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Stabenow announces Farm Bill hearings on Washington, continues to support subsidies to agribusiness

February 13, 2012

Last week, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow announced that the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee will be holding four hearings over the next month on the 2012 Farm Bill.

The four hearings will cover the following topics: Energy and Economic Growth for Rural America; Strengthening Conservation through the 2012 Farm Bill; Healthy Food Initiatives, Local Production; and Nutrition and Risk Management and Commodities in the 2012 Farm Bill.

The announcement also says, “Witnesses, times and other specific hearing details to be announced.” This clearly suggests that Stabenow and the other Committee members have selectively invited people to address the committee, which if it follows the same pattern of the Michigan Farm Bill hearing from 2011, then all the “witnesses” will be representatives from Agri-business.

The selection of who will no doubt be speaking at these hearings could also be deduced by looking at who the major campaign contributors are to Senator Stabenow, who is in the midst of a re-election year. Several of the top 20 contributors for the 2012 election are from the agribusiness sector.

A third indicator on who might be speaking at the upcoming Ag Committee hearings is reflected in whom Senator Stabenow has recently provided taxpayer subsidies to.

On February 3rd, Stabenow announced that several Michigan food suppliers would be receiving federal funding. All four recipients will be using the “grant” money to develop marketing strategies for agricultural commodities.” The four businesses are producers of beet sugar, chocolate & yogurt-covered blueberries, fruit wines and bio-based chemical products. Interesting, since none of these products seem like essential food staples and that promote better nutrition. Indeed, all four products seem to be specialty items that will all be fairly pricey and target more upscale consumers. This is what your tax dollars are being used for…… advertise luxury food items to upscale consumers.

We plan on reporting on the outcome of each of these hearings as information becomes available.

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