Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Telephone Conversation With the President of the National Farmers' Union.

March 18, 1964

JAMES O. PATTON, President, National Farmers' Union: Hello, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. Jim, how are you?

Mr. Patton: Fine. How are you, sir?


Mr. Patton: It is wonderful to talk to you, and we have a great Farmers' Union Convention out here, and all of our people send you their love and regards.


Mr. Patton: Mr. President, I just want to say one other thing, and that is that we feel we have a great friend in you and that we need your help very much in relation to farm income, and you have certainly been very helpful in going up to that House to get that wheat and cotton bill through.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you, Jim. We are working mighty hard on it. I would have enjoyed being there with you but often a President in the press of duty must forego invitations that he would like to accept. My visit with you at your Washington Convention in 1961--.

Mr. Patton: Yes, you did and we were very pleased.

THE PRESIDENT. --is still a very warm memory with me.

Mr. Patton: Thank you, sir, and we think you are doing a fine job, Mr. President. And we are also happy that you have declared war on poverty, because there is a lot of poverty in rural America and, of course, anything that you can do to help us get more income will help on the poverty thing, too.

THE PRESIDENT. We have poverty hearings going on now. We also have the food stamp plan. We have a rule pending there, and we hope we can get to the wheat and cotton bill following that. The only thing we need are some votes.

Mr. Patton: Well, we are going to try to help to get some. We sent some 600 telegrams the other night, Mr. President, from this convention. We just want you to know that we are going to do our best to be helpful to you now and in the future.

THE PRESIDENT. I was born on a small tenant farm and my roots and my interests are very much a part of agriculture. I think I know firsthand the problems of the drought, and of the flood, and of disease and infection, and I know something about the needs of rural America. I think that those needs could best be served if we could pass this poverty bill as it has been introduced and pass the wheat-cotton bill as the Senate passed it, and we are going to do our dead level best to get those two actions taken in the House in the next month.

Mr. Patton: Thank you, Mr. President, and our convention gives you our very best. Thank you for calling.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you, Jim, and my best to all of you fellows.

Mr. Patton: Thank you very much.


Note: The President spoke at 3:30 p.m. from his office at the White House. The convention of the National Farmers' Union was held in St. Paul, Minn., March 15-19, in the St. Paul Auditorium.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Telephone Conversation With the President of the National Farmers' Union. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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