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Senate Ag Committe Hailed for Approval of Farm Bill
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The bill reforms food and agricultural policy by eliminating direct payments and emphasizing the need to strengthen risk management tools for farmers, saving billions of dollars. Overall, the 2012 Farm Bill will reduce the deficit by $23 billion. These reforms strengthen key initiatives that help farmers and small businesses reach new markets and create American jobs. The bill will now go to the full Senate for consideration.


Source: Senate Ag Committee Hailed for Bipartisan Approval of Farm Bill

Senate Ag Committee Hailed for Bipartisan Approval of Farm Bill


Agricultural Leaders of Michigan today thanked Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and Senator Pat Roberts, the ranking minority member of the committee, for their leadership in bringing both parties together to pass the 2012 Farm Bill through the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and urged the full Senate to follow suit. The proposal, authored by Sen. Stabenow and Sen. Roberts, protects programs essential to agriculture, family farms, rural development and jobs.

“Sen. Stabenow has fought consistently for reforms that will help Michigan farmers increase production and deal with increasing demand, and this Farm Bill deserves the full support of the Senate,” said Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association. “The Senate committee deserves credit for passing a Farm Bill that will modernize and streamline farm policy, upgrade infrastructure and allow agriculture to thrive in Michigan. Michigan agri-businesses thank Sen. Stabenow for her strong leadership in getting this bi-partisan bill through the committee.”

The bill reforms food and agricultural policy by eliminating direct payments and emphasizing the need to strengthen risk management tools for farmers, saving billions of dollars. Overall, the 2012 Farm Bill will reduce the deficit by $23 billion. These reforms strengthen key initiatives that help farmers and small businesses reach new markets and create American jobs. The bill will now go to the full Senate for consideration.

For more than a year, ALM worked closely with Stabenow on key issues affecting Michigan’s agriculture economy, including:

  • Strengthening crop insurance and expanding access so farmers are not wiped out by a few days of bad weather.
  • Consolidating two remaining farm programs into one, which will give farmers the ability to tailor risk management coverage – meaning better protection against real risks beyond a farmer’s control.
  • Eliminating direct payments, meaning farmers will no longer be paid for crops they are not growing, will not be paid for acres that are not actually planted, and will not receive support absent a drop in price or yields.
  • Growing bio-based manufacturing.
  • Spurring advancements in bio-energy production, supporting advanced biomass energy production such as cellulosic ethanol and pellets from woody biomass for power.
  • Extending rural development initiatives to help rural communities upgrade infrastructure and encourage small businesses to grow.

The Farm Bill also eliminates duplicative programs, allowing funds to go to areas in which they will have the greatest impact and work better for producers. For example, the bill consolidates 23 existing conservation programs into 13 programs, while maintaining the existing tools farmers and landowners need to protect and conserve land, water and wildlife.

“The 2012 Farm Bill passed by the committee positions agriculture in Michigan and across the nation for growth, while taking into account the realities of today’s global economy and growing demand for safe, affordable and nutritious food,” said Dave Armstrong, CEO of GreenStone Farm Credit Services. “Sound risk management practices like crop insurance help ensure financial stability for Michigan farmers, especially when weather brings drought, floods, hail and other natural calamities. The Senate Agriculture Committee approved a Farm Bill that can lead to more growth and opportunities for America’s agriculture industry.”

“Michigan dairy producers applaud the Senate Agriculture Committee for addressing much needed reforms that can modernize dairy policy, and we urge the full Senate to continue standing up for those reforms pass the Farm Bill quickly,” 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 dairy policy that is based on today’s market realities and which allows us to continue to grow and meet increasing demands.”

“Michigan’s agricultural sector is extremely diverse and is aggressively pursuing new markets and opportunities – opportunities that we can seize with the 2012 Farm Bill the Committee passed today,” said Sam Hines, executive vice president of the Michigan Pork Producers Association. “Michigan’s pork producers applaud the provision in the Farm Bill establishing a feral swine eradication program. Aggressively eliminating this invasive species is critical to protecting our markets, preserving existing jobs and creating new ones. We urge Congress to approve this Farm Bill without delay to help give pork producers and the entire agricultural sector the leg up we need to compete in a global economy.”