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ALM Urge Quick Action on Farm Bill
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Agricultural Leaders of Michigan today called on Congress to act quickly to pass a Farm Bill this year. The Senate and House Agriculture Committees are both considering bills, but there is uncertainty over how much spending will be slashed from the budget and which programs will be cut to meet those goals.


Source: Agricultural Leaders of Michigan

MI Agricultural Leaders Urge Quick Action on Farm Bill


Agricultural Leaders of Michigan today called on Congress to act quickly to pass a Farm Bill this year. The Senate and House Agriculture Committees are both considering bills, but there is uncertainty over how much spending will be slashed from the budget and which programs will be cut to meet those goals.

“Michigan’s agricultural industry is extremely diverse and is aggressively pursuing new markets and opportunities – opportunities that we can only seize if we have the continued stability that we need to invest in the future,” said Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association. “It is essential that the House and Senate work together to pass the Farm Bill, which will ensure that Michigan’s farmers have the support they need to continue growing Michigan’s economy.”

In a letter Michigan’s Congressional delegation, Agricultural Leaders of Michigan urged Congress to pass a Farm Bill that preserves several key agricultural programs including:

  • Risk management programs, especially crop insurance, which help farmers minimize risk from adverse weather or other natural disasters, ensuring the financial stability of the agricultural industry, as well as individual producers.
  • Returning quality, non-sensitive farmland from the Conservation Reserve Program to production without penalty.
  • Foundation for the Future, a comprehensive package of changes to dairy policy that will revamp and improve the farm-level safety net for U.S. dairy producers by focusing on margin protection, not price.
  • Continuing the specialty crop research initiative and block grants, two important programs authorized for the first time in the 2008 Farm Bill.
  • The energy title in the 2005 Farm Bill, which encourages renewable energy on farms in Michigan as a way to provide farmers with additional opportunities for income and helps reduce our dependence on imported oil.

“When weather brings drought, floods, hail and other natural calamities, sound risk management practices like crop insurance help ensure financial stability for Michigan farmers,” said Dave Armstrong, president and CEO of GreenStone Farm Credit Services. “It is essential that we pass a plan that helps farmers mitigate risk and manage their resources effectively. We can’t afford to wait until next year to pass a Farm Bill.”

“Michigan dairy producers need a dairy policy that allows them to compete in today’s market,” said Ken Nobis, president of the Michigan Milk Producers Association. “Dairy is Michigan’s top agricultural commodity, and U.S. dairy exports have more than doubled in the last seven years. We look forward to a Farm Bill that is based on today’s market realities and allows us to continue to grow and meet increasing demands.”

“Agriculture is a major driving force in Michigan’s economy, creating jobs, opportunities for economic growth, and continuing to expand exports,” said Sam Hines, executive vice president of the Michigan Pork Producers Association. “U.S. pork exports provided 50,400 jobs in 2011 according to USDA and with one out of every three hogs produced in the U.S. currently being exported; Michigan’s 2,000-plus family pork producers need lawmakers to pass a Farm Bill that gives us the resources we need to continue growing and creating jobs.”

“Michigan and U.S. agriculture continue to be bright spots in our economy,” said George House, executive director of Michigan Allied Poultry Industries Inc. “We need a Farm Bill that 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 urge Congress to grow our agricultural industry by passing a Farm Bill this year.”

“Michigan’s potato industry is on the rise and we are excited by the continued opportunities for growth,” said Ben Kudwa, legislative director of the Potato Growers of Michigan. “If Michigan’s agricultural industry is going to continue to thrive, we need our elected officials to stand up for the common-sense agricultural programs that have been the driving force behind our success and pass a Farm Bill in 2012.”