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Stabenow’s Michigan hearing spotlights ways to strengthen agriculture’s future.

Source: Agricultural Leaders of Michigan

MI Agricultural Leaders: Challenges, Opportunities Demand Quick Action on Farm Bill Update

Agricultural Leaders of Michigan today said they are ready to work with Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, on updating the Farm Bill and called for the quick implementation of steps that can secure a strong future for Michigan agriculture. The committee holds its first hearing on the Farm Bill update at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing today.

 ALM said key areas that must be addressed in the 2012 Farm Bill revisions include:

  • Protecting the agricultural safety net and crop insurance;
  • Allowing landowners to take their land out of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) early without penalty, which is essential to increase production amid growing global demand and shrinking stocks of grain;
  • Updating the dairy program so it reflects conditions and realities of today’s market;
  • Supporting federal food assistance programs, which are critical for helping America’s needy families and supporting local farmers;
  • Maintaining a robust sugar policy; and
  • Continuing the Energy Title programs, which are important in helping America’s farmers transition to a broader energy portfolio and increase their energy efficiency.

 "Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s hearing brings an important spotlight to Michigan and an opportunity to show the nation the strength and diversity of Michigan agriculture," said Ken Nobis, president of the Michigan Milk Producers Association. "By updating the Farm Bill now, we can seize opportunities for strengthening agriculture well into the future. We look forward to working with Sen. Stabenow so we can take action quickly on issues that are essential to Michigan agriculture’s ability to compete in a global economy."

 "Michigan agriculture is driven by family businesses, and Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s leadership on our nation’s agricultural policy will be followed with close interest," said Ben Kudwa, legislative director of the Potato Growers of Michigan Inc., whose members include potato growers that are helping to make Michigan a top producer of potatoes in the eastern United States. "We are ready to roll up our sleeves and provide the support and resources Sen. Stabenow needs to further strengthen agriculture."

 "The world faces new challenges and new opportunities when it comes to agriculture today, and Sen. Debbie Stabenow is in a unique position to guide the future of agriculture," said Dave Armstrong, CEO of GreenStone Farm Credit Services, the nation’s sixth largest association in the Farm Credit System. "The 2012 Farm Bill will provide the game-changer that can help agriculture compete in a global economy."

 "Michigan agriculture has been one of the few bright spots in today’s economy, and the 2012 Farm Bill is the key to our continued success," said Sam Hines, executive vice president of the Michigan Pork Producers Association. "We look forward to working with Sen. Debbie Stabenow to develop policies that can help us continue to create jobs and strengthen agricultural businesses for years to come."

 "In today’s fast-changing world, and increasing global demand, agriculture needs the most up-to-date tools to compete and create jobs, and that’s what we will be looking for in the 2012 Farm Bill," said George House, executive director of Michigan Allied Poultry Industries Inc., which represents turkey, chicken and egg producers in Michigan. "Sen. Debbie Stabenow has been a solid leader in agriculture, she understands the issues and we are ready to work with her in identifying what agriculture needs to move forward."

 "We are excited that Sen. Debbie Stabenow is taking a pro-active role in updating the Farm Bill and looking to Michigan farmers and agri-businesses to help her set priorities for the next Farm Bill," said Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association, which represents more than 400 agricultural businesses. "At a time of budget cuts, we look forward to working with her to focus on the core issues now that can turn a good Farm Bill into a great one. Michigan agriculture is pleased and excited that Sen. Stabenow continues to shine a light on our industry and the many jobs and opportunities we provide."

 The hearing is at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing on Tuesday, May 31, starting at 9 a.m.


  • Dave Armstrong, President and CEO of GreenStone Farm Credit Services: (517) 318-2290 
  • Ken Nobis, President of the Michigan Milk Producers Association: (248) 474-6672
  • George House, Executive Director of Michigan Allied Poultry Industries Inc.: (616) 676-5593
  • Ben Kudwa, Legislative Director of the Potato Growers of Michigan:  (517) 669-8377
  • Sam Hines, Executive Vice President, Michigan Pork Producers Association: (517) 853-3782
  • Jim Byrum, President of the Michigan Agri-Business Association: (517) 336-0223