Franklin D. Roosevelt

White House Statement on Drought Relief.

May 14, 1934

The President today conferred with Mr. Harry Hopkins, Federal Emergency Relief Administrator, Mr. Chester Davis, Agricultural Adjustment Administrator, Mr. W. I. Myers, Governor of the Farm Credit Administration, and Mr. Lawrence Westbrook, Assistant to Mr. Hopkins, who presented a report on conditions in the drought areas of the country and measures being taken by the Government to meet the situation.

The President was told that any apprehension that there will be a shortage of food in this country is, of course, entirely unwarranted. The wheat carryover is more than twice normal. The supply of corn on hand is adequate to make up any probable deficiency on account of the drought.

The committee agreed that new and present activities to meet needs in the drought area will be continued energetically and expanded as necessary. These include the giving of direct relief to needy farmers and their families; the providing of stock feed until new pastures are available, and the providing of seed for emergency forage crops.

Mr. Hopkins reported that the F.E.R.A. would purchase a substantial number of cattle in the drought areas, paying cash to the farmers for their cattle. The F.E.R.A. will have the beef canned and will use it in general relief work.

The A.A.A., Mr. Davis said, will relax its restrictions on farmers under contract so as to permit production of summer forage crops.

Work of the F.E.R.A. in providing funds to deepen wells and sink new wells will be continued in efforts to provide increased water supplies.

A request will be made to the railroads throughout the drought areas to cooperate in further reducing freight rates to permit the moving of cattle out of the drought areas and to move feed in.

The Government agencies will continue to keep in close touch with the situation here and in the field and stand ready to take every necessary step.

The President indicated that in his judgment it will not be necessary to ask the Congress for additional powers or grants to enable the emergency agencies to cope with the situation.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, White House Statement on Drought Relief. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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