Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Veto of Bill Relating to the Wheat Program.

June 25, 1959

To the Senate:

I am returning herewith, without my approval, S. 1968, a bill "To amend the Agricultural Act of 1949, as amended, the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, as amended, and Public Law 74, Seventy-seventh Congress, as amended."

This bill seeks to enact temporary wheat legislation. It would require wheat producers to reduce their acreage by 25 percent and at the same time would provide for increases in price supports on wheat to 90 percent of parity.

On May 15 when I approved the Joint Resolution for extending the date for announcing the 1960 wheat acreage allotments and marketing quotas I said, "It is my hope that these additional two weeks will be used by the Congress to enact realistic and constructive--not stopgap--wheat legislation."

The proposed legislation embodied in H.R. 7246 1 is stopgap. It is not realistic. It is not constructive. It goes backward instead of forward. It is not in the interest of the wheat farmers of America.

1 House companion bill to S. 1968.

The bill disregards the facts of modern agriculture. The history of acreage control programs--particularly in the case of wheat--reveals that they just do not control production. Under acreage controls in the 1954-58 period, acreage was reduced by over 25 percent but at the same time yield per acre was increased by about 30 percent. The same situation would be likely to happen in 1960 and 1961. The poorest acres would be retired from production and all the modern technology would be poured onto the remainder.

Hence the bill would probably increase, and in any event would not substantially decrease, the cost of the present excessively expensive wheat program now running at approximately $700 million a year.

In my January 29, 1959, special message on Agriculture, I recommended that price supports be related to a percentage of the average market price during the immediately preceding years. In this message I also stated that if in spite of the tremendous increases in yields per acre the Congress still preferred to relate price support to existing standards then the Secretary should have discretion in establishing support levels in accordance with guidelines now in the law.

Contrary to the recommendations I made, this bill prescribes for a sick patient another dose of what caused his illness. The proposed return to the discredited high, rigid price supports would hasten the complete collapse of the entire wheat program.

While the hour is late I feel that this Congress still has the opportunity to adopt realistic wheat legislation beneficial to all segments of our economy.


Note: Telegraphic reports from the State Highway Commissioners and the Federal Highway Administrator's "Report on the Interstate System Program, June 13, 1959," referred to by the President, are published in the Congressional Record of June 25, 1959 (vol. 105, p. 10777).

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Veto of Bill Relating to the Wheat Program. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/235056

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