[Released July 25, 1961. Dated July 24, 1961]
Dear Mr. Chairman:
First, I wish to thank you for your diligent and effective efforts in guiding the Agricultural Act of 1961 (S. 1643-H.R. 8230) through the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (the Committee on Agriculture). This bill, as approved by the Committee, will substantially strengthen the laws designed to meet the problems which beset American agriculture. Although it omits some of the provisions which I recommended, the bill nevertheless is a very important and constructive piece of farm legislation.
I wish to emphasize especially the need for prompt approval of programs for the 1962 crops of wheat and feed grains along the general lines included in these bills.
These programs will accomplish the following results:
(1) Increase the income of producers of these grains above that which they would receive under existing law - probably in the neighborhood of $600 to $800 million in the 1962 crop year;
(2) Reduce the ultimate costs to the Government resulting from the 1962 crops to a point far below the costs of the programs for these grains which would be required under existing law - probably about $750 million to $1 billion;
(3) Prevent a further build-up and achieve a moderate reduction in the excessive stocks of these grains now on hand; and
(4) Assure the continued availability of abundant stocks of these grains to meet the needs of consumers at reasonable and stable prices, and to provide adequate reserves for peacetime and emergency purposes.
Early action on the wheat program is especially needed so that production can be reduced, and wheat carryovers decreased substantially in 1962-63, following the pattern being set by the Emergency Feed Grain Program this year.
Extension of the 1961 Emergency Feed Grain Program is equally important. Corn stocks are expected to be reduced by 400 million bushels in the coming year. Total feed grain stocks will be reduced by about 15 percent - the first reduction in nearly a decade. But feed grains on hand when the 1962 harvest begins will still be equivalent to around 2,500 million bushels of corn, higher than at any time except 1960 and 1961, and far above our needs for reserve stocks.
If the Emergency Feed Grain Program is not extended, acreage and production in 1962 would increase to pre-1961 levels. Stocks of grain and costs to the Government would increase once more. Farm income would decline, both because of lower livestock prices which inevitably follow excessive grain supplies, and because the price support levels effective in 1961 could not be justified in 1962 without substantial adjustment of feed grain acreage and production.
The feed grain program should be passed now - not postponed until 1962. This will avoid the inconvenience to growers which results from emergency actions, will permit producers of fall-seeded barley to participate, and will provide time for a thorough review of administrative procedures.
With every good wish, I am
JOHN F. KENNEDY