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Release No. 0301.05 Contact: USDA Press Office (202) 720-4623 - page 42 / 53





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very well in getting money where it's needed, and we've seen projects get done that should have gotten done before. As one of the off-comments, we had last year a sign-up for a program that's not an easy walk-in-the-office kind of program.  Began in October 15 and ended in November.  Now I said I'm the mayor of the city of Renville, and I defoliate sugar beets for a former student of mine.  He doesn't even talk to his wife in the middle of harvest, let alone go into an office to talk about conservation. So I don't think that date was set by Mr. Hunt, but it's something we need to think about. I think Congress understands the intent or what we need, but sometimes (unclear) agent say it's not quite there.  When it gets to two minutes, tell me to shut up and I'll do that. MODERATOR:  It's two minutes. MR. FISHER:  Thanks. MODERATOR:  Thank you very much.   [Laughter and applause.]

        MR. GREG RUSSELL:  Mr. Secretary, I'm Greg Russell, Minnesota Society of American Foresters, state chair.  I work out of Willmar.  As I see the Farm Bill programs over the years I've noticed a lack of continuity as far as keeping tree programs, which provide long-term cover and a lot of environmental benefits.  We look to our farm programs' conservation for long-term environmental benefits, but they're slowly being eroded away.  Out in this part of the state the emphasis is on grasses, and as we know once the payments stop the grass is plowed under.   If there's trees, typically once the payment's stopped the trees stay. There are other perennial crops I think that we can use.  The concept of productive conservation I believe really needs to be looked at as a nice pilot project.  There's many parts of the state of Minnesota where the two and three-crop system isn't working and they need something else to help them get through.  And right now there's nothing to help these farmers with these perennial type crops, and they need that.  They're taking a risk, and if it goes bust they go bust.  But some of our row crop folks aren't getting that same treatment.  If they go bust, they got the insurance, they got the payments. So if we can kind of level that playing field I'd be very supportive of that.  Thank you. MODERATOR:  Thank you very much.  Go ahead.

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