Stabenow: Final Farm Bill has Michigan on Every Page
Farm Bill Conference Committee releases final 2018 Farm Bill co-authored by Senator StabenowTuesday, December 11, 2018
Today, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry praised the release 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 committed to getting this bill across the finish line by the end of the year.”
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 follows:
The 2018 Farm Bill
The bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill will support the one in four jobs related to food and agriculture in Michigan. It will provide five years of certainty for Michigan’s farmers, fuel opportunity in rural communities and grow small businesses. It continues historic investments in land, water and wildlife conservation, will grow Michigan local food economies, and will support families working hard to make ends meet.
A Jobs Bill for Michigan
The bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill fuels economic opportunity and job growth both on and off the farm in small towns and cities alike. It creates certainty – not just for farmers and farm workers, but also for equipment manufacturers, food processing businesses, retailers, and many other employers across Michigan.
- One in four jobs in Michigan are supported by agriculture, which is the state’s second-largest industry. The food and agriculture sector contributes $101.2 billion to Michigan’s economy annually.
- Rural economic development initiatives attract new employers to Michigan’s small towns and rural communities through Main Street infrastructure improvements and expanded access to high-speed internet.
- Forest management and innovation supports 30,000 Michigan forestry jobs, including loggers and mill workers in northern Michigan and the UP, all while finding new uses for Michigan-grown wood in manufacturing and building construction.
- Support for farmers markets and food hubs helps family farmers and local businesses sell locally grown food and made-in-Michigan products to families, schools, and restaurants, driving the local food economy.
- Historic, new urban agriculture investments creates new economic opportunities and makes it easier for urban farmers to start, expand, and protect their businesses.
- Clean energy and efficiency upgrades help small businesses and farmers invest in wind and solar technologies that lower utility bills and support energy installation jobs in Michigan.
- Support for bio-based manufacturing creates rural and urban manufacturing jobs by using Michigan-grown crops like corn and soybeans to make biofuels and Michigan-made goods like seat cushions and steering wheels.
Supports Michigan Farmers
From bad weather to volatile markets, farming is one of the riskiest businesses out there – which is why farmers need a strong safety net. The bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill equips Michigan farmers with risk management tools that help them stay afloat during unexpected disasters, while also allowing them to tap into new markets to boost their bottom line.
- Expanded crop insurance improves access for veterans, beginning farmers, and Michigan’s fruit and vegetable growers.
- Improvements to Agriculture Risk Coverage, Price Loss Coverage risk management tools for farmers and new support for dairy producers, spearheaded by Senator Stabenow. Creates improved dairy coverage options at more affordable rates and refunds up to $58 million in premiums paid under the former program.
- Permanent export opportunities will help Michigan farmers find new global markets for their goods.
- Continued support for specialty crop growers, which Senator Stabenow first authored in a new title in the 2008 Farm Bill, will strengthen Michigan’s diverse fruit and vegetable industry, increase productivity and drive demand for the food they grow.
- New help for beginning farmers, veterans, and urban agriculture creates opportunities to expand Michigan’s diverse agricultural economy and builds the bench to support the future of Michigan agriculture.
- Strengthened support for organic agriculture protects the integrity of Michigan organic products and helps farmers transition into a fast-growing sector of agriculture.
- Investments in agricultural research support the ground-breaking science and technology research being done at Michigan State University, fueling innovation and safeguarding Michigan’s agricultural economy.
- New national vaccine bank will protect livestock and poultry from disease outbreaks.
Protects the Great Lakes and Promotes Outdoor Recreation
The bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill continues to be one of the most significant investments in the conservation of land, water, and our Michigan way of life. Through targeted conservation efforts, the Farm Bill protects our Great Lakes and rivers, while preserving wildlife habitat to support hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation.
- Strengthened regional conservation partnerships will leverage nearly $3 billion in private investment over the next decade for projects that protect the Great Lakes and improve wildlife habitat for hunting and fishing.
- Expanded conservation support for working farms will help farmers protect water quality and reduce nutrient runoff into the rivers and streams that feed into Lake Erie and Saginaw Bay, while maintaining productive and profitable farmland.
- New hunting and fishing opportunities are created by adding new acres to the Conservation Reserve Program and expanding public access on private land in Michigan for outdoor recreation.
- Recreation and wildlife habitat in Michigan’s National Forests are strengthened through U.S. Forest Service partnerships with landowners, industry, and the state.
Strengthens Michigan’s Small Towns and Rural Communities
Michigan’s small towns and rural communities need real resources to thrive in the 21st Century. The bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill has made critical investments to spur economic development and improve the quality of life for families.
- Rural water infrastructure investments address harmful contaminants like PFAS and ensure Michigan households and businesses have clean drinking water.
- Resources to fight the opioid epidemic will expand telemedicine and treatment facilities in rural Michigan communities.
- Expanded high-speed internet will help to connect nearly 1 million people in rural Michigan who lack access.
- Support for rural businesses, which has already invested $322 million in nearly 1,000 Michigan businesses, fuels manufacturing, rural entrepreneurship, and the revitalization of main streets.
- Community facility investments will continue to build hospitals, improve schools, and strengthen fire and police stations in small towns across Michigan.
Improves Food Access for Families
Just as the farm bill provides a safety net for Michigan farmers, it also includes a safety net for families. Building on the 2014 Farm Bill, which has saved $80 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill strengthens the integrity of the program, while preserving food access for families.
- New job training opportunities will help SNAP participants find and keep good-paying jobs.
- Permanent investments for “Double Up” bucks will help SNAP families purchase Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables.
- Reduced paperwork for seniors makes accessing food assistance easier for grandparents on fixed incomes.
- Stronger oversight of SNAP will help ensure every dollar goes to families in need.
- “Farm to Food Bank” initiative will provide healthy, Michigan-grown foods to families, while reducing food waste.
- Increases support for those struggling with food insecurity and homelessness.
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