While the 2012 Farm Bill has yet to be written, Senate Agricultural Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow is considering potential changes to the fundamental principals of the upcoming bill. In a recent speech to the USDA, Stabenow laid out her plans for the future Farm Bill. Of primary importance, Stabenow stated, was creating a safety net for American farmers.
Citing fickle weather, Stabenow stated, “As any Russian wheat farmer would be happy to tell you — or a citrus grower in Florida; or a corn grower in Iowa; or a cotton farmer in Texas; or a grape grower in Michigan -farmers plant their crops with high hopes, but it’s all subject to the whims of Mother Nature. We need an effective safety net so that we aren’t watching family businesses go under because of a few days of bad weather or other factors outside of your control.”
Stabenow also made efforts to link the upcoming Farm Bill to research and development and energy policies. Citing recent developments in bio-energy and bio-fuels, Stabenow argued that including energy research in the upcoming Farm Bill could create jobs, stimulate the economy, and lower high energy costs to American farmers.
Finally, Stabenow cited the importance of local input from American farmers. She invited contributions and participation from farmers and from the USDA. While she didn’t cite specific ideas she would fight to inset into the upcoming Farm Bill, Stabenow’s statements are some of the clearest outline of the guiding principles that will be included in the bill.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer