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Fred Upton hosts roundtable in Paw Paw to celebrate National Agriculture Week

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Congressman Fred Upton discusses agriculture with farmers in Paw Paw on Friday, March 15. (WWMT)

National Agriculture Week was held from March 10 to March 16 and celebrates agriculture on all levels.

Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, hosted a roundtable discussion with farmers in Paw Paw to discuss concerns that agricultural communities have, including the weather.

"It was a terrible winter. It was particularly hard on our crops, our trees, grapes, etc. because of that deep cold and what it is going to do," Upton said. "That is why you have crop insurance because when old man winter really hits hard, or you get a frost or whatever the issue is, that insurance program helps keep our local growers solvent."

Upton also spoke on immigration and the passing of the 2019 Farm Bill. According to the Michigan Farm Bureau, "the farm bill touches everyone in Michigan" by supporting infrastructure and economic development in rural communities, incentivizing maintenance of good conservation practices and helping provide access to food.

"And as we have learned from our ag farms all over, they don't have the workforce to pick the crops. And they're literally leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars of unpicked crops in the field," Upton said.

Michigan boasts 51,400 farms that cover 9.9 million acres. In 2014, sales of farm and ranch products contributed $8,904,126 to the state’s economy, according to the Michigan Farm Bureau.

National Agriculture Week is hosted by the Agriculture Council of America.