Lawmakers’ list of priorities change constantly. Right now, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) says her No. 1 priority is getting the farm bill implemented.
“We've added a lot of support for rural communities and we need to get that support out there, everything from doing more on rural Broadband and telemedicine to focusing on water quality and so on,” she told AgriTalk host Chip Flory. “No. 1 really at the top of the list is getting the new commodity title implemented particularly for our dairy farmers. As you know, dairy farmers have really, really been hit hard and we have dramatically improved the dairy safety net. So I'm anxious to get that in place.”
Why is she so eager to see the full farm bill in place? According to Stabenow, Michigan agriculture touches every page of the farm bill because of the state’s wide range of agriculture commodities.
“We have more diversity of crops than any state but California,” she added.
Stabenow said lawmakers are tasked with ensuring USDA has everything they need to move quickly and be accomplished within the intent of the farm bill.
“That's why last week we had an implementation hearing with Secretary (Sonny) Purdue,” she said. “I appreciate it very much his comments about working quickly.”
There are a lot of new, expanded or revised provisions that require implementation be done “the right way” she added.
Additionally, Stabenow pointed out that the farm bill includes permanent funding for trade programs. Those programs can help establish new trading relationships and boost income for farmers, she said.