January 29, 2020

Farm Bill; Ag Economy; Biofuels; ESA; Immigration; and, Political Notes

Farm Bill- Policy Issues

Ursula Zerilli reported yesterday at the Kalamazoo Gazette (Mich.) Online that, “Signs at the Kalamazoo Farmers Market showing that vendors accept government-assisted cash were on display as U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., visited the market on Tuesday.

“Stabenow has been traveling the state visiting farmers markets this week to tout the 2013 Farm Bill. After visiting Hop Head Farms on Tuesday morning, she met with local food access activists and toured the Kalamazoo Farmers’ Market.”

Ms. Zerilli noted that, “The passage of the farm bill isn’t being held up by farm issues; instead, lawmakers are grappling with how the bill changes federal food stamp programs.

“‘There’s a tremendous amount of politics going on in the House of Representatives right now,’ Stabenow said. ‘Their bill will play politics with food assistance and cut 6 million off of getting temporary help when they are out of work and would at the same time not help us get a farm bill done.’”

Yesterday’s article pointed out that, “Stabenow said she was confident the bill will be passed this year. Lawmakers have a Sept. 30 deadline to pass a bill, but Stabenow said she wouldn’t be surprised if that deadline was pushed back.

“‘It may slip into October, but we will get it done,’ Stabenow said. ‘We have many things in the bill that make it worth passing. We are making major changes to help farmers markets and conservation with major new effort to protect the Great Lakes. We added something called bio-base manufacturing to create jobs and help us stop using petroleum for plastics and let us use food by-products to help get us off of foreign oil. The bottom line is every community is benefited from rural development, so we need to get the farm bill done.’”