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Release No. 0301.05 Contact: USDA Press Office (202) 720-4623 - page 47 / 53

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Anyway, we need the national animal identification system, and we need to have a very bare minimum of that information that's in the hands of USDA fully accessible 24 hours a day and residing in your database in your control.  We can certainly use a public/private partnership to get that very limited data there, but the good folks at USDA need access in order to protect our herd. Right now I'm a little bit worried that some of the things that are coming down it looks like USDA has been hamstrung by politics, by a very powerful lobbying group.  We need to make a decision, we need to move this thing forward.  We've been working on it for a couple of years.  We don't need NAIS to fall victim to corporate greed.  We don't need another Halliburton.  We need to have a system that works for the producers and for the American people.  And I urge you to keep that in the hands, that limited data in the hands of USDA.   I'd like to thank Congressman Peterson in absence.  He's worked hard on this project and been a very good supporter.  So thank you very much. MODERATOR:  We have time for about five more questions before some final comments from Congressman Gutknecht and Secretary Johanns.  Go ahead with your question. First of all I'd like to thank you guys for coming up here.  It's great to have the Ag Secretary from the Midwest who understands.

            MR. STEVE SCHLANGEN:  My name is Steve Schlangen.  I'm a dairy farmer from central Stearns County. Actually I live about a mile and a half out of a town called Farming.  I'm on the board of directors for AMPI, which is one of the bigger Midwest diary coops, and I also represent dairy farmers in Minnesota on the board of directors of Minnesota Association of Co-ops. Over the last couple years our milk prices have been fairly decent, but we all remember what they were like in early 2000s, and at that time the MILC program was an absolute godsend for our dairy producers, especially the small ones.  I'd like to thank Collin Peterson even though he's not here because he was in the trenches to get that done on that Conference Committee.  And he's what really helped make this happen. But what we need to do I think is to extend the MILC program to coincide with the 2005 Farm Bill first of all.  That needs to be done starting in September I believe.  And right now we don't really need it because prices are high enough we really don't need the program, and it would be great if we'd never need the program.  But we certainly would like to have it in place just for security.  For our young farmers starting up they need to know where the bottom is to have a chance. Another thing I'd like to talk about is, we need fair trade and not free trade.  That comes back to the MPCs.  Just because they are over 40 percent protein they're not a dairy agreement, a dairy food that's just out of the question.  I mean we got to have fair trade so that if it's a dairy product it's called a dairy product, it gets treated as a dairy product.  We just can't compete on this global market with people that are subsidized or

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