Proclamation: National Farm Safety and Health Week, 2000 (9/15/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                          September 15, 2000


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                              A PROCLAMATION

     Throughout history, America's farmers and ranchers have worked our
land with skill, energy, and determination.  They have endured floods and
droughts, survived bitter winters and scorching summers, seen crops
devastated by insects and livestock lost to disease.  Through hard times
and good times alike they have labored, making American agriculture the
most efficient and productive source of food and fiber in the world.

     Beyond the natural and economic challenges our Nation's agricultural
workers face each year are the daily physical hazards associated with their
profession, including handling livestock, using chemicals, and operating
powerful machinery.  To reduce the level of preventable workplace accidents
that have taken such a toll on our country's agricultural communities,
engineers and manufacturers have worked diligently to make farm equipment
safer.  Today, tractors and other farm machinery come with standard safety
features such as rollover protection, bypass starting systems, and
tamper-proof guarding and shielding.

     However, designing safer farm machinery is only part of the solution.
We must also ensure that agricultural workers are aware of the benefits of
new safety features and that they strive to use and maintain them.  Safety
and health organizations are accomplishing this vital task by offering
hands-on, interactive training programs in farming and ranching communities
across the country.  Through safety day camps and farm safety programs
targeted specifically for children and adolescents growing up on farms and
ranches, they are helping to protect the well-being of the most vulnerable
members of our agricultural communities.

     My Administration is also working hard to improve the health and
safety of rural Americans.  For example, we created the E-rate program,
which, among other things, secures low-cost Internet connections for rural
health clinics and hospitals.  We have also urged the Congress to fund a
meaningful Medicare prescrip-tion drug benefit that would provide
affordable, dependable coverage to all beneficiaries, including more than 9
million Medicare beneficiaries in rural communities across the Nation.
Compared to their urban counterparts, rural beneficiaries have lower
incomes and more limited access to pharmacies, and are less likely to have
any prescrip-tion drug coverage.  Rural beneficiaries generally pay more
for prescription drugs than urban beneficiaries and are more likely to go
without needed medication because of its expense.  Meaningful drug coverage
for Medicare beneficiaries would help improve the health and quality of
life of millions of older members of our Nation's farming and ranching

     All Americans owe a debt of gratitude to our country's farmers and
ranchers, whose hard work puts food on our tables and helps ensure our
Nation's leadership of the global economy.  We can best acknowledge that
debt by recognizing the importance of continually improving the health and
safety of America's agricultural workers, not only during this special
observance, but also throughout the year.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States
of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and
laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 17 through
September 23, 2000, as National
Farm Safety and Health Week.  I call upon government agencies,
organizations, and businesses that serve our agricultural sector to
strengthen their efforts to promote safety and health programs among our
Nation's farm and ranch workers.  I ask agricultural workers to take
advantage of the diverse educational and training
programs and technical advancements that can help them avoid injury and
illness.  I also call upon our Nation to recog-nize Wednesday, September
20, 2000, as a day to focus on the risks facing young people on farms and
ranches.  Finally, I call upon the citizens of our Nation to reflect on the
bounty we enjoy thanks to the labor and dedication of agricultural workers
across our land.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
fifteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand, and of
the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and

                              WILLIAM J. CLINTON

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