Farm Surpluses and Food Needs

March 4, 1959

Report Outline
Growth and Disposal of Crop Surpluses
Government Attacks on Surplus Problem
Imbalance Between Supply and Demand
Long-Range View of Surplus Problem
Special Focus

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.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Farm Income and Agricultural Prices
Aug. 10, 2012  Farm Policy
Mar. 04, 1959  Farm Surpluses and Food Needs
Jul. 18, 1956  Problem of Farm Surpluses
Nov. 09, 1955  Farm Prices and Farm Income
Oct. 27, 1953  Farm Price Supports
Apr. 21, 1948  Price Supports for Farm Products
Nov. 25, 1938  Farm Prices and Farmers' Income
Dec. 24, 1930  Farm Income and Business Recovery
Nov. 08, 1930  The Problem of Farm Taxation
Jul. 08, 1929  The Farmers and the Tariff
Jul. 30, 1924  Causes and Effects of Rising Agricultural Prices
Farm Loans, Insurance, and Subsidies
Farm Produce and Commodities
Humanitarian Assistance