I HAVE today received the fifth Annual Report on the Rural Development Program, which was presented to me by the Under Secretary of Agriculture, True D. Morse, on behalf of the six Departments of the federal Government which carry major responsibility.
Prior to inauguration of the Rural Development Program in 1955, there had not been a concerted attack on the complex problems of families living on small and inadequate farms.
Half of the farm families, those on small farms, together produce only about nine percent of the farm products marketed. The result is low income, inadequate social service, wasted manpower and a loss of America's potential strength. This is not solely an agricultural problem, nor does the solution lie wholly within agriculture. There must be supplemental employment and additional sources of income, which the Rural Development Program helps provide.
Thirty-one States and Puerto Rico have work underway in 262 counties. By June 30, 1961, the program will be operating in more than 350 counties in at least 36 States and Puerto Rico.
The program demonstrates the effectiveness of the American concept that the role of government is to help people to help themselves.
The initial pilot and demonstration phase of the Rural Development Program has been successful. The program can now be expanded and intensified. It deserves greatly increased governmental effort and the support of all Americans.