President Obama will be in Mid-Michigan later today

Feb 7, 2014

President Obama travels to Michigan today where he will sign the nation’s new farm bill into law.

The new law will change the way the federal government aids the nation’s farmers.

The president is signing the nearly $1 trillion farm bill into law on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing.

MSU alumnus Debbie Stabenow is the chairman of the U.S. Senate Agriculture committee.

She has spent the past two years working to pass the package of farm subsidies and federal food assistance spending through Congress.

“Let me just say this is not your father’s farm bill,” Stabenow told reporters earlier this week.“There are major reforms in this bill.”

Dr. David Schweikhardt is a professor of agricultural economics at MSU.

He says the new farm bill is an evolution of U.S. farm policy, by eliminating direct payments to farmers and requiring farmers to take part in crop insurance programs.

“The government still does pay a part of that crop insurance subsidy,” says Schweikhardt. “But this is a much, much more market-oriented policy than we had in the 1930s – and I would argue much more market-oriented than it was ten years ago.”

The farm bill also cuts federal spending on food assistance and nutrition programs.

The $8 billion reduction is more than Democrats wanted.  But it is also far less than Republicans wanted.