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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                     (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
For Immediate Release                                   October 29, 1999


I am pleased today to designate $8.8 billion in emergency assistance for our nation's farmers and ranchers, to help them recover from the second year in a row of low commodity prices and, for many, crop livestock losses from severe drought and flooding.

While this assistance will not adequately address all of the needs in our farm-based communities, I have taken this step in order to hasten payments to farmers and ranchers who simply cannot wait for the legislative improvements we have sought. I continue to be concerned that the income assistance in the Act is not targeted to producers most in need.

As with last year's disaster assistance, these funds provide only a one-year, temporary fix for the overall problems with the farm safety net. That is why I call on the Congress to enact a permanent fix to the shortcomings in the 1996 Farm Bill. A major step toward that goal can be achieved this year through crop insurance reform legislation if the Congress will act.

I want to thank Secretary of Agriculture Glickman for his work on behalf of American Agriculture. I know he and his staff are hard at work right now setting the process in place so that most of the payments will be available within just a few weeks.