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Statement of Vice President Nixon on Tobacco Program, Letter to Senator John Sherman Cooper, Washington, DC

September 07, 1960


U.S. Senate,

Washington, D.C.

DEAR JOHN: I know you will agree with me that the present tobacco program is meeting the needs of tobacco producers and is serving well the purposes for which it was intended. Certainly it is the most successful of the price support programs for the basic farm crops.

We must, of course, recognize that each crop has advantages and problems of its own. The first requirement for any commodity program designed to serve the needs of farmers who depend on a particular crop for their livelihood, it seems to me, is that it be carefully suited to the production patterns, marketing practices, and uses of that particular crop. It must work, and it must have the support of farmers. I believe the present tobacco program meets these tests.

During my service in the House of Representatives in the Senate, and as Vice President, I have observed the united efforts of tobacco growers, their leadership, and their representatives in the Congress, to maintain their program and keep it sound.

For example, I remember your successful fight in the Senate to write fixed 90-percent supports for tobacco into permanent law, an effort in which you were joined by Vice President Barkley, who was then serving in the Senate. Your amendment was included in the Agricultural Act of 1948, and also in that of 1949, for which I voted in the House of Representatives. Then in 1954 - for the first time in any Presidential farm message - President Eisenhower gave special recognition to the tobacco program. Noting the particular nature of tobacco production and marketing, and the ability of tobacco growers to keep production in line with demand, the President at that time recommended continuation of the tobacco program with fixed price supports at 90 percent of parity. Earlier this year I watched with interest the course of the bill you reported from the Committee on Agriculture with Senator Jordan, of North Carolina, which was signed into law by the President, to stabilize price support for tobacco at the 1959 level, with provision for increased supports if farmers' costs rose.

It has, therefore, long been clear to me that the tobacco program is working well and that it has the united support of tobacco growers and other responsible farm leadership, together with bipartisan support in the Congress.

In recent months I have examined all the major farm programs. Since receiving your letter I have made a particular study of the present condition of the tobacco program and have come to the following conclusions:

The tobacco program has not resulted in any substantial loss to the Government nor has it been operated at a heavy cost to taxpayers.

It has had the overwhelming support of the tobacco farmers themselves, as expressed by their votes year after year to continue the program.

In recent years it has resulted in the best prices in history for tobacco growers.

Tobacco growers and their leadership have consistently taken the initiative in recommending any adjustments needed to keep their program sound.

Tobacco growers of the two major cigarette types - flue-cured tobacco grown in the "bright leaf" belts, and burley grown in Kentucky and surrounding States - have steadily reduced surplus supplies each year. They have held production of flue-cured tobacco under use for 4 straight years, and production of burley has been less than disappearance for 6 straight years.

Tobacco contributes nearly $2 billion in Federal revenues each year, double the amount received by growers for their crops.

In short, the present tobacco program has worked to the advantage of farmers, the Government, and consumers.

In view of these facts and the record of responsible leadership by tobacco-State farm organizations, tobacco grower cooperatives, and other tobacco groups, I wish to state now my position on the tobacco program.

I wholly support the present tobacco program, and if elected President, I will recommend that it be continued without change. If improvements or technical modifications, as have been made in the past, appear to be needed in the future, I will depend on the recommendations of tobacco growers, tobacco-State farm organizations, and their representatives in the Congress.

I believe this position is consistent with my view that each crop must have a program best suited to its needs, and I am glad to give my wholehearted and enthusiastic support to this successful farm program.


(Signed) Dick,


Richard Nixon, Statement of Vice President Nixon on Tobacco Program, Letter to Senator John Sherman Cooper, Washington, DC Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project