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Buttigieg stumps for Biden's environmental, rural policies in Ingham County

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Former presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg stumped for Democratic nominee Joe Biden's environmental vision Monday, arguing that it encouraged and rewarded responsible farmers during a visit to a Stockbridge farm in Ingham County. 

In a live-streamed discussion with Stockbridge farmer Tim Boring and U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, the former South Bend mayor argued farmers should have more incentives for sustainable practices. 

Biden's plan, he said, ensures "there’s a federal wind at your back when you’re practicing some of the things that will make a difference.”

Buttigieg's stop was part of what the campaign has dubbed the "Rural Road Show with Pete Buttigieg." The 38-year-old Democrat visited Stockbridge in between planned visits in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. 

Boring is founder of Michigan Agricultural Advancement, a group committed to better crop rotations and soil health in an effort to sustain the long-term health of farms.

A sixth generation farmer, Boring told Slotkin and Buttigieg that recent uncertainties in the soybean market  — from trade wars to ethanol demand to climate change — have made farming more unpredictable. 

"The instability that the Trump administration has really injected into these markets has caused a lot of consternation on the part of agriculture across America," he said. 

Buttigieg said farmers are too often pinpointed as part of the environmental problem when they are an essential part of the solution. 

"You know when climate change gets brought up a lot of times it gets talked about in a way that just makes us feel this sense of doom," he said. "I want us to feel a sense of pride when we talk about climate because of the way that every part of America is helping us deal with it. Agriculture is absolutely at the forefront of that.”

Slotkin said the work of farmers was all the more noticeable at the height of the pandemic, when the nation searched for masks, gloves and other protective gear but could find food.

"We never had to walk into a supermarket and find completely empty shelves," she said. "What would have happened to us psychologically as Americans if we had walked in and seen nothing to eat? Our sense of emergency would have been completely different.”

Trump's campaign said Monday Michigan residents would "not be swayed by failed mayors like Pete Buttigieg. 

"President Trump has the support of voters across the Great Lakes State who are excited for four more years of 'Promises Made, Promises Kept,'" said Chris Gustafson, a spokesman for Trump's campaign. 

Monday wasn't Buttigieg's first political visit to the Great Lakes state. While still running for the Democratic presidential nomination, Buttigieg participated in July 2019 in a Detroit NAACP forum and one of two debates held in the city. 

Buttigieg's visit Monday was one of a rash of stops by campaign surrogates for Biden and President Donald Trump.

Ivanka Trump visited Alto in West Michigan Monday and Eric Trump is expected Tuesday in Lansing and Willis. Jill Biden is expected Tuesday in Detroit, Madison Heights, Dearborn and Saginaw. 

eleblanc@detroitnews.com