"JFK, as a Massachusetts boy, didn't have a lot of interest in farm policy or programs. I can also tell you that I can remember in Kennedy's visit to Nebraska, on his first trip we toured a farm not far from Columbus. And then we went into town and had a lunch where he was to speak to the assembled Democrats. And again, I don't remember the name, but he said that the town banker had told him that, 'Nobody was eligible for a loan,' says Kennedy, 'until they have either manure on their boots or mud in their eyes, or,' said Kennedy, 'maybe it's the other way around. Either way I'm eligible!' That's JFK. He could get along with anybody. And he used to have one line that he would use with farm audiences. 'The farmer is the only businessman in our economy who has to buy everything at retail, sell everything at wholesale, and pay the freight both ways.' It's absolutely true. I'm not sure he knew what it meant. But it always got good applause.
      "He used to chastise me for being from a farm state and not knowing enough about farm policy to give him any advise even though it was a state that didn't have too many electoral votes because it was an agricultural state. When he was putting a cabinet together, he had no idea who would make a good secretary of agriculture. He often told us how one highly recommended candidate, whose name shall be omitted, talked to him at length in his office about farm policy, and unfortunately JFK fell asleep. It was warm, and for him, it was mostly gobbilty gook that he didn't understand. So, he made Orville Freeman, governor of a farm state of Minnesota his secretary of agriculture. Orville was a real go-getter and wanted to improve both agricultural policy in general and the department's role in particular. And did so."

Ted Sorensen – JFK & Farmers


Other Excerpts from Ted Sorensen’s Interview:

Kennedy's Assassination
Fallout Shelters