LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dan Lauwers attended a special joint committee hearing at the Michigan State University Pavilion Tuesday addressing the increasing challenges facing Michigan farmers.
The joint House and Senate Agriculture Committee hearing included testimony from farmers as well as agriculture experts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michigan State University, the Michigan Farm Bureau and others.
“Michigan farmers today are facing unprecedented pressures we must address with resolve and creative solutions,” said Lauwers, R-Brockway Township. “This year’s wet spring and subsequently delayed planting have taken an added heavy toll on many famers and agriculture businesses.
“I look forward to continued conversations with agricultural stakeholders and experts on how to address these challenges.”
A bill signed into law in June appropriated $15 million into the Agricultural Disaster Loan Origination Program, which will help ensure Michigan farmers will have the opportunity to apply for loans to cover their expenses.
The program is a partnership between farmers and processors, private lenders, and the state that provides a 1% interest rate on loans to help support the agriculture industry through loss of crops due to weather-related disasters.
Lauwers said Michigan’s farmers are coping with a difficult growing season with record rainfall hindering planting; only 68% of the corn crop and 70% of the soybean crop planned was planted.
In addition, the industry has faced global economic pressures and financial stress, the lawmaker said.
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