Sen. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), the new chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is urging the community to focus on "principles, not programs" as they begin working on the all-important Farm Bill this year.
"We should start with principles that will guide us as we evaluate what works and what doesn't in today's economy to address the unique challenges facing our farmers today and into the future," said Stabenow in her remarks before an audience of agriculture policy makers and industry representatives at the 2011 Outlook Forum.
Stabenow stressed that policymakers will need to "make the best use of our limited dollars" as the department faces a strained fiscal environment.
She emphasized the need for a strong safety net for America's farmers along with focusing on effective, streamlined programs.
"Growers and ranchers are businessmen and women with a lot of work to do," she said. "Anyone who's ever been to a working farm understands that. You do not have the time to fill out a lot of paperwork or to try and understand a myriad of complex - sometimes conflicting - programs."
Reprinted in part from Drovers CattleNetwork.com