Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter on the Farm Tenancy Situation.

September 21, 1936

Dear Sir:

Thoughtful people everywhere have been gravely concerned with the steady increase in farm tenancy from 1880 to 1935. Since the earliest days of their history, it has been an ideal of the American people that every American should have an ownership interest in land or in some other means of production. Despite this fundamental objective, we have seen farm tenancy increase relative the farm ownership decade by decade. An enduring agricultural civilization must be built on the firm foundation of home and farm ownership. Any long-time improvement of the welfare of the Nation and of farm people involves improvement of the tenancy situation.

The tenancy problem in the United States cannot be solved overnight. But through Government financing of land purchased by tenants, other countries, notably Ireland and Denmark, have substantially increased farmer ownership of farm land. I think we need some such approach. It should give tenants who have demonstrated their ability to manage land an opportunity to buy farms on long-time terms at moderate interest rates.

I am asking you, therefore, to meet with Congressman Marvin Jones, Chairman of the Agricultural Committee of the House of Representatives, and cooperate in preparing plans for meeting the tenancy problem that might be undertaken by the Federal Government.

I realize your long interest and that of Congressman Jones in this important problem and wish that you and he would arrange to meet with me early in December when we can complete our recommendations to Congress for legislation designed to bring about improvements in the tenancy situation.

Very sincerely yours,

Senator John H. Bankhead,

U.S. Senate,

Washington, D. C.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter on the Farm Tenancy Situation. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under


Simple Search of Our Archives