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We should remember that many of the programs started by R. Sargent Shriver had a great impact on rural America — Head Start and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA). 

• Kent Conrad won’t run for the U.S. Senate again from North Dakota. He’s the last standing Democrat from the state in D.C. 

Conrad told Jerry Hagstrom that his reason for retiring is the national debt. Conrad said he wants to work on the budget without worrying about re-election.

Conrad is chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. He told Hagstrom that he planned to make two rural issues (reduction on dependence on foreign oil and the ’12 farm bill) priorities in his last two years. 

• You knew this was coming.

President Obama announces he wants to review all regulations, to see if any are restraining economic growth.  Two seconds later, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is asking that the administration suspend its new GIPSA rules governing the sale of livestock. Chris Clayton has all the suggestions from ag groups here. 

• Cargill is giving up its majority stake in Mosaic, the fertilizer company. Cargill is transferring stock it owns in Mosaic to Cargill family members. 

The move is expected to make Mosaic a more attractive takeover target, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

• A columnist in the Lincoln, Nebraska, newspaper says the ethanol subsidy is worth its cost. 

Francis Moul runs down the costs and benefits of using ethanol to gas up his new flex-fuel van.

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