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Public Papers - 1990

Remarks on Signing the National Agriculture Day Proclamation

1990-03-20

Mr. Secretary, I'm delighted to see you here. And these distinguished Members of the Congress, welcome to the White House. I'm pleased to be standing next to Clayton Yeutter, glad to see Senator Lugar, Senator Leahy, Chairman [of the House Agriculture Committee] de la Garza; and welcome. And I'm also pleased to see so many leaders of our key national agricultural organizations as I prepare officially to designate this National Agriculture Day.

And I'm grateful to the farm broadcasters for giving me this opportunity to talk directly to American farmers and ranchers, those Americans whose everyday work -- work the soil -- the world's most successful agricultural nation.

American agriculture is a vital resource for the world. People around the globe share in our harvests and our prayers for bountiful crops each year. And the unparalleled productivity of our farmers and ranchers makes American agriculture our greatest export earner, putting a positive balance of billion into the U.S. balance of trade account last year.

Farm families embody what's good in America. They express it in the way they live and in the diligence that they apply to their craft. The spirit of rural America is found in family entrepreneurs running their own businesses; farm and ranch families willing to reach across the fence to help a neighbor; wives, husbands, children pitching in as a team to reap nature's harvest.

This administration is committed to keeping American agriculture strong. And we are committed to working with the Congress and with you, America's agricultural leaders, to provide 1990 farm legislation that gives you the management freedom and planting flexibility to run your farms at peak efficiency. Our farm bill proposal increases market orientation, improves our international competitiveness, and addresses those environmental challenges out there. Our proposal emphasizes production flexibility to allow farmers to respond more readily to market forces in making their production and marketing decisions.

We will do our part to continue aggressive agricultural research, and we will encourage new and alternative commercial uses for ag products. And I will rely heavily on the man right here, on Clayton Yeutter, to be my chief negotiator with the Congress on the farm bill. But I also would be remiss if I didn't tell you I would be relying on you and your organizations to help us pass a good, fair farm bill. Through sound fiscal policies and wise management of our resources and, God willing, good weather, rural America and American agriculture will stay strong through the nineties and beyond.

And so, now I am pleased to sign a formal proclamation designating March 20, 1990, as National Agriculture Day. And I'd like to ask the two chairmen and Dick Lugar, if you would -- Senator Lugar, Senator Leahy, Congressman de la Garza -- join the Secretary and me.

[At this point, the President signed the proclamation.]

Thank you all very much for coming. And I really mean it. We're going to need your help. And we're working with very reasonable people in the United States Congress -- I know Clayton and I talked about this -- we're grateful for that. But it is important that we get a good market-oriented bill. I think we can do it. And with you all's help, I'm sure we can do it.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 3:50 p.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. The proclamation is listed in Appendix E at the end of this volume.

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