Farm Bill Signed into Law
On Friday, President Obama signed the farm bill into law, which authorizes specific commodity, trade, energy, research, horticulture and organic, and nutrition programs until 2018. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Reps. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Gary Peters (D-MI) attended the signing ceremony at Michigan State University, which it considers to be the “nation’s pioneer land-grant university.” The backdrop of Michigan State also allowed Sen. Stabenow to better position herself as a leader in farm policy, as many constituents in her state have criticized her for focusing more on Detroit than the rural communities.
In addition to Republicans, notably absent from the signing ceremony was Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee Collin Peterson (D-MN) who some have speculated did not attend because he may be seeking reelection and is being conscious of how he is associated with the President. To those speculations, Rep. Peterson has responded that he could not attend the ceremony due to a scheduling conflict and the short notice given about the ceremony taking place outside of Washington, D.C. Rep. Peterson believes that the nation’s capital would have been the best place for the signing ceremony because it would have allowed all involved in the passage of the farm bill to attend.