The Senate Agriculture Committee Friday held its first 2023 Farm Bill hearing in Michigan. Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, outlined the challenges farmers face since the 2018 Farm Bill.
“The pandemic exposed vulnerabilities in our farm and food economy, as we know. Farmers were whiplash by low prices and breakdowns in processing, while Americans across the board saw empty shells and skyrocketing prices. And just as our country has been recovering now, economically, Putin’s war in Ukraine is threatening the worldwide food supply. The good news is that our farmers have seen commodity prices go up, but that’s been offset by rising costs of fertilizer and other essential inputs that they need to do their business. Our next farm bill must address the economic security of our farmers, our families, and our rural communities by supporting a more resilient and sustainable food supply chain.”
Ranking member John Boozman, an Arkansas Republican, echoed Stabenow’s comments.
“As we kick off this process, we are an unprecedented time to write a farm bill. Just think about the issues that we are confronting; they truly are daunting. A receding pandemic, a brutal war in the breadbasket of Europe, record high inflation, record high fertilizer and input costs, high crop prices, high food cost, labor shortages, drought, delayed planting and transportation supply chain bottlenecks. The pandemic and Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine have exposed the vulnerabilities of our domestic and international supply chains. This requires us to rethink the nature of our relationships across the globe, strengthening bonds with countries who share similar values and minimize reliance on those who violate norms.”
The hearing, titled “Growing Jobs and Economic Opportunity: 2023 Farm Bill Perspectives from Michigan,” was held at the STEM Teaching and Learning Facility, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.