Michigan farmers, and many farmers across the country, have pinned their hopes for a generous Farm Bill on Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow. Congress has been discussing and preparing for the 2012 Farm Bill for the last several years. While normally a fairly smooth process, the recent deficit fears that have taken hold in Congress threaten to lower federal funding for agricultural projects across the country. Given the repeated budget cuts that have hit the agricultural sector, many farmers and ranchers are worried that the upcoming Farm Bill will not provide enough support to countless American farmers who are struggling to make ends meet.
Currently on the chopping block are conservation programs and certain crop insurance programs, both of which Congress has threatened to defund or eliminate entirely.
Some farmers hope that the Senator Debbie Stabenow, the chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, will be able to prevent the most damaging cuts. Michigan farmers are particularly appreciative of Stabenow’s efforts on behalf of farmers. In 2008, Stabenow helped add provisions to the Farm Bill that would allocate federal funding to specialty crop programs, provisions that added $3 billion to the Farm Bill’s research budget and steered over $1 billion to expand the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for American schools.
Ryan Findlay, the national legislative counsel for the Michigan Farm Bureau went on the record stating, “Stabenow is clearly behind fruit and vegetable growers. We’ve been engaged with her very heavily over the past several months.”
While the final terms of the bill are still a long ways away, many farmers hope that Representatives and Senators from agricultural states do not forget the needs of their constituents.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer