farm bill

Stateside
4:52 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Farm Bill extension causes trouble for organic farmers

user acrylicartist MorgueFile.com

One of the pressing issues before Congress is the need to pass a new Farm Bill.

A Farm Bill extension was passed last January to give Congress more time to get the final bill passed.

And within that extension was an unhappy surprise for many organic farmers: it no longer contained an annual federal subsidy that helped certified organic farmers cover the cost of getting their operations inspected. That is a key step in being certified organic.

What does the loss of this subsidy mean to organic farmers in Michigan? And does a farm have to go through the trouble and expense of getting certified to be organic?

Lee Arboreal owns the Eaters' Guild Farm in Bangor, a farm that is certified organic, and he's on the board of the Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance.

Tomm Becker owns Sunseed Farm, just out of Ann Arbor. His farm is not certified, but uses organic practices.

And Vicki Morrone is an Organic Farming Specialist at the Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University.

The three of them joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
1:09 pm
Sun October 27, 2013

Michiganders who get government food assistance will feel funding cut this week

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Hundreds of thousands of Michiganders who rely on government programs to put food on their table will be getting less money to buy groceries starting November First.

Back in 2009, the federal government pumped billions of dollars into food assistance programs. The money came from the federal economic stimulus. But that ends November first.  After that, Michiganders getting help buying food from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will see their monthly benefits drop by about five to ten percent.

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Politics & Government
4:07 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Stabenow hopeful a new Farm Bill can pass, despite debate over possible government shutdown

Rita O'Brien (left), the director of Lansing's Hunter Park garden house, gives U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow a tour of the facility
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow is hopeful getting a deal on a new Farm Bill won't be derailed by a looming deadline to avoid a federal government shutdown.

The current Farm Bill’s mix of farm subsidies and low-income food programs expires at the end of September. The next day, unless a budget deal can be reached, the federal government may have to shut down.

Senator Stabenow hopes the focus on the shutdown will not delay passage of the Farm Bill.

“Regardless of the broader discussion going on on the budget, we can get this done,” says Stabenow.   

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Stateside
5:10 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Time is running out for the federal Farm Bill

A farm in rural Michigan
user acrylicartist MorgueFile.com

An interview with Ryan Findlay and David Schweikhardt.

2013 has become the year America focuses on its farms.

That's because the federal Farm Bill expires at the end of September and the House and Senate are trying to get a new bill passed.

But getting that done has become one of the great legislative challenges of the year.

The House and Senate have each passed their versions and the differences between the two are big.

For one thing, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has been stripped right out of the House version, while the Senate version calls for cutting about $4 billion from nutrition assistance.

And, what are the differences in the two Farm Bills that really hit home for the farmers of Michigan?

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Politics & Culture
5:00 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Stateside for Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Billions and billions of federal dollars, hundreds of different policies, all rest in the U.S. Farm Bill. With very little bipartisanship in Washington these days, it's not too surprising that it's taken so long for Congress to make a deal on the legislation. But, time is running out. Why can’t the 2013 Farm Bill just get done and what does it means for the Michigan and U.S. economies?

And, we took a temperature-check. Just how do local officials think the state Legislature is doing?

Also, the Dearborn Planning Commission approved changes in rules governing the way residents may use their garages, but some people in the Arab community feel the changes are a direct slap at them.

First on the show, there's been an apology from Detroit's emergency manager for those now-infamous comments made in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. That's where Kevyn Orr described Detroit in these words: "For a long time the city was dumb, lazy, happy and rich."

Orr offered up a mea culpa in an interview with WXYZ-TV.

What effect will those words and the apology have on Orr's ability to work with Detroit leaders and citizens?

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined us today.

Politics & Culture
5:41 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Stateside for Thursday, August 1st, 2013

People around the world and right here in Michigan are rethinking money in order to ease financial woes, and they're doing it with local currency. On today's show we found out what it is, and where it's working.

And, we headed up north to a resort town where a vacation can lead to putting down roots and building a business.

Also, one of the co-founders of The Artist Lounge joined us to tell us about how her business is breathing new life into Pontiac.

And, the Farm Bill and food stamp programs expire at the end of September. We took a closer look at what this means for Michiganders receiving federal food assistance.

Also, we spoke with Micki Maynard about what she thinks the future of personal transportation will look like.

First on the show, a State Senate panel has voted to make more than 300,000 Michiganders eligible for Medicaid in 2014. And that's not all: the GOP-led Government Operations Committee said yes to two alternative plans.

So, from the Senate ticking off Governor Snyder by adjourning without voting on the House-passed Medicaid expansion plan to this Senate Panel serving up not one, not two, but three Medicaid proposals, it's a lot to keep track of.

We turned to Michigan Public Radio Network's Lansing reporter Jake Neher for a little help in sorting this all out.

Stateside
5:02 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

What does the Farm Bill mean for Michiganders receiving food assistance?

Funding for the food stamp program is part of the federal Farm Bill.
Brandon Shigeta Google images

An interview with Melissa Smith, a senior policy analyst for the Michigan League of Public Policy.

The federal Farm Bill is the focus of the latest political battle on Capitol Hill. And in that fight rests the future of SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

1.7 million people here in Michigan and 47.5 million people nationwide receive federal help to buy food. Spending and participation in the food stamp program is at an all-time high.

Funding for the food stamp program is part of the big five-year Farm Bill. Both the House and Senate have approved Farm Bills, but there's a big gulf between the two versions.

The Senate's version would cut about $4 billion from food assistance programs. Senate Democrats say that would root out waste but not strand people in need.

The House version would have cut much deeper, around $20 billion. House Republicans say now that the economy is recovering, food assistance can be cut back, and they maintain that President Obama's expansion of food aid during the recession went well beyond what was truly needed. GOP House leaders stripped food aid out of its farm bill to get it passed.

So now what? The clock is ticking, because the Farm Bill and food stamp programs expire at the end of September.

What does this all mean for those Michiganders who receive federal food assistance?

Melissa Smith is a senior policy analyst for the Michigan League of Public Policy, a Lansing-based group that focuses on social services. She joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Opinion
9:35 am
Thu July 18, 2013

The Farm Bill: What Michigan stands to gain

Lessenberry commentary for 7/18/2013

If I were young, single, and wanted to score, my guess is that I wouldn’t go to some hot place and say -- “have you been following what’s going on with the farm bill?”

No. Well, the farm bill may not sound too sexy, but it is, especially perhaps for Michigan. My guess is that few people have been following the farm bill wars. Those politically aware may know the U.S. Senate passed one version of the bill, the House another.

This sort of thing happens all the time, and then a conference committee, really a compromise committee, haggles and then puts something together both houses then pass.

Except that today’s is a rigidly polarized world. Democrats control the Senate, Republicans the House. After an earlier attempt failed, the Republicans passed an ideologically driven bill which completely eliminated funds for what in Washington jargon is called SNAP -- the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Most of us know this simply as food stamps.

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Politics & Government
8:34 am
Wed July 17, 2013

This week in Michigan politics: Common Core, tuition for undocumented students, U.S. farm bill

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo Flickr

Week in Michigan politics interview for 7/17/2013

This week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Emily Fox discuss the controversy over the Common Core State Standards, the University of Michigan’s vote on whether to offer in-state tuition to undocumented students, and the debate over food stamps and the U.S. farm bill.

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Economy
5:14 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Stabenow likens efforts to pass new farm bill to comedy ‘Groundhog Day’

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) speaks with farmer Jim May inside his barn in Sparta during a 2011 visit.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., says she’ll take whatever version of the farm bill she can get from the Republican-led U.S. House. The chair of the Senate’s Agriculture Committee says time is running short to get something signed into law.

Stabenow has been working for a few years to pass a new version of the massive farm bill.

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Politics & Government
8:53 am
Fri July 12, 2013

In this morning’s news: farm bill, fracking, and Arab-American bank accounts

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U.S. House revisits Farm Bill

United States House Republicans passed a farm bill yesterday that excludes food assistance legislation.  Agriculture and food stamps have historically been a part of the same bill for nearly 40 years. Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody reports that the Michigan Farm Bureau is disappointed with the status of the new legislation. 

State Democrats increase fracking regulation

Democrats in the state House have introduced eight new bills to increase regulations on hydraulic fracturing in Michigan. The bills do not ban fracking or stop the issuing of permits. According to Michigan Public Radio’s Jake Neher, “the legislation would require natural gas companies to disclose which chemicals they’re using in the fracking process. It would also give local governments more power to restrict the activity.”

Arab-American group sues over bank account closures

Hundreds of Arab-Americans received letters from Huntington Bank notifying them that their accounts have been closed.  Many of these closures came with no explanation. The Arab-American Civil Rights League has filed a $75,000 lawsuit against the bank.

Business
5:01 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Michigan Farm Bureau not happy with US-House-passed Farm Bill

Michigan farmers will likely harvest their crops before Congress agrees on a final 2013 Farm Bill.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan’s agribusiness leaders are hoping Congress will restore food assistance programs to the 2013 Farm Bill.

House Republicans approved a Farm Bill on Thursday, without any funding for food stamp programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as SNAP.

For decades, Congress has approved massive spending bills to help the nation’s farmers and provide help for the poor to buy food. But conservative House members passed a Farm Bill without the food stamp funding.

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Stateside
5:24 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

How the Farm Bill impacts all of us

Professor David Schweikhardt
http://www.aec.msu.edu

An interview with David Schweikhardt, a professor in the Michigan State University Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics.

Its official title is the "Senate Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act," but feel free to call it "The 2013 Farm Bill." It was passed last week by the Senate on the wings of strong bipartisan support by a vote of 66-27.

This nearly $1 trillion bill has been over a year and a half in the making. Not only does it slash $24 billion from agriculture programs, but it makes substantial changes in the way the federal government spends on efforts like the federal food assistance program.

To get a sense of what's in the Senate farm bill and how it matters to each of us, we turned to David Schweikhardt. He's a Professor in the Michigan State University Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics, and he joined us in the studio today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:23 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Stabenow addresses concerns surrounding the Farm Bill

Stabenow says Michigan can still benefit from the auto industry
Office of Senator Stabenow

An interview with Michigan Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow.

The Farm Bill would cut the funding to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, by more than $4 billion over the next 10 years. And the House version of the bill has about five times as many cuts.

Michigan Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow is the head of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, and the champion of the Farm Bill.

The Senator joined us today to discuss some of the concerns surrounding this bill.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:21 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Farm Bill cuts food stamp funding by over $4 billion

1.7 million people in Michigan receive federal food assistance.
Brandon Shigeta Google images

An interview with Terri Stangl, the executive director of the Center for Civil Justice in Flint.

Even as more Americans than ever before rely on food stamps, the Farm Bill just passed by the Senate would cut the funding to SNAP by more than $4 billion over the next 10 years.

The House version of the bill includes $20 billion in cuts.

Nationwide, more than 47 million people receive federal food assistance and 1.7 million in Michigan. So, we wondered what these possible cuts mean to them.

Terri Stangl is the executive director of the Center for Civil Justice in Flint, and she joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:04 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

The U.S. Senate has passed its 2013 Farm Bill, a huge piece of legislation - totaling almost a trillion dollars. We'll found out just what's in the bill, and why, as Michigan Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow likes to say, "Michigan is written into its every page."

And, we got an update on the Detroit mayoral race after one of the front-runners got kicked off the ballot.

First on the show, we continue our look at the Great Lakes. Yesterday, we talked about the state's "blue" economy, using our water resources to create jobs and boost industry here in Michigan.

So, today, let's turn to some encouraging news about our lakes from the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. They've just released an interactive map that pinpoints success stories across the region, efforts to restore the lakes with projects funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

To get an idea of what these success stories are and the challenges to the lakes that still remain, we turned to Andy Buchsbaum, the director of the National Wildlife Federation's regional Great Lakes Office.

Politics & Government
3:41 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Do "food stamp challenges" help?

In Michigan, a "Bridge Card" is used for food assistance.
Macomb Co.

Newark Mayor Corey Booker did it.

And last week, both Congressman Sander Levin (D-Royal Oak) and Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Flint) did it.

They all made a pledge to live on the average food stamp budget for a week.

That’s roughly $31.50 for a week’s worth of food.

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Politics & Government
8:28 am
Wed June 12, 2013

In this morning's news: Farm bill progress, Tea Party disapproves of Snyder, Duggan out of the race

Morning News Roundup, Wednesday, June 12, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Farm Bill moves to U.S. House

The Michigan Farm Bureau is glad to see Congress is making progress on passing Senator Debbie Stabenow's farm bill. The U.S. Senate approved nearly a trillion dollars in support for food assistance, crop insurance and other programs this week.  Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reports, "the U.S. House is still wrestling with its version of the bill."

Tea Party activists will sit out of governor's race

An open letter to Governor Rick Snyder released by a group of prominent Tea Party activists calls on their party to sit out next year's race for governor. They call for Snyder to change his position on Medicaid expansion. Tea Party group "Grassroots in Michigan" says Snyder is bucking the Republican platform by cooperating with the new federal healthcare law.

Duggan is out of the Detroit Mayoral race

A Wayne County judge has kicked Mike Duggan off of the ballot for Detroit Mayor. When Duggan filed for a mayoral run a month before the deadline, he didn't meet a city rule that requires candidates to be registered voters in Detroit a full year before filing.  But he did meet the rule by the filing deadline date.  Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports, "Duggan says he's reviewing his legal options."

Business
11:42 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Michigan farmers waiting for Congress to pass a new Farm Bill

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan farmers are waiting to see if Congress can reach a deal soon on a new Farm Bill.

The U.S. Senate passed its version of the nearly trillion dollar, five year Farm Bill on Monday. The U.S. House continues to work on its own version of the bill, which funds crop insurance and other programs for farmers, along with food assistance for the needy.

The Farm Bill has been stalled in Congress for more than a year. And that has made it difficult for Michigan farmers to plan for the future.

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Politics & Government
7:35 am
Tue May 28, 2013

In this morning's news: Diane Hathaway in court, Benton Harbor on the rebound, Farm Bill rally

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State Supreme Court Justice faces sentencing

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway is due in court today to be sentenced for fraud. Hathaway was forced to resign in January when she pleaded guilty to a scheme to cheat the bank by hiding assets.  Hathaway’s attorney is asking that she be allowed to perform community service and pay thousands of dollars in fines; however, federal prosecutors have asked for prison time of 12 to 18 months. Michigan Radio's Rick Pluta has more.

Benton Harbor EM believes deficit will be eliminated in one year

Tony Saunders, the emergency manager of Benton Harbor, says elected leaders are likely to regain control within a year when the city's structural deficit will be eliminated. Michigan Radio’s Lindsey Smith reports Benton Harbor’s new emergency manager says he’s cut more than a million dollars from the budget in just three months.

Senator Debbie Stabenow's farm bill is headed to the senate

Senator Debbie Stabenow will rally in West Michigan this week. She's trying to get farmers to pressure lawmakers to pass her new farm bill to funds crop insurance programs and research to help fight invasive insects. Last year the Senate passed the farm bill but it died in the House. The Senate is expected to vote on the farm bill early next month.

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