Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today released the following statement in response to President Barack Obama’s 2013 Budget Request.
“Last Fall, the Senate and House Agriculture Committees developed a fiscally responsible, bipartisan recommendation to cut the agriculture budget by $23 billion while strengthening programs to be more efficient and cost-effective. By eliminating direct payments and bolstering risk management tools like crop insurance, our proposal helped to pay down the deficit while continuing to protect and ensure a stable, safe and abundant national food supply and create agriculture jobs.
“I am encouraged the President agrees that direct payments are an indefensible program of the past, but do not agree with further cuts to crop insurance, which is a critical risk management tool. I have heard loud and clear that strong, effective risk management is the number one priority of farmers and producers across the country. Farming is a high risk business and we don’t want farmers and other small businesses going under because a few days of bad weather – it jeopardizes the economy and the safety of our national food supply.
“This budget reinforces the need for Congress to pass a strong, fiscally responsible Farm Bill immediately this year, to provide farmers with the certainty they need to continue being successful. By focusing on streamlining and consolidating programs, I’m working to develop a strong bill that tightens programs to make sure we’re getting the most out of every dollar but not undercutting critical programs that sustain our national food system. The Farm Bill is a jobs bill, and we must make its immediate passage a top priority.”