Growth and Disposal of Crop Surpluses
Mounting Accumulations of surplus farm commodities place the United States in the curious position of fearing that the 1959 harvest will be as good as the record harvest of 1958. Yet half of the world's population is underfed and American crop surpluses, while costly to the taxpayer, still fall far short of amounts that would be required if world needs for food and fiber were satisfied.
In a special message to Congress on Jan. 29, President Eisenhower coupled a request for revision of price support legislation with a plea for greater use of food surpluses for relief of hungry people abroad—” in short, using food for peace.” Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson disclosed on Feb. 12 that he was undertaking discussions with other countries on disposal of surplus products and that the first talks would deal with wheat, the commodity in greatest over-supply.
The United States has engaged since World War II in numerous global feeding operations. However, the programs have been hemmed in by numerous technical restrictions; while helpful in feeding some hungry people in different parts of the world, they have not prevented a growing pile-up of certain commodities in this country. The administration has not yet offered concrete proposals for speeding the flow of surplus commodities abroad. Benson said any new developments would be along the line of existing programs. “We would like to see how present programs might be improved and whether new approaches might be devised.”