This is a transcription of this speech made for the convenience of readers and researchers. A copy of the text of this speech exists in the Senate Speech file of the John F. Kennedy Pre-Presidential Papers here at the John F. Kennedy Library.

Let us consider, as an example the record of Secretary of Agriculture Benson. We speak not to be captious, not to be merely partisan or negative. For his is a record from which we can all learn. It contains a lesson -- and it contains a warning.

For there can be no question that Mr. Benson has been the most remarkable Secretary of Agriculture in our history. He has spent more of the taxpayers money than any previous Secretary of Agriculture he has acquired more surpluses -- he has cost the farmers more income despite rising food prices -- he has hired more Department employees than any Secretary of Agriculture in the nation's history -- and, most remarkable of all, he has been in office for almost seven years and he still blames it all on the Democrats.

Some of the facts in this record are spectacular:

The administration has talked of economy. Yet Mr. Benson will spend $7 billion this year -- more than twice as much as his predecessor's largest farm budget.

Mr. Benson has repeatedly made -- particularly in election years -- such statements as "agriculture seems to have turned the corner" or "agriculture is now in a position to start its upward climb toward a more adequate share in the nation's record prosperity." But the facts of the matter are that the farmer's income, already less than half those of non-farm workers, is continuing relatively to decline.

Mr. Benson said, in 1956 (an election year), that -- due to his program of reducing price supports -- "surpluses are declining and the storage problem has passed its peak. But the facts of the matter are that, as price supports were reduced by the Administration, surpluses mounted, until today they are at a record level of $9 billion -- and still increasing.

Mr. Benson continues to talk about this Administration getting us out of the storage business. Yet we find that after 6½ years the cost of storage has quadrupled -- from $300,000 per day to a staggering cost of $1¼ million every single day.

Seven years ago we were promised a Secretary of Agriculture who would reduce "swollen bureaucracy" in the Department of Agriculture. Today the Secretary of Agriculture has 81,000 people on his payroll -- nearly 19,000 more than the day he took office. That is twelve new bureaucrats added every working day since January 20, 1953.

But these figures do not tell the whole story. The price support program has been under the direction of men who have denounced price supports as socialistic.

The rural electrification program has been under the direction of an administrator who openly advocates higher REA interest rates. The problems of the low-income farm family were shunted aside for study to a Farmer's Home Administration which is unsympathetic to the program. The entire farm program is administered by a Secretary of Agriculture who believes that farmers unable to compete with corporation farms should leave their homesteads and seek other employment.

But I do not agree with those who think that all we have to do is dismiss Mr. Benson and get a new Secretary of Agriculture. This problem is bigger and deeper than one man or even one administration. There are no quick, easy, painless remedies. On the contrary, I think the farmers themselves are getting tired of hearing from politicians in either camp about some new short-term expedient, some wonder drug aimed at curing a current symptom, instead of getting at the real long-range problem. I do not intend to make such promises today.

But I do say that an administration which consistently refuses to advance a positive program for the farmer will not solve any of his problems. An administration that is unaware of the blessings which our abundance could confer, and unsympathetic to the lot of our farm population, will be unable to do anything to meet the challenges posed by our farm economy. Words are not a substitute for action -- and a farmer's anxieties cannot be relieved by a solemn lecture on the advantages of the government's doing nothing.

It is the task of the Democratic Party to show that we offer something more than different words or negative criticisms.

It is our task -- now, not after we take office -- to think through and work out constructive, realistic answers -- calling not for new studies, or for old failures, but for a new, long-range farm program that can assure every farmer a fair chance at a fair share of an abundant national income.