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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 26, 1999
                            February 26, 1999

The Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) needs $152 million in FY 1999 to provide credit and delivery of services to farmers and ranchers. Funding would be for two accounts:

The Agricultural Credit Insurance Fund Program Account would receive $109.6 in budget authority including $105.6 million of subsidy budget authority to support credit of $1.1 billion through five programs and $4 million for program expenses:

     This request for emergency supplemental appropriations for farm
     loans is in response to unprecedented demand for agricultural
     credit due to persistently low commodity prices.

     P. L. 105-277, Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental
     Appropriations Act , 1999, provided $2.8 billion in farm loans
     supported by more than $121 million in credit subsidy.  That
     funding is expected to be depleted for all USDA farm loan programs
     by April 15, 1999.

     In fiscal year 1998, USDA loan programs served 26,000 farmers.  The
     Appropriations Act increased that number for FY 1999 to 31,000.
     With this supplemental funding, USDA would have the ability to help
     more than 12,000 additional farmers in need of capital, bringing
     the total to over 43,000.

The FSA Salaries and Expenses account would receive $42,753,000 to support temporary staffing needed to provide services to farmers and ranchers.

     Low commodity prices have led to increased demand for services in
     FSA county offices.

     P. L. 105-277 provided $5.9 billion in emergency payments to
     producers.  The Act also provided $40 million in emergency salaries
     and expenses funds in recognition of the administrative burden
     placed on the FSA by the disaster assistance provisions in the Act.
     FSA estimates the need for additional temporary staffing for five
     months to implement those provisions.  This proposal would not fund
     additional permanent staff.