A farm bill for Christmas

A member of the U.S. House Ag Committee says she’s optimistic the 2023 Farm Bill will pass by Christmas.

Michigan Democrat Elissa Slotkin tells Brownfield any work on the farm bill will be held up by other budget priorities.

“I think realistically, we’re looking towards Christmas,” she shares. “There’s nothing like the deadline of Christmas to get Congress compromising and working together.”

Slotkin has been meeting with stakeholders across the state to discuss her newly introduced Specialty Crop Security Act which would expand the current Specialty Crop Block Grant program by $15 million annually.

“People are worried about the lack of safety net, that there’s not enough there for them if they lose their crop in a bad season,” she shares.  “We heard a lot about land use, we can’t grow the food we need to feed America if we don’t have the land we need to farm.”

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Tim Boring tells Brownfield funding needs to shift toward more climate-resilient outcomes for farmers.

“We’ve got a really strong starting position for our work,” he says.  “We’ve got really high capacity within our research organizations to be continuing to contribute for what the science says that we need to do and I’m sure we’re going to be strongly science focused on how we’re approaching these climate issues.”

Slotkin says she’s also working on ways to keep farmland in production as owners transition generations.

Brownfield spoke with her during an ag round table Wednesday in Grand Rapids.

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