Senate Ag chair: Budget Woes Call for ‘Creative Solutions’

By Phillip Brasher, Des Moines Register

The new chairwoman of the Senate agriculture committee says lawmakers need to find “creative solutions” to maintain a federal safety net for farmers in spite of concerns about spending.

“The safety net might look a little different than it does now, but we can’t have family businesses going under because of a few days of bad weather,” Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow said in what was billed as her first major speech since taking over the panel. She was speaking at the Michigan Agri-Business Association’s annual winter conference.

Stabenow represents a state with more diverse range of crops, including cherries and other fruits and vegetables, than most Midwest states. She’s been an outspoken advocate for fruit and vegetable growers, who don’t get anywhere near the level of subsidies that go to grain, oilseeed and cotton producers.

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