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President Obama signs farm bill in East Lansing

President Obama called the farm bill "a jobs bill” before he signed it into law today in East Lansing.

The president says the nearly $1 trillion package of farm subsidies and food assistance spending will benefit rural communities in Michigan and around the country that have struggled in recent years.

“In these rural communities, a lot of young people talk about how jobs are so scarce – even before the recession hit – that they feel like that have to leave in order to have opportunity. They can’t stay at home, they've got to leave,” Obama told the large crowd at Michigan State University’s McPhail Equine Performance Center.

President Obama also used today’s signing ceremony to launch a new initiative to help businesses in rural America to export products and increase investment.

Farmers are praising the new farm bill.

Ken Nobis is president of the Michigan Milk Producers Association.

He says provisions in the farm bill should help reduce “volatility” in the markets.

“A consumer doesn’t want to go into a store one week and pay $2.75 for a gallon of milk and next week it’s $3.50,” says Nobis. “A steady price is better for all of us.”

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the farm bill will benefit Michigan farmers.

“This bill is basically about trade. That’s something that Michigan producers understand,” Vilsack told reporters.

Agriculture is a $96 billion industry in Michigan.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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