View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 23, 1996


I have reviewed the work of the Conferees on the farm bill. While I strongly favor some aspects of the final bill, I have very serious reservations about it.

However, farmers need to know the conditions under which they are operating as they head out into their fields in the coming weeks, and the hour is growing late. For that reason, I will, with some reluctance, sign this bill when Congress presents it to me.

Let me be clear: I am firmly committed to working with Congress next year to strengthen the farm safety net, and I plan to propose legislation to do so.

I am especially disappointed that the bill does not provide as strong a safety net for family farmers as it should. It provides fixed payments without regard to whether farmers are receiving adequate income from the market, yet leaves farmers without protection in the event of natural disasters or other circumstances that sharply reduce their income.

I am pleased that the bill provides significant funds for conservation and environmental enhancement programs, and that it will channel additional needed funds to rural development and agricultural research programs through the Fund for Rural America. The bill also reauthorizes nutrition programs for another two years and gives farmers the planting flexibility they need to plant for the market, not for Government programs.

I look forward to working with Congress next year, in a process that involves all interested groups, to make this a truly farmer-friendly farm bill.