Remarks to State
Officers of the Future Farmers of
Well, thank you, and I appreciate this opportunity to speak with you, and I hope you're having a good time visiting the Nation's Capital. Unfortunately, we've just suffered through one of the worst heat waves to strike this city in recent years. And if you're feeling a little extra warm right now, I can tell, for us who've been here for several days, this is a day that cooled off. [Laughter] But weather trouble, of course, is nothing new to anyone that's concerned with farming. You'd be surprised how many people don't realize how precarious farming is because of the weather.
Well, I'm afraid that we're never going to be able to fully come to grips with the problems weather creates for the farmer. We can, however, do our best to eliminate those problems that government creates for farmers. That's exactly what we've been trying to do in these last 6\1/2\ years. I hope when you get home that you'll relay my best wishes to your families and let them know that I'm aware of serious hardships still facing segments of America's farming community and that I care deeply about those who are still struggling.
we face are maladies inherited from the last decade. The devastating inflation
of the waning years of the 1970's damaged our country to a far greater degree
than many realize. The price of land, because of inflation, was going up in
those days, and as a result, many farmers overextended themselves buying new
property. And I might add, certain government agencies
may have encouraged that course of action. Then in the 3 years prior to 1980,
farm costs shot right through the roof. It was the largest 3-year jump in the
cost of farming in the history of
since getting to
Every time I'm out here talking and that happens, I suspect they're all Democrats. [The President referred to noise caused by an airplane flying overhead.] [Laughter]
know, there's a story about a pig and a chicken, and they got tired of farm
life and decided to find jobs in town. They no sooner arrived in town when the
chicken spotted a sign in the window of a restaurant. It said, ``Ham and Eggs,
$1.25.'' And the chicken suggested they go in and apply. And the pig said,
``Wait a minute. For you, this job only requires a contribution; for me, it's a
total commitment.'' [Laughter] I just want all of you to know that we're not
going to be satisfied with just making a contribution to
However, we've also set forth a bold new initiative that may revolutionize American agriculture and that of the entire free world. It's the most ambitious proposal for world agricultural reform ever offered. We're calling for a total phaseout of all policies that distort trade in agriculture by the end of the century. And over a 10-year period, we want to see all of our major trading partners opening the borders, tearing down the barriers, and ending the export subsidies for agricultural goods. If we're successful, agriculture throughout the Western World will be set free from political controls and interference.
I happen to believe that, when it comes to farming, the decisionmaking shouldn't be in the hands of the politicians, academics, or bureaucrats. It should be in the hands of the farmers. Thomas Jefferson once said: ``State a moral case to a ploughman and a professor, and the former will decide it as well, and often better, than the latter, because he has not been led astray by artificial rules.'' Well, it's time to get the artificial rules out of the way and get back to fundamentals like freedom, private property, and supply and demand. We're looking forward with you to the day when you'll be the proud, free producers of our country's and the rest of the world's food and fiber.
want to take this opportunity to thank you, the Future Farmers of America, for
all it is doing to prepare young Americans for the challenge that lies ahead. If we're successful in putting our reforms in
place, we're counting on you to beat the pants off the competition, and all
there are two other individuals I'd like to single out. First is Scott Sooy. He was born without a hand, and yet he has more than
made up for that disability with good sense, hard work, and an indomitable
spirit. He's vice president of
let me just say I'm proud of all of you. I've met
Enjoy your stay here in the Nation's Capital. Have a safe journey home, and God bless you all.
Note: The President spoke at in the Rose Garden at the White House.