Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks to Representatives of "Rural America for Johnson-Humphrey"

September 14, 1964

I am grateful to you for your presence here today.

I am grateful to you for your confidence in the work we are trying to do here--for all the people.

Our Nation has no more important work to do at home than the work of keeping our historic trust to rural America.

In this country we think of ourselves as a great industrial nation--and we are. Out in the world, however, men in many nations see us in a different view, as the greatest agricultural nation in history. And that we are, too.

Our success in all our endeavors--at home and abroad--is bottomed on our success in the fields and pastures and rural homes of America.

Our great increase in productivity on the farms has released the manpower to operate our industrial complex.

Our great advances in processing and distribution have released more consumer buying power for expenditures other than food than any other nation has ever known.

Our dependable food supply is no small factor in the order and stability of our society-and the success of our political system.

All this underscores how important our agricultural success is to America's total success. It is a source of strength--not to be treated lightly, not to be tinkered with or tampered with carelessly or casually.

Our agricultural policies must never be made blindly. They must never be predicated upon a bias or prejudice against the farmer. Even though his numbers are smaller, the farmer and rancher still ranks as the first citizen of our success.

Successful as our agriculture is, I would be the last to tell you that improvements cannot be made. That is why I welcome your support now--so that we can do together the work that still needs to be done in and for rural America.

Over the last 3 1/2 years we have made progress. For each of the 3 full years of this administration, net farm income has been at least $800 million above 1960. This is not-as some might lead you to believe--due solely to Government payments.

Last year, virtually all the widely-grown cash crops brought in more cash from farm marketings than was the case in 1960. As a result, last year average net income per farm was 18 percent above 1960.

Farm programs enacted since 1961 have reduced our surpluses. Feed grains and wheat in storage are down by 30 million tons. Without the new programs, another 133 million tons of surplus feed grains and another 500 million bushels of surplus wheat would be on our hands by this time.

On all fronts we are striving to meet our responsibilities in rural America. Some 212,000 nonfarm jobs have been created in rural America, another 148,000 jobs have been created indirectly.

We are striving to serve the interest of the farm producer and his family; the rural community and its businessmen and residents; and the consumers throughout our land.

This is a moment of great 'promise for all America.

The good old days were never like these-and Americans have no desire to turn back to what never was and can never be again.

Our eyes are on the future. With your help, with your support, with your leadership, we will go forward to make the years ahead the best years rural America--and all America--have ever known.

Note: The President spoke at 6 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House.

As printed, this item follows the prepared text released by the White House.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks to Representatives of "Rural America for Johnson-Humphrey" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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