U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, today met with dozens of local community leaders in Traverse City on the impact of Farm Bill reforms on the region and urged passage of the bill in the House of Representatives. Stabenow discussed how the 2012 Senate Farm Bill benefits the local community and creates jobs at a roundtable with local farmers, agribusiness owners, conservation leaders and other interested citizens.
"When we make things here and grow things here, we have jobs here," said Stabenow. "This Farm Bill is a big win for Michigan's economy, providing critical disaster relief and long-term certainty to help agriculture continue to grow here in Michigan. The Senate passed the Farm Bill by a wide bipartisan margin and it's time for the House to follow suit to help create jobs, reform programs and reduce the deficit."
Stabenow authored the five-year Farm Bill, which passed the Senate in June 64-35, but has not yet been taken up by the House of Representatives. The current Farm Bill expires Sept. 30. If Congress does not act by the deadline, the current Farm Bill will expire and the country will revert back to 1940s agriculture policy, an antiquated system of subsidies and price supports born in the depression-era.
National media outlets have called Stabenow's Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act, also known as the Farm Bill, the most significant reform to agriculture programs in decades. The bill ends payments to farmers for crops they don't grow and streamlines programs to cut $23 billion in spending while strengthening initiatives that help Michigan farmers and agriculture businesses create jobs.
Stabenow's bipartisan Farm Bill makes sure disaster assistance is available this year for growers impacted by weather who did not have adequate access to crop insurance and strengthens crop insurance to better protect Michigan farmers from disasters in future years. It also includes relief for livestock producers, expands crop insurance for specialty crops, strengthens conservation efforts to help mitigate future disasters, and provides increased access to crop insurance for beginning farmers and ranchers.