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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 12, 1998
                            December 12, 1998

In his radio address to the nation, President Clinton will announce the release of nearly $2.4 billion in emergency aid to farmers hit by the recent farm crisis. These funds include $400 million in incentives for farmers to expand their crop insurance, including price breaks on insurance premiums. Today's announcement covers the second and final release of funds included in the FY 1999 Budget Bill that combined will send a total of almost $6 billion to farmers and ranchers suffering economic hardships because of low prices and natural disasters.

$2 billion of the funds announced today will got to farmers with losses on 1998 crops and for those crop losses in at least three of the past five years.

The additional $400 million announced today will provide incentives for the expansion of crop insurance.

$3.5 billion, released earlier this fall, has supplemented the incomes of farmers who were hit by this year's low commodity prices.

Assistance for America's Farmers

Farmers are eligible for compensation either for losses suffered to the 1998 crops (single year) or losses in any three or more crop years between 1994 and 1998 (multi-year). Farmers can receive payments under either single year or multi-year provisions, but not both, and USDA will make payments at the higher of the two levels.

The plan includes help for farmers whose land was flooded for extended periods of time and for those whose crops suffered multiple outbreaks of fusarium head blight (scab).

Incentive pay to buy Crop Insurance

USDA will use an estimated $400 million as incentive payments to farmers to purchase higher levels of crop insurance for their 1999 crops. Eligible farmers will get a special 25-35 percent premium discount on buy-up coverage.

When and Where to Apply

Sign up for funding will begin February 1, 1999. Farmers should contact their local USDA Service center or Farm Service Administration (FSA) office at that time for more information. Crop loss payments will be made in early spring, after all claims information has been processed. To get a crop insurance premium discount, farmers should contact a crop insurance agent. FSA offices have a list of agents.


EDITOR'S NOTE: Additional information for members of the press on the specifics of this program is available by calling the USDA Public Affairs Office at 202/720-4623.