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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                          (New York, New York)

For Immediate Release September 22, 1997




From the earliest days of our Nation, the men and women who work the land have held a special place in America's heart, history, and economy. Many of us are no more than a few generations removed from forebears whose determination and hard work on farms and fields helped to build our Nation and shape its values. While the portion of our population directly involved in agriculture has diminished over the years, those who live and work on America's farms and ranches continue to make extraordinary contributions to the quality of our national life and the strength of our economy.

The life of a farmer or rancher has never been easy. The work is hard, physically challenging, and uniquely subject to the forces of nature; the chemicals and labor-saving machinery that have helped American farmers become so enormously productive have also brought with them new health hazards; and working with livestock can result in frequent injury to agricultural workers and their families.

Fortunately, there are measures we can take to reduce agriculturerelated injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Manufacturers continue to improve the safety features of farming equipment; protective clothing and safety gear can reduce the exposure of workers to the health threats posed by chemicals, noise, dust, and sun; training in first-aid procedures and access to good health care can often mean the difference between life and death.

The key to all these safety measures is education. During National Farm Safety and Health Week, I encourage America's farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers to remain alert to the dangers inherent in their livelihood. By learning about and using the latest safety features of farming equipment and vehicles, wearing personal protective gear and clothing, and practicing good preventive health care, they can avoid or reduce many of the hazards they face each day. It is particularly important to teach our young people on farms and ranches about proper safety measures, to provide safe areas where children can play, and to monitor their activities. Their experience and maturity must always be considered before they are allowed to participate in farm or ranch work.

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 21 through September 27, 1997, as National Farm Safety and Health Week. I call upon government agencies, educational institutions, 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 ask agricultural workers to take advantage of available technology, training, and information that can help them prevent injury and illness. I also call upon all Americans to observe Wednesday, September 24, 1997, as a day to focus on the risks facing young people on our Nation's farms and ranches and to reflect during this week on the bounty that we enjoy thanks to the hard work and dedication of America's agricultural workers.

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


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