The new Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, returned to her Michigan roots to make her first speech after taking the prestigious seat. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., told the Michigan Agri-Business Association's annual winter meeting her door will be wide open when it comes to negotiating the next farm bill. She pledged her support for a strong safety net, but added it might look a little different than it does now
Stabenow said we need to continue opening markets around the world and enforcing trade agreements with other countries. Also, she says she hears from farmers and agribusinesses that we need to resolve some of the issues currently with the EPA related to FIFRA and the Clean Water Act. "Our growers and producers need certainty on these issues, and I hope this is an area where we can come together in a bipartisan way to find solutions."
Overall, Stabenow said American leadership is needed in innovation, biotechnology, and increased efficiency to make it possible to feed the world. She says she is going to make sure that this Administration understands the importance of agriculture and rural development in creating jobs in towns and counties across the country.
Stabenow is planning a series of hearings on how the farm bill is working and what should change.