At a special signing ceremony today on Michigan State University's campus, President Barack Obama signed into law the bipartisan 2014 Farm Bill authored by U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. The bill represents rare bipartisan agreement on a major jobs bill - legislation that will help grow Michigan's agriculture economy, the state's second-largest industry. The 2014 Farm Bill reduces the deficit by $23 billion and represents the most significant reform of American agriculture policy in decades.
Michigan State University is America's first land grant college and is a national leader in agriculture research.
"I'm so pleased that President Obama chose to sign this landmark legislation here in Michigan," Chairwoman Stabenow said. "This Farm Bill is about our future, growing our agriculture economy, protecting food assistance for families in need of support, preserving our land and water, and reducing the deficit. With Michigan on every page, I can't think of a better place for this Farm Bill to become law than right here at my alma mater, Michigan State University."
The bill has received widespread support and has been endorsed by a broad coalition of agriculture groups in Michigan, including the Agriculture Leaders of Michigan, Michigan Agri-Business Association, Cherry Marketing Institute, Ducks Unlimited, Michigan Farmers Union, Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Michigan Corn Growers, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Michigan Nature Conservancy, Pheasants Forever, Potato Growers of Michigan, Michigan Bean Commission, Michigan Sugar Company, Michigan Soybean Association, Michigan Floriculture Growers Council, GreenStone Farm Credit Services, Michigan Apple Committee, Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, National Wildlife Federation, Grand Traverse Land Conservancy, Cadillac Area Land Conservancy, Muskegon River Watershed Assembly, Leelanau Conservancy, Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board, Michigan Onion Committee, Michigan Carrot Committee, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, Michigan Forest Products Council and Six Rivers Land Conservancy.
The bipartisan, five-year Farm Bill, entitled the Agricultural Act of 2014, will reform agriculture programs, reduce the deficit by $23 billion and help farmers and business owners grow Michigan's agriculture economy. The bill includes major reforms like eliminating the direct payment subsidy program, streamlining and consolidating other programs, and cracking down on fraud and misuse. The bill also invests in initiatives to help strengthen Michigan's fruit and vegetable industries, increase American agriculture exports, and help family farmers sell more goods locally.
Additionally, the bill includes disaster assistance for Michigan's cherry growers and other specialty crop producers who were hit hard by freezes and other bad weather in recent years. The Farm Bill is the biggest investment in conservation the nation has made or is likely to make in years, including support for new regional partnerships for areas like the Great Lakes.
Agriculture is critical to Michigan's economy:
* Agriculture is Michigan's second-largest industry.
* Agriculture supports nearly one in four jobs in Michigan.
* Agriculture exports are a bright spot in Michigan's continuing economic recovery.
* Michigan is second in the nation in crop diversity, growing more variety of crops than any other state but California.
The 2014 Farm Bill:
* Eliminates unnecessary direct payment subsidies, a major reform in American agriculture policy. Direct payments are paid out every year whether or not there is a need.
* Ends programs that are no longer working and consolidates duplicative programs, eliminating 100 programs or authorizations in total.
* Strengthens crop insurance and makes it available to Michigan's specialty crop (i.e., fruit and vegetable) growers.
* Helps farmers and ranchers create jobs and provides certainty for the 16 million Americans working in agriculture.