John F. Kennedy photo

Statement of Senator John F. Kennedy on Farm Program, Greenville, NC

September 17, 1960

Every 4 years the Republican candidate for President presents a farm program to the Nation. Yesterday Mr. Nixon presented his election year farm program - a program which, as usual, contained a random selection of old Democratic policies and programs. The Democratic Party does not mind having Republicans borrow our farm program at election time - but we do resent the fact that they forget all about it between elections.

In the election of 1952 Mr. Nixon was promising 100 percent of parity - but once in office he fought Democratic efforts to maintain even 90 percent of parity.

In 1954, between elections, Mr. Nixon called Mr. Benson one of the "best Secretaries of Agriculture in our history" and said that "the * * * Benson farm policy is in the best interest of the farmers." But in 1955, with an election approaching, he said, "we do not believe that American farmers are getting their fair share of America's unprecedented prosperity," and he promised to "remedy the inadequacies that exist."

In 1958 - between presidential elections - Mr. Nixon said that he was "proud of the fact that the farmer is beginning to catch up. Today gross farm income is higher than it has ever been in history." But in 1959 with another election approaching, he said that the present program is "inadequate * * * it has shown that it won't work."

And yesterday Mr. Nixon gave us another sample of his election year promises. But this time Mr. Nixon will not be able to fool our farmers.

For American farmers know that the party which is now calling for increased use of our surpluses is the same party which has piled up the greatest surpluses in history - which has opposed and voted against all Democratic efforts to strengthen and expand our food for peace program, and which has failed to implement a Democratic program, increasing the distribution of surplus food to our needy here at home.

Our farmers know that the Republican Party which, today calls for increased farm income is the same Republican Party which, for 8 years has permitted farm income to steadily decline - and which has opposed all Democratic efforts to maintain a system of adequate price supports.

Our farmers know that the Republican Party which today promises increased research to find new ways to use and store foods is the same Republican Party which, for the past 8 years, has refused to step up agricultural research - and has opposed Democratic efforts to give them these funds.

Our farmers know that the Republican Party which promises them increased prosperity and decreased surpluses every 4 years is the same party that between elections has allowed farm income to drop, thousands of family farms to be abandoned, farm costs to go up, and surpluses to mount to a record high of over $9 billion.

In 1960 our farmers are hearing the same promises they hear every 4 years - but those promises are as "sounding brass and tinkling cymbals" - for they are promises which have never been carried out in the past and which the record of the Republican Party dearly shows will never be carried out as long as Republicans are making our country's farm policies.

John F. Kennedy, Statement of Senator John F. Kennedy on Farm Program, Greenville, NC Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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