January 29, 2020

Farm Bill; Ag Economy; Biofuels; and, Immigration

Farm Bill

A news release yesterday from Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) stated that, “[Stabenow] today met with community leaders at Hunter Park GardenHouse in Lansing to discuss how the production and sale of more locally grown foods boosts the local economy. According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture, if every household spent just $10 dollars per week on locally grown food it would generate nearly $40 million in economic activity in Michigan. Senator Stabenow heard from local leaders who are working on food initiatives in Lansing that will help boost economic growth, support Mid-Michigan agriculture, and increase access to more locally grown, healthy food choices for families.”

The release noted that, “In June, the Senate passed Chairwoman Stabenow’s 2013 Farm Bill with wide bipartisan support (66-27). The Farm Bill expands support for community gardens, farmers’ markets and local food hubs to boost Michigan agriculture, our state’s second largest industry. The bill also strengthens crop insurance and provides disaster relief for fruit and vegetable growers who were affected by last year’s freeze and drought. While strengthening key initiatives to help farmers and agriculture businesses create jobs, the Farm Bill also cuts unnecessary programs and streamlines existing ones to reduce the deficit by $24 billion.”

Steve Carmody reported yesterday at Michigan Radio Online that, “Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow is hopeful getting a deal on a new Farm Bill won’t be derailed by a looming deadline to avoid a federal government shutdown.

“The current Farm Bill’s mix of farm subsidies and low-income food programs expires at the end of September. The next day, unless a budget deal can be reached, the federal government may have to shut down.”

Mr. Carmody noted that, “‘Regardless of the broader discussion going on the budget, we can get this done,’ says Stabenow.

“The Michigan Democrat, who leads the Senate Agriculture committee, says it’s up to the House Republican leadership to get behind one plan.

“‘We can get this done regardless of the broader debate on the budget,’ says Stabenow, ‘But we have to have a willingness by House leadership….the Speaker (John Boehner)…Majority Leader (Eric Cantor) have to decide they just want to get this done.’”