On September 13, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., we're sponsoring a
citizens' dialogue on NAFTA, GATT, and Wisconsin agriculture at the
Arlington Ag. Research Station in Columbia County, Wis. We're
co-convening it with a broad range of farm and other organizations,
including the UW-College of Ag. and Life Sciences, UW-Extension,
National Farmers Union, National Farmers Organization, Wis. Farm
Bureau Federation, Wis. Federation of Cooperatives, Wis.
Agribusiness Council, and Wis. Rural Development Center.
Carol Goodloe of the USDA will offer an overview on the NAFTA
accord and side agreements. A panel discussion brings Paul Drazek
of the American Farm Bureau Federation and Lee Swenson of the
National Farmers Union together to discuss implications of NAFTA and
GATT for Wis. farmers and agribusiness. This will be followed by small
group discussions on various commodity areas.
A panel discussion brings together U.S. Congressman Steve
Gunderson and Wis. Assemblyman Stan Gruszynski to discuss
implications of free trade for consumer safety, the environment,
federal farm policy, and rural communities. This panel will be followed
by small group discussions on consumer and environmental concerns,
family farms and rural communities, and federal farm policy.
The aim of the forum is to assemble a broad spectrum of folks for a
day-long dialogue, and particularly to give Wisconsin farmers the
opportunity to learn more about the range of opinions (and
predictions) on NAFTA. We are stressing farmer participation (hence
the small group sessions) and a critical yet fair and productive
discussion of these complex issues.
If you are in the area and would like more information on attending,
call the institute at (608) 265-2908. You can try replying to me via
Internet, but I can't guarantee a prompt reply this busy week. Lunch
and child care are available, and folks commuting from Madison are
organizing car pools.
For those of you too far-flung to attend, I thought some of you would
like to be aware of this event; we expect it good attendance, and it is
the first statewide event in Wisconsin to focus on NAFTA and the
state's agricultural sector. For those of you in the MN/WIS/IA area,
please spread the word among your colleagues and especially among
the farmers in your circles. If you're interested in follow-up after the
event, send me a note and I'll make some suggestions for strategies
that might help you.
Best wishes to all!
FAX: (608) 265-3020
Center for Integrated Ag. Systems
Ag. Technology and Family Farm Institute
1450 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706