Iowa Public Television

 

Farmers get encouragement from Washington, Clinton

posted on January 28, 2000


AGAINST THE BACKDROP OF A BOOMING ECONOMY, AN ENERGIZED PRESIDENT CLINTON DELIVERED HIS FINAL STATE-OF-THE-UNION ADDRESS.

AGRICULTURE WAS NOT AT THE TOP OF PRESIDENT CLINTON'S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS ... BUT HE DIDN'T IGNORE THE SUBJECT ALTOGETHER.

AFTER HIS PROPOSALS FOR A $350 BILLION TAX-CUT PACKAGE ... ENCOURAGING RUSSIA AND CHINA TO JOIN THE RANKS OF THE STABLE, PROSPEROUS DEMOCRATIC NATIONS ...STIFFER GUN CONTROL LEGISLATION ... AND A PLETHORA OF OTHER TOPICS ... THE SUBJECT OF AGRICULTURE WAS BROACHED ABOUT AN HOUR INTO HIS NEARLY 90-MINUTE SPEECH.

PRESIDENT CLINTONTON: "There's another part of our community in trouble today --our family farmers. When I signed the farm bill in 1996, I said there was a great danger it would work well in good times but not in bad.

"Well, droughts, floods and historically low prices have times very bad for our farmers.

"We must work together to strengthen the farm safety net, invest in land conservation and create new markets by expanding our programs for bio-based fuels and products."

FOR BIO-BASED TECHNOLOGIES, CLINTON IS PROPOSING A MORE THAN $93 (m) MILLION DOLLAR INCREASE, OVER FISCAL YEAR 2000, FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT. HE SAYS THE FINANCIAL BOOST COULD GENERATE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF NEW INCOME FOR FARMERS ... PRODUCE 50,000 NEW, HIGH TECHNOLOGY JOBS IN SMALL PROCESSING PLANTS IN RURAL AREAS ... AND UP TO 130,000 JOBS IN BIOPOWER, BIOPRODUCTS AND BIOFUELS INDUSTRIES.

NOTABLY ABSENT FROM CLINTON'S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS IS THE AGENDA ALREADY SET BY THE REPUBLICAN-RUN SENATE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE.

Lugar: "Today we meet to review a report on federal crop insurance."

RICHARD LUGAR, THE INDIANA REPUBLICAN WHO CHAIRS THE AG COMMITTEE, HAS SET AN AGGRESSIVE AGENDA TO RESOLVE FARM ISSUES LEFT UNSETTLED BY CONGRESS LAST YEAR. THOSE ISSUES INCLUDE CROP INSURANCE ... AND CONCENTRATION IN THE LIVESTOCK INDUSTRY. HEARINGS ARE TO GET UNDERWAY NEXT WEEK.

A PRIVATE STUDY RELEASED THIS WEEK CONCLUDES RURAL TEENS ARE 104 PERCENT MORE LIKELY TO USE AMPHETAMINES THAN THEIR URBAN COUNTERPARTS. THE STUDY ALSO FOUND RURAL TEENS ARE 50 PERCENT LIKELIER TO USE COCAINE, AND 34 PERCENT MORE LIKELY TO SMOKE MARIJUANA.

THE AUTHORS OF THE COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY REPORT WROTE THAT DRUGS HAVE COME TO MAIN STREET WITH "MAGNUM FORCE." THEY URGED THE GOVERNMENT TO SPEND AS MUCH MONEY FIGHTING DRUGS IN RURAL AMERICA AS IT DOES IN PLACES LIKE COLOMBIA.

Tags: agriculture Bill Clinton farmers farming news