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Stateside: Stabenow addresses farm bill, stresses its urgency

Senator Debbie Stabenow is asking Congress to pass a new farm bill.

Stabenow spoke to the Michigan Agri-Business Association at its annual conference in Lansing earlier this morning.

Stabenow, who spoke today with Stateside, was confident the bill would pass.

“It will, because our farmers and ranchers need the certainty of a five-year farm bill and consumers need to know what their choices are and our farm bill includes more investments in local food systems. When we look at the deficit we have today, we need to find ways to cut spending. We did that in our farm bill. We saved $24 billion dollars and will move agriculture toward the future,” she said.

One of the bill’s interests, said Stabenow, is preserving the quality of the Great Lakes.

“We have almost one out of four jobs that are connected to agriculture or the food industry in some way. The farm bill is a jobs bill, first of all. It covers how to support farmers in being successful when there is a problem, research on pest and disease control. We also have the largest investment in preserving our land and water. One of the things I’m proud of that we’ve passed is a major Great Lakes initiative…,” said Stabenow.

Citizens’ engagement with their local leaders, said Stabenow, will help the bill move ahead.

“I met today with Michigan agriculture leaders…we will pass a bill in the Senate again, it will save dollars and create the right policies. But we will need more people getting involved to advocate in the House--that they not stick with old policies we can’t afford,” said Stabenow.

Stabenow addressed Michigan’s erratic weather--a significant concern for farmers across the state.  

“I’m very concerned about the weather patterns across the country. As we see warmer climates, it makes storms more intense…Last year we were very hard-hit, we lost virtually our entire cherry crop and most of our apple crop. I’m very concerned that that not happen again.”

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