« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
law is not followed, surely it will not reach the small farmer as you have suggested in our hearing here today.
Now I am not up here trying to ask
The CHAIRMAN. If you remember, the law provided for a minimum of 5 acres for each farm.
Mr. TILLMAN. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. It seems that in many areas some of the farmers found it more beneficial to plant other crops than cotton and thereby lose their history on the 5 acres. Do you recall that?
Mr. TILLMAN. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. When a farmer who loses his acreage because he found it more beneficial to get into other crops, do you think it is fair to return it to him and take it from the fellow who stayed in it?
Mr. TILLMAN. Mr. Chairman
The CHAIRMAN. You can see the virtue of recognizing or trying to assist the fellow who remained in it and struggled with it as against the fellow who got out of it and wants to go back now.
Mr. TILLMAN. My convictions are that the history of any farm should be the basic factor in determining whether or not that farm or that producer is entitled to anything.
Now, then, when you get down to a period of rest taken or one of calamity like the drought we had a year ago here in Georgia, 1 don't think that those things should play an important part in the reduction of acreage of production in this State in the future. We run into that. I think that the administration of the farm program has gone far enough to try to find some way to sidestep these surpluses that they have overbearingly cut the allotments when it was not necessary to the individual farmer.
I would also like to say that so far as the small farmer is concerned, I want to be clearly understood about this because he has my utmost sympathy-I declare myself a small farmer-but I don't think that we are treating the farm program right or the small farmer right when we set a given amount of acres and say that he is entitled to that regardless of what happens.
Any reduction that would take place in the tobacco crop now should take place across the board. Before those reductions are made—I am offering this as a suggestion-before those reductions are made I think that the records of the AAA or PMA or whoever it might be should be carefully studied and the farmer put on the correct basis. That is the plan that I would make for the small farmer rather than the fact that he is entitled to something that the big farmer is not entitled to. The big farmer is entitled to his proportionate part. I don't think anybody should necessarily hold the umbrella over someone else. The benefits to be derived from the reduction of a crop are equal to both small and large farmers.
Let me also say this, which isn't always true, but the coverup of the small farmer is sometimes maliciously done. I mean this. We have in this State and many other Southeastern States a breakdown of farm operations into small farms. A large operator can have a multiple of small farms through the course of acquiring a greater acreage under your reduction program. Do you follow me?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; and making it less productive for the small farmer.
Mr. TILLMAN. Yes.
Mr. TILLMAN. Yes, sir; buys them out or rents them out or finances the present owner on a share basis.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. TILLMAN. So I think that the administration of a program, regardless of what it might be, should be followed up with periodic checks-if necessary, hearings before your great committee—in order that these things will certainly be administered as they should be.
I am going to offer something here that hasn't been discussed. It is something that is farfetched insofar as I am concerned, and yet I would like to see your committee and other people become interested in a national holiday so far as farmers are concerned. I think that the suggestion has its merits. I think that if such a proposal was planned it would certainly have a drastic effect on the present surpluses and they would disappear in short order, and your national holiday would not take place. But in the event that those surpluses did not disappear–I don't know whether that is true of wheat, cotton might have to go that far, and tobacco-in case they did not disappear, I think that a part of this program should be termed a national holiday in the production of those commodities that are in surplus and I think that the maximum cut should be taken on those commodities in order that we might bring things in line immediately. I think that the acreage taken out of production certainly should receive sufficient rental payment from the Government and by the Government.
We are traveling, if I might say this, on a thin crust so far as agriculture in this Nation is concerned, and being a farmer I am thoroughly convinced that this crust will break through before you can hardly put anything into practice to save the day.
In other words, I think we need immediate action, immediate relief, immediate plans; and I think that unless some of the suggestions that have been made here today—I am going to wind it up by saying this-by the Farm Bureau, by the Bankers’ Association, by Mr. Pace and others, unless those programs are put into action and put into action immediately, we definitely will feel the results in this State and in the entire Southeast and throughout this Nation. And I believe that the truth is going to rock this Nation when they are confronted with the facts insofar as agriculture is concerned.
Mr. Chairman, it has been a pleasure to appear before this committee. I want to say to Senator George, Senator Russell, and to our distinguished Senator from Kansas that we consider you one of the most important steppingstones in this Nation insofar as agriculture is concerned and we look forward to the results that you will produce in behalf of agriculture of this Nation.
Thank you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. Mr. Culpepper, please. Do you have any suggestions that will be of help to us?
STATEMENT OF BROOKS CULPEPPER, TALBOTTON, GA.
Mr. CULPEPPER. Brooks Culpepper, Talbotton, Ga. I am a livestock raiser and timber raiser.
A few weeks ago I read in the Wall Street Journal an article by one of their economists. This article stated that due to the fact that the agriculture of this country only constituted about 5 percent of the economy that the rest of the economy could absorb it or forget it.
I was astonished at the statement. It shows that the thought in other brackets of our economy is not too sympathetic with the problems of agriculture.
A few days ago a friend of mine visited a packing plant in Atlanta, Ga., a large packing plant. He was shown through this plant, the operation, and this attendant related to him, “Now, we pay these men that bone this meat as high as $11,000 a year.” There is no 4 years of college or 4 years of training required to become a meat boner. I doubt him owning the butcher knife he bones the meat with.
But he shows you that we are enjoying a period of inflationary prosperity and unless this inequality of income between certain brackets of industry with relation to agriculture is corrected it will be very similar to the story of the institution for the insane that caught on fire by a wire shortage. The attendants went panicky and began to shove the patients out of the second-story window. Finally they came to the fellow in a padded cell and he was trying to get out and they opened the door and he ran and pulled the switch that stopped the conflagration.
I am afraid, gentlemen, that probably we are starting at the wrong side of the dam to stop the leak. Unless the higher brackets of our economy can see the plight, then it will be too late. I warn you gentlemen to rush to the switch and pull it before the conflagration comes down on us.
Do you recall 1929 ? I remember it. The result was disastrous. And history is repeating itself today. The greatest decision I ever made in my life was in about 1933. Cotton had gone below 5 cents a pound; corn' was unsalable; cows were giveaway; timber was worthless. But I owned my plantation. I told my tenants, I said, “You can't live on my plantation any longer. I want you to move. I can't continue to lose money on the fertilizer bill, pay the tax, and feed bill.” They moved. The old fields grew up in pine trees and I haven't recropped since, but I think it was the wisest decision I ever inade when I told my tenants to leave my land.
Gentlemen, I thank you for the opportunity of appearing before you. The CHAIRMAN. How much land do you have? Mr. CULPEPPER. Fourteen hundred acres.
The CHAIRMAN. Is the timber you are producing sufficient to give you a good livelihood ? Mr. CULPEPPER. Yes. The only thing is the livestock proposition. The CHAIRMAN. You have livestock?
Mr. CULPEPPER. Yes, I have about 125 head of beef cattle. Just a few years ago beef cattle were bringing, grass-fed cattle, good steers,
I thank you.
some 25 to 30 cents a pound and now they are from 15 to 17 cents a pound. Yet this beef boner in the Atlanta plant is receiving ten to eleven hundred dollars a year to cut my beef off the bone and I can't make ends meet. You can't raise beef for 15 cents a pound.
To equip a farm for livestock raising it requires, that is, for a hundred brood cows, it requires an investment of between $50,000 and $75,000. You must mineralize your land; you must prevent erosion; you must build your fences; you must maintain a herd of cattle, requiring a great deal of care and attention. And with labor at the present price you can't raise beef cattle for 15 to 17 cents a pound.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, sir.
Senator RUSSELL. Mr. Chairman, I would not have this record closed here today without undertaking to express the appreciation of all Georgia for the action of this committee in coming here to Macon to conduct these hearings. I know I voice the sentiments of my distinguished senior colleague as well as the members of our delegation in the House of Representatives, leaders of the farm organization and the farmers of this state, as well as citizens generally, who recognize their dependence on agriculture for real prosperity, when I say that this committee at its hearings here made a very great impression on all who were privileged to attend. No one can fail to have noted the patience that has been displayed by the chairman and by the members of this committee, as well as the diligence of the chairman and members of the committee.
Of course, it is very evident to anyone who has been here that the chairman never heard of an 8-hour day or 40-hour week but he has been very diligent in undertaking to garner facts that would be helpful in solving the greatest problem that confronts our country today. We cannot long sustain this prosperity that the other segments of our economy enjoys unless we bring the farmers of this Nation into fuller partnership in that prosperity. We tried it before.
We should know from bitter experience that we are living in a fool's paradise when we think we can have permanent prosperity when the farmers are only receiving such a small percent of the income because before we know it, before we realize just how it happens, the other interests of the Nation that seem to be so prosperous get into a condition from which they cannot be salvaged.
We can salvage the farm problem if we have a will to do it because the farmer is so small a part of our national population that we can take the steps necessary. When I went to Congress farmers were 30 percent of the people of the country. Today the real farmers are around 13 or 14. We have some marginal people included in the figures.
I want to say, Mr. Chairman, that we are grateful to you for the interest you have displayed and sincerity of purpose that has been evident here, and the determination with which this great committee of the Senate of the United States approaches this problem.
We believe that with this work and with this energy and with this intelligence that is being applied to this problem that we can solve it; we can really achieve genuine prosperity in this country that will be available to all our people who are willing to work for it and then
enable our Nation to survive in a troubled world and maintain our position of world leadership.
We thank you so much for coming and for your diligence and patience in these hearings.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Senator Russell. We are going to lean heavily on you and your senior Senator and I know you will give your best to it as we are trying to do now. I realize that the problems are many, but we can solve them if we will get together and work.
As far as I am concerned, if it takes 18 or 20 hours a day I will do it.
All right, if there is nobody else who desires to be heard the committee will stand in recess until 9 o'clock Monday morning in Columbia, S.C.
(Whereupon, at 5:35 p. m., Saturday, November 12, 1955, the hearing in Macon, Ga., adjourned.) (Additional statements filed for the record are as follows:)
WINTER PARK, FLA., November 1, 1955. COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: We appreciate the opportunity which is presented by your committee to appear before it in regard to legislation affecting farm people. It is possible that a number of our members will appear before your committee to express themselves on an individual basis.
As an organization, however, we are presently in the process of meeting in each of 58 county farm bureaus to discuss the various proposals and to arrive at the opinion of the majority. We will then hold a statewide meeting where delegates from all of these counties will vote to determine the majority opinion there. These recommendations will then go to a national meeting where once again the majority opinion of farmers will be determined.
We respectfully request the opportunity to present our position to you after we have gone through this democratic process of accurately determining the opinion of the majority of the farmers of America.
We are appreciative of your efforts in behalf of agriculture and your taking the time necessary to vist the farm areas of our Nation. We hope to have finished our policy development process by the middle of December, and will then present to your committee the recommendations of our organization. Respectfully yours,
FLORIDA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION,
STATEMENT FILED BY J. R. KELLY, STATESBORO, GA. I, J. R. Kelly, having a degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Georgia, having had 15 years' experience with the United States Department of Agriculture, and having been owner and operator of a 250-acre farm in Bulloch County for 8 years would like to submit for consideration the following changes in the national agricultural program : I. That production quotas be established for all allotted crops except tobacco:
A. That these quotas be arrived at for such individual farm by multiplying the average yield per acre of the farm by the present allotted acreage.
B. That after production quotas have been established for each farm, marketing books be issued to the producer showing his production quota.
C. That these books not be transferable.
D. That when buyer purchases crop, he will pay the producer 90 percent parity price, and submit vouchers to the local ASC oflice for the difference in market price and 90 percent parity.
E. That excess crops may be sold at current market prices. II. That, in order to qualify for a production quota on any crop, the producer must establish a grass or legume sod and remove from row-crop production a percentage of his total cropland.