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Statement About Farm Legislation on Signing Bill To Postpone Wheat Referendum

October 15, 1970

H.J. RES. 1396, which I signed into law today, postpones for the second time this year the pending wheat referendum.

This postponement is necessary to avoid the additional cost of conducting a nationwide refereodum on a wheat program which would be superseded by the farm bill [H.R. 18546] now being blocked by the Senate. This farm bill has been reported by the House-Senate Conference Committee and approved in a timely manner earlier this week by the House of Representatives.

It is a matter of extreme disappointment to me that the Senate, despite my letter explaining the urgency of the new farm legislation, recessed yesterday without considering this highly important measure.

This callous indifference to the needs of the American farmer is shocking to me and I believe it will be resented by farm people throughout the United States.

Here are some of the consequences that will flow from this inexcusable delay:

1. The preparation and planting for 1971 harvests must be carried out by the farmers now. Land must be prepared; fertilizers and other chemicals must be applied; arrangements must be made for credit and other production needs. Delay will cause farmer hardships.

2. Blight-afflicted cornfields may have to be planted to other forage producing crops. Delay will cause farmer hardships.

3. Landlord-tenant contracts must be completed by November 1 in many areas. Delay will cause farmer hardships.

4. Cotton farmers must arrange for allotment leasing, credit, and other needs. Delay will cause farmer hardships.

5. Trading in cotton is likely to come to a virtual halt as buyers and sellers await development on basic cotton pricing. The farmers' cotton market is jeopardized by delay.

6. Food for Peace--Public Law 480-negotiations will be slowed, impairing the export flow of rice, cotton, wheat and soybean oil. Delay jeopardizes the farmers' markets.

Note: As enacted, H.J. Res. 1396 is Public Law 91-455 (84 Stat. 969).

The transcript of a news briefing on the President's statement by Secretary of Agriculture Clifford M. Hardin was released the same day.

Richard Nixon, Statement About Farm Legislation on Signing Bill To Postpone Wheat Referendum Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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