Stabenow on Senate Ag Committee Work

Sabrina HalvorsonFarm Bill, Legislative

As the Senate continues to work on the next farm bill, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow of Michigan says she’s looking forward to the committee’s hearing in Arkansas next week, and the work that comes after.

Senate ag committee
Debbie Stabenow

“And then we will begin what is a really important—a thoughtful step-by-step set of hearings through each of the titles of the farm bill and so that’s what will be taking up a lot of our time going forward,” she said.  

She commented on the work the Senate has done in the last year.

“In the last year, a number of things we’ve done (include) forestry hearings. We passed the growing climate solutions legislation by 92 of votes in the Senate, that it was even higher than the farm bill which we passed with 87 votes last time,” she said. “We need to get that through the House of Representatives as our farmers and ranchers and foresters are very excited and anxious to work with the USDA on how we address climate from a way that deals with soil health, conservation efforts, and sustainable forestry.”

The ag committee recently held a hearing on the cattle market. Stabenow says she’s concerned about the situation.

“We all have great concern about the lack of transparency and competition in the meat processing industry. When we’ve got four big meat processors and two foreign-owned and we see farmers not getting the price that they need on one end, but prices rising for consumers at the other end, I think more competition and transparency make sense. The department is moving forward on their own with resources that I gave them in the American rescue plan to help fund local processors and regional processors so that we can begin to create that resiliency,” she said.

aerial shot of cargo ship on sea
Photo by Tom Fisk on

Stabenow said a lesson was learned from the COVID pandemic about having too much dependency on products from overseas.

“I can tell you from the auto industry standpoint and semiconductor chips being from overseas, and then there’s a global breakdown that wreaks havoc in manufacturing. We’ve seen the same thing with supply chains at home, and then not having the resiliency, which is why producing locally, growing locally, and processing locally becomes really, really important in everything we’re doing. So, we will be focusing on that,” she said.

She also commented on Michigan ag versus California ag while talking with farm broadcasters recently.

“I always stress we’re the most diverse in terms of crops of any state but California,” she said. “And as our folks said locally at the hearing, we are the most diverse state in crops with a sustainable and dependable water supply.”

Listen to the radio report.

Sabrina Halvorson
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet News Hour and The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.