South Dakota Corn to host Inside the Beltway”

The South Dakota Corn Growers Association (SDCGA) together with the USDA Risk Management Agency will present “Inside the Beltway: Influencing Farm Policy,” focusing on the next farm bill, Dec. 4 at the Sioux Falls Ramkota Hotel and Convention Center. This one-day event is designed to give attendees access to some of the top analysts and discussions about farm policy for South Dakota producers.

After the recent election, the dynamics in Washington have changed with a new Congress preparing to write the next farm bill. The SDCGA believes that grassroots involvement is essential in shaping the direction of the 2007 Farm Bill.

“There is no piece of legislation that is more critical to agriculture in South Dakota,” said Reid Jensen, president of the SDCGA. “It is vital for producers to participate in this process as our leadership must understand what our priorities are as farm policy is written.”

The program which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., will feature well-known economist, Barry Flinchbaugh, who lectures throughout the nation on agricultural and economic policy. The panel discussion on tap that day will bring legislative experts to producers and an opportunity to ask questions and offer comments to those who will be focusing on the farm bill in upcoming months.

Then producers will get the first glimpse of how a new concept being discussed for the farm bill would impact their farming operation. And finally, the SDCGA will offer producers an opportunity to participate in setting priorities for the organization in the upcoming year. The following is a description of the offerings of the day:

“Farm Bill: Myths and Reality” – Dr. Flinchbaugh, a professor of agriculture economics at Kansas State University, will present a farm bill program aimed at revealing myths and realities of the farm bill process as policymakers begin work on the next farm bill in 2007. He will highlight on economics and agriculture, controversy and compromise, provide historical view of farm programs and describe the potential impact of the '07 Farm Bill.

Panel discussion: “We're here from Washington and Ready to help” – Panel participants will include Chip Conley, economist on the House Ag Committee and SDCGA Washington lobbyist Scott Shearer. Each panelist brings their keen sense of Washington to offer a behind the scenes look of the next Farm Bill. Also, representatives from the offices of Sen. Tim Johnson and Sen. John Thune will be available during the panel discussions to answer questions from the audience.

“Thinking Outside The Box: Farm Bill Opportunities” – David Gillen, SDCGA Board Chairman, will stretch producers' minds with possibilities for the upcoming Farm Bill. Gillen will describe a completely new concept called the Base Net Revenue proposal which is designed to improve the farm-level safety net program.

“SDCGA Legislative Roundtable” – Join a grassroots push to set legislative policy for the SDCGA for the upcoming year. This is producers' opportunity to shape the legislative direction of the SDCGA by providing resolutions to be considered at the Annual Meeting, Jan. 6, 2007.

“This event is sure to get producers thinking outside the box as we move forward and prepare for the upcoming farm bill,” said Jensen. “We encourage producers to participate in this important meeting.”

The event is offered at no cost and lunch will be provided. To register, contact the SDCGA at 605-334-0100.

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