Responding to a "dangerous moment" for American farmers, President Clinton said Saturday the government is buying 2.5 million tons of wheat to push up prices. The wheat will be donated to starving populations in Sudan and elsewhere.
"America's farm families face a crisis, and we have an obligation to help," Clinton said in his weekly radio address, which he taped in Little Rock where he is spending the weekend visiting friends, playing golf and helping Arkansas Democrats raise campaign money."Our farmers face a difficult and dangerous moment," Clinton said, noting that falling prices have taken a toll on farming communities across the country, including in his home state.
"Many farm families have been pushed off their land, and many more could suffer the same fate unless our nation revives its commitment to helping farmers weather hard times," he said.
As a first step, Clinton said the government will buy within days 80 million bushels of wheat, or about 2.5 million tons, which he said could lift prices as much as 13 cents a bushel. A bushel of wheat sells for about $2.75, down sharply this year as domestic supplies soared and Asia's economic crisis depressed important wheat export markets.
Clinton said the United States would donate the 2.5 million tons to hard-pressed countries such as Indonesia, which has been hit by economic and civil turmoil, and Sudan, where as many as 2.6 million people face starvation brought by war and drought.
He also urged Congress to take additional action to help farmers. Among his suggestions: expand eligibility for direct and guaranteed loans and help replenish the International Monetary Fund to stabilize Asian economies.