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New federal farm bill in the works, with emphasis on rural internet access

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Julie Falk
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Michigan U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow says getting high speed internet to rural communities in Michigan is a priority for her.

Stabenow said she plans to tackle this issue as part of the new federal farm bill.

“If we want to truly expand, create jobs all over Michigan, and the quality of life that we want in small towns as well as big cities, you have to have high speed internet,” she said.

The Farm Bill sets agricultural and food policy for the United States for five years or so. Stabenow said this legislation is especially important for people in Michigan. That’s because it also helps finances rural development – including broadband internet expansion.

“I mean, this is really jobs, quality of life, economic development for all the small towns and rural communities all over Michigan and it’s one of the, if not the biggest jobs bill we’ll be working on this year,” she said. 

In the past, the bill has passed with bipartisan support and Stabenow said, “Even with all the partisanship and division, I’m very hopeful that we can do the same thing this time.”

Stabenow said she and other senators plan to introduce the new farm bill in the spring.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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