On Friday, planning for the 2023 Farm Bill officially began at Michigan State University.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabneow and Ranking Member John Boozeman of Arkansas heard from 16 people representing Michigan’s food and agriculture sectors.
Michigan Farm Bureau National Legislative Counsel John Kran said this is the prime venue to begin talks on the upcoming farm bill.
“Sen. Stabenow has been such a great champion of agriculture [during] his time in the Senate,” he said. “We get to highlight the great things happening in Michigan with our diversity. To have it here is really a snapshot of the whole country.
Both senators heard from dairy farmers, specialty crop growers, urban farmers, tribal leaders and more. Stabenow says she repeatedly heard a theme from the 16 guests.
“One of the things that kept coming up was crop insurance, which is so essential, especially in these times when the weather is getting worse and worse,” she says. “Our farmers, they don’t ask for handouts. They want help to ensure there is a safety net that helps them manage their risk. The other thing that was emphasized so much – and we weren’t asking people to say it – is the importance of sustainability, of protecting our land and our water.
Senator Boozeman says the testimonies from the panelists show how important the farm bill is to the longevity of rural America.
“Building the safety nets, doing all the things including the conservation programs that we talked about today, is really making a viable rural America for tomorrow,” he says.
The next hearing on the farm bill will take place in Arkansas in the coming weeks.