Senate Passes Final Bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill Co-Authored by Senator Stabenow

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Today, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry announced Senate passage of the Farm Bill conference report, which represents the final version of the 2018 Farm Bill.


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. 


“The 2018 Farm Bill is a bipartisan victory that has Michigan on every page,” said Senator Stabenow. “This is a strong bill that will grow Michigan’s diverse agricultural economy and support our farmers, families, and rural communities. I’m pleased the Senate has moved forward with the bill and look forward to the House considering it soon.”


In June, Senator Stabenow and Agriculture Committee Chairman U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) co-authored the 2018 Senate Farm Bill, which the U.S. Senate passed on a historic, bipartisan vote of 86-11. The 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee formed to reconcile the differences between the Senate bill and the House version. In the Conference Committee, Senator Stabenow served as one of the four leaders and worked with Senate and House conferees to co-author the final bill.


A summary of the 2018 Farm Bill is available here.


Jim Byrum, President of the Michigan Agri-Business Association, said: “This Farm Bill is critical for farmers, families, businesses and communities across Michigan. We applaud Senator Debbie Stabenow for once again working across the aisle to get a commonsense, bipartisan Farm Bill across the finish line. We truly appreciate the bipartisan cooperation shown by Senator Stabenow and her colleagues to put good ideas on the table and move forward a Farm Bill that ensures a strong and productive Michigan agriculture sector.”


Ken Nobis, President of the Michigan Milk Producers Association, said: “As Michigan's largest agriculture commodity, our dairy farmers are a significant contributor to our state’s economy. The new improvements in the Farm Bill will provide much-needed help for our dairy farmers, who have struggled from low milk prices. We thank Senator Stabenow for leading the effort to improve the dairy safety net in the Farm Bill.”


Jason McConnachie, President of the Michigan Corn Growers Association said: “Michigan’s corn growers applaud the passage of a new farm bill that preserves risk management tools that farmers depend on and continues funding important market development programs that help build our industry. Senator Debbie Stabenow’s leadership on this issue has been critical and we thank her for her hard work on behalf of Michigan’s corn growers.”


Jed Welder, Board Member of the Michigan Farmer Veteran Coalition, said: “Agriculture provides military veterans with meaningful careers and the opportunity to continue serving our country. Michigan farmer veterans across the state appreciate Senator Stabenow’s support to secure new resources in the Farm Bill that help us start and sustain a life on the farm.”


Joan Nelson, Director of the Allen Neighborhood Center and Farmers Market, said: “The Farm Bill has helped the Allen Farmers Market, Incubator Kitchen, and Exchange Food Hub bring fresh, healthy food to families and institutions in our community, while also providing Michigan farmers with multiple opportunities to sell their locally grown products. Thanks to Senator Stabenow’s leadership, the new Farm Bill will continue to help farmers markets and other local food initiatives grow and thrive for years to come.”

Joe Cramer, Executive Director of Michigan Bean Commission said: “The 2018 Farm Bill is a huge milestone for the Michigan bean industry. By protecting key programs that Michigan agriculture needs to continue to compete globally, this bill provides certainty and support for our farmers and their families. We worked very closely with Senator Stabenow and look forward to continuing to work with her to find new ways to strengthen Michigan's agricultural economy."


Ray Van Dreissche, Director  of Government Relations for Michigan Sugar Company said: “Sugar policy in this Farm Bill protects our growers from unfair trading practices and is a huge win for Michigan. The nearly 1,000 farm families who own Michigan Sugar Company, as well as the 2,300 employees who work at the cooperative are very thankful to Senator Stabenow for her leadership and hard work in getting this bill done.”


Rich Bowman, Director of Government Relations for The Nature Conservancy in Michigan: “For years, the Farm Bill has been the single largest source of federal conservation incentives for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners and this bill carries on that proud tradition.  The Nature Conservancy is excited to see Senator Stabenow’s efforts in championing this legislation lead to its passage. Once implemented, the Farm Bill will benefit our fish and wildlife, our Great Lakes and the conservation minded landowners who are our neighbors here in Saginaw Bay and across the country.”


Greg Bird, Executive Director of the Michigan Vegetable Council, said: “Senator Stabenow has been a champion for Michigan’s diverse agricultural economy and the wide variety of vegetables we grow here. We appreciate the Senator’s work in the Farm Bill to provide certainty for our farmers through risk management tools, innovative research, and new market opportunities.”


Tom Anthony, President of Michigan Rural Water Association, said: “Because many rural communities face challenges with water and waste water infrastructure, the Farm Bill is critical to helping small towns provide clean and affordable water and waste water service. Senator Stabenow has been a leader for rural Michigan, working to ensure that families and businesses across the state have safe and affordable and reliable access to water and sewer services.”


Al Dietrich, Owner of Dietrich Orchards, said: “Michigan is one of the largest producers of apples in the country and the programs of the Farm Bill will allow the Michigan Apple industry to forge partnerships, increase market presence, and provide safe, high-quality fruit to consumers. The new Farm Bill will help our state’s apple growers continue to be productive and profitable. We appreciate Senator Stabenow’s long-standing support of Michigan’s apple industry."

Rachel Bair, Director for Sustainable and Innovative Food Systems for Kalamazoo Valley Community College, said: “The Farm Bill has grown local food economies in Michigan, bringing fresh, healthy food to communities, while also connecting Michigan farmers with local consumers. Senator Stabenow has led the effort to grow Michigan’s local food systems, helping food go from farms to our plates.”

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.”


Scott Robbins, Director of the Sustainable Forest Initiative and Public Affairs of Michigan Forest Products Council said: “Michigan Forest Products Council applauds Senator Stabenow and her colleagues for their agreement on the 2018 Farm Bill.  The new Farm Bill’s Forestry title contains a variety of new provisions that will benefit Michigan’s forest products industry, including the expansion of the popular Good Neighbor authority and a provision to return the proceeds of Good Neighbor timber sales right back to our national forests in Michigan.  Additionally, we appreciate Senator Stabenow’s leadership to include her Timber Innovation Act, which will drive new markets for innovative wood products and accelerate the interest we’re already seeing in this technology at Michigan State, Michigan Tech, and with industry partners across the state.”


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."


Phil Korson, President of the 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.”


Jim Nugent, District Horticulturist for Northwest Michigan, MSU Extension, said: “This Farm Bill makes vital strides in helping Michigan farmers sell their specialty crops which makes up an important part of our state’s agricultural economy. Senator Stabenow has always supported cherry growers and the 2018 Farm Bill is another extraordinary example of that.”