Agriculture has always had strong roots in Michigan, where our farmers produce everything from asparagus to zucchini. As Michigan continues its economic recovery, agriculture remains a driving force in our economy and provides many good paying, local jobs. I am committed to ensuring our farmers have the resources they need to continue producing the safest, most abundant, and most affordable food supply in the world.
Protecting Local Growers from Higher Operating Costs
I have long supported bipartisan solutions to ensure federal regulations do not interfere with day-to-day farm operations or needlessly raise energy prices and other operating costs for Michigan farmers and ranchers.
Farmers are the best stewards of their own land and it is in their best interest to keep it healthy. I have championed a number of bills that seek to scale back the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) red tape agenda where needed, including legislation to prohibit the regulation of farm dust and another bill to ensure that the EPA and State Department do all they can to make the fumigant methyl-bromide available to farmers in need.
It is critically important to ensure the food we consume is safe. If our food safety standards and procedures are to be effectively implemented, our local farmers must have a voice in the rule-making process. Needless over-regulation where our farmers are already doing the right thing does nothing but endanger U.S. agriculture and harm our economy.
I also know that the proposed Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule would have dire consequences for our Southwest Michigan farmers, our economy, and local jobs. Recently, the House passed a bipartisan bill that would stop this rule, protect our farmers, and give local stakeholders a renewed voice on how to move forward.
Supporting Livestock Health
I helped lead the successful effort to modernize the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) review process for new and generic animal drugs. An improved approval process gives Southwest Michigan employers like Zoetis and Perrigo the predictability they need to compete on an equal footing with companies overseas as well as deliver their lifesaving drugs to livestock and poultry producers in a timely manner, keeping our food supply safe and helping our farmers compete globally. This bipartisan animal health legislation (H.R. 1407) was signed into law in June 2013.
Promoting Michigan Agricultural Exports
I have also supported a number of free but fair trade agreements that open vast new markets to U.S. agriculture products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates agricultural exports from Michigan under the recently enacted Korea, Panama, and Columbia free trade agreements will increase by more than $50 million per year upon full implementation.