Insurance of Growing Crops

October 9, 1936

Report Outline
Crop Insurance in Next Congress
Past Experience with Crop Insurance
Federal Government and Crop Insurance
Private vs. Government Crop Insurance

Crop Insurance in Next Congress

Likelihood that the next Congress will take steps either to establish a federal system for insuring crops against weather and disease hazards or to encourage the wider assumption of crop risks by private companies was advanced, late in September, by the almost simultaneous endorsement of the principle of crop insurance by both of the leading presidential candidates. President Roosevelt, in a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture made public on September 20, appointed Wallace chairman of a committee to “prepare a report and recommendations for legislation providing a plan of ‘all-risk’ crop insurance. On September 21, Governor Landon released two paragraphs of a speech he was to deliver at Des Moines on the following day in which he said “the question of crop insurance should be given the fullest attention.”

Following Governor Landon's disclosure that he intended to discuss crop insurance in his Des Moines speech, supporters of the Republican candidate charged that President Roosevelt's action in appointing a crop insurance committee had been a campaign gesture intended to “steal the show” by anticipating Landon's announcement. In releasing the portion of his speech dealing with crop insurance, Landon said: “This is what I had written days ago after long discussions with farmers and farm leaders.” Secretary Wallace, at a press conference on September 21, denied that the President's action had been based on advance information as to the contents of the Landon speech. Wallace said crop insurance studies had been undertaken by the Department of Agriculture as long ago as last January. The President was anxious to explore the possibilities of crop insurance, Wallace said, because “it has been growing in the public consciousness for some time.”

Views of Roosevelt and Landon on Crop Insurance

Probability that President Roosevelt, in the event of his reelection, would seek to institute a system of federal crop insurance as a major feature of the New Deal agricultural program was indicated by the President's letter to Secretary Wallace, Declaring that under his administration the federal government had helped farmers to meet emergencies of two kinds—“collapse of prices resulting from huge surpluses” and “failure of crops in wide areas resulting from drought”—the President said: “The time has come to work out permanent measures guarding farmers and consumers against disasters of both kinds.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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