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Agri-Business, Corporate Welfare and the US Farm Bill: How MiBiz reported on the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill

January 9, 2019

As we reported in December, the 2018 Farm Bill passing received a great deal of praise from the agri-business sector, when Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow announced the bill’s passage. 

One of the main points we made in our December article was that virtually everyone that Senator Stabenow included in her Press Release announcing the passage of the Farm Bill, were those who were large farmers or those representing various agri-business associations, like the Michigan Farm Bureau. 

Now, the local business press is providing an opportunity for the agri-business sector to sing the praises of the 2018 Farm Bill. MiBiz posted posted a story recently, entitled, ‘HUGE WIN’: What the 2018 Farm Bill means for Michigan’s ag industry

The MIBiz article only relies on three sources in their article. The first perspective we see is that of Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association. Apart from being an agri-business association, this group does a great deal of lobbying on behalf of their members to make sure that they benefit from the corporate welfare of the Farm Bill.

A second major voice in the article was John Kran, the national legislative counsel for the Michigan Farm Bureau. Kran spends his time in Washington as a lobbyist for the agri-business sector in Michigan, so it’s no surprise that he praises the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. According to OpenSecrets.org, the Michigan Farm Bureau has contributed several million dollars to legislators (especially Senator Stabenow) to make sure that the Farm Bill would benefit those they represent in the agri-business sector. 

The only other voice represented in the MiBiz article was that of Case Visser of Zeeland-based Visser Farms LLC. Visser is the only grower sourced in the story, but they are also a member of the agri-business sector and in no way represents small farmers and growers. In fact, Visser Farms LLC is a recipient of corporate welfare from the Farm Bill, so naturally they would praise the Farm Bill’s passage.

Lastly, there was a section in the MiBiz article that provided some history on the US Farm Bill, although the history was skewed in favor of the agri-business model. For those who really want to understand the history of the Farm Bill and how it has changed since its inception, please read Wenonah Hauter’s book, Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America.

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