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Release No. 0301.05 Contact: USDA Press Office (202) 720-4623 - page 5 / 53

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[Video is played] PRES. GEORGE BUSH:  Thanks for letting me speak to you at this Farm Bill Forum.  America's farm and ranch families provide a safe and abundant food supply for our people and for much of the world.  You represent the best values of America, stewardship of the land, hard work and independence, faith, service and community. Mike Johanns understands the importance of America's farmers to our country, which is why I chose him to lead our Department of Agriculture.  I'm proud of his work, and he will lead our efforts on the next Farm Bill.   Secretary Johanns and I believe the first step in this process is to ask each of you how today's Farm Bill is working and how it can be better.  And as we look to improve America's farm policy, we will continue to focus on the following goals. See, America has about 5 percent of the world's population which means 95 percent of your potential customers are overseas.  So one of our goals must be to ensure that America's farmers and ranchers have access to open global markets. A second goal is that we want future generations to have plenty of opportunities to go into agriculture.   Thirdly, we need cooperative conservation that encourages good stewardship of our land and natural habitats. We also need to act wisely in delivering help to our nation's producers.  And we must promote cutting-edge agricultural products and research. And finally, we must ensure a good quality of life in rural America.  The Farm Bill is important legislation that meets real needs.  The next Farm Bill should further strengthen the farm economy and preserve this way of life for farmers and ranchers of the future. Hearing your advice is an important step toward meeting these goals.  I thank you for all you do for our country, and thank you for listening. SEC. JOHANNS:  Great.  Yeah.  Round of applause. [Applause.] SEC. JOHANNS:  One of the things that I said at my confirmation hearing when I was before the United States Senate Ag Committee was that I believed the best ideas relative to farm policy don't really come from inside the Beltway.  They come from producers out in our nation.  And so the whole idea of this Farm Bill Forum process was to solicit your input so you could offer your ideas.

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