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Published February 07, 2014, 10:08 AM

Obama prepares to sign farm bill in Mich.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to arrive in East Lansing, Mich., later this morning to sign a new farm bill — formally titled The Agriculture Act of 2014 — at Michigan State University, the state’s land-grant college, and to visit a biotech research center.

By: Jerry Hagstrom, Agweek

EAST LANSING, Mich. — President Barack Obama is scheduled to arrive in East Lansing, Mich., later this morning to sign a new farm bill — formally titled The Agriculture Act of 2014 — at Michigan State University, the state’s land-grant college, and to visit a biotech research center.

The White House also announced today that the administration has committed itself to promoting “Made in Rural America” exports.

Michigan State was founded in 1855 as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, and was the prototype for 69 land-grant institutions established under the Morrill Act of 1862. According to the university’s website, it was the first institution of higher learning to teach scientific agriculture in the U.S.

It also is the alma mater of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Lansing is her hometown.

Obama is scheduled to tour the Michigan Biotechnology Institute “to see firsthand what institutions are doing to create jobs and drive innovation that benefits farmers, ranchers, our rural communities and our nation as a whole,” the White House said.

Following the tour, he will deliver remarks at Michigan State on the importance of the farm bill to the American economy, and then sign the bill before returning to Washington.

The speech is scheduled to begin at about 2 p.m. Eastern Time, and will be streamed live online, the White House has announced. People who wish to view it can see it at www.whitehouse.gov/live.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will accompany Obama.

The Council of Economic Advisers early today released a fact sheet on the performance of the agriculture economy during Obama’s presidency and how the farm bill is expected to affect it.

Early today, the White House also released a fact sheet that said the president “directed his administration, working through the White House Rural Council, to lead a new ‘Made in Rural America’ export and investment initiative,” over the next nine months.

The timing would appear to complete the project before the November midterm congressional elections.

Obama has instructed the Rural Council, a Cabinet-level group initiated by Vilsack to address rural problems, to coordinate efforts by the Agriculture and Commerce departments, the Small Business Administration, the Export-Import Bank, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and other agencies “to connect more rural businesses of all types to export information and assistance” the White House said in a fact sheet released by the office of his press secretary.

The administration has committed itself to hosting five “Made in Rural America” regional trade forums in coordination with partners such as the National Association of Counties, the Delta Regional Authority and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The administration will also and convene an “Investing in Rural America” conference that will promote investment opportunities by highlighting successful projects in energy, biofuels and bioproducts, infrastructure, healthcare, manufacturing, and local and regional food systems. Vilsack has said repeatedly that investors do not realize the opportunities that exist in rural America and that because government resources are limited, rural America needs more private sector investment.

The administration also made commitments to increase the flow of information on trade in rural America.

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