Nov 23, 2010Stabenow to lead Senate Agriculture Committee
Michigan’s Debbie Stabenow is the new chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, due to the defeat of Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the last election.
In taking over the committee, she will take the lead in writing the 2012 Farm Bill, as well as dealing with legislation that involves forestry and nutrition. This appointment will have a direct impact on specialty crops.
“Senator Stabenow has been a strong supporter of specialty crops,” said Earl Peterson of Peterson Farms. “She has gone above and beyond to really help when we needed her and always taken the time to personally respond, even with her busy schedule. I am extremely happy with her appointment.”
Stabenow has served on agriculture committees in the Michigan legislature, U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. She was instrumental in achieving significant victories for Michigan in the passage of the most recent Farm Bill, including the addition of a new fruit and vegetable title.
“Senator Stabenow has been a champion for Michigan growers of fruit, including apples, as well as growers of vegetables, nursery and floricultural crops,” said Julia Baehre Rothwell, chairwoman of the U.S. Apple Association’s board of directors. “All of agriculture should embrace an agriculture chair who understands and supports specialty crops, in addition to traditional livestock and row crops.”
“Agriculture is critical to Michigan’s economy, employing a quarter of our workforce,” Stabenow said. “Not only does agriculture create jobs and feed our families across America, but it is also helping us develop new fuels and energy sources. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, as we begin writing a new Farm Bill that once again recognizes the importance of America’s agricultural economy and rural communities.”
“Senator Stabenow and her staff worked very hard on the 2008 Farm Bill to make sure there were new provisions that are specific to specialty crop farmers in Michigan and throughout the United States,” said Philip Korson, president of The Cherry Marketing Institute. “She has been a champion for food safety programs, conservation, energy and research. We need an elected official like Senator Stabenow, who is interested in Michigan agriculture and working to grow and expand the economic engine in the state that creates jobs and keeps our food supply safe.”
Responsible for legislative oversight of matters relating to the nation’s agriculture industry, farming programs and forestry, the ag committee also plays a key role in determining funding for private-lands conservation programs.
“Senator Stabenow filled a leading role in the writing and passage of the 2008 Farm Bill,” said Dave Smith, executive director of the Michigan Vegetable Council. “(She) authored the first ever specialty crops title, which recognized the importance of these crops to our country’s agriculture. She also helped in many other provisions of the bill, particularly support for agricultural research and conservation programs.”
By Derrek Sigler, Assistant Editor