The road leading to America’s next national farm bill stops in Michigan this weekend. On Saturday, farmers will testify on the proposed bill in Frankenmuth.
The 2018 Farm Bill will set America’s agricultural policy for the next five years. Ag scientists in Michigan want to ensure federal research funding keeps flowing into the state.
Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources dean Dr. Ron Hendrick says while he’s encouraged by the Trump administration’s support for agriculture, inflation is taking a toll on research funding.
“Compared to where we were 20 years ago, we only have about 50 cents on the dollar in terms of purchasing power for research,” Hendrick says. “So, clearly that’s something that’s important to us and important to Michigan’s producers and growers.”
Clinton County farmer David Williams is president of the Michigan Soybean Association. He wants the federal conservation stewardship program to continue.
“If you do all of the things that the program calls for, then you get funding to continue these practices and adopt new practices,” Williams says. “Certainly there’s an expense, but we feel the cost of the program is more than offset by the benefits.”
The field hearing will be led by members of the Senate agriculture committee. Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow is the ranking member of that committee.