It is time for a fresh and imaginative program to meet the problems of our Nation's wheat farms. It is time for a program which views the farmer as a great national asset - not an unwanted burden on the taxpayer. It is time for a program which views an abundance of wheat as an opportunity to provide hungry people with a decent diet - not as an unwanted stock of useless grain to be stored and forgotten. It is time for a program which sees in America's farms the true source of American strength - not a source of difficulty. It is time, in short, for a Democratic program - and in 1960 we are going to put it into action.
First, of course, we must make immediate and fruitful use of surpluses we now have - through an expanded food-for-peace program to halt famine and malnutrition abroad - and through an increased food surplus distribution program for the hungry here at home.
Then - after we have put our present surplus to work - we must begin on a program to reduce future surpluses and restore prosperity to the farms. Any such program for wheat must meet six tests.
One, it must bring production down below consumption, through bushel as well as acreage controls, so that the excess volume in storage will be gradually reduced.
Two, it must reduce the total cost of the price-support and storage programs.
Three, it must protect growers of other crops from destructive competition through diversion of former wheat acreage.
Four, it must protect other wheat-producing countries against unfair "dumping."
Five, it must raise the farmer's income so that he can again become a full partner in American prosperity - and receive the decent income which his contribution to American strength so richly deserves.
Six, any program, to be successful, must be developed by and have the full support of the growers themselves.
With these standards to guide us - with the specific detailed and imaginative proposals which have been formulated by your own Wheat Growers Association - and with the leadership of the Democratic Party, we can begin to move forward to restore the health of our Nation's farms.