Archived Story

No Farm Bill, and Congress takes a vacation

Published 10:59pm Wednesday, October 3, 2012

To the editor,

My wife and I were blessed to farm full-time here in southwest Michigan. Like other families, we pursued this dream knowing it wasn’t a path to fortune, but rather a calling — one of the few traditions still handed down for generations.

We worked hard and ran a good operation. We hired great workers and built our dream.  But like so many others, we lost that dream in the devastating downturn in 2008.

I am now running for Congress against Fred Upton because Congress isn’t working for us and our agricultural heritage. As an American, I looked on Congress in dismay, as the House went on a taxpayer-funded vacation Sept. 21 without passing a Farm Bill. This is the earliest departure by Congress since 1960 and proves they deserve their 13 percent approval rating. They call it recess; I would agree with them.

This didn’t need to happen. In the Senate, Republicans and Democrats joined together to craft a bipartisan bill. Congressman Upton and the House leadership kicked the can down the road, and our farmers are left hanging as the Farm Bill expired Sept. 30.

This has been one of the hardest years on record for farmers. A devastating frost ended our fruit season before it began, and an equally brutal drought has left crop and livestock operators struggling to make ends meet.

The Farm Bill is one of the most important pieces of legislation that Congress undertakes.  It gives market clarity to farmers and provides for farm credit, conservation, rural development, food programs and trade policy to name a few key areas. This legislation covers many aspects of our daily lives whether we live in rural or urban communities.

This isn’t leadership, and it certainly isn’t representative government. We need to return to the original intent of our nation’s founders, a citizen Congress made up of ordinary hard-working people who understand what it means to make it in the real world. After 26 years with Fred Upton, we are in real need of this kind of representation.

Mike O’Brien

Candidate for Congress


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