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Senator JOHNSTON. I talked with Congressman Dorn and he says, "I am going down there just as a farmer, I grow cattle and I have
The CHAIRMAN. I wish to state to those who will testify that the first witnesses, in fact probably all the witnesses who present themselves, may be cross-examined as to any plans or programs that are offered and please don't judge the questions we may ask as indicative of the way any of us feel.
You know, I find in having witnesses before us the best way to get the facts is to take the negative, if the witness takes the affirmative, and vice versa. Oftentimes witnesses say "this is the plan that will cure all.” It does not take long sometimes to show by a few questions that it is not as easy to put into law as the witness contends.
So, any time any questions are asked, do not feel hurt or do not think you are being abused because members of the committee may not agree with you. We are here to get the facts and it is hoped that from these facts we will be able to get a law on the books that will give to the farmer a program that will be long lasting.
All of us, I am sure, would prefer being home. I know I would. I have been riding in an airplane now since August 13. I have made a complete circuit of the world on this foreign-aid program. Many of us have led the fight in the Senate in order to curtail it, curb it'; some of us succeeded last time in cutting a good deal of the foreignaid program that was requested by the President.
I wish to say that in connection with this recent trip of mine, when we meet next year I am going to be loaded for bear and hope to be able to continue to curtail these foreign expenditures.
You know we have a lot of folks on the Washington level as well as those who represent us abroad who when they make a recommendation for these huge expenditures abroad, do not take into consideration what effect these expenditures will have on our own economy.
We have spent millions of dollars to show people how to grow cotton and now it is hurting us. We have shown a lot how to grow rice and how to grow other commodities that are now in surplus in this country.
I have learned a lot and I hope, that from the facts I have gathered, we will be able to do a little better job next year.
Mr. Warner, please.
STATEMENT OF JAMES GARDNER, GREENWOOD, S. C.
Mr. GARDNER. I am reading this for Horace Warner. My name is James Gardner.
My name is Horace Warner. I reside at route 1, Greenwood, S. C. I am a bona fide farmer, having never followed any other occupation. I am presently engaged in raising cattle and growing pine trees. I am sure I speak the sentiments of a vast majority of my fellow livestock producers in my section of the State.
At one time I planted over a hundred acres of cotton on my farm. But with a gradual reduction of acres over the years, and the increase in the cost of production, I was forced to abandon the cultivation of cotton entirely. I now plant no cotton. I now raise 400 head of cattle.
My purpose in coming before your committee today is to urge Congress to take no action to place cotton or any livestock, for that matter, under a pricesupport program which would result in curtailed production. I do not know that Congress has seriously considered such program, but I do know that varies, from time to time, with every drop in cattle or hog prices have proposed Government price supports and a limiting of herds in production. With all of the earnestness at my command, I urge you, gentlemen, to not further aggravate the problem by putting livestock under Government restrictions and regulations, This would only mean an additional headache to the Government and more redtape for the farmer and would not be a real solution.
I believe time will take care of our livestock problem. It is true that prices have fallen while production costs have increased, but it is also true that the per capita consumption of beef has risen to the highest per capita consumption in our history. The Department of Agriculture tells us that there are approximately 94 million head of cattle in the United States today. They also estimate that br 1.965 we will need 101 million head with the increased population to maintain the present per capita consumption, which is 79 pounds per person annually.
Further, with the increasing population, 108 million head will be needed by 1975 by a conservative estimate. I believe, gentlemen, this will take care of the present livestock dilemma much better than Government interference,
The CHAIRMAN. Now, Mr. Gardner, would you mind answering a few questions, please.
Mr. GARDNER. With Mr. Warner's help.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you ever planted more than a hundred acres of cotton ?
Mr. Warner. I have planted up to 150.
Mr. WARNER. There are two things that enter into the production of cotton. It is labor and also the Government program. I was allotted a certain number of acres; I couldn't plant any and turned them in. I think today I don't have any acreage.
The CHAIRMAN. You actually quit growing cotton ?
The CHAIRMAN. I had several witnesses to appear before us who said that one in particular, in Georgia, I think he had been reduced to 3 acres. When I asked a few questions I found out he had done what you did, had abandoned the growing of cotton. It is not because of the program that you did not get the acreage in cotton; it is because you quit of your own volition.
Mr. WARNER. I brought that out.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand. I wish to say that the consensus of opinion that we have so far received from the cattle growers of the country is in line with your statement here that they don't want any price-support program on cattle. I don't think you need fear that Congress is going to put it on if we are to judge from the evidence that has been so far produced before the committee.
Any further questions? If not, we thank you very much. The next witness on the list is Mr. G. D. Bell. Give your name in full and your occupation.
STATEMENT OF GEORGE D. BELL, CALLISON, S. C. Mr. BELL. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, my name is George D. Bell. I own and operate a farm at Callison in the lower section of Greenwood County, within 2 miles of where my father and grandfather owned and operated farms. For five generations or more my people have been farmers.
While I am a member of the Grange, I appear before you today speaking for no organization. Mr. Chairman, I know the farm conditions in my community and of my friends and neighbors. These people are family-sized farmers, trying desperately to survive this present farm depression in an economy manipulated by the Government from top to bottom.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you please tell us what is the average sized family farm in your area?
Mr. BELL. I would say, Mr. Chairman, they range anywhere from 50 to possibly 300 acres, 250 acres; something like that.
The CHAIRMAN. In cultivation ?
The CHAIRMAN. What I would like to find out is what is the average sized family unit.
Mr. BELL. In total acres in the farm?
The CHAIRMAN. In addition to that, they have pastureland and woodland.
Mr. BELL. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. How much would that amount to? Mr. BELL. I would say the average sized family farm would consist of approximately 150 acres.
The CHAIRMAN. That would include 40 to 50 acres in cultivation and the rest in woodland and pasture.
Mr. BELL. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. Would you know whether or not that is about the average sized farm for South Carolina, throughout the State?
Mr. BELL, I would not.
Mr. Bell. Our farmers are generally unorganized. What little organization they have is loosely knit, usually with no united and often divergent purposes. The farmers have no high-priced public relations men to tell their true story to Congress as have other organizations.
We have no way of informing the people that our net income, countrywide, has dropped 27.5 percent since 1948 and has rapidly fallen since the spring of this year; while, during the same period, wages have increased and business profits have reached an all-time high. We have no way of telling the people the consumer pays a smaller percentage of his income for food and the farmer receives a smaller part of each dollar paid than ever before in history.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you know what this is today?
Mr. BELL. The average income that the farmer, the part the farmer got 9 years ago was 52 cents on the dollar and today it is 42 cents.
The CHAIRMAN, Forty cents is the latest figure, 40 cents out of the consumer's dollar.
Mr. BELL. It is going down fast.
Mr. BELL. We constantly hear a howl about the large farm surpluses the Government has in warehouses over the country. I honestly believe the few hundred million dollars invested in cotton, under the pricesupport program, is just as essential to the security of our country as the more than $100 billion invested in war material, about which we hear nothing. It looks like it depends on whose foot the shoe fits.
The manufacturers and their labor are making more than they have ever made before and the farmer is making less. And these manufacturers generally receive cost-plus contracts while the farmers get well under 100 percent of parity.
About the only time the farmer's side gets presented to the public is when some Congressman or Senator with the moral fortitude to espouse an unpopular but just cause uses the congressional forum to speak the truth. These courageous men may never hear from us, but you can rest assured that we are grateful and won't forget you. We don't have the opportunity of appearing at your hearings in Washington and we do appreciate especially your coming here to give us an opportunity to tell our story. We feel honored that a Senator from South Carolina is one of your committee.
The CHAIRMAN. He is a mighty valuable member to the committee. In connection with what you were saying about publicity harmful to the farmer you may not know that in the past 2 or 3 years we have had, I presume, the farmers of the Nation blackened, as it were, in trying to show the cost of these programs. I well remember in 1953 when the present administration took office we had before our committee the question of price supports. We had nothing else before our committee but that. And yet a statement was made by the present Secretary of Agriculture, I don't think he did it through, shall I say, meanness, but I will be charitable to him and say he might not have known any better-the statement made showed that, or it attempted to show that the Government lost from June 1933 when these programs started, until that day when he appeared before us, over $16 billion, but every farm program was included in that cost-soil conservation, REA, and everything else.
The next day I, then chairman of the committee, asked for the facts and what did it show? I am not here to criticize anybody, you understand, but I don't like the most important segment of our whole economy, the farmer, criticized. Nobody likes that. Let me point out to you—and this is as of June 30, 1955, this last June 30-taking in all the support programs we have had, these so-called basics which include cotton, corn, wheat, peanuts, rice, tobacco, the entire loss during all that period was only $392,618,091, with cotton showing a profit to the Government of $267,243,797.
Now, that was the picture. On all of your losses covering perishables—and in that is included this tremendous loss that we suffered on Irish potatoes, almost a half-billion dollars, almost a half-billion
in that time the entire loss, excluding the wartime consumer subsidy costs which was in effect charged to the farmer, was much lower than represented. Do you remember that during the war there was a subsidy paid so that the consumer could get food cheaper? Do you remember that?
Mr. BELL. Yes, I remember that.
The CHAIRMAN. Even that was charged, but after we took that off, the figures as of June 30, 1955—that is, this year—the entire pricesupport program on every article, everything we supported, was only $2,117,006,646. That includes, as I said, the amount of loss on Irish potatoes and poultry, eggs, dairy products. Dairy products alone out of this huge sum-I say "huge because it is big-was over $700 million. Compare this miserly small sum to what our Government spent for industry, to let industry go from peace to war, and you might get a figure as much as $55 billion, but you never heard any hue and cry about that, not a word. So today the farmer is in a
You are saying here that they don't organize like other segments of industry do. Well, it is my hope that some day they will organize. I hope you can see what could happen to labor, to industry, and everything else. What would happen to all your cotton mills in this State if the cotton farmer were to get out of business? What would happen to all of the canning plants throughout the Nation if the producers of food were to call a halt? Did you ever stop to think of that?
Mr. BELL. Yes, sir: I have.
The CHAIRMAN. What would happen to our armed services? What could a soldier do without food and fiber? Where would he be? Now that is why this committee is going around this country. I have five little grandsons and a granddaughter. I haven't seen them this whole year more than 2 or 3 days at one time, but I want a good life for them. Gentlemen, this is a serious problem we are facing right now. The producers of our very life's blood, food and fiber, are in trouble. Unless Congress does something about it the whole nation will suffer, and not just the farmer.
That is why the best heads have to get together; we must forget politics and we must forget partisanship. It doesn't make any difference if it is a Republican or Democrat, when we sustain losses they are both hurt. I hope that within the next 2 months at the most, after this Congress meets, we will be able to present to the Congress with your help-that is why we are here--some form of program that will make available to the farmer his just portion in this economy.
You know, I find in all these hearings that the average farmer would not mind nearly so much receiving low prices if the consumer would get the benefit of that low price, or if what he buys goes down as does what he sells, but he is in a pinch, in a squeeze, and that is what we hove found all over the country. I have attended every meeting and the facts show that what the farmers buys is up and what he sells is down and the consumer does not benefit a thin dime from these lower farm prices. That is where the trouble lies. If there is anything we can do to solve that you can expect that we shall try our best.