U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today delivered her annual address on the "State of Michigan Agriculture" and used the opportunity to call for passage of a new Farm Bill during the Michigan Agri-Business Association's 80th Annual Winter Conference. Chairwoman Stabenow's address focused on the future of Michigan agriculture and her efforts to strengthen Michigan's second largest industry, which supports nearly one-in-four Michigan jobs.
"The state of Michigan agriculture is strong, with agriculture supporting nearly 1 in 4 Michigan jobs and contributing over $91 billion to our economy every year," said Stabenow. "Despite the many challenges last year, from the early freezes to the devastating drought, Michigan growers are resilient and are up to the challenge. That is why it's critical that we have the right policies and why I fought so hard to get disaster assistance in the Senate Farm Bill while reforming agriculture programs, ending direct payments and saving $24 billion."
Stabenow discussed how Michigan agriculture is a growing economic bright spot that helped Michigan weather the recent downturn, and is now helping to power our recovery. After spring freezes and drought hit crops and growers hard, Stabenow fought to get disaster relief for those farmers and ranchers affected.
Last year, the Senate overwhelmingly passed Chairwoman Stabenow's Farm Bill, which contained further disaster relief and reforms to agriculture programs which would save taxpayers $24 billion. The bill would also boost agriculture exports and help put more Michigan-grown products in our grocery store. While the Senate passed the bill with overwhelming bipartisan support, House leaders did not bring the bill up for a vote. Stabenow called on House Republican leadership to follow her lead and pass a Farm Bill.
"The leadership of the Agriculture Committees came together last year in a bipartisan fashion to make sure agriculture did its part to reduce the deficit and protect American jobs. Building off last year's progress, now it is time to pass a full five-year Farm Bill that works for American farmers, growers and small businesses while cutting the deficit and strengthening disaster relief."
Stabenow became Chairwoman of the Agriculture Committee in January 2011 and has been serving on the Committee as a member since her election in 2000. Stabenow also served on the agriculture committees in the U.S. House of Representatives and Michigan Legislature.
The Michigan Agri-Business Association's annual Winter Conference will focus on ways agricultural technology is maximizing production, promoting sustainability, and furthering the development of businesses. The Michigan Agri-Business Association sponsors education and information programs for their members. For more information, please visit www.miagbiz.org.