USDA requests input on new farm bill

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is asking for your help in identifying ways to address agricultural issues in the next Farm Bill. The 2002 Farm Bill (officially entitled the Farm security and Rural Investment act of 2002) authorizes many USDA programs, including farm price and income support programs. New legislation will need to be enacted prior to the bill's expiration in 2007.

USDA intends to develop recommendations for the new farm bill and believes that public input is essential to this process. Written comments may be submitted to USDA online at . Select “Comment on the 2007 Farm Bill”, which is the last item located in the middle section, to send your message. You can also send your written comments by mail to the following address:

USDA Farm Bill

Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns

Office of the Executive Secretariat, Room 116-A

Jamie L. Whitten Federal Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW

Washington, DC 20250-3355

In order for your input to be considered, please send your responses no later than December 30, 2005. Comments should address one or more of these six questions:

1. How should farm policy address any unintentional 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?

Senior USDA officials will host issue-specific forums throughout the nation focusing on these six questions. Additional forums will address conservation, rural development and nutrition issues. During these specialty forums, the public will be asked to respond to questions that are tailored to those subject areas. These questions will be announced prior to the specialty forums and published on the USDA website.

The dates, locations and times of the forums will be announced as they are scheduled and posted on the USDA website. Information on the forums can also be obtained by calling any USDA office.

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