Minnesota will host a Farm Bill Forum on Aug. 3, at Minnesota Farm Fest in Redwood County, Minn. The forum will run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. USDA Secretary Mike Johanns will attend and the public is invited to share ideas on Farm Bill policy.

The public can respond to one or more of the following six questions. The format will allow approximately a half hour per question. There also will be an open comment period for general Farm Bill comments unrelated to the six questions.

Here are the questions:
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 Web site 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. Forum dates, locations and times will be announced as they are scheduled and posted on the Web site.

USDA