State Rep. Bronna Kahle today met with Lenawee County farmers alongside Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, highlighting the Legislature’s efforts to sustain Michigan’s agricultural communities and bolster long-term growth in the agricultural sector.
“As Lenawee County residents know, the roads that need the greatest amount of help are from driveway to highway,” Kahle said following Whitmer’s visit to Greenstone Farm Credit Services in Adrian Thursday. “Unfortunately, not a dollar of the governor’s 45-cent per gallon gas tax proposal will touch the roads in front of Lenawee County farms and homes. We can’t pit urban against rural. We need a plan that works for everyone. That’s why we are working hard to put together a plan that best serves all Michigan communities – no matter their size — while supporting the growth of our agricultural sector.”
Kahle also noted that a high-quality road repair plan could provide opportunities to expand rural access to high-speed internet.
“I have heard from many farmers that one of the largest stumbling blocks to continued innovation is slow or unreliable internet connection,” Kahle said. “I support improving our telecommunications infrastructure while we repair our roads, so our farmers can fully reap the benefits of new technology.”
In the wake of non-stop spring rains that devastated planting season for many of Michigan’s farmers, particularly in Lenawee County, Kahle joined 63 lawmakers in urging U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to relax cover crop restrictions and further voted to send $15 million to bolster loan options for farmers struggling with finances.
Kahle said this quick-injection aid will give farming families the financial relief they need but noted that Michigan’s farmers also need other changes providing long-term support, such as continued investments in agricultural innovation and county fairs.
“I’m pleased to welcome the governor to the table to work on issues facing our farm communities,” Kahle said. “The House passed a budget plan this spring that supports local programs that get food from farm to table and supplements the county fairs that help our farmers get their products to market. We must continue to support our farmers.”
Agriculture is Michigan’s second-largest industry, generating $104.7 billion in economic activity each year and employing more than 900,000 Michiganders, many in rural communities.