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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 13, 1996




Farming is an occupation, both personally rewarding and vitally important, keeping grocery store shelves stocked with affordable and healthful food products for consumers. American farmers, ranchers, and their families are dedicated to producing crops and livestock that not only feed the American people, but also have become increasingly important to the global economy.

The 2.1 million farms in the United States are predominately operated by farm and ranch families, who work long, grueling hours, exposed to hazards ranging from complicated machinery, to farm chemicals, unpredictable livestock, and variable weather. They also face danger from potentially toxic dusts and gases found in and around farm silos, manure storage facilities, and livestock confinement buildings. Workers must be constantly on guard as they face these hazardous by-products of agricultural work.

Education and training programs, including "hands-on" intensive activities, have created an awareness among farmers and ranchers that personal safety equipment is a good investment for preventing injuries and illnesses related to their work.

Linked to these safety initiatives are programs that bring about a higher level of personal health awareness. This helps to reduce the levels of noise-induced hearing loss, sun exposure-related skin cancer, and the occupational respiratory ailments prevalent among agricultural workers in the United States.

On America's farms, young people are routinely exposed to some of the same risks as adults. Their level of maturity, training, and experience should be considered when assigning chores on the farm. Since many children live on farms, safe play areas should be designated to minimize their exposure to danger.

In setting aside this special week each year to focus on the safety and health of farmers, ranchers, and their families, we demonstrate to our Nation's citizens the importance of a strong agricultural industry as we approach the 21st century.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 15 through September 21, 1996, as National Farm Safety and Health Week. I call upon government agencies, businesses, and professional associations that serve our agricultural sector to strengthen efforts to promote safety and health measures among our Nation's farm and ranch workers. I also call upon our Nation to recognize Wednesday, September 18, 1996, as a day set aside during the week to pay special attention to the risks and hazards facing young people on farms and ranches. I would ask agricultural workers to take advantage of educational programs and technical advances that can help them avoid injury and illness. Finally, I call upon the citizens of our Nation to reflect upon the bounty we enjoy thanks to the labor of agricultural workers across our land. Join me in renewing our commitment to making their health and safety a national priority.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-first.


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