President Ford -- on Saturday (5 October) -- persuaded two leading United States' grain exporters to cancel five-hundred-million-dollars (about two-hundred-million pounds sterling) worth of contracts to ship scare corn and wheat to the Soviet Union.
GV & CU Agriculture Secretary Butz with newsmen. (3 shots)
CU Butz speaking
CU Senator Jackson facing newsmen. (2 shots)
GV (Recent film) Grain ships in Houston being loaded. (3 shots)
CU Wheat growing. (Illinois) (4 shots)
SV & CU Flooded fields.
GV & SV Flooded fields.
CU Sun and corn ears.
SV & CU Frost-attacked corn crops. (3 shots)
GV ZOOM OUT TO LV Combine harvesters.
CU Harvesters at work. (2 shots)
GV Grain pouring into bin.
"After the closed-door meetings in the white House, Agriculture Secretary Butz said the voluntary co-operation of the two grain companies makes mandatory export controls unnecessary. Butz explained why the President asked the Grain Executives to hold up shipments for the time being."
"Democratic Senator Henry Jackson said President Ford should have known about the grain deal earlier. Jackson blames Secretary Butz for that, and said a Senate Investigating Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the grain deal next week."
"Shipments in the billion-dollar grain deal with the Russians began in july 1972. That sale -- four hundred million bushels of wheat and large quantities of other grain -- caught most Americans by surprise. The Russians made the deal at bargain prices, and that angered many growers of wheat and corn.
Since then, the United States Government has encouraged farmers to grow as much grain as they can.... saying world demand would adsorb it. They would get high prices and the farmers would be helping the country's balance of payments. that was in 1972 and '73 -- years of record crops. Now, things have changes. It was predicted that this year's corn crop would set another record at six-point-seven billion bushels. But now that crop is expected to fall as much as two billion bushels below that estimate.
"The crop year started off badly when heavy spring rains flooded many fields and delayed planning throughout the corn belt. The rain was followed by the worst drought in thirty year. And the drought in thirty years. And the drought was followed by the earliest freeze in half a century. With less corn than expected, the Government was afraid that selling some of it to the Russians now would drive up food prices herr A spokesman for the American Farm Bureau Federation -- the nation's largest farmers' organisation -- said he was shocked by the Government's action. He said the farmers have been told all along by the farmers have been told all along by the Government that they were free to sell their grain anywhere. Now, farmers say the Government has but off part of their market...and part of their profits."
BUTZ: "Our primary concern is protection of the American consumer and the American livestock feeder.... If we permit excessive quantities of our supplies to be drained off by this big purchase, which came in place over the weekend, it obviously would have a a buoyant effect on prices, and this is one of the President's real concerns."
Democratic Senator Henry Jackson also commented on the situation. Speaking of a Senate Investigating Subcommittee meeting to be held next week, to look into the matter, he said:
JACKSON: "We'll have Mr. Butz there -- or his representative -- and find out why it was necessary for President Ford to intervene in an area that Mr. Butz should be managing properly., which we know he's mismanaged -previously. There we are on the second grain robbery. I thought one was bad enough....it cost the housewives about a billion dollars more in food prices in a manner of a few months."
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This film includes commentaries by N.B.C. reporters John Cochrane and Rebecca Bell. A cued transcript of their commentaries is given blow for your guidance only.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: President Ford -- on Saturday (5 October) -- persuaded two leading United States' grain exporters to cancel five-hundred-million-dollars (about two-hundred-million pounds sterling) worth of contracts to ship scare corn and wheat to the Soviet Union. The sales, if carried out -- the White House said -- might have boosted American grocery bills following a disappointing harvest caused by rain, drought and an early freeze.
The sales -- as proposed -- totalled 3.4 million tons.
Grain shipments to the Soviet Union began from the United States in 1972 in a billion-dollar (1,00 million-dollar) deal that forced up food prices and the cost of feeding America's livestock. Since then, the United States Government has persuaded farmers to grow as much grain as possible, claiming world demand would absorb it; Saturday's cancellation of the Soviet grain deal has, therefore, angered American farmers.
Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz told newsmen outside the White House the background to the situation:
SYNOPSIS: President Ford is worried about the rising cost of foodstuffs in the United States. In an attempt to help curb this situation he's persuaded tow major American grain exporters to cancel sales deals with the Soviet Union worth five hundred million dollars. N.B.C. reporter John Cochrane has the story: