WASHINGTON -- United Fresh Produce Association President and Tom
Stenzel, the organization's chief executive officer, applauded the Nov. 19
announcement from U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) in her efforts to seek
the chairmanship of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
"During her time in Congress, … Senator Stabenow has been a great friend of
the produce industry and a leader on many agriculture issues," Mr. Stenzel
said in a Nov. 19 press release. "As chairman, she will also bring a strong
sense of cooperation and bipartisanship to this position, a critical quality
during the upcoming debate on the farm bill."
Sen. Stabenow, who authored the horticulture title of the 2008 farm bill, has
spent a lifetime working for agriculture in the Michigan Legislature, the U.S.
House of Representatives and now as a U.S. senator since 2000. Not only has
she worked for the fruit and vegetable growers in her own state, she has
worked on many other important agriculture commodity issues including,
dairy, conservation, rural development and sugar while focusing efforts
around nutrition, food-safety policy and renewable energy initiatives that
affect agriculture stakeholders across the country, the release noted. In fact,
Michigan ranks as the second most diversified agricultural state in the
Particularly noteworthy is Sen. Stabenow's support for landmark legislation
that would incorporate the Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Snack Program into
schools nationwide. This law has made vital changes in schoolchildren's lives,
introducing them to healthier foods and eating habits by increasing access to
fresh fruits and vegetables in schools. Last summer, she spent time in
California touring both the Central Valley and Salinas areas to better
understand western agriculture and met with many farmers about the need to
cooperate across commodity and regional lines.
"Senator Stabenow brings a wealth of experience to the table when it comes
to agriculture issues and how they impact farmers and ranchers of all sizes.
The Senate Agriculture Committee will be in capable hands with Senator
Stabenow," Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy for United
Fresh, said in the release.
Mr. Stenzel added, "Senate Stabenow has the full support of fruit and
vegetable producers across the country as the next chairman of the Senate
Agriculture Committee. The Senate would be well served under her leadership
on the many challenges we face in the coming years."