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Release No. 0301.05 Contact: USDA Press Office (202) 720-4623 - page 51 / 53





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thank Bruce Knight; he's done an excellent job.  We just need to move this CSP along on a further road, and there are solutions for this cumbersome, frustrating project.  It's well-written, and it has a system that's very accountable for. Thank you. MODERATOR:  Thank you very much.  If you did not get a chance to comment tonight, remember you can do so via e-mail at http://www.usda.gov/farmbill, and you can write the Secretary of Agriculture in Washington.  I believe there are still some Forum brochures around with the Secretary's address. These two have been very busy taking notes up here, and they've hardly said a word the last half of the Forum.  I know they have some comments to make, and we'll call on first Congressman Gil Gutknecht with some final comments.  Congressman? REP. GUTKNECHT:  Well, I will be very brief.  The Secretary has to catch a plane and fly I think to Milwaukee tonight, so I'll just say a couple of things.  First of all, thank you to all of you.  You know many times we have hearings in Washington we get to hear the representatives of various groups.  And somebody said it's the insiders who write the Farm Bill, and I'm not sure I agree with that.  But it's important though that we see real farmers, real faces, and how many of these policies affect you. I think just sitting here and listening, if you've heard all the various comments we've heard about the MILC program, the Conservation Security Program, we've heard a lot about Rural Development and we've heard a lot about other programs -- I hope you will all understand this, that when we do a Farm Bill ultimately you have to get 218 votes in the House and you have to get 51 votes in the Senate.  And we've heard an awful lot of good ideas and suggestions and some very good questions today, but I hope you'll at least understand that this is a democratic republic, and in the end we've got to get enough votes to pass it. And so there is a little bit of negotiation that goes on as this works through the process, but I think the input today has been extremely valuable.  I've taken some good notes and I'm going to share with some of my colleagues.  And finally let me just say how much I admire all of you for staying for this entire program.  Thank you very much. MODERATOR:  Thank you, Congressman.   [Applause.] MODERATOR:  Secretary Johanns? SEC. JOHANNS:  Well, let me also offer my words of real appreciation.  You have to be the heartiest people in Minnesota, and I know people here are really hearty.  We started out about three hours ago, and I said at the time that I was going to spend most of the time just listening to you.  And that's what we've endeavored to do during this forum. I also want to express my appreciation to Congressman Gutknecht.  Not only was he here during this entire forum, but he gave me his whole day today.  We started early today up in northern Minnesota looking at forest land, and so literally he dedicated the

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