Franklin D. Roosevelt

Statement on Signing a Bill Suspending the Crop Insurance Program.

July 12, 1943

The Department of Agriculture Appropriation Bill, which I have today signed, provides no funds for continuing the crop insurance program. I regret exceedingly that Congress failed to provide funds to continue this aid to the farmers of the Nation.

One of the greatest obstacles which confronts the farmer in maintaining a stable income is the hazard of weather.

The crop insurance program was designed to give the farmer protection against having his income wiped out or greatly reduced by unfavorable weather or some other disaster.

This protection is sorely needed by the small farmers, who in most instances have no financial reserve to tide them over until another crop can be made.

The reason assigned for putting an end to crop insurance is that it was too expensive. It was to be expected that in perfecting a program of such magnitude the Government would have to go to much expense, and it would take several years to give it a fair trial. I do not feel that the Department of Agriculture has been given sufficient time to demonstrate the practicability of crop insurance. Any program involving so many complications and such a great amount of educational work with the farmers cannot be placed on a sustaining or entirely satisfactory basis within a few years.

When the Government first experimented with rural free delivery of mail, there were those who said it was too costly and was not practicable. More recently when we began inaugurating a program of rural electrification there were those who said it was not practicable and would prove too costly.

These and other programs, which at first were declared not feasible, are now recognized as a great blessing to our rural population, and they have been made to work on a practical and satisfactory basis.

If we can make crop insurance work, it will, in my opinion, prove one of the greatest steps ever taken by the Government toward making farming a sound and profitable occupation.

Certainly in these times when the farmer is being urged to produce more and assume greater risks, we should not stop a program which is of such tremendous potential value to him.

I certainly hope that when Congress returns from its recess funds will be provided to continue this program, which will mean so much to our farmers and at the same time enable agriculture to be placed on a more stable basis than ever before.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Statement on Signing a Bill Suspending the Crop Insurance Program. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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