USDA CONTINUES NATIONWIDE FARM BILL LISTENING TOUR
MORGAN, Minn., Aug. 3, 2005 - Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced additional listening sessions that will be part of the nationwide farm bill listening tour in Pennsylvania, Indiana and Wyoming. The public is invited to attend the forums to offer comments on farm bill policy.
"The Farm Bill Forums provide an opportunity for us to hear directly from America's farmers and ranchers. I'm learning a great deal from them," said Johanns. "I am very pleased that our USDA team will also be hosting additional forums that will focus on conservation, rural development and nutrition. I encourage as many citizens as possible to participate in these forums as we prepare for the development of a new farm bill."
Johanns made the announcement at a Farm Bill Forum held today at Minnesota's FarmFest, where an estimated 1500 people attended, marking the largest crowd for a single event in the history of FarmFest. Johanns stated that he will host a Farm Bill Forum at Penn State University's Ag Progress Days on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Deputy Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner will conduct a Farm Bill Forum Aug. 18, 4-8 p.m. (CDT) at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis, Ind. Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Mark Rey will host a conservation forum Aug. 18, 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (MDT) at McKibben Cafeteria - Wyoming State Fair Grounds - Douglas, Wyo. In addition, Under Secretary Eric Bost will conduct nutrition forums and Under Secretary Tom Dorr will host rural development forums, with dates and times to be announced in the near future.
Johanns and USDA officials will host the following Farm Bill Forums:
Aug. 11, 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. (CDT), Iowa State Fair, Des Moines, Iowa-Secretary Mike Johanns
Aug. 12, 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (PDT), Fresno County Fairgrounds, Fresno, Calif.-Secretary Mike Johanns
Aug. 16, 9:00 a.m. - 12 noon (EDT), Penn State University's Ag Progress Days, University Park, Penn. - Secretary Mike Johanns
Aug. 18, 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (MDT) McKibben Cafeteria - Wyoming State Fair Grounds - Douglas, Wyo. - Under Secretary Mark Rey
When participating in the forums, the public is invited to respond to one or more of the following six questions. The format of the forum will also allow an open comment period for general farm bill comments.
1.How should farm policy address any unintended consequences and ensure that such consequences do not discourage new farmers and the next generation of farmers from entering production agriculture?
2.How should farm policy be designed to maximize U.S. competitiveness and our country's ability to effectively compete in global markets?
3.How should farm policy be designed to effectively and fairly distribute assistance to producers?
4.How can farm policy best achieve conservation and environmental goals?
5.How can Federal rural and farm programs provide effective assistance in rural areas?
6.How should agricultural product development, marketing and research-related issues be addressed in the next farm bill?
The public is also welcome to submit their comments via the USDA Farm Bill Forums website at http://www.usda.gov/farmbill. Throughout 2005, Johanns and other senior USDA officials will participate in the Farm Bill Forums that will be held across the country. The dates, locations and times of the forums will continue to be announced as they are scheduled and posted on the USDA website.