By JERRY HAGSTROM*
EXCERPT: In her first major speech on agriculture, incoming Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., told a Michigan agribusiness audience today that she is planning a series of farm bill hearings and pledged to be a centrist force in resolving environmental issues facing agriculture. Although Stabenow is best known for her work on the specialty crops title of the farm bill, she noted that Michigan produces a wide variety of agricultural products and that forestry is also a key part of the industry. She also said that innovation and biotechnology are needed to feed the growing world population. Stabenow said she would hold a series of hearings on the farm bill, including field hearings across Michigan to hear people’s thoughts, and that she also wants to put together a national email newsletter to keep people up to date on the work of the Agriculture committee. She noted the problems of dairy farmers and a recent frost affecting grape producers in Michigan.
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