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Release No. 0301.05 Contact: USDA Press Office (202) 720-4623 - page 27 / 53

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       MR. MARK VAN BINSBURGEN:  Also I just want to thank the different Rural Development offices around the state.  They’re a good group of people and I enjoy working with them.  Thank you.

        MODERATOR:  Okay.  At this time we are going to take a ten-minute break.  Saint Michael’s and the Minnesota Cattlemen’s food stands are open.  We will reconvene in ten minutes.  During that time enjoy the Great Pretenders, get a refreshment, hydrate and we’ll see you here in a few minutes.

       (Brief recess taken.)

      MODERATOR:  I would like to welcome you all to the second half of the forum.  Why don’t you come in and have a seat and we’ll get underway.  Come on in and have a seat.

          If you want to make a comment, again, we’ll have two lines forming by each microphone.  

          I’m Tom Rothman with the Minnesota Farm Network.  I will be your moderator for the second half of Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns’ Farm Bill Forum this afternoon or this evening.  We have about an hour and 15 minutes left.  The Secretary would love to hear your comments today.

          A couple of housekeeping issues.  I want to remind you that you are each allowed two minutes.  At two minutes we are going to forcefully cut you off.  Try to keep your comments to two minutes.  If you have a specific comment on a specific issue or program, not related to the Farm Bill, I want to remind you there are some USDA staff here to your left of the stage and they will be able to answer your questions or maybe steer you in the right direction of some of these programs and some of the answers to some of these programs.  I want to make sure you go over there.

        Also, if you have written comments for the Secretary, there is a place over there that you can write comments to Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns.

         I also want to remind you that you can check out the web site, http://www.usda.gov/farmbill, if you would like to e-mail the Secretary some comments.

       We are going to get underway with questions and we are going to alternate, again, as we did in the first part of the forum this evening.  We will get underway with the first question.

       MR. CARL OLSON:   (sp) Hello, my name is Carl Olson.  I am from Buffalo, Minnesota.  Me and my fiancé, milk 40 registered Jerseys down from her parents that milked 100 Holsteins.  We are down the road about a mile.  We just started milking cows two years ago, right out of college, out of Ridge Water. And I have some issues that I think are good ideas to bring to the table because it’s a struggle every morning and night and day to survive in the dairy industry at such a low cow number.  But still, I can’t

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