Dear President Clinton:
On behalf of the farmers and ranchers of the states comprising the Midwestern Governorsí Conference, we ask for your assistance in addressing the current farm crisis. While the majority of the US economy is prospering, the agricultural sector is at a critical stage and needs your immediate attention. Our farmers and ranchers are paying operating expenses that have continued to rise, while they are receiving prices for commodities and livestock that have dropped, in some instances, to 50-year lows. To further compound the problem, drought conditions in some areas and flooding in others have devastated crops.
We are aware that many national farm organizations are putting forth various plans to provide both short-and long-term relief to our nationís agricultural producers. While we believe long-term solutions are essential, the current situation demands a more immediate response. We, therefore, urge you to act quickly to provide federal financial assistance to farmers and ranchers including dedicated direct aid to those producers impacted by drought or other natural disasters. Immediate direct payments could allow some farmers and ranchers to continue in business this year.
In addition, changes to the current crop insurance program that will increase participation and expand coverage are needed in the short-term. The development of new risk management products is also necessary. Furthermore, export market development and regulatory relief are needed in 1999 to prevent further disruptions in our ability to produce an abundant, wholesome supply of food while competing in a global agricultural economy. Immediate action is needed to make it possible for US farmers and ranchers to compete fairly and to continue to feed people throughout the world.
Thank you for your attention to this matter and we look forward to working with you on these important issues.
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