Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks Upon Signing the Wheat-Cotton Bill

April 11, 1964

Ladies and gentlemen:

I enjoy signing legislation that is full of commonsense and valid hope!

This cotton-wheat bill will protect thousands of jobs in small communities and in big cities. It can help avert the conditions that bring on depression in areas where wheat income is important. It firms up the competitive position of cotton in the textile industry. It can provide substantial consumer savings for cloth and garments both through lower cost and higher quality fabrics.

One of the things that we are particularly proud of is that our price index has remained relatively steady, and the hope that we can have lower costs that will lower that price index is most welcome. It wilt make possible taxpayers' savings by reducing surplus stocks. It will maintain stable prices for wheat at the levels of recent years.

These are all important, and these are all necessary ingredients in a healthy economy in farm areas as well as those industrial urban areas which supply the things that the farmer buys. Both the cotton and wheat programs are voluntary-I repeat, voluntary--and they place more confidence in the farmers as well as more responsibility.

This legislation represents another step forward to the goals of this administration. Those goals of this administration are to strengthen farm income; to reduce the cost of farm programs to the taxpayers; to bring surplus stocks to levels which the Nation requires for its own safety; and to make stronger our national economy and the well-being of our people by making better use of our great abundance of food and fiber.

This bill, I think, gives us some insurance against a depression on the farm, and it is on the farms of America where depressions begin. We are dealing with a depression before it begins, and not afterwards.

So on behalf of a grateful Nation, I congratulate Secretary freeman and the entire Agriculture Department for their efforts and their energy. I say thanks to all the Members of the Congress who worked so long, so courageously, so hard, to bring this legislation to final success. They acted in the highest traditions of the Congress. They acted promptly, effectively, speedily.

I want to welcome to this White House, the house of all the people, Mr. William Thatcher, the president of the farmers Union Grain Terminal Association; Mr. Dwayne Andreas, the executive vice president of the farmers Union Grain Terminal Association; Mr. Herschel Newsom, the Master of the Grange; Mr. Harry Caldwell, the chairman of the NAAC; Mr. Ed Christianson, the president of the Minnesota Farmers Union; Mr. Ansou Horning, of the National Association of Wheat Growers; Mr. Oren Staley, president of the National farmers Organization; Mr. C. B. Ray, from my own State; the very able and outstanding statesman who heads up the presidency of the AFL-CIO, Mr. George Meany; Mr. Andrew Biemiller, the executive secretary; and, above all, the distinguished Secretary of Agriculture, without whose advice we could not have passed this bill.

I now take pleasure in signing a piece of legislation that I think will bring new hope, new encouragement and new prosperity to the farms of America.

Note: The President spoke at noon in the Cabinet Room at the White House.

The bill (H.R. 6196) as enacted is Public Law 88-297 (78 Stat. 173).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks Upon Signing the Wheat-Cotton Bill Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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