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Release No. 0301.05 Contact: USDA Press Office (202) 720-4623 - page 3 / 53





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              LT. GOV. CAROL MULNAU:  Thank you, Lynn.  And I do want to bring you greetings from Governor Pawlenty, who was here earlier in the day but had to leave just about as you came in.  I'm not sure what that means.  But I do know that he left you in good hands.  And that's why the lieutenant governor who also happens to be a farmer gets to do the intros. So on behalf of the governor, welcome to Minnesota.  On behalf of me, the lieutenant governor and farmer, welcome to farm country in Minnesota. [Applause.] The Secretary certainly is no stranger to Minnesota.  He graduated from one of Minnesota's universities down in Winona.  He spent some time in Iowa.  He was the governor of Nebraska.  We have a Midwest farm person here who understands Midwest agriculture, a little bit different than the rest of the country.  We really appreciate the fact that he's here with us today, and I think that wasn't by accident.  Truly he has a deep interest in the Midwest and the things happening here to our farmers. I think also the unique thing about this forum is that typically most of us sitting out there say, what's government going to do to us next? Well, we have a Secretary of Agriculture who says, I want you to help me write that bill.  We don't want to do it to you; we want to do it with you.  And that's a different approach than happens most often, so we are so fortunate today.  Even though it's a hot day in Minnesota its well worth your time and effort to be part of that 2007 federal Agricultural Bill.  And your input will make a big difference. And so, Secretary, we're so happy to have you here, and thank you for coming to Minnesota, and thank you for being interested in Midwest agriculture. [Applause.] SEC. JOHANNS:  Well, very good.  I guess that means it's my turn. Thank you very, very much for that warm welcome.  Let me also say thank you to both congressmen for being here. You know, no Farm Bill is passed without a lot of work on the House side and I'll guarantee you ladies and gentlemen you are well-positioned to have a great impact on the next Farm Bill because of these two fine men that represent you. Please give my best regards to the Governor when you see him.  He's a good friend and a good man, and so send my regards to him. Now mention was made that I did grow up on a farm.  I grew up on a dairy farm not all that far from here near a small rural community called Osage.  Now I do see some people that are puzzled about that where Osage is at.  It's not that far away, but I'll explain to you before we get started where Osage is at.  Osage would be south of Stacyville and St. Ansgar and it's straight east of Manley, so we've cleared that up. [Laughter.]

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