08.07.17

Peters Visits Schoolcraft, Alger Counties

Peters Tours UP Paper in Manistique and Visits MSU Extension and Research Center in Chatham

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today visited Schoolcraft and Alger Counties to discuss his efforts to support Michigan’s manufacturing and agricultural industries and grow the state’s economy and create jobs.

At UP Paper in Manistique, Peters toured the facility and met with employees to discuss his efforts to support Michigan’s manufacturing industry and hear firsthand about issues facing Michigan manufacturers. UP Paper, formally established in 2016, manufactures 100% recycled kraft paper, which is used to make products including brown paper bags and shipping packaging alternatives.

“Michigan’s manufacturers create jobs in our communities and help strengthen local economies,” said Senator Peters. “I was pleased to see firsthand the innovative work being done at UP Paper and hear more about issues they face as they work to grow their business. I look forward taking their comments back to my colleagues in Washington to discuss ways we can work together to boost our nation’s manufacturing sector.”

While visiting the Michigan State University Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center (UPREC) in Chatham, Peters highlighted his work to ensure Michigan’s small farms have access to the resources and tools needed to grow and succeed. Peters has urged strong funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Farm Service Agency (FSA)’s loan program. FSA provides direct loans and loan guarantees to help family farmers start and maintain viable farming operations.

“Agriculture is one of Michigan’s largest industries, and our state is home to some of the most diverse crops in the country,” said Senator Peters. “It is critical that Michigan farmers looking to start a new farm or develop their land have the support and resources to do so, and I will continue working to ensure tools like FSA loans remain available for the Michigan farmers who depend on them to help their agricultural businesses grow.”

The UPREC serves as a hub for integrated crop and livestock research for the Upper Peninsula, including on soil health studies and utilizing cover crops. Outreach efforts at UPREC focus on expanding knowledge of local food systems by educating producers and fostering market opportunities.

FSA loans aim to help small farms that cannot otherwise obtain access to capital, including beginning farmers, women and minorities, and other disadvantaged borrowers. FSA’s loan programs include operating loans, which fund expenses such as livestock, equipment and seed, and ownership loans that help farmers develop land. Recent years have seen increased demand for FSA’s loan programs. In June 2016, hundreds of farmers whose loans had already been approved could not receive the funds due to a shortfall in funding for FSA operating loans. As a result, Congress was forced to pass an emergency appropriation in December of 2016 to address the shortfall. In May, Peters led a bipartisan group of 28 Senators in a letter to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture urging them to support robust funding for FSA loan programs.