U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today announced support for Michigan State University and its Cooperative Extension to help Michigan farmers and ranchers utilize new tools and resources available through the 2014 Farm Bill. President Obama signed Sen. Stabenow's 2014 Farm Bill at Michigan State University in February.
"Michigan State University and Cooperative Extension play a critical role in supporting our farmers and ranchers and Michigan's agriculture economy," said Stabenow. "This announcement will provide MSU with additional support to help Michigan farmers access the tools and resources available to them in the 2014 Farm Bill to help create jobs and keep our agriculture economy growing."
MSU will receive roughly $150,000 and will partner with a coalition of universities led by the University of Illinois. A portion of these funds will be used to develop new online decision making tools for commodity, specialty crop, and dairy producers. The remainder will be used to support state-based MSU extension agents to help conduct public education and outreach meetings this summer. Sign-ups for some newly established programs have already begun, with more beginning later this year.
The bipartisan, five-year Farm Bill signed into law earlier this year reforms agriculture programs, reduces the deficit by $23 billion and will help farmers and business owners continue to grow Michigan's agriculture economy. The bill includes major reforms like eliminating the direct payment subsidy program, streamlining and consolidating other programs, and cracking down on fraud and misuse. The bill also invests in initiatives to help strengthen Michigan's fruit and vegetable industries, increase American agriculture exports, and help family farmers sell more goods locally.
The Farm Bill is also the biggest investment in conservation the nation has made or is likely to make in years, including support for new regional partnerships that was announced earlier this week by Sen. Stabenow and Secretary Tom Vilsack in Bay City. This program will help provide opportunities for businesses, non-profits, universities, and federal, state and local governments to partner with agricultural and conservation groups to invest in clean water, soil and wildlife conservation.