News Feature | February 7, 2014

President Obama Jets To Michigan To Sign Farm Bill

Source: Food Online
Sam Lewis

By Sam Lewis, associate editor
Follow Me On Twitter @SamIAmOnFood

Obama Plane

Focusing on the agriculture industry’s growth, the president will speak at Michigan State University and sign long-awaited legislation

It may have taken what seems like forever, but the new farm bill will be signed into law by President Obama on Friday, Feb 7. The president is even making a special trip to Michigan State University — a research hub of the agriculture industry — to celebrate the legislative accomplishment.

The $1 trillion bill has been delayed by a divided Congress for the previous two years. The new bill — The Agricultural Act of 2014 — provides policies regarding crop subsidies, nutrition programs, food stamps, and provisions to livestock producers struck by natural disasters for the next five years. The bill is essentially the product of compromise between Republicans, keeping a close eye on the national deficit, and Democrats, hoping to maintain and improve existing legislative safety nets.

Not only does President Obama intend to sign the bill at MSU, he will also deliver a speech outlining the bill’s importance to the economy, as well as rural America. Included in the president’s address are details regarding the administration-wide effort to increase the nation’s agricultural exports and the measures taken to achieve that growth. According to a report from the Council of Economic Advisors, from 2008 to 2013 farm income climbed 46 percent. The report also says the growth is credited to increased productivity in agriculture, noting that the country’s agricultural output has grown by nearly 1.5 percent annually since 1948.

The president will also outline the “Made in Rural America” initiative. This program will strive to help connect business outside of cities with export opportunities. The initiative will accomplish this through educational forums for local government officials and agricultural groups with a heavy focus on participation in trade events and promoting the agricultural industry’s exports. Additionally, the president will tour the Michigan Biotechnology Institute, a biofuel research center in Lansing, MI.

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