Day 1 #RideMI Motorcycle Tour: Peters Tours Local Farms & Rides with Michigan Motorcyclists

West Branch, MI –U.S. Senator Gary Peters kicked off Day One of his #RideMI Motorcycle Tour with a visit to Star of the West Milling Company in Richville, where he held a roundtable discussion with local farmers. Senator Peters worked with his colleagues to include a provision in last March’s government spending bill to level the playing field for farmers to sell their products to both cooperative and non-cooperative businesses.

“Having the opportunity to hear from Michigan farmers about what they need to keep growing, creating jobs and contributing to our economy is invaluable,” said Senator Peters. “Michigan farmers should be able to sell their products to who they want, and when they want, without the tax code unfairly tipping the scales or limiting their options, and I was pleased that Congress was able to fix this disparity.”

“Star of the West Milling started as a small business in Frankenmuth and has since expanded to become one of the largest millers in the country,” said Jim Howe, CEO, Star of the West Milling. “We’re happy to have Senator Peters at our Tuscola County facility to kick off his #RideMI Motorcycle Tour this year, and appreciate his efforts to put small grain farmers on an equal footing with large agricultural businesses.”

After meeting up with fellow Michigan motorcycle riders in Bay City, Peters’ visited Bristol Lamb & Hay family farm in West Branch, where he discussed his bipartisan amendment to bolster farm loan programs through the Farm Services Agency (FSA). 

“FSA loans helps thousands of Michigan farmers access capital to start and grow their operations,” said Senator Peters. “I am working to strengthen the FSA loan program because small farmers shouldn’t have to miss out on a growing season or curtail their operations because they are waiting on the federal government to act.”

“It was great to welcome Senator Peters to our farm and show him the importance of family farms to Michigan’s agricultural industry,” said Jim Bristol, a local sheep and crop farmer. “Our family has a real passion for caring for our animals and our land, and providing quality products for customers. I’m grateful that Senator Peters is looking out for farms like ours by working to ensure important financial resources like FSA loans will be available in the long run, because farm businesses like ours can be challenged by many elements, including how to incorporate a new generation of farmers.”

FSA provides direct loans and loan guarantees aimed at helping small farms that cannot otherwise obtain access to capital, including beginning farmers, women and minorities, and other disadvantaged borrowers. Peters’ bipartisan amendment that passed the Senate provides some flexibility for the FSA by allowing the agency to use their popular microloans program in the event that demand for FSA loans exceed the available funding in a given year. 

Tomorrow, Senator Peters will head to Oscoda and Montmorency Counties for the second day of his #RideMI Motorcycle Tour. He will visit Cooper Standard, a manufacturer of specialized automotive systems and components in Fairview, and Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources office in Hillman where he will receive a wildlife and forestry management briefing, and an aerial tour of the county.