While a lot of the Senate Ag Committee’s accomplishments have been in response to the pandemic, Sen. Debbie Stabenow says that assistance to producers goes beyond that.
The Senate Ag Committee had a successful year in helping producers navigate the pandemic, and then some.
“As we look at things, a lot of this has been about putting resources into place where we can address challenges that our growers have felt and be able to begin to build more competition into the system,” says Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chair of the Senate Ag Committee.
Two of her biggest accomplishments of the year has been making improvements to rural broadband and her Growing Climate Solutions Act.
“I worked with colleagues to get very robust funding for high-speed internet into the Infrastructure Bill that has passed, and this is something we know for farmers and rural America is desperately needed,” says Stabenow. “In addition to that, we worked together with a broad coalition of farmers, ranchers and foresters to pass an overwhelmingly bipartisan bill of mine this spring called the Growing Climate Solutions Act to help our farmers be able to make sense of carbon markets.”
Looking ahead to 2022, Stabenow has a laundering list of issues to tackle, including the Farm Workforce Modernization Bill.
“The House did pass a bill I would love to see passed,” she says. “We are in a position where we have a president that wants to sign in, House representatives who passed that, every Senate Democrat supporting it. That gets us to 50 votes, but because of the rules and the filibuster, we need 60. We need 10 Republican colleagues to join us. There will never be a better opportunity to get this done.”
Stabenow says she’s also focused on consolidation in agriculture and creating more competition.
“Whether it’s in the meat processing industry, whether we’re talking about the fertilizer industry, the truth is, we need more fairness and transparency and competition in these markets,” she says. “We saw it when everything broke down after COVID—farmers need more options.”