Public Papers of Richard Nixon, 1971

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Author: Richard M. Nixon  | Date: May 19, 1971

174
Statement About Federal Assistance for Farmers in Drought-Stricken Areas of the Southwest.
May 19, 1971

THE SEVERE drought in the Southwest has created serious hardships on farmers, ranchers, and the agricultural economy in that part of the country. The severity of the drought is most forcefully demonstrated by the estimate that losses to agricultural enterprises may now exceed $400 million.

The drought situation has caused increasing concern on two levels: first, the effect on the individual farmer, especially the small farmer who cannot grow his crops but still must make the mortgage payments on his farm and equipment; and second, the effect on the economy of the region.

Today I am ordering additional steps to help these farmers by dealing with both their immediate and longer range needs.

For the farmer who is suffering financial distress, even to the point of possibly losing his farm because of foreclosure as the result of the drought, I am today instructing the Secretary of Agriculture to make available $50 million in Farm Ownership Loan Program funds. This will serve as an important source of aid for drought victims in emergency counties in the Southwest.

I have also directed the Secretary of Agriculture to reduce the price at which feed grain can be sold to drought-stricken farmers to 75 percent of support level. This equals approximately 50 percent of the open market price for feed grain. This step should help alleviate both the immediate and medium-range problems now facing those who are most directly affected by the drought.

In addition, I am prepared to direct the release of an additional $75 million to the Operating Loan Program as soon as the House of Representatives acts favorably on S. 1806, legislation which will convert the Operating Loan Program from a direct to an insured basis.

I have also directed the Secretary of Agriculture to create a Hay Bank which will allow farmers to grow and put up hay on 25 percent of their set-aside lands for use in drought emergencies.

To help the farmer who cannot operate his farm because he does not have the money or credit to buy feed, fuel, or fertilizer, we have submitted to the Congress a request to make available $65 million through the Farmers Home Administration Emergency Farm Operating Loan program. A substantial portion of these funds will be available to victims of the drought and are in addition to $28 million which has already been made available in the drought-stricken area.

To monitor our programs and insurethat our resources are being effectively mobilized to meet the needs of the area, I have set up an interagency committee. The committee, which will include representatives of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, the Department of Agriculture, the Small Business Administration, and the Office of Management and Budget, will make periodic reports and recommendations to me concerning these important efforts.

NOTE: On the same day, the White House re/eased the transcript of a news briefing on the President’s actions by Clifford M. Hardin, Secretary of Agriculture, and Senators Henry L. Bellmon of Oklahoma and John G. Tower of Texas.

A White House announcement of Federal assistance to farmers and ranchers in drought-stricken areas of Texas was released on April 14, 1971, and is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 7, p. 629).

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Chicago: Richard M. Nixon, "174 Statement About Federal Assistance for Farmers in Drought-Stricken Areas of the Southwest.," Public Papers of Richard Nixon, 1971 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Richard Nixon, 1971 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.1216-1217 648. Original Sources, accessed August 22, 2019, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=Q7Z678TL1GEE3AH.

MLA: Nixon, Richard M. "174 Statement About Federal Assistance for Farmers in Drought-Stricken Areas of the Southwest." Public Papers of Richard Nixon, 1971, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Richard Nixon, 1971 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.1216-1217, page 648. Original Sources. 22 Aug. 2019. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=Q7Z678TL1GEE3AH.

Harvard: Nixon, RM, '174 Statement About Federal Assistance for Farmers in Drought-Stricken Areas of the Southwest.' in Public Papers of Richard Nixon, 1971. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Richard Nixon, 1971 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.1216-1217, pp.648. Original Sources, retrieved 22 August 2019, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=Q7Z678TL1GEE3AH.