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Release No. 0301.05 Contact: USDA Press Office (202) 720-4623 - page 24 / 53





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I want to talk about milk protein concentrates.  The 1995 WTO negotiations led to lower farm gate prices for dairy farmers with the importing of MPCs.  When the President, yourself, and any other ag leader talks about exporting and feeding the 95 percent of our world’s population who aren’t U.S. citizens, that’s fine and well.  But can you first make a firm commitment to the current and future dairy farmers who back over the past 50-some years, capitalized the rural landscape, supported our small-town schools and businesses, only to have our government kick us in the teeth by allowing MPC imports over the past ten years.  When the U.S. has to import X amount of corn, pork, milk, soybeans to feed our citizens, something is dead wrong.

Now, with your background I know that you can eloquently explain this next statement.  The best rural development is more, not fewer, family farmers.  When you talk about all these programs, that’s what we need to look at first and foremost.  We want more farmers on the landscape.  Family farmers who invest and capitalize a majority of their operation and provide a majority of the labor to that operation are the moral fabric of this country’s soul.  We want farm policy that respects our work.  If I am not good enough to be a farmer, I want someone to tell me, and I’ll go back to town and punch a clock.


MODERATOR:  Thank you for your comments.  Let’s go over here.

MR. JOEL MATHIOWETZ:  Mr. Secretary, thank you so much for coming to Farm Fest this year.  I am Joel Mathiowetz.  I grew up four miles from here.  I grew up on a family farm.  Currently employed with Farm Credit Services of Minnesota Valley as a Loan Officer.

          I want to piggyback on a few of the comments already made today, this last gentleman and also the FFA and the 4H representatives here today did a great job.  Being a young professional in agriculture, I just wanted to say of the numerous opportunities I see firsthand in the role of education and youth development at play really in these local communities. And I had been a part of an organization called AFA, Agriculture Future of America, that was started about eight years ago down in Kansas City.  That organization has really helped me along a long ways in my professional career in agriculture.

AFA identifies, encourages and supports college-age youth preparing for careers in agriculture in the food industry.  Since 1997, AFA has supported hundreds of sponsoring partners, vested more than 35 college students in their career in agriculture, including myself, and have awarded more than 900 college scholarships totaling over $2.9 million.  These scholarships have been funded by hundreds of individuals in rural businesses and I’m proud to say that Redwood and Renville County right here in Minnesota are two of the community sponsors to the AFA program.

In the 2002 Farm Bill, Section 7412 provides youth grants for programs like national 4H, national FFA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts. And AFA, Agriculture Future of America, seeks that same support to participate in those grant processes to continue to

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