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FW: Dates of Next USDA Farmbill Forums in ND, MN, WI

  • Subject: [cg] FW: Dates of Next USDA Farmbill Forums in ND, MN, WI
  • From: "Betsy Johnson" betsy@bgjohnson.com
  • Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2005 10:28:12 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: pam@sustainableagriculture.net
Sent: Monday, July 18, 2005 2:19 AM
To: betsy@bgjohnson.com
Subject: Dates of Next USDA Farmbill Forums in ND, MN, WI

Betsy Johnson,


Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced the location of the next
three USDA Farm Bill Forums before a full-capacity audience of more than
400 stakeholders who attended the kick-off of USDA's nationwide farm
bill listening tour in Nashville, TN.  The next three forums will be:

--  July 26 - 12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. (CST) North Dakota State Fair -
Minot, ND

--  Aug. 3 - 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Minnesota Farm Fest - Redwood County,

--  Aug. 4 - 11:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. Wisconsin State Fair - West Allis, WI

The public is also welcome to submit comments via the USDA Farm Bill
Forums website at http://www.usda.gov/farmbill. 


In the coming months, the National Campaign's Policy Committees will be
discussing goals for the 2007 Farm Bill, strategizing, and honing our
messages.  You are invited to join the Committees. For more information,
go to https://www.sustainableagriculture.net/, or email

July 7, in Tennessee:

From Congress Daily PM 

2002 Farm Law Touted As Johanns Eyes Work On New One
Several farmers told Agriculture Secretary Johanns Thursday night at his
first "listening session" on the 2007 farm bill that the 2002 farm law
is working well and they want programs that pay them more money when
prices are low to continue in the next bill. "Thank goodness for farm
programs. Let's not forget what brought us here," said one Louisiana

The event was held in the Nashville studio of RFD-TV, a network serving
rural America. A few farmers in the audience there or through telephone
calls said the Freedom to Farm payments not tied to production have led
landowners to raise rents or take back their land. The farmers said they
would prefer that payments go directly to farmers rather than landowners
and some suggested payments be tied more to production. 

A few participants suggested a return to parity, a farm policy concept
that has not been used in decades, but which means farm policy should be
based on making it possible for farmers to buy the same quantity of
other goods from a standard list that the commodity could have purchased
in the 1910-1914 base period. Several speakers also said they want "fair
trade" rather than "free trade." 

One California farmer asked, "How can agriculture be expected to compete
on a worldwide basis" when American farmers have to pay Social Security,
comply with OSHA regulations, pay unemployment taxes and follow
pesticide regulations. Another speaker said it was unfair that U.S.
farmers find it so hard to sell products to Cuba and Iran.
Johanns said little in reply to those statements, all of which run
counter to the Bush administration's policies and several speakers
complimented him for listening rather than talking. But he did say the
administration might send legislative proposals to Congress and hinted
that they might not follow the 2002 farm law. "The farm bill that made
sense in 2002 may not be appropriate for the next five years," he said.
On trade, Johanns said, "We will not disarm unilaterally," and noted the
Bush administration had fought the World Trade Organization's decision
against the Step 2 cotton program, but lost the case.
Several other speakers said the government should help farmers grow
crops for energy, but the potential conflicts within agriculture on that
issue were also apparent. Joy Philippi, a Nebraska farmer who is the
president-elect of National Pork Producers Council, told Johanns that 65
percent of the pork producers' cost of feed is corn and soybeans and
that the next farm bill should "reduce the cost of production and
increase the prices we receive." 

Asked by Orion Samuelson, the broadcaster who moderated the program, how
he responds to those who asked whether food crops should be diverted to
energy, Johanns said, "We're going to produce corn in abundance and
soybeans in abundance." 

Some farm lobbyists had expressed concerns that the Bush administration
might try to seed the audience with farmers who agreed with their
positions, but the farmers in the audience brought up only one issue
that has been a Bush administration priority -- repealing the estate

Johanns announced he would hold forums at the North Dakota State Fair
July 26, at the Minnesota Farm Fest Aug. 3 and at the Wisconsin State
Fair Aug. 4.

-- by Jerry Hagstrom

Pam Browning
Policy Coordinator
National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture
110 Maryland Avenue, Suite 306
Washington, DC 20002
Phone:  202-544-5466

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