Senators urge USDA to help Michigan farmers

Erin Robinstine
Farmers Advance

WASHINGTON – After historic rainfall has prevented many Michigan farmers from planting their crops this year, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry, and Gary Peters (D-MI) urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to take action to help affected farms across the state.

“Consistent rain and wet weather have created challenging planting conditions for farmers across Michigan this spring,” wrote the Senators. “We urge the USDA to provide flexibility and equitable treatment for Michigan farmers who have had to delay planting their crops.”

As of April, Michigan has experienced the wettest 12-month period on record in the continental United States. Large swaths of Michigan farmland have seen precipitation measurements at double their normal rates. As a result, many Michigan farmers have been unable to plant their crops for the season. Even the crops that have been planted could see stunted growth and may require replanting.

The Senators asked the USDA to increase flexibility within Federal Crop Insurance and allow farmers to use their land for livestock grazing and planting cover crops that improve soil quality to ensure future productivity. Additionally, the Senators asked for the USDA to allow Michigan farmers affected by heavy rainfall to be eligible for disaster assistance, which Congress recently passed.