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President Salutes Small Farmers of U.S. in Observing World Food Day

October 18, 1987|United Press International

WASHINGTON — President Reagan saluted small farmers in the United States and around the world Friday as part of a global observance of World Food Day.

"No group of Americans is more deserving of this country's respect and gratitude," Reagan said in a statement broadcast at ceremonies at the Department of Agriculture.

World Food Day is observed every year on the anniversary of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This year's observance saluted small farmers, and the Agriculture Department focused particularly on the role of historically black universities in fostering the survival of American small farmers.

Of the 2.2 million farmers in the United States, 600,000 of them farm less than 50 acres, Reagan said. The most recent census recorded a 17% increase in the number of small farms, a trend which appears to be continuing, he said.

"Small farmers, then, are still doing their part to provide food and fiber to their citizens and to the people of the world," he said.

Agriculture Secretary Richard Lyng said that small farmers and their rural communities have weathered hard times and some people have predicted their eventual disappearance.

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