Amid sweeping changes in the house and senate following the midterm elections, the Agricultural Committee is set to appoint a new leader. Michigan's Senator Debbie Stabenow will become chairwoman of the council. Senator Stabenow asserts that farm life is an essential part of her own state's economy and she hopes to enact policies to aid farmers.
The Agricultural Committee is charged with administering funds to farmers across the country. The last farm bill, passed two years ago, contained billions of dollars in government grants and subsidies to farmers. However, as some politicians hope to close the federal budget gap and burgeoning deficits over the next few years, negotiations over the next version of the bill "could get testy," according to the New York Times.
Senator Stabenow, who will replace Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, affirmed her allegiance to farmers across the country, saying that she looks "forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle as we begin writing a new farm bill," one that illustrates "the importance of America's agricultural economy and rural communities."
Michigan's agricultural economy contributes more than $71 billion to the state's economy and employs over 1 million people.