This is a transcription of this speech made for the convenience of readers and researchers. A single copy exists in the Senate Speech file of the John F. Kennedy Pre-Presidential Papers here at the John F. Kennedy Library.
SENATOR KENNEDY: Governor Ellington, Senator Gore, members of Congress, ladies and gentlemen: I want to express my great appreciation to you all and to the Governor for the generous invitation to come today. This fair is an evidence of the traditional desire of Americans to improve themselves and improve their work. In the past two weeks, I have been in the fairgrounds in Portland, Maine, in Palmer, Alaska, and in the States of Oregon and California. In every fair we see Americans collecting themselves together and preparing themselves for a better future. I am particularly glad to come to this fair on Farmers Day. I have been in the Congress for 14 years and I come from a section of the United States which does not directly depend on agriculture. But if the economy and experience of our country has told us anything, if the lesson of the 20's and the lesson of the 50's has any meaning for us today, it is that we cannot be prosperous as a nation unless agriculture is prosperous also. (Applause)
I must say that I wholly disagree with the programs put forward by this administration for the support of American agriculture, because it has brought the dairy farmer of this country to an average income across the nation that he had between 1939 and 1941. The only program which has worked well in recent years has been the program on tobacco, and the reason has been because we have had a high support price and an effective balance between the supply and demand. (Applause) My judgment is that a new administration must put forward an agricultural program which has two basic ingredients: First, a balance between supply and demand. A determination must be made as to how much we can usefully consume here in the United States, how much we need for our surplus foods to take care of our own people, and how much we can usefully distribute in the cause of peace around the world. And then we should put a limit on the production. Five per cent surplus production in milk or in cheese or butter or tobacco or wheat or corn breaks the market price 15 or 20 per cent. I think effective control with a high support price is the common denominator which must affect all agricultural programs across the United States, if we are going to have security for the American farmer. (Applause)
Therefore, though I come from a section which is not agricultural, I know enough about the experience of our country to know that if our agriculture is prosperous, we will be prosperous in our cities. If our cities are prosperous, we will be prosperous; we will be prosperous in our country. A rising tide lifts all boats, and I preach the doctrine of the interdependence of the American economy: A strong America from one shore to another, north and south, east and west, in which all Americans share their prosperity. I want to express my appreciation. I come as the Democratic nominee for the office of the President, and I come to this area of Tennessee which was the home of Andrew Jackson, who helped found the Party which I now lead. I therefore am honored to come to this state, and I am grateful to you all for the courtesy in permitting me to say hello. Thank you. (Applause)