President Barack Obama today signed into law the bipartisan 2014 Farm Bill at a special signing ceremony on Michigan State University’s campus. The President joined Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), the Farm Bill’s lead Senate author and Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture. Farmers, conservations leaders, and local food advocates were also on hand. Sen. Stabenow said the legislation represents rare bipartisan agreement that will help to create jobs and grow the agriculture economy. “Michigan State is America’s first land grant college and one of the leading agricultural research institutions in the nation, so it’s only fitting that the President would sign this landmark legislation at MSU,” Chairwoman Stabenow said. “This is not your father’s Farm Bill. This bill represents a new direction for American agriculture policy, reforming agriculture programs to reduce spending. The bill makes historic investments in land and water conservation, increases options for local and healthy foods, and protects food assistance for families who need help. This bill touches every American in every part of the country – from the food we eat, to the water we drink and the air we breathe.”
“The first thing this Farm Bill does it help rural communities grow, it gives farmers some certainty, and puts in place important reforms,” said President Obama before signing the legislation. He added the bill does not contain everything he would have liked to see, but it represents a good sign that both sides on Congress can work together. Despite all the talk a bipartisan support, none of the 50 Republicans who were invited to the ceremony attended. The President in his remarks also called for Congress to take action on immigration reform.
Indiana Congressman Marlin Stutzman, a fourth-generation farmer who voted against the Farm Bill conference report and worked to separate farm policy from food stamps said in a statement, “With President Obama’s signature, Washington just slammed the door on Farm Bill reforms for the next five years. Once again, business as usual logrolled farm programs and food stamps so that Washington can spend money it doesn’t have. This backroom deal is an insult to taxpayers, farmers, and Americans everywhere.”
The National Corn Growers issued a statement praising the President for signing the bill. “This new five-year farm bill means certainty and stability for farmers. It means food on the table for hungry families. And it means taxpayers will save money,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre. “We thank President Obama for signing this important legislation, and we stand ready to work with the Administration and communicate the value of this new law for our growers and those they help feed and fuel. Because of its very topic – food and the farms that provide it – this is one of the most important pieces of legislation Congress has passed in some time.”
Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation said the signing of the bill bring to an end over two years of hard work, “It’s been a bumpy road for the farm bill over the past several years, with many twists and turns, but farmers never gave up nor lost momentum in working toward its passage. Farm Bureau believes this farm bill will give farmers and ranchers a measure of business certainty for this and coming years, allowing them to better manage risk while carrying out the important business of providing food and jobs for America.”