Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow visited West Michigan last weekend, talking to farmers about plans for the upcoming 2012 Farm Bill. In her visit, Stabenow praised Michigan agriculture, telling farmers how vital their contributions were to the state’s economy. Agricultural production accounts for around $71 billion of the state’s economy, providing over 25 percent of the state’s jobs. Stabenow stated that she believed agriculture was the key to improving and expanding the faltering U.S. economy.
In addition to praising farmers, Stabenow discussed the upcoming Farm Bill. Stabenow has been vocal about her plans for the future bill, emphasizing the need for research funding as well as agricultural financing. When she visited Ottawa County, Michigan, she told farmers that she intended on giving them the tools, both mechanical and financial, they need to continue producing specialty crops and valuable agricultural goods.
Stabenow also called on the Senate to include fraud reduction measures in the latest bill. Stabenow called for a continued crackdown on those who defraud food assistance programs, claiming that such fraud is “outrageous.” In particular, Stabenow called for greater electronic record keeping in order to prevent fraud and waste. Stabenow ended her visit by reassuring farmers that work is underway on the 2012 Farm Bill and that early drafts should be ready soon.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer