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Release No. 0301.05 Contact: USDA Press Office (202) 720-4623 - page 16 / 53





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energy.  But the 900 section of the Farm Bill allows farmers to invest in these wind projects and to actually own and control some of their own projects.  Models have already existed.  You can look at them.  We have community based models that are working very well.  I feel very strongly that some of this funding should be shifted from traditional farm programs over to the 9006 and dovetail it with the new energy bill. It allows farmers to get an additional revenue stream, not necessarily from corn or beans but out of the energy sector.  This is welcome here -- rather than having us compete with each other on a limited land basis.  We can get some of our revenue out of the energy sector. You know and some of the things this does with the energy in building our own systems-- creates economic development, gives farmers another additional revenue stream.  One thing I've found and I work with a lot of farm groups -- that really these programs allow farmers to work together instead of against each other for a common goal and common good, and they can all share economically and everything else. Finally finish with this here.  One thing I've found when we get involved, these renewable energy systems, farmers are looking to the future rather than trying to maintain the past.  I think that's key to where we go with the new Farm Bill. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. MODERATOR:  Mr. Secretary, maybe you want to make a comment on wind energy and alternative at this time because you're a supporter of alternative energy in all its different forms. SEC. JOHANNS:  I am.  I was a supporter as governor.  We saw such a progression of success with ethanol, I told a story at a news conference.  Remember when someone came into my office and said, we're going to do ethanol -- this was 25 or 30 years ago.  I said, well what is that?   He said, Well it's a product you get from corn that you mix with gasoline.  I said, really?  Now look at it.  It's everywhere, huge success story.               My point is this.  Some of these technologies today you might look at and say, there's no future here, it's not cost-efficient today.  But that may be the technology of the future. So I believe we have to take a look at these opportunities-- wind energy, ethanol a real success story, biodiesel I believe is a success story and it's going to be a growing success story.  So this gentleman's comments I think are very good comments.  We need to have a role here in terms of renewable energy for the future. We should be getting our energy from the field of America versus the oil fields of the Mid East.  That's what I believe. [Applause.] MODERATOR:  Thank you very much.

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