LANSING, SEPT. 20, 2012 —Michigan Farm Bureau’s (MFB) AgriPac Committee today released the bulk of its general election endorsements, including a nod for the re-election campaign of Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing). AgriPac’s “Friend of Agriculture” endorsement recognizes the senator’s exceptional support for the agriculture industry, demonstrated by her advocacy for disaster assistance for weatherbeaten farmers and as architect of the 2012 Farm Bill.
“Over the years, Sen. Stabenow has been a consistent supporter of agriculture, and is in the best possible position to continue advocating for agriculture in Michigan and across the nation,” said MFB President Wayne H. Wood during a teleconference this morning announcing the endorsement. “Well before she chaired the senate agriculture committee, she took the time and made the effort to learn about agriculture and familiarize herself with the issues that impact our industry.
“Earlier this year Sen. Stabenow was instrumental in getting the U.S. Department of Labor to withdraw its proposed youth farm labor rules, that would’ve prohibited young people from performing most ordinary farm tasks. Most importantly, though, have been her efforts in developing the 2012 Farm Bill.”
“When we make things here and grow things here, we create jobs here. Together with the Michigan Farm Bureau, we're helping our farmers put more Michigan-grown products in our stores and export to the world,” Stabenow said. “Agriculture is the second largest sector of our economy and supports nearly one in four jobs, so when we're standing up for farmers we're standing up for Michigan. I am honored to have the support of the Michigan Farm Bureau and its nearly 200,000 members across the state.”
Other races included in AgriPac’s announcement include those for the Michigan Supreme Court, Michigan State University Board of Trustees, U.S. House of Representatives and Michigan House of Representatives. An endorsement in the presidential race is expected to be released next week.
“We’re always looking for leaders who appreciate agriculture’s contributions to Michigan’s culture, society and economy,” said Sarah Black, AgriPac secretary and director of the MFB Public Policy and Commodity Division. “We feel that’s the kind of leadership we need to see continued improvement in our state and federal government. That's why we make a priority to identify and helping elect Friends of Agriculture.”
AgriPac’s Friend of Agriculture endorsements are the end result of the non-partisan political action committee’s grass-roots, member-driven candidate evaluation process. Candidates are recommended by county Farm Bureaus after a careful evaluation process, then weighed and sifted again by the state-level AgriPac committee. Friend of Agriculture endorsements go to those candidates who demonstrate beliefs and/or actions consistent with farmer-developed MFB policy.
AgriPac this year paid particular attention to candidates' positions on the three key priorities outlined in MFB's Michigan Ag Plan: market access and infrastructure improvement, workforce development and trimming unnecessary regulations.
MFB is the state's largest general farm organization, representing almost 200,000 members statewide.