Dr. Benishek Votes “Yes” to Support Northern Michigan Agricultural Jobs

Jan 29, 2014 Issues: Economy and Jobs

WASHINGTON, DC:  Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) today voted in support of bipartisan legislation, known as the Farm Bill, which will support Northern Michigan farmers and save American taxpayers over $23 billion.  

“A lot of jobs in Northern Michigan depend on farming and agriculture and it’s a vital part of our economy.  Included in this legislation are provisions that I authored—with the help of our local farmers—that will help our growers and communities. Provisions like improved crop insurance for our fruit farmers, enhancing food safety while eliminating government duplication, and fighting for PILT payments that provide critical funding to our local governments.  It will give farmers in Northern Michigan the support they need while at the same time making important reforms to reduce wasteful Washington spending,” said Dr. Benishek, Michigan’s only member of the House Committee on Agriculture

The bipartisan Farm Bill compromise includes key reductions in wasteful federal spending while maintaining sensible, fiscally-responsible farm policy. The bill consolidates over 100 government programs and eliminates direct payments to farmers who do not farm.  Additionally, the legislation contains protections for specialty fruit crops—including cherries, apples, blueberries and asparagus—which are critical for Michigan’s First District.  The bipartisan Farm Bill will also supports the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, which is used to fund local mental health services, schools, and fire departments.  In FY 2013, PILT payments to Michigan’s First Congressional district totaled over $3.6 million.

“I’ve been out there listening to our farmers and they’ve been telling me this bipartisan agreement is a win for Northern Michigan and our economy.  I’m hopeful that it will now be passed quickly by the Senate and get the president’s signature so that Michigan’s farmers can have the support and certainty they need,” added Dr. Benishek. 

According to the Michigan Farm Bureau, the agriculture sector contributes over $71 billion to the state’s economy and is the state’s second largest industry.  Michigan is home to over 56,000 farms covering over 10 million acres.  Dr. Benishek is the only member from Michigan on the House Agriculture Committee that was responsible for writing this legislation. 

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