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Release No. 0301.05 Contact: USDA Press Office (202) 720-4623 - page 19 / 53

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MODERATOR:  Thank you.  And we're this direction now. MR. GEORGE BENDER:  I'm George Bender (sp) from Jackson County.  I'd like to welcome Secretary Johanns here.  I'm going to comment on farm limitation payments.  I know we all are concerned about it and we'd all like to see something done.  But how to do it, how to structure it.  I think we here in the southern Minnesota have taken quite a hit when it comes to how it is structured. Our farm yields were determined 25, 30 years ago, and myself being a livestock producer I was not able to raise my yields.  And now I understand that the LDPs are going to be based on our previous records.  I don't think we should put a limitation on that.  I think that we should allow that to go and look at an overall limitation on farm payments rather than just coming against our good will here. So that would be one of the ways that you could restructure that so that we could still get our fair share of the  farm payments, and it would help us tremendously. Thank you, Secretary. MODERATOR:  Thank you.  We appreciate that.  Okay, over here. MR. FREDERICK YEWNEY (sp):  Thank you for your time.  My name is Frederick Yewney.  I farm 24 miles southeast of here in Brown County.  And if my concern is too specific, I apologize, but I think it's important. I raise peas and sweet corn for Del Monte Foods.  With the current legislation soybeans have become program crops, many farms are comprised of all base acres, either corn, soybeans or wheat or a combination thereof.  It makes it difficult for those of us that raise canning crops to properly rotate those crops among units.  In my particular case I operate five farm units.  Three of those farm units are all base acres.  In other words, if I plant a nonbase crop such as peas or sweet corn on those farms I will have to forfeit my payment on those acres.

            I would like to see some flexibility incorporated into the new legislation that would allow us to at least rotate that base in some way that would allow me to plant a canning crop on those units without being penalized.  And besides its economic impact, it's good husbandry to be able to rotate those crops among all the farm units that we operate.  And the canning industry in Southern Minnesota is an important economic entity.  There's no question.  There are quite a number of processing plants.  They all struggle with that issue.  It's difficult to get new growers  If you don't have a history of course that makes it doubly difficult.  I have over the past couple of years visited with Congressman Gutknecht's staff about that issue, and I'm sure he's aware of the concerns.  Thank you very much. MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Mr. Secretary, specific concerns like this, this is what you're looking for here? SEC. JOHANNS:  Exactly.  It's the unintended consequences.

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