Message of the President of the United States

December 3, 1929
Entire Report

To the Congress of the United States:

I have called this special session of Congress to redeem two pledges given in the last election—farm relief and limited changes in the tariff.

The difficulties of the agricultural industry arise out of a multitude of causes. A. heavy indebtedness was inherited by the industry from the deflation processes of 1920. Disorderly and wasteful methods of marketing have developed. The growing specialization in the industry has for years been increasing the proportion of products that now leave the farm and, in consequence, prices have been unduly depressed by congested marketing at the harvest or by the occasional climatic surpluses. Railway rates have necessarily increased. There has been a growth of competition in the world markets from countries that enjoy cheaper labor or more nearly virgin soils. There was a great expansion of production from our marginal lands during the war, and upon these profitable enterprise under normal conditions can not be maintained. Meanwhile their continued output tends to aggravate the situation. Local taxes have doubled and in some cases trebled. Work animals have, been steadily replaced by mechanical appliances, thereby decreasing the consumption of farm products. There are many other contributing causes.

The general result has been that our agricultural industry has not kept pace in prosperity or standards of living with other lines of industry.

There being no disagreement as to the need of farm relief, the problem before us becomes one of method by which relief may be most successfully brought about. Because of the multitude of causes and because agriculture is not one industry but a score of industries, we are confronted not with a single problem alone but a great number of problems. Therefore there is no single plan or principle that can be generally applied. Some of the forces working to the detriment of agriculture can be greatly mitigated by improving our waterway transportation; some of them by readjustment of the tariff; some by better understanding and adjustment of production needs: and some by improvement in the methods of marketing.

An effective tariff upon agricultural products, that will compensate the farmer's higher costs and higher standards of living, has a dual purpose. Such a tariff not only protects the farmer in our domestic market but it also stimulates him to diversify his crops and to grow products that he could not otherwise produce, and thus lessens his dependence upon exports to foreign markets. The great expansion of production abroad under the conditions I have men-Tinned renders foreign competition in our export markets increasingly serious. It seems but natural, there

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Hoover, Herbert
Dec. 03, 1929  Message of the President of the United States
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May 30, 1929  Address of President Hoover at the Memorial Exercises at Arlington National Cemetary
Apr. 22, 1929  Address of President Hoover at the Annual Luncheon of the Associated Press at New York City
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