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Third Farm Bill paper examines rural development programs

On Friday, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns released the third in a series of 2007 Farm Bill theme papers, this one focusing on rural development programs.

The analysis, compiled by USDA economists, describes the current state of rural development, discusses and evaluates current key rural development programs, and discusses general policy alternatives. Those alternatives do not represent specific Farm Bill proposals, but are intended to further public discussion.

In March of this year, Johanns announced the release of 41 papers summarizing the 4,000 comments received during 52 USDA Farm Bill Forums and via the Internet. Within those 41 papers emerged key themes USDA economists are studying in depth in preparation for the 2007 Farm Bill. The first paper released focused on risk management, and the second on conservation and the environment.

"Given the degree of interest and near universal praise for our rural development programs, we determined this mission area deserved a thorough examination," Johanns said. "Clearly, rural development programs are popular and deliver real results. As rural America continues to change, we must be sure that our programs also adapt to emerging needs."

The Rural Development paper and previously released analysis papers are available at: www.usda.gov/farmbill. Transcripts of the Farm Bill Forums and the 41 Farm Bill comment summary papers are also posted there.

On Friday, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns released the third in a series of 2007 Farm Bill theme papers, this one focusing on rural development programs.

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