LANSING — State Representative Terry Brown (D-Pigeon), chairman of the Democratic Agriculture Caucus, led a press conference today to introduce the caucus to the public. Brown, along with some fellow caucus members — Reps. Theresa Abed (D-Grand Ledge) and Tom Cochran (D-Mason) — spoke inside the Capitol. Former Rep. Dianne Byrum, partner of Byrum Fisk Advocacy Communications, and Kali Fox, representing the office of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, were also present for the event, which coincided with the semiannual Farmers Market at the Capitol.
“Today is a celebration of Michigan agriculture, between the farmers’ market and all the work my colleagues and I plan to do with this caucus,” Brown said. “This is an issue and an industry that is important to our constituents, and we formed this caucus to promote and support this vital segment of Michigan’s economy.”
The Democratic Agriculture Caucus is a group of 19 representatives and senators from every corner of the state whose districts range from sparsely populated rural areas of the state to the densest urban sectors.
“It’s great to work with a variety of representatives from across Michigan, because whether you grow your own food or buy it at the store, without agriculture, we wouldn’t have anything to eat,” Cochran said. “A wide range of backgrounds and perspectives means we can come up with new ideas and solutions to keep Michigan’s agriculture industry thriving.”
The caucus is composed of five subcommittees: People, Economic Development, Communication Promotion, Infrastructure and Local Food Access. The subcommittees represent the driving forces behind maintaining the success of Michigan’s agriculture industry and helping to move it forward through the 21st century.
“My colleagues and I want those in agriculture to know that in this caucus, they have an advocate at the Capitol,” said Abed, who co-chairs the Communication Promotion Subcommittee. “We want to spread the word to every corner of the state about all the great things are happening in Michigan agriculture and how people can take advantage of the bounty the state has to offer.”
Rep. Gretchen Driskell (D-Saline), who co-chairs the Local Food Access Subcommittee but was unable to attend, added, “This farmers market, an example of all the local markets popping up around the state, provides a great opportunity to purchase locally grown products. Local, healthy produce has never been easier to put on the dinner table, and I look forward to working with my fellow Democrats to maximize the use of local food and put money back into Michigan’s economy.”