Letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue

Categories: Leutheuser News,News

June 20, 2019

 

The Honorable Sonny Perdue

Secretary of USDA

U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250

 

Dear Secretary Perdue,

 

As Michigan Legislators, we urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide flexibility and equitable treatment for Michigan farmers who have had to delay planting their crops. Consistent rain and wet weather this spring have created challenging and in some cases impossible planting conditions for farmers across Michigan.  We are the country’s second most diverse state growing over 300 commodities that creates an economic impact of $104.7 billion to our state’s economy.  We ask for speed and transparency in this process making sure this flexibility happens quickly enough to have the intended impact on our farm families.

 

We have seen the wettest 12-month period on record in the continental United States. Like other parts of the Midwest, large portions of Michigan have seen precipitation measurements at double the normal rates. According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Great Lakes Region, grain planting in Michigan has approached the slowest pace on record due to relentless rain. Even the crops that have been successfully planted may see stunted growth or may require replanting. To add to the confluence of unfortunate events, feed and forage are harder to come by.

 

We encourage you to help ensure this planting season is not a total loss by providing increased flexibility under Federal Crop Insurance rules for utilizing forage and cover crops, including corn silage, on prevented plant acres. Our farmers are a pillar of our economy and state cultural heritage and this situation is exactly why these programs exist. We need your help to ensure they qualify. Time is of the essence in enacting these changes because we have reached the point in the season when seed dealers send their unused seed back to corporate storage. Waiting much longer will remove the option for farmers to plant at all because the seed will no longer be available.

 

 

Additionally, Congress recently passed, and the President signed, a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill to help Americans across the country, including farmers hit by catastrophic storms. As the USDA carries out the relief authorized to address flooding in this act, we encourage you to avoid inequities for Americans that have suffered from extreme weather by ensuring that any definition of flooding covers all instances of excessive moisture. Whether the excessive moisture and prevented planting is directly caused by a river leaving its banks, more localized stream flooding, or ponding of rainfall and snowmelt, the challenges faced by the farmers are the same and each of them should be eligible for aid.

 

As the chair of Michigan’s House Agriculture Committee and members of the Michigan 100th legislature, thank you for your prompt consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can provide additional information.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

Julie Alexander, District 64                                            Greg VanWoerkom, District 91

Chair, House Agriculture Cmt.                                           Chair, House Agriculture Appropriations Cmt.

 

 

Luke Meerman, District 88                                            Ann Bollin, District 42

Vice-Chair, House Agriculture Cmt.                                  Vice-Chair, House Agriculture Appropriations Cmt.

 

 

Brian Elder, District 96                                                    Sheryl Kennedy, District 48

Minority Vice-Chair, House Agriculture Cmt.                 Minority Vice-Chair, House Agriculture Appropriations Cmt.

 

 

Lee Chatfield, District 107                                                 Jason Wentworth, District 97

Speaker of the House                                                         Speaker Pro-Tempore

 

 

Triston Cole, District 105                                                Christine Greig, District 37

Majority Floor Leader                                                         House Minority Leader

 

 

Julie Calley, District 87                                                    Graham Filler, District 93

 

 

Julie Brixie, District 69                                                    Gary Howell, District 82

 

 

Bradley Slagh, District 90                                               Alex Garza, District 12

 

 

Mary Whiteford, District 80                                          Hank Vaupel, District 47

 

 

Michele Hoitenga, District 102                                    John Reilly, District 46

 

 

Donna Lasinski, District 52                                            Eric Leutheuser, District 58

 

 

John Chirkun, District 22                                                Scott VanSingel, District 100

 

 

Ben Frederick, District 85                                              Daire Rendon, District 103

 

 

Kevin Hertel, District 18                                                 Kevin Coleman, District 16

 

 

Rebekah Warren, District 55                                        Sarah Anthony, District 68

 

 

Joseph Bellino, Jr., District 17                                      Mark Huizenga, District 74

 

 

Beau LaFave, District 108                                               Pauline Wendzel, District 79

 

 

Jon Hoadley, District 60                                                 Rachel Hood, District 76

 

 

Darrin Camilleri, District 23                                           Angela Witwer, District 71

 

 

Bronna Kahle, District 57                                               Joe Tate, District 2

 

 

Roger Hauck, District 99                                                 Brad Paquette, District 78

 

 

Jewell Jones, District 11                                                 Andrea Schroeder, District 43

 

 

Aaron Miller, District 59                                                 Tommy Brann, District 77

 

 

Jeff Yaroch, District 33                                                    Kara Hope, District 67

 

 

Vanessa Guerra, District 95                                          Lynn Afendoulis, District 73

 

 

Annette Glenn, District 98                                             Jim Lilly, District 89

 

 

Douglas Wozniak, District 36                                        Gary Eisen, District 81

 

 

Diana Farrington, District 30                                        Phil Green, District 84

 

 

Beth Griffin, District 66                                                   Shane Hernandez, District 83

 

 

Sarah Lightner, District 65                                             Jason Sheppard, District 56

 

 

Pamela Hornberger, District 32                                   John Cherry, District 49

 

 

Terry Sabo, District 92

 

Cc: The Honorable Bill Northey, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation

William F. Crozer, Special Assistant to the President/Deputy Director