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Release No. 0301.05 Contact: USDA Press Office (202) 720-4623 - page 8 / 53





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           How should farm policy be designed to effectively and fairly distribute assistance to farmers? How can farm policy best achieve conservation and environmental goals? How can federal farm and farm programs provide effective assistance in rural areas? And how should agricultural product development, marketing and research-related issues be addressed in the next Farm Bill? Now your comments need to be two minutes or less.  Don't make this tough for me.  I don't want to have to cut you off, but we have two minutes so we can get through as many as we can.  And if you don't want to stand up today you can e-mail your comments to USDA.GOV or mail them.  They carry an equal weight to the comments that we're getting publicly here tonight.  And when you stand up, please give us your first name, where you're from, and if you can, the question that you're addressing. And we're going to begin with comments from the 4-H and FFA, and then we'll open it up to the general public. MR. CHRISTIAN LILIANTHAL:  Well, hello.  My name is Christian Lilianthal.  I live in Arlington, Minnesota, and I'm the president of Minnesota FFA.  I firstly would like to thank Secretary Johanns and thank you, Lynn Ketelsen, for encouraging FFA to be represented here this afternoon, lead the Pledge of Allegiance, and give our thoughts on this question. FFA has a long tradition of preparing students for career success and engaging youth in activities and projects that get them excited about the future of agriculture.  One way that I know our members are excited is by listening to them speak and explain their families' production operations.  I can easily see to be the son or daughter of a farmer means that you are a farmer. The youth that live on family farms are some of the most qualified individuals, able to complete the task of dedicating their lives to the work of production and have developed great passion to achieve the dreams that generations before have begun. But with the age of the average farmer increasing, what we need is a program that allows young people interested in starting the life of a production agriculturalist and small farms to work on the same playing field as larger operations.  Consider a tier system that gave progressively higher subsidies as the scale descended on to smaller farms.  If such a program was implemented, farmers would gain sustainable profit on fewer acres or with smaller herds.

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