MODERATOR: Thank you.
MODERATOR: Next question please and remember we have a two-minute time limit.
MR. BRAD COBB: Hello, my name is Brad Cobb, Chapter President Stearns County Pheasants Forever. I’m a volunteer for that organization. I also serve as a chairperson for the Minnesota DNR Pheasant Stamp Oversight Committee. Welcome and thank you for being here. I also want to say a thank you to all the farmers. I am an urban resident. I have never worked on a farm. I have never been a farmer and I want to say thank you to all the farmers that are here today for providing me food, my milk, and ethanol gasoline for my wife’s car. Thank you.
I want to talk a little bit about the conservation portions of the federal Farm Bill for 2007. It’s important that we recognize the small farms, the small blocks of land that are associated to these conservation programs. It was mentioned about CRP. We want to make sure that Minnesota, especially, is competitive when it comes to the enrollment period and the environmental benefit index system that grades these properties. We want to make sure that the Minnesota farmer and land owner has an opportunity to participateoin a widespread basis when it comes to the entire program when it’s looked at from across the United States.
I also wanted to say a special thank you to Collin Peterson, but apparently he has left the building or left the tent. I wanted just to point out that these forums were something that is not unique to Minnesota. In fact, our local chapter of Pheasants Forever started a forum in association to the 1995 Farm Bill. Congressman Collin Peterson and state conservationist, Mr. Bill Hunt, were part of that program and we appreciate those efforts and those that they make on our behalf. I want to say thank you for that.
I also wanted to point out that when it comes to a sign-up period, we’ve had some conflicting situations where the sign-up periods themselves in relationship to CRP. In particular, that the sign-up periods have been held during some pretty inconvenient times for the land owners. They’ve been either held right in the middle of an agriculture harvest season and/or during a planting season. So I think we would get better enrollment and better participation if the programs were set up in a situation where they weren’t competing with those environments and those practices.
MODERATOR: Thank you, sir.
MR. COBB: I have a lot more to say. Sorry.
MODERATOR: Thank you. I want to remind the crowd that Congressman Peterson had an engagement in Marshall tonight. A pork chop feed, he said, with local pork producers. And he wanted me to pass along his best and his apologies for having to leave. That is where Congressman Peterson left.