maintain and support these jobs nationwide."
H.R. 6083 passed the House Committee on Agriculture Committee by a bipartisan vote of 35 to 11 on July 12. The current "Farm Bill" is slated to expire on September 30, 2012.