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Family Farm Summit Draws Top Presidential Contenders

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 By Dick Layman/Chris Thomas, Contact
November 6, 2007

Des Moines, IA – Several of the top presidential candidates will be in Iowa this weekend to tackle the "three F's" -– farming, food, and fuel. At a Farmers Union Forum coming up on Saturday, November 10 in Des Moines, they'll share their ideas and opinions about the futures of biofuel production, rural economic development, and the nation's food supply, to name a few. Dave Murphy, of the Iowa Farmers Union, says it's a rare chance for Iowa voters to hear firsthand where the candidates stand on issues important to the state.

"A lot of people in Iowa have seen these candidates maybe once, maybe twice, some maybe not at all. And this is a chance for them to come together under one roof and see every one of them."

Murphy says all candidates from the two major parties were invited. Senators Biden, Clinton, Edwards and Obama have agreed to participate. Murphy adds although some of the issues they'll discuss have traditionally been considered "rural topics," they have an impact on all Americans.

"Nutrition, conservation, the environment, rural development and renewable energy -- typically these could be considered just agricultural issues, but they're not. They are becoming bigger and bigger issues to the urban populace as well."

Murphy says each candidate will get 15 minutes for prepared remarks, followed by five minutes for question-and-answer sessions. Senator Chuck Grassley will also be in attendance; he plans to update the crowd on the current status of the U.S. Farm Bill. On Saturday, the forum lasts from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM at Des Moines' downtown Marriott.

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