Planning for the 2023 Farm Bill officially kicked off at Michigan State University on Friday.
Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR) heard testimony from 16 individuals representing Michigan’s food and agriculture sectors.
John Kran, national legislative council with Michigan Farm Bureau, says it was the prime place to begin talks for the next farm bill.
“Sen. Stabenow has been such a big champion for agriculture [during] her time in the Senate,” he says. “We get to highlight the great things going on in Michigan with our diversity. To have it here, it really is a snapshot of the entire country.”
The two senators heard from dairy producers, specialty crop growers, urban farmers, tribal leaders and more. Stabenow says she heard one theme repeatedly from the 16 invited guests.
“One of the things that came up over and over again is crop insurance, which is so critical, particularly in these times with weather getting worse and worse and worse,” she says. “Our farmers, they’re not asking for a handout. They want help to make sure there’s a backstop that helps them with their risk. The other thing that was underlined so much—and we were not asking folks to say this—is the importance of sustainability, protecting our land and water.”
Sen. Boozman says the testimonies from the panelists show how important the farm bill is for the longevity of rural America.
“Building the safety nets, doing all of the things that conservation programs we talked about today really is making a viable rural America for tomorrow,” he says.
The next farm bill hearing will take place in Arkansas in the next couple of weeks.