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State Ag Forum To Focus on New Farm Bill

December 1, 2006

North Mankato, MN - Farm leaders and legislators from across Minnesota are in North Mankato today for the 24th annual "Rural Legislative Forum." Spokesman Kent Thiesse says a top agenda item is attracting new farmers into the industry.

"It is a concern. Obviously, the cost of owning and operating a farm continues to increase. There might be opportunities in a farm bill to have some programs targeted to new farmers."

Thiesse says getting a new generation on the farm should be a national priority, to ensure the nation's food security and support rural communities. He hopes the new legislation will have a major impact on Minnesota farmers, rural communities and consumers and he adds that it also offers a lot of opportunities.

"A farm bill really needs to help put safety nets in place, whether it be through crop insurance or price supports for those farm operators. Another thing that will get a lot of looks this year is some type of permanent disaster legislation to further enhance crop insurance and programs for crop and livestock producers."

Thiesse says the bottom line is to help Minnesota farmers succeed.

Another issue on today's agenda is agriculture's role in providing alternate sources of energy to free the nation from reliance on oil imports. Participants at the forum include representatives from the Minnesota Farm Bureau and Farmers Union, state Soybean Growers, Corn Growers and Pork Producers Associations and The Minnesota Project. Sponsors include the University of Minnesota Extension Service, and Minnesota Agri-Women.

Jim Wishner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MN