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Release No. 0301.05 Contact: USDA Press Office (202) 720-4623 - page 15 / 53





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FEMALE:  Mr. Secretary, as you can see maybe I have two hats on right now.  I'm representing townships of Minneota and of Anoka.  I'm on both the boards.  And I'm going to be addressing number five as to how very important the money that USDA gets out to rural America is to small towns and townships all over the United States.  We really need that help.  We've gotten a lot of help from your office so far, and we hope that will continue. I also am here representing the Mille Lacs, Garrison-Kathio township sewer district.  Can't even think of the name.  But I want to thank first of all your office and particularly Steve Wenzel for all the help we've had.  This is a sewer that I'm fortunate I live on the Lacs Lake.  I've lived there 50 years and it's a little bit different than here.  However this is a sewer that has been needed for a very long time.  We're working hard on it.  We have many different phases of government involved.  We have two counties involved.  We have two cities -- one city, two townships and a tribe. The collection system is on the tribe's land, and we worked a long time trying to get that going.  This is the jewel of Minnesota, the second largest lake in Minnesota, and we're seeing more and more effects on our lake.  Started this actually in 1988.  We're getting close.  We have the first very small phase of it up and running, but we do need to have that continued financing that comes from USDA. Steve Wenzel has been with us from day one working on this project, and we really, really need that.  As I said, this is joint cooperation between all the governments, and we are located in one of the fastest-growing areas in the state, so it's very, very important that we do that. I guess the other thing is that when we first started, we had all kinds of opposition.  The district basically runs roughly seven miles long.  Somebody else will address some other figures, but we had lots of people opposed to it.  It was a political issue.  We more or less put all those issues behind us now and we're down to the final digging in the ground, and we still need more money from the USDA.  Appreciate your being here, and thanks very much for all the help you've given us.

            MODERATOR:  Okay, thank you very much.  We appreciate that.  Let's go over to this side. MR. DAVID CALSER (sp):  Thank you.  Mr. Secretary, I'm glad to have you here in Minnesota.  I'm David Calser, (sp), Luverne, Minnesota, and I do a lot of work with the USDA Economic Development, help out with other farm groups across the nation, and I am a farmer.  One of the things that we're really pleased about is the renewable energy bill, and my understanding is President Bush is going to sign it next Monday in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  And that's a great thing for us as farmers.  That's because we're in a renewable energy field  But one of the provisions of the Farm Bill is 9006 section, and it does allow assistance to some farmers to get involved in some energy projects, not necessarily ethanol but wind and some of the other things. Currently I think they've been using about 25 million in this project.  But you know we're in Minnesota here and we have varying climate.  We also have a lot of wind

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