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.
One of the most costly failures of our present national budget is the failure to provide for an adequate program of forestry research. Wisconsin’s own Forest Products Research laboratory is a clear demonstration of the enormous value of such a program. In its fifty year history, this laboratory has repaid the cost of its operations a thousand-fold -- by finding new uses for wood -- helping to develop a wood plastics industry -- and adopting principles of forestry engineering which have saved millions of dollars worth of timber from needless waste and destruction.
Yet despite the important and valuable contributions which this research can make to our economy, the Administration has asked for four million dollars less than the amount its own Secretary of Agriculture has said was absolutely essential if we are to carry on badly needed forestry research and development.
This is false economy at its very worst. There is greater need for research today than ever before. We have tremendous unused supplies of wood-waste and low quality timber -- timber which is the potential base of a new wood chemical and plastics industry. Yet we must first learn -- through research and investigation -- how to extract and modify the many constituents of wood -- if this new industry is to become a reality. There are also many unsolved engineering problems. For example, we must develop methods of removing timber from steep slopes in a manner that will not cause soil damage and wasteful erosion. Farmers, foresters, and the general public would all benefit from that development.
These and other advances are within our grasp. All we lack is the vision and the leadership. And that a new Democratic administration will supply in 1961.