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Congressional candidate Roebke questions peanut price reporting

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Alan Roebke of Alexandria, a candidate for Congress in Minnesota's 7th District, is asking the Justice Department and the Secretary of Agriculture's Office for an audit of farm peanut price reporting.

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The reports set subsidy payments to peanut growers for their past, present and future crops.

Roebke said he is calling for the investigation because "there is clearly no economic basis for the unusually low peanut prices reported weekly to USDA."

Roebke said his research shows peanut oil, like soybean oil and corn oil, is selling at record prices. He added that peanut oil is the highest of all major food oils, at $1 per pound, listed by USDA.

Roebke said that industry sources told him that more than 90 percent of the 2006-2008 peanut crops were contracted at the Farm Bill's target price or higher and not at the low price, reported weekly to USDA.

With only one month left in the 2007 peanut crop marketing year, Roebke said it is time to send in the auditors.

"Otherwise, taxpayers will likely send out a counter-cycle subsidy payment only to peanut growers, of about $60 per acre, while all the other oil crops, like soybeans, sunflowers etc. grown in the 7th District of Minnesota, will receive nothing because of high prices," he said in an e-mailed news release.

If elected, Roebke said he would work to immediately replace the 2008 Farm Bill, which he described as costly and outdated. He supports a market/production-cost driven farm bill to better serve both farmers and consumers.

Roebke is running as an independent Republican in the September primary. Glenn Menze is the Republican-endorsed candidate and the incumbent is DFLer Collin Peterson.

Roebke was raised on his family's farm in Hector in Renville County. As an FFA student and young farmer out of college, he raised cattle for slaughter.

Roebke graduated from the University of Minnesota Crookston, was in the farm seed business for 15 years and became a partner in a large seed conditioning plant.

He is a past president of the Southern Minnesota Canning Crop Growers Assocation. It was the first group to negotiate a fair price for sweet corn and green pea growers.

More information about Roebke (pronounced REB-key) can be found on the Web site, www.CongressionalChange.com.

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