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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 30, 1999


Today I have signed into law H.R. 808, which extends the provisions of chapter 12 of the Bankruptcy Code until October 1, 1999.

Chapter 12 of the Bankruptcy Code was enacted in 1986 to provide bankruptcy relief to our Nation's family farmers, who at the time were suffering through a severe agricultural crisis. The provisions of chapter 12 enabled family farmers to meet this financial crisis by allowing them to reorganize their debts and avoid the loss of their farms and way of life.

Despite the general widespread economic prosperity of recent years, many of our Nation's family farmers and ranchers are having difficulties and face losing their property and their livelihoods. Chapter 12 is an effective tool to mitigate the effects of the current agricultural crisis on family farmers and ranchers and on communities that depend upon them. By making it easier for family farmers to work out their debts, chapter 12 also benefits creditors, who would be unlikely to obtain repayment if these farmers and ranchers went out of business.

Although I have signed this temporary extension, I urge the Congress to protect those family farmers and ranchers in financial distress by making the provisions of chapter 12 permanent. I also urge the Congress to expedite passage of my request for emergency funding of $150 million to provide more than $1 billion in loans for farmers and ranchers.