MARQUETTE - U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, met with community leaders in Marquette Thursday to discuss the impact of Farm Bill reforms on the region and urged passage of the bill in the House of Representatives.
Stabenow, who is the chairwoman of the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, discussed how the 2012 Senate Farm Bill benefits the local community and creates jobs.
"When we make things here and grow things here, we have jobs here," Stabenow said. "This Farm Bill is a big win for Michigan's economy, providing critical disaster relief and long-term certainty to help agriculture continue to grow here in Michigan.
In a Thursday speech at Northern Michigan University, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, discusses Farm Bill reforms contained in legislation she authored. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
Stabenow, who authored the five-year Farm Bill, said the Senate passed the legislation in June on a 64-35 vote, but the bill has not yet been taken up by the House of Representatives. The current Farm Bill expires Sept. 30.
If Congress does not act by the deadline, the current Farm Bill will expire and the country will revert back to 1940s agriculture policy, an antiquated system of subsidies and price supports born in the depression-era, Stabenow said.
Stabenow's Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act, also known as the Farm Bill, ends payments to farmers for crops they don't grow and streamlines programs to cut $23 billion in spending while strengthening initiatives that help Michigan farmers and agriculture businesses create jobs.
The bill also makes sure disaster assistance is available this year for growers impacted by weather who did not have adequate access to crop insurance, and strengthens crop insurance to better protect Michigan farmers from disasters in future years.
It also includes relief for livestock producers, expands crop insurance for specialty crops, strengthens conservation efforts to help mitigate future disasters, and provides increased access to crop insurance for beginning farmers and ranchers.
Stabenow also visited the Upper Peninsula State Fair in Escanaba Thursday, while on a swing through the region.