OCTOBER 1, 1956
SAN FRANCISCO—The weather was good most of the way on my plane trip from New York to Portland, where I arrived on Wednesday, and in eastern Oregon I had an opportunity to see the type of farming that has to be carried on in that section.
They do not have enough moisture to grow a crop of wheat every year, so certain fields lie fallow with just a mulch to preserve the moisture. Every other year a wheat crop is produced in certain areas where they have a little more moisture. They have tried growing peas when the fields are not in wheat, but this is not always successful.
I could not help thinking that the soil bank plan would be of very little interest to these farmers. It would take some years before the proper kind of grass would grow in any of their fields. This is a very big country with such varying conditions that I imagine any farm plan needs flexibility to be adjusted to the various sectional needs. But if we are to carry out the plan apparently approved by President Eisenhower, we must commit ourselves to reducing our production. That is the only way that prices can become equal in the marketplace. From my point of view, this plan totally ignores the needs of the world.
With due consideration for the conservation of our land, we should produce to capacity in a world where one-half to two-thirds of the people go to bed hungry every night. It is quite possible that we would have to provide supports for the difference in the world price and our domestic price on the surplus that we could export. It is also possible that in conjunction with the United Nations specialized agency of foods and agriculture we would have to study what were the things that were needed in the world. We would have to study world economy in order not to disrupt the economy of other nations. We would have to combine the necessary technical assistance to develop natural resources in certain countries to meet our own needs—this, in order to develop profitable barter between ourselves and some of the nations needing our surpluses. All this could be done and people could cease to be hungry if we were willing to work out an intelligent world plan in agriculture. Like so many other things, agriculture cannot be considered in a vacuum. It affects the world as well as the people of the United States.
There was rain in Portland, as is so frequently the case. But I was told they had unusually beautiful weather for the past month. Fortunately the change did not interfere with their plans. I had a press conference, then a long period of quiet in the home of my old friend, Mrs. Honeyman. At five o'clock we started on a really strenuous program. A TV appearance, a reception, a dinner for Senator Morse and the other Democratic candidates, a TV interview with Mr. Morse, another larger reception, a recording with university students, and finally back to Mrs. Honeyman's house for a small gathering of her friends. Mrs. Mary Kelly, who was my hostess in Medford, Oregon, last year, was there and I was happy to see her again. At midnight we all went to bed, to be called at 6:15 on Thursday morning in order to make the plane for San Francisco.