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October 13, 1999

Ryan Urges President Clinton To Sign Legislation To Provide Aid For Illinois Farmers

SPRINGFIELD - Governor George H. Ryan today asked President Clinton to sign legislation that would provide more than $450 million in aid to farmers and producers throughout Illinois.

"Illinois farmers have experienced the worst farm crisis in a decade," Ryan said. "This legislation will provide much needed aid to the farmers and producers of Illinois, and the entire nation, that have been hit by low prices, natural disasters, increased competition in existing markets and an inability to access new markets."

HR 1906, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2000, would increase the aid to Illinois farmers and producers by more than $450 million. This aid is in addition to the more than $450 million already received by Illinois farmers and producers from the federal government this year to help them through the crisis.

"It is important that this legislation be signed as soon as possible so that the farmers and producers can receive the aid that they desperately need," Ryan added.

"I want to commend Speaker Hastert, Senators Durbin and Fitzgerald, Representatives Ewing, LaHood, Phelps, Shimkus and the entire Illinois Congressional Delegation for their leadership and hard work in addressing the needs of Illinois farmers."

In August, Ryan hosted an agriculture rally in Springfield to show support for the farm community and unveil his statewide plan to bolster the agriculture community. Ryan said he will work to implement a new state law that creates a "value added" program for farms. Under this bill, farmers will receive grants for their crops that encourage them to have those crops processed into other products here in Illinois - adding value to those commodities.

This spring, the General Assembly passed more than $38 million in expanded agriculture programs. The state will also use $15 million to fully-fund food research through the C-FAR program, $10 million for the 76 cooperative extension service offices across Illinois and more than $7 million for 500 soil and water conservation grants to farmers.

"I applaud the Illinois congressional delegation for their leadership in moving a farm package through congress, and I urge President Clinton to act swiftly to get this aid in the hands of farmers," said Illinois Agriculture Director Joe Hampton. "Because of the losses Illinois farmers are taking on their crops, this assistance could be the deciding factor in whether many of our producers stay in business."

A copy of the letter sent to President Clinton is attached.


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