Agriculture: The Wheat Vote

Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman picked up his phone, heard President Kennedy ask coldly: "What happened?" Freeman gave an honest answer: "I don't know."

What Freeman did know was that more than a million wheat farmers had gone to the polls and, in a vote that may well shape the future of U.S. agriculture, overwhelmingly turned down his plan for high Government supports and strict production controls.

In 22 previous years, wheat farmers had voted on similar but milder plans; each time they said yes by at least the two-thirds majority required for approval. But the margins had steadily dwindled,...

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