Farmers ask Michigan lawmakers for help
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The pandemic has been tough for many of us, especially for those who kept food on our tables while we stayed home.
And now, farmers are asking for help. Dozens of Michigan farmers met at Michigan State University Friday to share ideas they say will address current problems they’re are dealing with. They hope these ideas will be included in a new farm bill.
Juliette King is a cherry farmer. She took on the family farm her dad started, but farming in Michigan isn’t like it used to be.
It gets harder every year. Last year and in 2020, King had two devastating crop losses, something that used to be almost unheard of.
“That makes four crop failures in the last 19 years,” King said. “Before that, there was only maybe one in 50 years.”
Michigan farmers have endured one hard year after another, but lately bad years are more common. That’s why king, along with dozens of other farmers, brought ideas to the table focusing on agriculture, rural development and crop insurance.
King said, “Crop insurance doesn’t make us whole, but it at least ensures that we can continue to maintain our orchards and hopefully get to the next year.”
Crop insurance helps with that risk, which is why King says its critical. She says addressing issues like this in the next bill will help grow our economy and help farmers like herself fight new and pressing challenges.
“If you like to eat fruits and vegetables you should care because the farm bill ensures that us farmers can keep doing what we’re doing,” King said.
Farmers say the bill would help them all. That’s important, considering Michigan has the second most diverse agriculture industry in the United States.
Ashley Kennedy is a dairy farmer.
Kennedy said, “It touches everybody and this bill is really important especially safety night for farmers of all types, from fruits and vegetables to dairy.”
Kennedy says during the pandemic dairy farmers felt the consequences, but continued working hard. Many dairy farmers took a hard hit and are still making up for it.
She says the bill would make farmers like her happy, but as her cows are always happy. One farmer told News 10 that she thinks the name of the bill should be the food bill, because it would provide benefits to everyone not just farmers.
Bi-partisan farm bills pass roughly every 5 years. The last farm bill, which passed in 2018, will expire in September 2023.
More from Claudia Sella:
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