FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Saturday, June 8, 2013
Congressman Benishek discusses
Michigan agriculture at industry event in Gaylord
GAYLORD – Congressman Dan Benishek M.D. (R – Crystal
Falls) met with Michigan farmers and agri-businesses about the future of
Michigan’s agricultural sector at an event today in Gaylord.
“The agriculture industry is
huge for Northern Michigan’s economy,” said Dr. Benishek. “Michigan
family farmers and agri-businesses deserve to have their voices heard. Today, I
enjoyed hearing from Michigan citizens who are actively involved in agriculture
about the effects of new technology and changing climate on Michigan
Congressman Benishek is
Michigan’s only member of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee.
Speakers at the event
addressed several issues, including farming further north, longer growing
seasons, the effects of climate change and new seed and crop technologies. In
addition, panelists discussed growth and trends for various commodities
including potatoes, corn, dry beans, dairy, beef, cherries and horticultural
sector has been rapidly growing over the past decade and that’s going to
continue,” said Jim Byrum, president of
the Michigan Agri-Business Association. “New seed and crop technology and a
changing climate are boosting crop yields and allowing farming to expand
further north in the state. One of the major challenges moving forward though is
making sure Michigan has a strong transportation and energy infrastructure in
place that will allow farmers to realize their growth potential.”
Byrum noted that climate
change is a double-edged sword when it comes to agriculture.
“In the short term, warmer
temperatures mean increased yields, longer growing season and more land open to
farming,” said Byrum. “In the long
term, however, these trends could be detrimental to Michigan agriculture. We
can expect more extreme weather events like droughts and the early thaw and
freeze that wiped out much of Michigan’s cherry crop to become more and more
common unless we address climate change.”
Benishek also updated attendees on agriculture issues being
debated in Washington D.C., including the 2013 Farm Bill, calling on Congress
to take action to support Michigan’s farmers and agri-businesses so they can
continue creating jobs and growing the state’s economy.
Jamie Clover-Adams, director of the Michigan
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, was also in attendance at the event.