President Obama signs farm bill at MSU
Sen. Stabenow: greatest agriculture reform in decades
On a stage surrounded by hay bales and a John Deere tractor, President Barack Obama signed the Agriculture Act of 2014 into law on Friday at Michigan State University.
Agriculture is the second-largest industry in Michigan, and it supports nearly one in four jobs in the state.
The farm bill, written by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., will benefit farmers throughout the country, she said.
“This is a reform bill,” Stabenow said. “It contains the greatest reforms in agriculture programs in decades.”
The five-year measure will end direct payment subsidies to farmers, which have allowed people to receive benefits whether they were planting crops or not. Stabenow said fixing this loophole, along with other cuts and investments outlined in the bill, will reduce the deficit by $23.3 billion.
The law will also extend crop insurance to “specialty crops” such as cherries, apples, blueberries and asparagus.
“Now, despite its name, the farm bill is not just about helping farmers,” Obama said. “It’s a jobs bill, an innovation bill, an infrastructure bill, a research bill, a conservation bill.”
Obama jokingly called the bill a Swiss Army knife and compared it to baseball player Mike Trout.
“It’s somebody who’s got a lot of tools,” he said. “It multitasks. It’s creating more good jobs, gives more Americans a shot at opportunity.”
Obama also announced the launch of the “Made in Rural America” initiative. The program will work to help rural businesses expand and hire more workers.