WASHINGTON - A $5.5 billion emergency farm aid package cleared the Senate on Friday and is a signature away from becoming law.

President Bush plans to sign the package, which is intended to provide government help to farmers to compensate for low commodity prices.

"Now lenders and their farm customers can be certain that needed aid is on its way," said Robert I. Gulledge, the chairman of the Independent Community Bankers of America and the chairman, president, and chief executive officer of $75 million-asset Citizens' Bank in Robertsdale, Ala.

"Many farmers will continue to struggle even with this assistance, which is why a new and improved farm bill will be so important to our family farmers and ranchers," Mr. Gulledge said.

More relief could come if Senate Democrats are successful in their promise to fight for an additional $2 billion when Congress reconvenes in September. Last week the Senate defeated the Democrats' $7.4 billion farm relief bill after the White House threatened a veto.

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