Stabenow: Ag provisions take ‘haircut,’ but still strong
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said today, Oct. 27 that the agriculture and child nutrition provisions in the Build Back Better Act have all taken a “haircut” from the 10-year proposals passed by the House Agriculture and Education and Labor committees, but are still “in good shape.”
The House Agriculture Committee recommendations included $66 billion for agricultural research, rural development and forestry management and $28 billion for conservation.
Speaking to The Hagstrom Report briefly after a confirmation hearing, Stabenow said that the number of years that the child nutrition programs would cover had been shortened, but that the provisions still left would be “very meaningful.” The child nutrition section would make it easier to provide free meals to low-income children, among other provisions. The recommendation of the House Education and Labor Committee, which has jurisdiction over child nutrition in the House, was for $35 billion.
Stabenow noted that more than 700 leaders of farm, research and other groups had written letters in support of various provisions in the bill.
Stabenow singled out the National Milk Producers Federation for its support.
In a summary of the letters of support released by the Senate Agriculture Committee, National Milk Producers Federation President Jim Mulhern said, “Dairy farmers are proactive stewards of their land and water resources, but they are always seeking to innovate further. Dairy farmers in 2020 committed to become carbon-neutral or better by 2050 and maximize water quality around the country. Bolstering conservation investment and focusing on climate-smart practices better positions dairy farmers to fulfill the dairy sector’s 2050 environmental stewardship goals as envisioned in the Net Zero Initiative.”
Stabenow also cited support from former presidents of the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association.
In the same summary, former National Corn Growers Association President Fred Yoder and former American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser said, “As Congress takes up the proposed budget reconciliation and infrastructure measures, policymakers should … include funding and enabling authority for critically needed conservation and technical assistance programs and clean energy investments, including ethanol. With sound climate smart agriculture enabling polices, investments and markets, those who work the land can deliver solutions to climate, food system, energy and national security challenges.”
Stabenow made the comments amid rumors in the Capitol that the Democrats had reached a deal on the Build Back Better Act that could allow a vote on the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act before President Biden leaves for Europe on Thursday. The rumors persisted even though Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., criticized what’s called the billionaire’s tax proposal.
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