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Partial Transcript of Remarks by the Vice President, Wyman Park, Sullivan, IL

September 22, 1960

Now I come to this campaign, the debates that will occur during this campaign, and the issues that I know are of great interest to you here.

First, I realize this is an area in the heart of the great productive farm country of America. The president of the Farm Bureau, Mr. Shuman, comes from this area. You also are among the most productive farmers in not only America, but in the world, and the two things, of course, go together. I could discuss that issue at great length. I want to touch upon it at least briefly today.

As you know, I made a major farm speech at Guthrie Center, Iowa, last week. I'm going to make another one on Friday in South Dakota. I hope you will have the opportunity to read or to hear one or the other or possibly both of them, but for those of you who are particularly interested in my attitude toward the farm problem, I think I can sum it up in a very few words.

In the first place, I look upon the so-called farm problem not as a terrible mess, not as something that is insurmountable but as something that is an asset for the United States, and we should make it an asset rather than treating it as a liability, the fact that we are as productive as we are in the field of agriculture in this country of ours.

Now, having said that, I think we have a pretty good indication of how much of an asset it is when we consider the fact that Mr. Khrushchev is now visiting this country. I remember when I was in the Soviet Union he was bragging, as he has since, on his visit here and around the world, about how his country was going to pass ours in productivity, and he used that very colorful gesture of his when he said, "We're going to pass you, Mr. Vice President. We're moving faster than you are. When we do, we're going to wave goodby and tell you, 'come along and follow us. Do as we do or you're going to fall way behind."'

Well, now, I intend to have more to say about his ability economically, about his economic capacity, tonight in my speech at Rockford, but I will indicate my attitude toward him here and I will tie it to our farm productivity in this way. Mr. Khrushchev isn't going to catch us because of the fatal defects in his own economy and because of the great strength of our economy, and in the area of farm productivity we have eloquent proof of the truth of what I have just stated. We have approximately, on the outside, 7 million farmers and farm workers m the United States, and they produce as much in the basic commodities, and of better quality, as it takes 50 million farmers and farm workers in the Soviet Union to produce. Until he is able to close that gap, the gap in the productivity of those on his farms, in agriculture in the Soviet Union he does not have a chance to make good on his boast of passing the United States in productivity on the farms.

Since this is a tremendous asset in this struggle for the world, a national asset, the productivity of our farmers, it seems to me

that it is essential that we conserve it, that we conserve it by making sure that those who give us this advantage, the farmers, get a fair share of America's greatly increasing prosperity.

Some farmers have done reasonably well. Others have not participated to the extent that they should in the increasing prosperity of the United States. I can assure you that the programs that I have studied and that I have adopted and will have recommended in these two speeches will, in my opinion, provide that fair share so that the farmers will have the opportunity not only to serve the Nation as they are so well, through their productivity, but to receive their share of the increasing growth of this country as they serve the Nation as well as they do.

There are many things that we can do to bring this about. Some of them I discussed in my speech last week. One is to use our surpluses, a program of using them or, as I call it, of Operation Consume, and this means using them even more effectively than we have in carrying out the foreign policy objectives of the United States. It means using them more than we have in providing the strategic food reserve that this Nation must have and that it should have and will have in this period when we need such a reserve in the event that war should come to the United States. It means, in addition, converting our farm products, which are in surplus to more usable, salable form so that we can increase the markets at home and abroad.

All of these things, aimed at dealing with the surplus, combined with the program of payment in kind to those farmers who reduce production, so that they will not have to pay for the reduction in their production, pay for it themselves, so that the U.S. Government does assume the responsibility of indemnity, as I called it, for the fact that our farmers have produced this tremendous surplus, because the Government has asked them to do it, I think can greatly increase the consumption of our farm products and that, combined with the program that I will announce Friday, I believe, will deal with this problem in the way that Americans want it dealt with, not in the way in which we will fasten Government controls from Washington on the farmers of America forever and ever in the years to come - this we do not want and this we shall not have - and not, on the other side, with the program that would, in effect, bankrupt some of our farmers while we were attempting to solve the surplus problem. This we cannot have. What we must have is a program which will meet the problem of surpluses and at the same time provide for the tremendously increased productive capacity of our farmers and provide for it in the ways I have suggested and in ways that will, in the end, lead to less governmental controls rather than more.

So, on that subject, may I say we could talk at more length, but I have other things to say now and I intend to cover this, as I indicated, in my speech in South Dakota on Friday.

Richard Nixon, Partial Transcript of Remarks by the Vice President, Wyman Park, Sullivan, IL Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project