WHEREAS, agriculture is a vital industry to the State of Missouri, providing a safe, abundant and affordable supply of food and fiber for the state, the nation and the world; and

WHEREAS, farming forges strong rural communities, fosters a thriving business climate, and promotes a high quality way of life; and

WHEREAS, Missouri ranks second in the United States in the number of farms; and

WHEREAS, Missouri's 102,000 farms produced more than $5.56 billion worth of agricultural goods in 1997, with almost $1.55 billion exported to foreign markets; and

WHEREAS, agriculture provides the foundation for a variety of related businesses, from pharmaceuticals to equipment; and

WHEREAS, agricultural-related businesses in Missouri, employ one out of every 6.6 workers; and

WHEREAS, Missouri's agricultural industry, particularly our family farms, is facing a third year of economic stress; and

WHEREAS, low market prices and adverse weather conditions have taken their toll on our farming industry; and

WHEREAS, when our farm economy is depressed, the whole state suffers; and

WHEREAS, it is imperative in times of crisis that government offer assistance when it can.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Mel Carnahan, Governor of the State of Missouri, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Missouri, do hereby establish the Governor's Farm Crisis Response Task Force. The Governor's Task Force shall be co-chaired by the Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development and composed of the directors (or their designees) of the Departments of Agriculture, Economic Development, Conservation, Health, Transportation, Mental Health, Natural Resources, Social Services and the Office of Administration; and representatives of the University of Missouri.

The Task Force shall review current state and federal rules, regulations, policies, and procedures in an effort to identify such governmental functions that may be waived, implemented, enforced, redirected, or reallocated for the purposes of further responding to the plight of our agricultural producers and rural communities during this time of crisis. The Task Force shall further provide recommendations for action on identified functions which will affect the state's response while maintaining the general welfare and safety of Missourians. Such recommendations should include:

  1. Immediate actions, to be reported to the Office of the Governor within four weeks of the issuance of this order; and
  2. Actions for future implementation, which do not warrant immediate execution, but a balanced and timely approach for completion.

The Task Force shall report bi-weekly to the Office of the Governor on its progress.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Missouri, in the City of Jefferson, on this 28th day of January, 2000.


[Mel Carnahan's signature]


[Rebecca McDowell Cook's signature]

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