Public Papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1955

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Author: Dwight D. Eisenhower  | Date: April 27, 1955

82
Special Message to the Congress Concerning a Program for Low Income Farmers.
April 27, 1955

To the Congress of the United States:

In this wealthiest of nations where per capita income is the highest in the world, more than one-fourth of the families who live on American farms still have cash incomes of less than one thousand dollars a year. They neither share fully in our economic and social progress nor contribute as much as they would like and can contribute to the Nation’s production of goods and services.

This human problem is inadequately pictured by charts and figures. Curtailed opportunity begets an economic and social chain reaction which creates unjustified disparity in individual reward. Participation diminishes in community, religious and civic affairs. Enterprise and hope give way to inertia and apathy. Through this process all of us suffer. This problem calls for understanding and for action.

We must open wider the doors of opportunity to our million and a half farm families with extremely low incomes for their own well-being and for the good of our country and all our people.

Recommendations to achieve this end have been made to me by the Secretary of Agriculture. I transmit them to you, with my general approval, for your consideration.

The Secretary’s recommendations for starting the program are based on the accompanying Report prepared for him by the Department of Agriculture, entitled "DEVELOPMENT OF AGRICULTURE’S HUMAN RESOURCES, a Report on Problems of Low Income Farmers." This report, more than a year in preparation, emphasizes the long-range nature of the low-income problem in agriculture and will serve to stimulate continuing study and action. Nevertheless, an immediate start is extremely important.

The essential cooperative nature of the undertaking is clear. The recommended program is cooperative as regards individual and group action, as regards private and public agencies, and as regards agencies at local, State and Federal levels.

The Secretary’s fifteen point program recognizes that this is not exclusively an agricultural problem but that opportunities for off-farm employment are a part of the solution. Recommendations emphasize the voluntary approach, the importance of working with young people, and the desirability of broadening the program as experience is gained. In all matters, the urgency of the problem is recognized. The proposed program, however, is one of prudence as well as zeal.

A many-sided attack is essential. We need an integrated program in which each part contributes to the whole. Each will be more effective if the others are adopted. Together, they will help toward a solution within the framework of freedom for the individual, respect for his rights as an American citizen, and opportunity to participate more fully in the economic life of our Nation.

Proposals for enabling legislation and the necessary appropriations shortly will be presented to the Congress for consideration.
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER

NOTE: Secretary Benson’s recommendations, in the form of a letter dated April 26, were released with this message. The letter and the report, entitled "Development of Agriculture’s Human Resources," are printed in House Document 149 (84th Cong., 1st sess.).

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Chicago: Dwight D. Eisenhower, "82 Special Message to the Congress Concerning a Program for Low Income Farmers.," Public Papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1955 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1955 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.860-861 Original Sources, accessed August 21, 2019, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QBJMPIQ7ZSBXFK2.

MLA: Eisenhower, Dwight D. "82 Special Message to the Congress Concerning a Program for Low Income Farmers." Public Papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1955, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1955 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.860-861, Original Sources. 21 Aug. 2019. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QBJMPIQ7ZSBXFK2.

Harvard: Eisenhower, DD, '82 Special Message to the Congress Concerning a Program for Low Income Farmers.' in Public Papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1955. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1955 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.860-861. Original Sources, retrieved 21 August 2019, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QBJMPIQ7ZSBXFK2.