Herbert Hoover photo

The President's News Conference

August 08, 1930

FLOYD R. HARRISON

THE PRESIDENT. I have reappointed Mr. Harrison to the Farm Loan Board.

THE DROUGHT

I have received the report of the Department of Agriculture--the preliminary report at least-on the drought, and we will give you a copy of it after the conference.

I have had many conferences in the last few days with the members of the Cabinet, and the Farm Loan Board and the Farm Board and the presidents of the farm associations, and I have decided to ask the Governors of the States most acutely affected to meet with us here next Thursday afternoon with view to developing definite plans of relief.

Such an organization needs to be first undertaken by the States, and through them the counties, so that we have a series of agencies with which the Federal Government can cooperate.

The Department of Agriculture report shows that the shortage of animal feed crops is most acute in southeastern Missouri, northern Arkansas, southern Illinois, southern Indiana, southern Ohio, together with Kentucky, northern West Virginia, and northern Virginia. There are also some bad spots in Montana, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska, but much less acute than the other States--so that I shall invite the Governors of those States to come to Washington. The feed crops, of course, in all of the States except the West, and Northeast, and extreme Southeast are somewhat affected by the drought, but nothing of the acute nature of this special area. And, of course, the extent of the national shortage depends on whether we have some rain in the next 2 weeks. In any event, for the most acute areas we must now lay the foundation of some effective State and local organization, the object of which is, of course, to prevent suffering amongst farm families and to prevent the sacrifice of livestock more than necessary.

The acutely affected area contains approximately 1 million farm families, and about 21/4 million horses and mules, about 6 million cattle, and 12 million hogs and sheep--about 12 percent of the whole animal population of the United States--so that it is not such a large proportion as has been suggested. And, obviously, the farmers in that area are differently affected. Some of them have 100 percent feed crops and others have none, so that the total amount of the problem is much less than the total figures might indicate.

Now, Secretary Hyde has instructed the county agents this week to make a resurvey of the entire situation, both as to the further development of drought in this acute area--this report being as of August 1--and to make some sort of determination as to the amount and character of assistance that will be necessary. And I hope to have that material on hand for the meeting of the Governors.

Now, the situation is one that causes a good deal of concern, but it is to be borne in mind that the drought has mainly affected animal feed, the bulk of the direct human food of the country has already been safely brought to harvest and is in hand. Nevertheless, there will be a good deal of privation amongst families in the drought area due to the loss of their income and the inability to carry their stock without assistance over the winter. I feel the American people will be proud to take care of their own countrymen in such a time of stress and difficulty. And the first duty to one's suffering countrymen is to assure them that this will be done, so that we maintain their courage and fortitude. And our second duty is to create the organization so that we can consummate it with effectiveness.

That is all I have today.

Note: President Hoover's one hundred and thirty-second news conference was held in the White House at 4 p.m. on Friday, August 8, 1930.

On the same day, the White House also issued a text of the President's statement on the drought (see Item 259).

Herbert Hoover, The President's News Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/211276

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