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Release No. 0301.05 Contact: USDA Press Office (202) 720-4623 - page 44 / 53





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MR. MARK GITTER (sp):  Mr. Secretary, my name is Mark Gitter.  I farm by Wabasso, Minnesota.  And listening to the testimony I would suggest to you when you have another cabinet meeting to ask the other secretaries, what do you guys actually do?  I think we're running the country, the USDA. The first thing, this is a personal testimony.  As a farmer in the new program getting us to use other, grow other crops, I've gone to a third alfalfa-base, a third corn, and a third soybeans.  In a new program, there's another program sometimes conservation, that is done on the previous programs, are overlooked, and it can hurt you on the next farm program. So I'm looking at it from that point of view is that somebody that does the more conservation type is not put in the second fiddle to nonconservation types of farming.  Thank you very much. MODERATOR:  Thank you.  I want to remind you all, the Secretary wants to hear from you.  We have about 20 minutes left in the forum this evening.  Go ahead with your question. MR. LARRY LIEPOLD:  Good evening, Mr. Secretary.  My name is Larry Liepold.  I'm a corn, soybean, hog producer from Okabena, Minnesota.  We're also heavily invested in a soybean processing plant that's producing biodiesel at this point, and are heavily invested in an ethanol plant being built a quarter mile south of my farm.

         I'm also president of Minnesota Pork Producers Association.  I've got just a few comments.  Pork Producers are committed to running productive operations while meeting or even exceeding societal environmental expectations.  We have fought hard for science-based, affordable and effective regulatory policies that achieve the goals of today's environmental statutes.  In order for us to meet these costly demands while maintaining production, the federal government must provide support to help us defray some of the cost of compliance through the Farm Bill Conservation Programs-- namely, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program of 2002 of the Farm Bill.  So far EQIP has not provided this for hog producers as well. Finally, we believe that Conservation Security Program could prove to be a big help to our midsize, commercial family farms.  An operation with a good quality of manure, management and application practices all documented under a comprehensive nutrient management plan is an automatic candidate for entering CSP and receiving the program benefits. We urge USDA and Congress to keep changes to the 2002 Farm Bill Conservation Title Programs simple.  Previous changes have been complicated and hindered the USDA's ability in the field to offer quality assistance. Thank you for coming to Minnesota. [Applause.] MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Let's go ahead with the next question.

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