Michigan’s agriculture leaders applaud passage of farm bill

US CapitolLANSING – A diverse group of industry leaders from Michigan’s agriculture sector today applauded the passage of the 2014 farm bill, thanking U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow for her leadership and tireless work on behalf of Michigan agriculture.

“Senator Stabenow has been tireless in her support of Michigan’s priorities in the farm bill,” said Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association. “She has been instrumental in protecting crop insurance and other vital programs for Michigan’s agricultural producers. We thank Senator Stabenow for standing up to special interests, advocating for Michigan’s agriculture sector and ensuring our industry has the tools and certainty it needs to continue growing and creating jobs.”

President Barack Obama plans to sign the 2014 farm bill at Michigan State University this Friday.

Agriculture is a major driver of Michigan’s economy, contributing more than $96 billion to the state’s economy each year. The agriculture sector hailed the farm bill as providing consistent and needed assistance to help Michigan’s agricultural producers maintain today’s pro-growth momentum.

“Michigan’s corn growers applaud Senator Stabenow for providing exactly the kind of bipartisan leadership this country needs to move forward,” said Jim Zook, executive director of the Michigan Corn Growers Association. “Michigan and U.S. agriculture continue to be bright spots in our economy, and this farm bill gives agriculture the stability it needs to continue to create growth and economic opportunities.”

In particular, the bill provides retroactive disaster assistance for specialty crop and livestock producers that will help those in Michigan who were devastated by droughts, early freezes and other disasters in the two years following expiration of the 2008 farm bill disaster programs. By reforming commodity programs, the bill saves billions of dollars while providing greater certainty for Michigan producers.

“Sound risk management practices like crop insurance help ensure financial stability for Michigan farmers, and make sure that farmers are not wiped out by one day of bad weather,” said Dave Armstrong, CEO of GreenStone Farm Credit Services. “This farm bill will reduce the deficit while preserving programs that help farmers mitigate risk and manage their resources effectively. We are pleased that the committee came together in a bipartisan manner to adopt these much-needed reforms and urge Congress to act quickly on them.”

The expanded Research Title of the bill will also benefit producers of all crops and commodities, while ensuring that Michigan State University and other land grant institutions continue to lead the way on agricultural research. It will support a strong bio-based economy and help to establish Michigan as a leading manufacturer of bio-based products.

In addition, the bill provides job-creating investments in energy efficiency programs that are helping producers and rural businesses across Michigan save money and increase their sustainability.

“Michigan dairy producers applaud Senator Stabenow for her leadership in reducing the deficit while bringing much needed reforms to government,” said Ken Nobis, president of the Michigan Milk Producers Association. “Dairy is one of Michigan’s top agricultural commodities, and U.S. dairy exports have more than doubled in the last ten years. We look forward to the passage of a farm bill that revamps current dairy policy and gives Michigan dairy farmers the tools we need to meet the increasing global demand while at the same time assuring U.S. consumers an abundant supply of milk.”

“Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the nation and our agriculture sector has been growing rapidly over the past 10 years,” said Gail Frahm, executive director of the Michigan Soybean Association. “This farm bill will give Michigan farmers the certainty we need to invest in the future and take advantage of new opportunities to continue that growth. This farm bill is one more example of Senator Stabenow’s ongoing commitment to Michigan agriculture.”

“We appreciate the work that Senator Stabenow has done to highlight the strength and diversity of Michigan agriculture,” said Mike Wenkel, manager of the Potato Growers of Michigan. “Michigan’s potato industry is on the rise and this farm bill gives potato growers the support we need to continue creating jobs and growing Michigan’s economy.”

“Agriculture is a major driving force in Michigan’s economy, creating jobs, opportunities for economic growth, and continuing to expand exports,” said Val Vail-Shirey, executive director of the Michigan Allied Poultry Industries Inc. “Senator Stabenow’s leadership and this proposed farm bill will give agriculture the tools it needs to continue to be a competitive force globally, while providing a solid safety net for producers. That’s why poultry producers and agriculture as a whole stand with her as we work together to grow our agricultural industry and support this 2014 farm bill.”

“Senator Stabenow deserves credit for listening to the concerns of Michigan agricultural leaders and farmers while passing a farm bill that reduces the deficit and reforms government,” said Joe Cramer, chair of the Michigan Bean Commission. “This bill cuts billions of dollars in spending while still preserving key programs that Michigan agriculture needs to continue competing globally. We look forward to continuing to work with her to find new ways to strengthen Michigan’s agricultural economy.”

“Michigan’s cherry farmers continue to grow and compete with farmers nationally and globally,” said Phil Korson, executive director of the Michigan Cherry Committee. “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.”

(Copyright 2014 by Byrum & Fisk. All Rights Reserved)