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2013 Farm Bill has big wins for Michigan

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U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, joined Michigan agriculture and conservation leaders at Engle Ridge Farm in Acme to call for passage of her 2013 Farm Bill.

Friday, May 31

With a final vote in the Senate expected next week, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, joined Michigan agriculture and conservation leaders at Engle Ridge Farm in Acme to call for passage of her 2013 Farm Bill. The Senate Agriculture Committee passed Stabenow's Farm Bill on May 14 by a strong bipartisan vote, 15-5.

Chairwoman Stabenow said: "When we grow things here and make things here, we create jobs here in Michigan. Agriculture supports nearly one in four Michigan jobs and 16 million jobs nationwide. The 2013 Farm Bill will reform agriculture programs to save taxpayers billions of dollars while helping Michigan farmers and small businesses create jobs. I'm proud that the Agriculture Committee was once again able to work across the aisle to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill, and it's time for Congress to do the same."

Ken Engle, Owner of Engle Ridge Farm in Acme said: "Senator Stabenow understands the needs of Northern Michigan farmers like me. She has worked really hard to address the disaster in 2012 and to provide crop insurance for cherries and fruit going forward. We have three different conservation easements on our farm land, which are made possible by programs in the Farm Bill."

Phil Korson, President of the Cherry Marketing Institute said: "Michigan's cherry farmers continue to grow and compete with farmers nationally and globally. We appreciate the work that Senator Stabenow has done in bringing all sides together and drafting this Farm Bill. Senator Stabenow's efforts are essential to strengthening the diversity of Michigan's agricultural industry."

Glen Chown, Executive Director of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy said: "We applaud the Senator for developing a new bi-partisan 2013 Farm Bill that includes a strong and streamlined Agricultural Conservation Easement Program that benefits the entire country. The programs included in the Conservation Title are critical to our work with private land owners to protect the unique farmland of the Northern and West Michigan Fruitbelt region, and protect the water of our rivers and streams and the Great Lakes."

Ben LaCross, Northern Michigan fruit grower said: "As a fruit grower, the farm bill offers critical tools of research, market access, and risk management that allow me to focus on running my farm. The farm bill is an integral part of our nation's food system that provides consumers with the most abundant, most affordable, safest food supply in history. "

The Farm Bill represents major reform of agriculture programs, yielding a total of $24 billion in spending cuts eliminating unnecessary direct payments to farmers, consolidating programs to end duplication, and cracking down on food assistance abuse. These reforms save taxpayer dollars overall while allowing for increased investments in initiatives that help Michigan's farmers and small businesses create jobs. Nearly one-in-four jobs in Michigan are supported by agriculture.

The Farm Bill sets the nation's agriculture policy and expires every five years. If the House of Representatives fails to pass the Farm Bill by September 30th, the U.S. reverts back to 1940s agriculture policy, an antiquated patchwork of costly subsidies and other badly outdated programs.

For a summary of the 2013 Farm Bill, click here.

For a summary of statements from Senate colleagues on both sides of aisle praising the 2013 Farm Bill, click here.

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