U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today met with local farmers and agribusinesses to discuss support following this year's record-setting drought. Stabenow's bipartisan five-year Farm Bill, which passed the Senate but has not been considered in the House, provides the immediate relief producers need to battle drought and disaster and also gives farmers the long-term certainty and additional tools they need to keep growing and creating jobs. USDA recently announced low-interest loans for Michigan growers, producers and agribusinesses who suffered losses as a result of the drought and this spring's damaging deep freezes through emergency disaster declarations.
Senator Stabenow said: "This has been a tough year for Michigan farmers. First they were hit by a terrible spring freeze, and are now experiencing the worst drought in more than 50 years. A five-year Farm Bill not only provides the immediate relief producers need to battle drought and disaster, it also gives farmers the certainty and additional tools they need to keep growing and creating jobs over the long-term."
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, 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.
The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act, also known as the Farm Bill, passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support 64-35. 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.