Stabenow not interested in cutting farm bill spending
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said Tuesday she would oppose any cuts to spending in the 2023 farm bill.
“I am not interested in cutting the farm bill,” Stabenow told the crop insurance industry convention in a virtual speech. Stabenow said she wants to “learn what worked and did not work” in the 2018 farm bill, but that “it has been complicated due to trade,” a reference to the Trump administration’s policies which led to a loss of markets and massive ad hoc subsidies.
“First we have to set the ship right, get us back to the basic principles around risk management, see trade stabilized,” Stabenow said, adding that she wants to see prices continue to go up and create new opportunities, including a carbon market.
“Tackling the climate crisis is an opportunity,” she said, but it should be voluntary and on a bipartisan basis.
The big problem in addressing climate change, she said, is that people don’t know how to measure carbon, which would be addressed by the Growing Climate Solutions bill she has introduced with Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind.
Stabenow said she is “open” to the idea of using the Commodity Credit Corporation to fund climate-related programs as long as basic farm programs are funded, but that “none of that has been fleshed out yet. People grab onto controversies.”
Her committee and the crop insurance industry need to engage in a lot of discussions to come up with proper policy, Stabenow said. “This is going to take work by your experts and our experts” to figure out how these programs can be actuarially sound and positive for both farming and forestry.
She noted that she had insisted that the crop insurance program include specialty crops after Michigan lost its cherry crop in 2012 and crop insurance did not cover cherries.
“The next farm bill is right around the corner,” Stabenow said, adding that she and Senate Agriculture ranking member John Boozman, R-Ark., want to reauthorize the child nutrition programs.
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