By Stewart Doan

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, Nov. 19 – Following Sen. Conrad's announcement Friday that he will remain as Senate Budget Committee chair, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) outlined her goals as the incoming chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

“I am ready to lead the Senate Agriculture Committee in the 112th Congress,” Stabenow said Friday. “Agriculture is critical to Michigan’s economy, employing a quarter of our workforce. 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 has served on the Agriculture committees in the Michigan legislature, U.S. House of Representatives and currently the U.S. Senate. She played a leading role in adding a new fruit and vegetable title to 2008 Farm Bill.

Reaction from Michigan agriculture leaders includes these comments:

“Sen. Debbie Stabenow continues to show leadership on agricultural issues and gives agriculture the support and resources to create local jobs and drive our economy. As Michigan’s second-largest industry, agriculture generates more than $71.3 billion in revenue each year and accounts for 1 million jobs. Agricultural businesses in our state look forward to continuing our growth and having a strong advocate in Washington who gets it.” – Ken Nobis, President of the Michigan Milk Producers Association.

“The important role agriculture plays in this state often goes unrecognized. Senator Stabenow has not only been a tireless advocate for agriculture but she understands how the system must function in order to provide consumers with an abundant supply of safe and affordable food.” – Sam Hines, Executive Vice President of the Michigan Pork Producers Association.

“Senator Stabenow has been a champion for Michigan growers of fruit including apples, as well as growers of vegetables, nursery and floricultural crops. All of agriculture should embrace an Agriculture chair who understands and supports specialty crops, in addition to traditional livestock and row crops.” – Julia Baehre Rothwell, Chair of the Michigan Apple Association.

“Sen. Debbie Stabenow is an outstanding advocate for agriculture in Michigan and across the nation. She has a proven track record of standing up for agriculture in Michigan, which produces more than 200 agriculture commodities and leads the nation in 11 of those. Sen. Stabenow understands the importance of agricultural policy to farmers and agri-business, but also rural communities. Feeding the world and encouraging new technology, while protecting our natural resources are issues Sen. Stabenow has been engaged in her entire career.” – Jim Byrum, President of the Michigan Agri-Business Association.

“Senator Stabenow has been a staunch supporter of agriculture and is certainly one of the main reasons that Michigan Agriculture and Agriculture in general are leading the U.S. economy forward.” – Mike Sahr, Chairman of the Michigan Bean Commission.

“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. 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.” – Phillip J. Korson II, President of The Cherry Marketing Institute.

“Senator Debbie Stabenow has been an ardent and steadfast advocate for Michigan agriculture. Her vision for the future of agriculture was evident in her commitment to securing new funding for specialty crop research in the last Farm Bill, funding that has and will continue to directly benefit not only Michigan producers but farmers across America. She is a champion for leveraging investments in research and outreach – much of which will be done at MSU and other land grant institutions – to expand the Ag economic impact and improve the quality of life for all Americans.” – Jeffrey D. Armstrong, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University.

“Sen. Debbie Stabenow has been a friend of agriculture and farms, large and small, serving the Michigan State House, U.S. House, and U.S. Senate Agriculture Committees and been an advocate for strong Michigan food systems. She really listens to farmers, both commodity crop and specialty crop growers, regarding their concerns about federal policy.” – Elaine Brown, Executive Director of the Michigan Food and Farming Systems.

“We are very appreciative of Senator Stabenow’s tireless efforts in support of the International Food Protection Training Institute’s mission to improve food safety nationwide. As Chairwoman, we expect that Senator Stabenow will continue to build on her strong track record in agriculture and food safety.” – Gerald Wojtala, Executive Director of the International Food Protection Training Institute.

“Senator Stabenow filled a leading role in the writing and passage of the 2008 Farm Bill. Senator Stabenow 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.”- Dave Smith, Executive Director of the Michigan Vegetable Council.

To read about Sen. Conrad's decision to remain as Senate Budget Committee chair, opening the way for Sen. Stabenow to head the Ag Committee, go to:

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