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Thursday, February 12, 2009 OLIVIA, M N 1,600 (15) Newspaper (W) A6 Center For Rural Affairs

Dear Gov. Pawlenty, save our prairie Governor Tim Pawlenty has been asked to decide bv Feb. 15 if in the Minnesota will Sodsaver panision of the 2008 Farm Bill. This is not a hard deadline and the program rules have yet to be completed by USDA. However, should this decision really even be one to grapple with? The Sodsaver pnn&on, a pro& sion that would bar crop insurance and disaster payments on native sod that is converted to crops, will be lost ;f the governors of the five states involved (Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana) fail to varticivate in this vromam. If " lost thit menothing more than the federal government subsi&ng insurance and providing payments to those who put marginal native grassland into production. They essentially be haranteed a profit on lands that are simply not suited to producing row crops.

Our most fertile prairie was long ago converted to row crops and the native grasslands that std r c m j n are among the planet's most threatened ecosystems. They are bital to the livelihoods of grazing and grassbased producers. Ranch families can not compete for land when grassland conversion to program crops rcccives federal payments ensuring a profit regardless of whether crops thrive or

fail, So the question the Governor should be asking is, "\Yliat good could come from tearing up the remainder of the native grilsblands left in our state?" The answer is obvious - nothing would be gained but much would be lost. The Center for Rural ~ fwas f* e5C8blished in 1973 * mted nonprofit corporation under IRS code 501(c)3. The Center for Rural A f f i was formed by rrnal Nebraskans concerned about W Y farms and rural -tiff,and en 4busin-


My farms and


Printing imperfections present during scanning

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Account: 18209C (1 4206) MN~293

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