Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) recently received the President’s Award from the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST). This honor recognizes those individuals who have furthered the cause of agriculture, science, and technology in a world so dependent on all three disciplines.
CAST Executive VP Linda Chimenti and CAST Past President Nat Tablante presented the award in Washington, D.C., on a day when agricultural issues echoed through the halls of Congress. With the Farm Bill on the front burner and other issues such as international trade negotiations also simmering, CAST honored Senator Stabenow, the chair of the Agriculture Committee, by giving her a medallion plaque designed and crafted by acclaimed artist Jerry Palen.
Even though the CAST award is tied directly with the type of agricultural work that Stabenow is known for, it is not easy to get the senator to slow down long enough to acknowledge such recognition. A look at the current headlines reflects the issues that consume her. The Senate recently passed a five-year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill that expands government subsidies for crop insurance, rice, and peanuts while making small cuts to food stamps. The House rejected this version, and political maneuvering ensued.
Senator Stabenow is respected for her ability to build coalitions, and her leadership on the Senate’s Agriculture Committee gives her a strong role in shaping the nation’s ag policies. She is currently involved with a lively debate about a proposed takeover of Smithfield Foods. The world’s largest pork producer would be purchased by a Chinese interest, and the debate involves everything from feedlot markets to international trade regulations.
In recent years, the CAST President’s Award has also been given to other members of Congress who have demonstrated support for agriculture, including Sen. Saxby Chambliss (GA), Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA), Sen. Charles Grassley (IA), Sen. Tom Harkin (IA), Sen. Herb Kohl (WI), Rep. Frank Lucas (OK), Rep. Collin Peterson (MN), and Sen. Pat Roberts (KS). The award winners each receive a bronze medallion crafted by Jerry Palen with the inscription: “Sun, Earth, Water, Mankind–in synergy with science and technology to create a sustainable world supported by plants and animals.” More information about the CAST President’s Award and a complete list of previous winners can be found on this site by accessing this link.
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