« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Senator Young. You have not slipped a bit.
Mr. Pace. For 5 years I have been sitting on the side of the road and I have been trying to look at the thing, the whole forest. I am concerned about the philosophy of agriculture. I think it is just as important to maintain the fertility of our soil and the prosperity of the people who cultivate that soil as it is to maintain a defense system for the defense of our Nation.
I read in the papers that the Congress appropriated $34.5 billion for the defense of our country and I am for every penny of it. But how inconsequential would be a sum sufficient to maintain our fertility and to bring about prosperity among the farm people.
Now I recommend to you, Mr. Chairman, that idle lands, diverted acres-call it what you may—that their use exclusively-I am going beyond the trees, I am going beyond the grass, Senator, because the cattle population is pretty good now and I don't know how much more grasslands we need if we are going to keep the cattle growers out of trouble—but that every acre of it had to be used exclusively for building the soil, and then I would pay him, Mr. Chairman, on the basis of 5 or 10 years, whatever you want, a sum equal to what his return would be if he had planted that into the customary crops.
I hear fantastic figures of $1 or $5 or $10 an acre. Well, maybe that is the test of the welfare of the producers. But it is strange to me if you agree with me that we must maintain that land fertile that we must keep it fertile to feed that 200 million we will have in just 14 years and then the 250 and 300 million we are going to have. If you think it ought to be done, I don't care what it costs. It is not going to cost $34 billion a year, but I would not quibble and I would not hesitate to listen, Senator, if a man with your keen mind and knowledge would explain it to the consumers of this Nation that they, above all others, are interested in the fertility of the soil because they are the ones that will suffer. The farmer will be able to produce enough at least for himself and his family, but one thing the consuming people of this Nation of agricultural commodities needs, they need the maintenance of the fertility of the soil of this Nation.
My recommendation is that you appropriate every single dollar to be sure that it is done.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. Next are Dr. Harry Brown and Sidney Lowrey. Will you gentlemen give your name in full and occupation?
Dr. Brown. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, my name is Harry Brown; my present occupation is farmer.
Mr. LOWREY. I am Sidney Lowrey, general farmer.
STATEMENT OF DR. HARRY BROWN, MOUNTAIN CITY, GA. Dr. BROWN. Mr. Chairman, I have only a very short statement to make. I shall begin it this way. Livestock as we propose here, Mr. Lowrey and I represent it, covers the classes of beef cattle, sheep, and hogs. Others have testified as to the dairy situation and still others are scheduled to testify on the poultry situation.
It is our deep conviction that no price-support program can be effective without control of production. We feel that in the case of these classes of livestock the control of production is, as we see it,
a very impractical sort of thing to try to enforce. Therefore, our negative statement is that we do not want price supports for these classes of livestock.
Our recommendation is that when we get into such situations concerning any particular one of these classes of livestock that they be given the opportunity through appropriate amendment to the Agricultural Act to establish or vote marketing agreements or something of that sort as it is used now, for instance, in Georgia and other peach-growing States in the production of peaches. We feel that when we get into a situtation as the Nation is just now with hogs, that there is an obvious necessity of doing something about it and the Secretary of Agriculture has made a move in that direction, as everybody knows, in the last few days concerning hogs.
I should like to refer in that connection to testimony given a little bit ago by Commissioner Phil Campbell. If we want to improve and permanently improve our efliciency in production of these classes of livestock we need to eliminate, insofar as science points the way, we can eliminate our problems associated with livestock diseases. We feel that elimination of those things—and we know now that there is a method by which brucellosis, as an example, can be eradicated. We have pretty nearly eradicated I believe, in certain parts of the country, at least we have practically eradicated tuberculosis in livestock.
So it seems to me that one of the soundest directions in which we could move would be to have the provision so that when we get into a situation like hogs are in right now, that there be a means by which the growers themselves can decide how to work it out, and that they be encouraged to dispose of, through a culling process, the unprofitable animals in the different herds so that there might be more efficient production through eliminating the least efficient animals.
As to the problem which you mentioned, Mr. Chairman, particularly last night and which has been mentioned several times already concerning what to do with the diverted acres, I just wish to endorse what both Mr. Wingate and Mr. Pace said concerning the use of the diverted acres. If we will look at that from the point of view of the matter of national defense and the generation ahead, I think we could do nothing more sound. And we must remember, I think, not just what he said and the way he said it this morning, but what Mr. Wingate said about as long as we continue to do like we are doing we are going to have double our population in a certain length of time.
So far as I am able to observe we are going to continue to do like we are doing in that regard.
In that connection, I have told some of the fellows since we have been here what I heard Tennessee Ernie Ford give as his thought for the day over the television program a few days ago. Those of you who listen to him on the radio or television-he has a program on both--remember that he concludes his program with a thought for the day. That thought the other day was that when you have enough money to burn the fire has gone out.
Now our farmers in this section of the country, at least, don't have money to burn and the fire has gone out in some respects with some of
us, but we do have a concern and an interest in this increased population and feel it is somewhat our responsibility to provide for them in the best way we can.
I don't know just what the rate of increase was this morning at breakfast, but the last time I had the figures it was approximately 10,000 more breakfasts to be provided each morning. I suspect that rate continues to go up. It was 7 when I retired from the university 5 years ago. We have gone up 3,000 breakfasts in the last 5 years every morning. Yes, that is right. That is per day. I got to thinking about months and years.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you any suggestions as to the diversion of acres that are devoted to pasture lands to produce cattle? How can you hold such production at the point where it would almost meet supply and demand and not continue to depress prices of livestock?
Dr. Brown. I repeat I endorse Mr. Pace's idea.
The CHAIRMAX. That deals only with cultivated land. We have in the Nation today about 462 million acres of cultivated land and we may have twice as many as that for pasture land.
Dr. Brown. As I try to visualize the future, which I have tried to express already, there are going to be enough more mouths to feed that over the long pull we will need more pastures.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand that.
Dr. Brown. But let me say one further thing before I forget it. I am sorry that North Dakota from which our good friend, Milt Young, comes can't grow these pine trees, but it seems to me that a program might include such use of idle acres as would make it possible for places where trees can be grown like they can in the Southeast and maybe other sections that that be a permitted use of the diverted acres and that the State of North Dakota and other States who can't grow the trees find some other comparable use for the diverted acres.
I don't know whether I have answered your question. I will try further if you repeat the question.
The CHAIRMAN. The suggestion made, as I understand it, concerns cultivated acres only and as I have just indicated we have today 462 million—that was the last figure as I remember it—of cultivated acres. Ten percent of that in round figures is where they got this 10 million. But in addition to those cultivated acres you have almost a billion acres in pasture. That is my recollection.
Now some people have complained that the number of cattle today is a little too large. We have increased in the last 4 or 5 years at the rate of 412 to 5 million head per year, whereas before that it was a million and a half to 2 million.
It is stated that if the cattle population keeps on increasing at that rapid rate it might have the tendency of further depressing the price of cattle by producing more cattle than our consumption requires.
Dr. Brown. That is certainly possible. There is no question about that.
The CHAIRMAN. That is what is happening. So that you do not have any plan to offer, then, as to what should be done with these pasturelands?
Dr. Brown. I would say, to emphasize what I have tried to say, that our cattle down here, fortunately we are able to get along pretty well with them without their having to eat pine trees, so we would put it in pine trees.
The CHAIRMAN. That may hold true for the South here. We can grow cattle and also grow pine trees, but where you cannot do that
we may have difficulty. I pose the question because the moment you have a program that will have the effect of setting aside cultivated acres and let the farmer receive some money for that, the fellow who has some pastureland may want the same treatment. You could not blame him.
Dr. BROWN. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. That is why I am posing the question in the hope that you can maybe give an answer as to what to do. You have given an answer for the South.
Dr. Brown. I recognize the problem, that it is a national problem, and that you men, gentlemen, have to look at these things, whatever it is we consider, from the national point of view. We recognize that.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. Any questions of Dr. Brown?
STATEMENT OF SIDNEY LOWREY, ARMUCHEE, GA. Mr. LOWREY. Mr. Chairman, you were talking about cattle population. I think that should enter in the same situation that our cultivatable land is and I think the livestock people would go along with that as long as the prices continue going down, because some of them have certainly lost money and as the hog prices go down we will have to do something about it.
The CHAIRMAN. You must realize that the cost of any program like that is going to have a lot to do as to whether we can put it through Congress.
Mr. LOWREY. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. My good friend, former Congressman Pace, has suggested that on these diverted acres we pay the farmer whatever he would have made in profits. What that would entail I do not know, but some estimates have been made of as much as 2 to 3 billion dollars a year. I fear that if a program of that size were offered to the Congress, we might have a little difficulty putting it through.
Mr. Lowrey. That is probably true.
The CHAIRMAN. I am not trying to discuss the demerits of it, but I am saying we have to be practical sometimes in presenting a program. It is not what we want, but what we can get.
Dr. Brown. Do you think that costs would be prohibitive and unjustified?
The CHAIRMAN. I do not, but I know a lot of people in Congress might think so.
You may proceed.
Senator GEORGE. I want to say Dr. Brown served with distinction as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture at Washington in previous years.
The CHAIRMAN. I'm glad to hear that.
Dr. Brown. I got some of the unfortunate and undue publicity about killing little pigs.
The CHAIRMAN. Somebody blamed this administration for plowing under the small farmer.
Thank you, gentlemen.
Mr. J. D. Cash and Gordon Sawyer. Give your names and occupations, please.
Mr. Cash. I am J. D. Cash, chairman of the Georgia Farm Bureau poultry committee; diversified farming including livestock, poultry breeder, broilers or what have you on a farm.
Mr. SAWYER. I am Gordon Sawyer, executive secretary of the Georgia Poultry Federation.
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed, Mr. Cash.
STATEMENT OF J. D. CASH, CHAIRMAN, POULTRY COMMITTEE
GEORGIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION, FLOWERY BRANCH, GA. Mr. Cash. Mr. Chairman, we represent one of the greatest industries in Georgia. Poultry brings in more money than livestock and dairy combined in this State. We think in carrying on our poultry enterprise the greatest thing we need is more research and more educational programs.
Our menu is preparing and cooking chickens—if our chicken was cooked and served to the public as it should be it never has scratched the ground to this day. However, in this price squeeze just how we can eliminate that and bring it closer together I don't know how it can be done.
I will give you an illustration which happened to me on tomatoes a few days ago, about 2 weeks ago. This doesn't concern poultry but I want to bring this out to show the spread between what the producer receives and what the consumer pays.
I carried in, I believe, three baskets of tomatoes and set it down in a chain store in our hometown. He was paying me 12 cents a pound and before he weighed them up, my weight to me, he had served three of his customers and charged them 29 cents a pound for those tomatoes. That is too great a spread. How we are going to eliminate that I don't know.
The CHAIRMAN. We are trying to find an answer to that, Mr. Cash, and can't. I have stated many times that I believe the spread appears to be too great. How to meet that problem I do not know.
It was only 5 years ago that the farmers were receiving, as I recall, 53 cents of the consumer dollar. We are now down to 40 cents. I think it is disgraceful, but how will you correct it? Mr. Cash. That is the question we don't know. The CHAIRMAN. Unless you regiment people and force them to sell at a fixed price. You would not want that.
Mr. Cash. I don't think we need a fixed price. There are many things we can do to serve ourselves.
You take last night at our dinner, for example, the dairymen should have served milk here instead of coffee which is a product that comes from outside the United States that we are not concerned with growing or receive benefit from. There are many instances where there is a luncheon or dinner served we should be serving poultry, beef, or pork or some other commodities from our own sources.
The CHAIRMAN. May I say to you, sir, that we were in the States of Minnesota, North and South Dakota and Iowa a whole week. Pork was in surplus there, and we had testimony on it morning, noon and night. And my good friends can tell you, we joked about it when we ate it at the different places we were invited.
Mr. Cash. I have told the audience often about our sur plus butter and cotton that we so much are concerned about today. I have one