The president of the Iowa Farm Bureau says it’ll be good to have a midwesterner as U.S. Ag Secretary. Iowa Farm Bureau president Craig Lang says he wrote President Bush a letter, urging the president to pick someone from the midwest who has an understanding of family farming operations and the value of agriculture. President Bush yesterday nominated Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns to be the next Ag Secretary, and Lang says “he’ll fit the role very, very well.” Lang says the president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau gives Johanns the thumbs up.Lang says Johanns supports agriculture, trade and biotechnology which are all key issues for farmers. Lang says Johanns won’t have an easy time, especially with the move for less federal support. Lang says that means farmers will have to get their income from the price of commodities rather than federal price supports and add as much value to what they produce before it leaves the farm. “You know as well as I do with a $500 billion deficit looming over us that there are going to be cuts that have to be made in balancing that (federal) budget, and agriculture will be one of those,” Lang says. The Iowa Farm Bureau just wrapped up its convention in Des Moines. Delegates said balancing the state budget with spending cuts rather than tax increases was a priority. Yet Farm Bureau members said they support efforts to spend more on education, conservation, and public safety — as well as a reduction in property taxes. Also yesterday, Iowa’s democratic governor said he was “pleased” that President Bush was choosing an Iowa native as the next Ag Secretary. “I know from our work together as Governors from neighboring states with strong agricultural traditions that this nomination is a step in the right direction for Iowa and midwest farmers. I look forward to continuing our cordial working relationship and I wish Governor Johanns the best in his new post.” Both of Iowa’s U.S. Senators also praised Bush’s choice.
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