Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Statement by the President Upon Signing the Consolidated Farmers Home Administration Act Amendments.

August 19, 1968

THE BILL we sign here today reflects the changing conditions of life in rural America.

The number of our people who are needed to produce the Nation's food and fiber on our farms is constantly declining. The number of Americans who look to rural nonfarm sources for jobs and for homes is constantly increasing.

Today only one rural American in five lives on a farm--and only one rural family in 10 derives its principal livelihood from farming. This is a measure of our opportunity to help people achieve the good life--economic opportunity, wholesome and pleasant living conditions, strong social and cultural institutions--in nonfarm endeavors in small towns and other rural areas.

As I pointed out in my message to the Congress in February, we can reverse the trend toward overcrowding in our cities by "setting a goal of full parity of opportunity for rural America;" by creating "new jobs in the small towns of America;" and by assuring "rural America its full, fair share of educational, economic, social, and cultural opportunity."

With these amendments to the Farmers Home Administration Act, the Congress moves significantly toward these goals by:

--making credit available to farmers to develop nonfarm enterprises to supplement farm income, or to convert entire farms to recreational enterprises;

--increasing matching funds for water and waste disposal projects in rural communities;

--enlarging the authority to insure loans for water and waste disposal projects and for farm ownership;

--improving credit assistance for farm families.

Significantly, this bill passed both Houses of the Congress without a dissenting vote. Thus, the further development of the Nation's resources in its rural areas is strongly reaffirmed as a national goal.

We must continue to give this goal a high priority because of the promise it holds as a key to improving the quality of life for all Americans.

Note: As enacted, the bill (S. 1504) is Public Law 90-488 (82 Stat. 770), approved on August 15, 1968.
The statement was released at Austin, Texas.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Statement by the President Upon Signing the Consolidated Farmers Home Administration Act Amendments. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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