Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Congress 2009

Walt Minnick Address the Idaho Farm Bureau December 4th--Putnam photo


Boise--The Milk Producers of Idaho, The Idaho Farm Bureau and 30 different agriculture representatives met with Congressman-Elect Walt Minnick to talk agriculture and natural resource issues.

Minnick soundly defeated incumbent Congressman Bill Sali in the November election and will officially take office in January. At a December 4th speech at the Idaho Farm Bureau Annual Meeting Minnick said he's trying to get appointed to the powerful House Agricultural Affairs committee as his first choice of assignments in Congress.

The former businessman and CEO knows agriculture inside and out having grown up on a wheat farm outside of Walla, Walla. Minnick called the special meeting of ag interests so he knows what issues are are on the minds of producers and the best ways to address them. The Farm Bureaus Dennis Tanikuni attended the meeting.
He said there was discussion on burdensome rules and regulations from various governmental entities, specifically the EPA, Minnick thinks the government should follow the existing forestry model that includes self-regulation through the use of Best Management Practices stating that BMPs should be negotiated between the industry, regulators and the public.

In terms of Bio-Tech Minnick thinks it's the future of agriculture and the best way to assure an adequate food supply. He'd like to review the approval process presently being used to approve bio-tech products. The shape of that approval process needs to be one that assures the public that bio-tech products are safe for consumption and the environment.

Minnick’s thinks there should be increased development of internal resources. That includes oil, and alternative sources. He feels that the government needs to assist in the development of those alternative sources through increased research and use of pilot projects to show the worthiness of a project (he specifically mentioned use of methane gas).

Other issues discussed include Dam Breaching, University Research funding, Estate Tax, Economy and the Detroit bailout.

Walt Minnick asked the Milk Producers and Farm Bureau to set up more meetings in the future so theres and open dialogue on key agriculture issues as they develop. He assured producers that he will make the time to discuss issues in the coming months.

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