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 MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Profitability, adding value to

products, protecting the environment and maintaining a favorable structure are the keys to maintaining a Minnesota successful farming and agribusiness climate for the next decade.
 Those were the conclusions of the more than 170 individuals participating in the Minnesota Agriculture Project, which held the last of three working sessions at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange on Sept. 12. Participants represented the full spectrum of citizens, businesses and organizations concerned about Minnesota's agricultural future, including farmers, educators, producer organization representatives, agribusiness people, government officials and environmentalists.
 The Minnesota Agriculture Project was conceived as an effort to achieve a new sense of "oneness" for the state's industry which exports more than $12 billion annually, said Richard L. Jones, dean of the University of Minnesota College of Agriculture. Jones presented the preliminary recommendations of the Minnesota Agriculture Project following the working session.
 "Minnesota agriculture deserves a new look, a new perspective," Jones said. "Numerous external factors -- including population shifts, environmental pressure and the reality of the global economy -- all contribute to the sense of urgency and importance of this project."
 Jones was joined in presenting his report by Minnesota Lt. Gov. Joanell Dyrstad, Commissioner of Agriculture Elton Redalen, University of Minnesota President Nils Hasselmo and Department of Trade & Economic Development Commissioner David Leckey.
 Among the priorities for the future listed by Minnesota Agriculture Project participants were four policy statements:
 -- The opportunity for profitability of agricultural production should be a fundamental goal of public policy in Minnesota.
 -- Generating and producing higher value for all farm products at a place and time as near as possible to original production and before those commodities leave the state for further processing elsewhere is a priority in Minnesota.
 -- Preserving and improving the quality of the current physical and social environment while encouraging responsible stewardship of the land, air, water and living organisms to support free enterprise in production agriculture and related industries is a goal of public policy in Minnesota.
 -- The right of individuals to start and operate their own farm or small business in agriculture as well as the right to freely join with others to enhance profitability of their own individual businesses (without denying others of similar opportunities) is a policy goal.
 Participants listed key strategies for achieving each of the policies many of which entail continued growth of the relationships among the various public and private sectors involved in agriculture. Development of the report resulted from three day-long consultation sessions along with 600 responses from a survey of Minnesota's agriculture community.
 "It is the hope of all of us that the Minnesota Agriculture Project will be the beginning of a new era of dialogue within the traditional agriculture community and, perhaps most importantly, among all those who have an interest in the future of agriculture in our state," Jones said.
 Following the all-day session, an ad hoc committee was formed to provide leadership for fine tuning and carrying out the goals of the Minnesota Agriculture Project.
 The Minnesota Agriculture Project Session was held in conjunction with the second Greater Minnesota Day, which highlights the value of agriculture and agricultural careers in Minnesota. Other activities included participation by 1,500 high school students in tours of agribusiness facilities in the Twin Cities -- including Canterbury Downs -- and ag career-oriented displays in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. The day culminated with the opening Minnesota Gophers football game against San Jose State.
 -0- 9/14/92
 /CONTACT: Colleen Smith of the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, 612-338-6212; or Lani Jordan of Cenex/Land O'Lakes, 612-451-4946/ CO: The Minneapolis Grain Exchange; Cenex/Land O'Lakes ST: Minnesota IN: SU:

KH -- MN005 -- 9121 09/14/92 11:38 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 14, 1992

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