I HAVE today signed the Agricultural Act of 1970, which agricultural leaders of both parties in Congress and of this administration believe will establish a sound basis for an efficient agricultural economy keyed to opportunity and abundance in the 1970's.
Unlike many major farm bills of the past, this legislation is the product of bipartisan cooperation, with both Republicans and Democrats working together for its passage. This act moves away from the strict control structure of past farm legislation. It is designed to protect and improve farm income, and it gives producers a greater opportunity to expand and improve their farming operations. It also extends Public Law 480, the Food for Peace program; the [National] Wool Act [of 1954]; and several valuable dairy programs.
Under this act, farmers will have the opportunity to move away from frozen acreages on feed grains, wheat, and cotton toward a wider choice of crops. With this greater capability to shift production to meet immediate market needs, farmers can utilize their resources to produce their most favorable crops and make more efficient use of the land. One important result should be broader markets for United States farm products both at home and overseas.
Modern American agriculture makes an indispensable contribution to the health and strength of this country. Only in America do so few farmers and ranchers produce so much, so reasonably, for so many. The improvement and strengthening of the farm economy and the development of our rural areas are primary goals of this administration. Congressional and administration architects of the Agricultural Act of 1970 are convinced that it will be an important step toward these goals.