Michigan Leaders Agree: Senator Stabenow’s Bipartisan Farm Bill is a Win for Michigan

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Today, Michigan agricultural, conservation, healthy food and business groups widely praised the bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill, co-authored by U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry.  The Farm Bill passed the Senate Agriculture Committee on a strong bipartisan vote of 20-1 on Wednesday, June 13, 2018.


The bipartisan bill strongly supports Michigan’s farmers and agricultural economy, which is the state’s second-largest industry. The bill also has a major impact in protecting Michigan’s Great Lakes, investing in our small towns and rural communities, promoting Michigan forestry, supporting local food economies and providing healthy food for families. 


Stabenow co-authored the bill with Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), titled the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.  Serving as Chairwoman in 2014, Stabenow authored the current Farm Bill, which is set to expire in September 2018.


Carl Bednarski, President of the Michigan Farm Bureau, said: “Michigan Farm Bureau applauds yesterday’s passage of the Farm Bill by the Senate Agriculture Committee. We appreciate Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow and Chairman Pat Roberts for bringing the Farm Bill forward and with bipartisan cooperation. We stand ready to help them get the bill through the Senate and to the President’s desk ahead of the September 30 deadline. Michigan farmers critically need the certainty the Farm Bill provides, especially in this time of low commodity prices.”


Jim Byrum, President of the Michigan Agri-Business Association, said: “Passage of a new Farm Bill is critical for farmers, families, businesses and communities across Michigan, and we applaud Senator Debbie Stabenow and Senator Pat Roberts for once again teaming up to get a commonsense, bipartisan Farm Bill underway. We truly appreciate the bipartisan cooperation shown by Senator Stabenow, Senator Roberts and their colleagues to put good ideas on the table and move forward a Farm Bill that ensures a strong and productive Michigan agriculture sector, while working within current budget limits and safeguarding taxpayer dollars.”


Diane Smith, Executive Director of the Michigan Apple Committee, said: “The programs of the farm bill have contributed significantly to the success of the Michigan Apple industry and the entire state, supporting production from its beginnings in orchard rows in Michigan to consumers’ plates across the world. Senator Stabenow has once again been a champion for our industry!”


Ken Nobis, President of the Michigan Milk Producers Association, said: “The dairy industry is Michigan’s largest agriculture commodity and a significant contributor to our state’s economy. Many dairy farmers are currently struggling through a prolonged period of depressed milk prices so the enhancements made to the dairy section of the Farm Bill is welcome news. Having an improved dairy safety net and greater access to risk management tools will benefit all size dairy producers in Michigan and throughout the U.S.  We are grateful for Senator Stabenow’s leadership in working with Senator Pat Roberts to craft a bipartisan agreement that addresses the deficiencies found in the 2014 version of the Farm Bill and incorporates some new features such as a new milk donation initiative. As Michigan’s dairy industry positions itself for additional milk processing capacity, the provisions in the Senate Farm Bill will provide much needed enhancements for producers to rely on. “


Dennis West, President of Northern Initiatives, said: “The Farm Bill’s rural development initiatives are essential to the growth and development of rural small businesses across the state. It’s great news that this Farm Bill will expand important investments for rural communities – particularly for rural high-speed internet, which is vital to help businesses launch, grow and succeed. I appreciate Senator Stabenow’s continued leadership for rural Michigan.”


Rich Bowman, Director of Government Relations, The Nature Conservancy: “For years, the Farm Bill has been the single largest source of federal conservation incentives for Farmers, ranchers and forest landowners and The Bill introduced in the Senate this week carries on that proud tradition.  The Nature Conservancy looks forward to working with Senator Stabenow and her colleagues in Congress to get this legislation passed and implemented for the benefit of our fish and wildlife, our Great Lakes and the conservation minded landowners who are our neighbors here in Michigan and across the country.”


Nick Babcock, President of Michigan Farmer Veteran Coalition, said: The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 will expand resources, assistance and training to military Veterans in the agriculture community. This will help Michigan’s Veteran population flourish in our state’s highly diverse agriculture sector, while providing an opportunity to continue serving our great nation. The steadfast support by Senator Stabenow to Agriculture and the Veteran community is greatly appreciated.

Oran Hesterman, Founder and CEO of Fair Food Network, the organization behind the Double Up Food Bucks program, said: “I applaud the leadership of Senator Stabenow for helping secure an impressive bi-partisan bill that will generate real returns for Michigan farmers and families. Once again, she has demonstrated her steadfast commitment to Michigan agriculture alongside those most vulnerable.”


Phil Korson, Executive Director of the Michigan Cherry Marketing Institute, said: “Michigan’s cherry industry is incredibly important to our state’s agricultural economy. The Farm Bill makes important strides for specialty crops that will help our farmers grow and sell their cherries here at home and abroad. We appreciate the work Senator Stabenow has done as a champion for Michigan cherry growers.”

Gildo Tori, Director of Public Policy for Ducks Unlimited Great Lakes/Atlantic Region, said: "Ducks Unlimited thanks Ranking Member Senator Stabenow and Chairman Roberts for their work on a bipartisan, conservation-friendly Farm Bill. Senator Stabenow’s leadership in support of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program and Regional Cooperative Conservation Program ensures that Michigan farmers, landowners, sportsmen and conservationists will yield great -benefits from this new Farm Bill.”


Jim Zook, Executive Director of the Michigan Corn Growers Association, said: “Michigan’s corn farmers are facing mounting economic uncertainty created by five years of low commodity prices and increased disruptions to our markets. Now more than ever, we need a strong farm bill that maintains vital farm programs, including reliable risk management tools and export market development programs. Getting a new farm bill signed into law is a top priority for Michigan’s corn farmers and we thank Senator Stabenow for her continued leadership on this issue.”


Val Vail-Shirey, Executive Director of the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Council, said: “Michigan Greenhouse Growers Council is delighted with the inclusion of greenhouses in the 2018 Farm Bill. Insurance and indemnity for greenhouses are two issues that MGGC has prioritized to accomplish. We are pleased with the dedication and working relationship we have experienced with Senator Debbie Stabenow and her staff to help Michigan greenhouse farmers. Having the same insurance indemnity opportunities as other commodities is essential to maintain the greenhouse industry in Michigan. The greenhouse and nursery industry is the 4th largest commodity in Michigan and ranks 3rd in the country. Michigan Greenhouse Growers Council commends Senator Stabenow, ranking member of The Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and Senator Pat Roberts, chair, in their ability to work in a bi-partisan effort and move forward the 2018 Farm Bill.”


Glen Chown, Executive Director of Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, said: "Farmland preservation boosts our economy, protects scenic views, ensures food security and safeguards a way of life here in Michigan. Senator Stabenow has worked tirelessly to secure vital funding that permanently preserves critical farms throughout the state, from the West Michigan Fruit Belt to urbanizing areas in central and southern Michigan. We are so grateful for her incredible leadership not just for Michigan, but for her work in preserving farms and ranches across the country."


Dave Armstrong, President and CEO of GreenStone Farm Credit Services, said: “We appreciate the leadership Senator Stabenow is once again taking in the drafting of a comprehensive, bi-partisan farm bill, says Dave Armstrong, President and CEO of GreenStone Farm Credit Services. “Farmers in Michigan, and all across the country, need a strong and reliable farm bill providing them stability in these unstable times. We are specifically encouraged by the Senator’s efforts to include a strong crop insurance program in the legislation. Crop Insurance is a vital tool for all farmers providing them protection against conditions outside their control. Programs like this, along with conservation programs and expanding foreign trade, provide a safety net for a stable and reliable food supply in this country – which is something that benefits all Americans.”


Lisa Fought, Senior Rural Development Specialist of Michigan Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP), said: "On behalf of the RCAP network and rural communities across the State of Michigan, we are grateful for Senator Stabenow's continued support of the Farm Bill and the Rural Development Title. Programs funded under this program are helping rural communities in Michigan and across the country access technical assistance to strengthen infrastructure and community facilities, address contamination issues, and access funding for critical infrastructure upgrades for water and wastewater facilities, thus ensuring the protection of public health. We look forward to working with Senator Stabenow now and in the future to continue the support of rural communities."


Tim Neumann, President of Michigan Rural Water Association, said: “The Farm Bill is very important and critical to Rural America and we appreciate Senator Stabenow's continued support with this Farm Bill. Small and rural communities have more difficulty affording public water and wastewater service due to lack of population density and lack of economies of scale. Likewise rural communities have a harder time complying with the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act due to lack of technical resources and funding that is so critical to the infrastructure in small communities. The Farm Billl provides a solution to the lack of technical resources by providing this critical infrastructure funding in rural communities and also establishing programs providing technical experts in the areas of water, wastewater and source water protection in each state to be shared by all small and rural communities in need. These specialist are people with expertise in water and wastewater treatment operation, maintenance, governance and compliance who constantly travels the state to be available on-site to any community in need of assistance.”


Ron Hendrick, Dean of Michigan State University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said: “Educating future generations to meet growing demands and discovering and sharing advancements that will benefit our state, the nation and the world is of crucial importance. Agriculture is America’s oldest career, and today it is arguably one of the most complex, technology-driven, knowledge-based industries in the world. The Farm Bill provides critical support for maintaining our core agricultural strengths, while also looking to invest in the challenges of the future. We applaud Senator Stabenow for her leadership and commitment to advancing a 2018 Farm Bill that supports this vital sector of our nation’s economy.”