the fourth aen«"
i \\ I
191!'.. 1 belief
1", billion 'I"1;
„liiv Credil >■
jor portion "
v Credil stocj
had their ell.""
illl-es. If 1
,-ts a chaif
If you will look at the chart and realize that if farm income
had moved in normal relationship to national income as it
mounted up to .'500 billions of dollars, farm net income would
now he at about 27 billion dollars — yet the latest government
publication puts it at the rate of 10.6 billion dollars.
This is the farm problem, lt is not important that we
wast it energies in farm meetings debating whether we go
back to the 90 per cent supports which carried us from high
farm prosperity and comparable high net farm income to the
low figure of the I2..'i billions for 1051. or whether we should
ti v flexible price supports or two price systems or export subsidies. Ihe question is: What do we do now and do quickly
lo put the farmer in a safe spot economically and in a proper
financial relationship to the businessmen, the doctors, lawyers
and engineers who live in the cities that our farm produce
... I am going to try to answer my own question as to
what we do now. ... I could go [through all the] basic and
non-basic commodities tracing the . . . pattern of accumulation
[of surpluses] and price deterioration, but I have promised
that I would try to make a suggestion of what might be done.
BIPARTISAN COOPERATION NEEDED
One of our national news magazines (V. S. News & World
Report, September 30, 10.511 had an article entitled "Wanted:
Magic Formula for the Farm Problem. After 35 years of
Search No Really New Ideas."
I agree with that heading. There is no device that we can
hastily concoct to cure our ills, no magic wand that we can
wave to make them disappear. There is, however, hard work
to be clone . . .
First, I think we need to quiet the fighting on several farm
fronts. By that I mean that vve must soem he able to bring all
farm organizations to a common position in behalf of the
farmer. We must try to find a program that can be acceptable
I" both political parties. Republican and Democratic, and
thai un,his lhe individuals within each party. . . .
We need to find a basis for prompt action that can halt
the decline in fain, income. That basis must be able to enlist
llie On percenters ... as well as Senators who believe in flexible price supports ... I don't care how few things wc agree
ipports a c ■ ' -ii - *—* = ***"• "- B- B*~-
e-xtiei busl"] "" a' 'l,sl "i how simple lhe early areas ol agreement are, w<
j 20 ml ' d to take the farm program out of perpetual political strife.
II ill of ^ !" substitute the bipartisan approach to farm problems which
characterized the years when prosperity was being restored
"ii lhe American farm. . . .
n problem '"
MUST DISPOSE OF PRESENT SURPLUSES
Second, we must clean the shelves of the Commodity Credit
Corporation. I mean we must dispose of our surpluses. No
program — rigid 90 per cent supports, flexible prie
the secml ' .
ay." Thai i»J
heul is prep*l
cjiarlnient '» 1 price p|ans _ wi|, ^^ ^.^ ^ sur])iuses we n,
' '"■'■" -'.'.'J J hand. We should not fool the American farmer by
•st.mates ' j that we think they will.
to! ' -uppoils. soil fertility banks, production payments or two-
.. ,ie* 1 — will work with the' siiiohises vve now have em
I \'$ ^e must clean our shelves if we expect to see the line
y representing farm net income turn upward and if we expect
I to see national income stay high. Economically, this nation
would he in a far sounder peisilion if vve gave away about six
1 billions dollars worth of food and fiber than it will be if we
"" '■" ... „< '"ulinue to keep these stocks hanging over everv commodity
"".ji market. At the end of World War II we clumped enorm,,iis
lands around the Pacific, and while I
mmodity stocks now, I do advo-
estimate I sa
eit the rate
ihollt I0:, J
ent ii)' pa-l "
[uantities of food on
•nl up past -n do not advocate dumping co
,,f the |„'."'' eate gelling rid of them
<*|!'*,'t liad ' When I took the oath ol office as Secretary of Agriculture.
I had to sign a receipt for 7'/i million bales of cotton. It was
Facts Forum News, January, 1956
sorry cotton at that, but as long as il was hanging over the
market there wasn't much traele in farm-produced cotton. We
moved it all in a year or a year and a half and the day we
decided to move it outside of normal American traele z s.
the cotton market stiffened and cotton prices went up and
stayed up until cotton got it in a surplus situation again, f tell
you, we can still move cotton when we want to.
A program to move these commodities may involve putting great quantities in tbe hands of people in other lands who
could not otherwise afford lo buy them. What is wrong with
that? Our slogan in World War II proclaimed that food would
win the war and write the peace. Well, it won tlle war all right.
Why not let it try to write the peace? These billions in food
and fiber could implement our foreign policy far better than
supplying arms to the .Arabs or to the Israeli. Shooting irons
placed in the hands of trigger-happy people lead to war but
food and fiber can lead to peace.
Food and filler can help carry the spirit of Geneva at a
time when that spirit seems to he mighty weak and when the
foreign ministers find little on which to agree. When food
and fiber lie in bins and pile up the storage, the accumulation
onlv breaks our farmers. If thev arc sent abroad and remove-el
from our economy, farm income will spurt upward, national
income will slay at high levels, and in a few years we- will
have forgotten the cost of such a disposal program just as vve
forgot tin- cost of letting thousands of tanks, planes and guns
be captured by "General Rust" after World War II. We will
have forgotten, but the heart of the world will not and it well
might be that we would have created an atmosphere where the
spirit of Geneva, the blessings of the atomic power and a host
of other favoring circumstances might begin tee work toward
the achievement of peace.
MORE AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH NEEDED
Third, we must spend more on research and extension lo
build wider markets al home and abroad.
As I reflect on mv years in tin' Department of Agriculture,
I have many memories. Some relate to the problems of food
rationing, shortages of essential supplies to farmers, reorganization of lhe Department to increase the emphasis on marketing: however, none is so satisfying as the fact that during this
period the Research and Marketing Act ol 1910 weis enacted
into law and a program for accentuating research in agriculture was set in motion.
For far too long we- have been neglecting agricultural
research and the task ol bringing the results of research to
farmers mi the land. I regret that in the years immediately
after 1910 wc weren I able to get the program in "high gear"
to the extent tbat should have heen done. Therefore, il was
gratifying to me that in the 1952 platforms of both political
parties, there was a firm commitment lo expand agricultural
The Democratic party platform pledged expanded
We are justly proud ..I the outstanding achievements of our
agricultural research. We' favor ei greatly expanded research
eenel I'lhleeelieen program leer Vmerican agriculture ill eeiate'i lleeet
both production anel distribution may more effectively serve
consumers anel producers eelikea ami thus meel 11■«- needs e.f the
miiele-131 .Mill.I. we favor especial e-eeipliei-i- on tin- developmenl
eif new crops eenel veeiilie-s. on crop einel livestock disease einel
la-i control, eunl mi agricultural statistics emd marketing
The Republican platform made a like promise.
We- recommend expanded agricultural research anil education te. promote new crops eunl uses, ne'e, markets, lieetli feere-ifin
em,I domestic, more trustworthy crop eunl inarke-t estimates, a
realistic trade program for agriculture aimed eet restoring foreign markets eunl developing neve neiile-is eit home.
Progress has been made in getting more adequate funds