Farm Bill Passes & Grape Juice Purchase
With a final vote of 68-32 the Senate passed the farm bill on to the President for his signature. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee was pleased with it's passage.
STABENOW: I'm very proud of the way the Senate has worked together in a bipartisan basis since the beginning. We not only support production agriculture in a new way, ending direct payments, moving to a risk based system and strengthening crop insurance. We are basically saying to farmers that they can make their decisions in the marketplace about what to plant. We will support their efforts so that no one loses the farm because of a fews days of bad weather.
On Monday the USDA announced a $11.5 million nationwide purchase of Concord grape juice, which is grown in the Yakima Valley, a move that will provide stability for a critical Washington state agriculture industry. The purchase was in response to a request from U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray. Due to consecutive, exceptionally strong crop years, farmers in Washington state expressed concerns that a large excess in Concord grape supplies could cause the price of juice grapes to plummet and significantly harm one of Washington's premier agriculture industries.
Now with today's Food Forethought, here's Lacy Gray.
The American Farm Bureau, the Agriculture Workforce Coalition and numerous other ag groups are making sure they finally have a unified voice on immigration reform by joining the Partnership for a New American Economy to launch the #IFarmImmigration campaign. The month long campaign focuses on renewed efforts to enact immigration reform this year, and kicks off today with a Capitol Hill Briefing where Congressional staff will hear from farmers and ranchers about the need for immigration reform. Farmers and ranchers will be telling their stories all during the month through social and traditional media, through farm tours, and at community events for members of Congress in their own districts. With immigrant workers representing over 70% of the ag industry's workforce everyone agrees that current immigration laws are a problem that needs to be fixed sooner rather than later. As AFBF President Bob Stallman has so succinctly said, "Immigration reform is critical for the agricultural industry. Farmers rely on an immigrant labor force and without reform, growers will begin to plant less labor intensive crops or go off shore. Simply put, either we import our labor, or we import our food."
Thanks Lacy. That's today's Northwest Report. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.