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THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Vice President


For Immediate Release May 28, 1999
                    STATEMENT BY VICE PRESIDENT GORE
                  ON RELEASE OF EMERGENCY FUNDING FOR
                          OUR NATION'S FARMERS

I am pleased to announce today that our Administration has released $428 million to respond to the emergency needs of our nation's hardworking farming communities. In the worst agricultural crisis in more than a decade, these funds will help our nation's ranchers and farmers cope with depressed commodity prices and the effects of widespread natural disasters in the farming economy.

The emergency funds we released today include: $145 million to support depressed commodity prices; $73 million for livestock assistance to reimburse feed and livestock losses caused by natural disasters last year; $123 million to help farmers and rural communities clear their fields and streams of debris from natural disasters. In addition, the package contains $30 million for water and wastewater facilities in rural areas, and $12 million in USDA loans and grants to help low-income rural residents repair the housing damaged by natural disasters, particularly in Puerto Rico due to last year's hurricanes. There is also $20 million to help migrant farm workers whose livelihoods have suffered as a result of the natural disasters.

Our action today builds upon the release last week of funds that will provide $800 million in loans to help hard-pressed farmers finance their activities through the end of the planting season. In March, our Administration took action to speed the provision of $300 million in loans to help farmers prepare for the spring planting season.

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