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Release No. 0301.05 Contact: USDA Press Office (202) 720-4623 - page 14 / 53





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you very much. [Applause.] MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Very good comments.  We appreciate that.  Okay, let's go to this side. MR. PAUL SOBOCINSKI:  Thank you.  My name is Paul Sobcinski.  I work with the Land Stewardship Project.  I'm also a farmer from Osakis, Minnesota.  Hog farmer.  And I'd like to, one piece first of all generally about the Farm Bill what I'd like to say is that once we do a Farm Bill that the agreement that's put forward should be honored. Two examples.  Country –of-origin labeling and also when we do a reauthorization we're taking funds out of the Conservation Security Program.  That should not happen. The second part, the intent in terms of the Farm Bill was that the Conservation Security Program was supposed to be a continuous piece sign-up, just not by watershed by watershed.  So when farmers see other neighbors sign up and participate that they too can sign up and not be caught in a situation where they're not eligible and have to wait another eight years. The second part I'd like to talk about is fair distribution.  Currently when over 70 percent of the commodity payments go to less than 10 percent of the largest operators, that's not right.  You need to do something about a more equitable distribution so that the dollars are not going just to the largest farmers. If you look at the Grassley-Dorgan Bill, it can save over $2 billion over the next five years, nearly two-thirds of the proposed cut that's being proposed for this current year 2006.

           The third area I want to touch briefly on again is the Conservation Security Program.  The whole idea of rewarding stewardship -- we need to have a shift of dollars just being concentrated on program crops, but also include crops such as alfalfa, grasses and encouraging grazing. If you want more livestock on the landscape and distribute across the state whether Minnesota or any state we should look at how we can encourage livestock to be distributed, just not concentration.  One good way to do that is to peg the environment and the farm policy together as one piece.  Thank you. MODERATOR:  Okay.  Thank you for your comment. [Applause.] Let's go to this side.

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