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by our Government to foster the production of foreign cotton, which is taking away our share of world markets. We have made enough concessions to these foreign countries through our past controls on production.
It is time now to protect our people, the cotton farmer and the textile industry. We cannot sacrifice this important segment of our Nation in the game of world politics. The cotton farmers do not want Federal handouts, but we do feel that as long as all other productive labor has the benefit of supporting wages and the bargaining power of the labor unions, we deserve a fair return for our efforts.
We want a continuance of 90 percent parity in supporting the price of our cotton production. Cotton is not a perishable commodity; therefore, the cost of this aid cannot be determined until the surplus has been reduced. Only then can we even think of giving up supports and controls and reverting to the law of supply and demand. Too many thousands of families would become destitute and heavier burdens on the relief rolls if supports were dropped even slightly at this time.
In the future we might try a two-price system if and when the proper legislation is passed to protect our domestic mills from the competition of foreign textiles produced at one-tenth the cost of American textiles. It might not be necessary to resort to this if our present surplus could be used to win back part of our world market. Annual population increases will account for some of our additional production of the future. Now, however, is the time we are here to find help for the cotton farmer.
We recommend a national reserve over and above the announced national allotment to protect the small cotton producer. We heartily endorse S. 2196 and feel that it will go a long way in alleviating the hardships of our smaller farmers.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that over and above the national allotment?
The CHAIRMAN. Why could we not do it within the national acreage allotment?
Mr. HARDY. I believe, sir, that you are familiar with the bill I speak of.
The CHAIRMAN. I am familiar with it, but the trouble is we can't pass it. So what is the use to say you are for it? In most of the States there are but a handful of small farmers and the West is able to control enough votes to prevent us from passing this. If we could make that within the national quota-in other words, let us assume that the national quota is X number of bales. If within that national quota you could provide a sufficient amount to take care of the small farmers we might put that through. If we make it above the quota you get into hot water. The difficulty is that we cannot get the votes to put that over, and my fear is—and I have expressed it to Senator Stennis, who is one of the authors of that—that such a method would further aggravate our surpluses because it means more acreage
and more production.
Mr. HARDY. In taking care of the smaller farmers one objection is the fact that the smaller farmers are centered in Southeast and Mid
south and we would get opposition from the larger growers in the Western States.
The CHAIRMAN. You would be surprised at how you get it from big growers in the Southeast because it would come from them, you see.
We tried-Senator Johnston can tell you we tried—to obtain a minimum of 4 acres for I think 167,000 farmers. We had it all arranged before the committee but when we came before the Senate even the South was divided. That is how we lost it.
Mr. HARDY. I still feel we should find some way to help them because these small farmers are not producing the surplus.
The CHAIRMAN. I am with you. I am not arguing against you. I am trying to point out the difficulties of putting through such a program as you now advocate. Senator Thurmond, you remember that, when we tried to get that through.
Senator THURMOND. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. The moment the South became divided we were beaten.
Mr. Hardy. There is one other thing which is an alternative to the present support program. You have heard mention earlier of the land rental program but my idea is a program of land rental by the Government whereby at least 20 to 25 percent of the farmlands be devoted to soil-conserving crops or practices.
However, my idea is stipulating that not more than 50 percent of the farm's total acreage be planted in crops now in surplus.
The CHAIRMAN. That is a difficult idea. You mean in addition to the taking out of
Mr. HARDY. Twenty to twenty-five percent.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, suppose a farm has, let's say, a quota of cotton, wheat, and rice. Would you permit that farmer to say, “I will grow all cotton and not the other two” for that 50 percent?
Mr. Hardy. I think that violating one phase of the control program should automatically take any rights away from that individual farmer for supports on another commodity.
The CHAIRMAN. In addition to your proposal, then, you would still want controls on all of the commodities on which you have payments ?
Mr. HARDY. That is right, sir.
Mr. Hardy. I think it should be based on the historic plantings of the farm. We don't grow any rice in South Carolina any more. It drifted out toward your way.
The CHAIRMAN. I am not arguing from the standpoint of the State of Louisiana. Forget that. I am just simply pointing out to you that it is all right to say no more than 50 percent be put in crops in surplus. You might find some fellow abandoning some crops and just centering on one.
You would want to limit him under the present program of marketing quotas and acreage allotments?
Mr. HARDY. Yes, sir.
Mr. HARDY. And these other commodities which are supported at 90 percent should have marketing quotas also.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me ask you this: You go around the country here and you will find that the poultry fellows are in trouble; you find
that, well, somebody said the turkey man was all right but you could soon put him in trouble if you use the extra 50 percent and grow turkeys and you could then see the difficulties that face us.
Some people have said on this, some witnesses have testified in other places we shouldn't permit more growing of cattle. You get the idea. Even though they are not supported. So you can see the difficulty that would confront us if we would apply the prescription you are giving us on this 50 percent basis. I would have to plant it in something else. My fear is that you might run headon in the production of crops or of a commodity that may do violence to some of the producers of other commodities in surplus.
Mr. HARDY. My whole idea is actually we would have to consider only 30 percent additional land that could go into other, 30 or 25 percent-20 or 25 percent in soil conserving practices and 50 percent limited to supported commodities.
The CHAIRMAN. Some advanced the proposition that if we took as much as 25 percent out that might cure all the evils over 2 or 3 years but in the meantime somebody would probably suffer.
Mr. HARDY. At my home at present, speaking of—we grow two controlled crops, tobacco and cotton. We have 207 acres of cotton on 1,200 cleared acres and 43 acres of tobacco. We have considerable other acreage that has to be devoted to other products.
The CHAIRMAN. You would have 600 acres. What would you want to put the rest of the 600 acres in you don't grow tobacco and cotton on?
Mr. HARDY. We have considerable permanent pasture on which we have beef cattle and a few sheep.
The CHAIRMAN. How about the other 30 percent!
The CHAIRMAN. You would be surprised at how much opposition you will receive from the barley or oat grower in other places. I am glad you mentioned that.
Mr. Hardy. Thank you, sir.
STATEMENT OF L. D. HOLMES, SR., JOHNSTON, S. C.
Mr. HOLMES. Unfortunately I have been the victim of several of the crops you speak about.
The CHAIRMAN. I wish we could do something about the weather for you.
Mr. HOLMES. I do, too.
Senator, we happen to be in the beef cattle business and grow peaches and cotton and small grain and corn. I think most of the things I intended to say have been said here before, but I do want to say a few things, sir.
I believe we ought to emphasize quality here. I think that ought to be our first motto. I think if we eliminate a lot of the undesirable
things and anything that doesn't measure up to quality, I don't think we can produce too much if we grow quality. I believe that applies to the beef industry, sir. Our experience over the years is you take a half bred calf you can put him on grass and he will put on about 200 pounds in 8 months time. When you get ready to sell that calf he will put on about 200 pounds, you sell him about half what you can sell a good one for. You only put on 200 pounds again and you have no profit.
If you take a good steer and he puts on 400 or 500 pounds and you can sell that steer for the top market price you have a right nice profit there. I believe you ought to put on some educational work with our farmers, particularly our cattle producers and stress quality.
The CHAIRMAN. Doesn't the market take care of that? You take cattle designated as commercial and they bring 8 or 9 cents a pound less than the ones you describe?
Mr. HOLMES. That is right.
Mr. HOLMES. No; there are some people that will keep producing cattle. I will tell you, you know as well as I do if you try to get a good steak, if you don't get a good one, you don't want another. If you have quality I think the public will demand better, more cattle and more steak.
The CHAIRMAN. What would be your suggestion as to how to force this?
Mr. HOLMES. I don't know, Senator.
Mr. HOLMES. We should have an educational program to educate these farmers and show them where they are losing money by producing cull cattle.
The CHAIRMAN. I thought we had a pretty good educational scheme in the South with the Extension Service, where they increased cattle production to unprecedented proportions.
Mr. HOLMES. That is true. We have stressed production and not stressed the market end. I think the marketing of this thing ought to play a very important part.
I want to use this illustration. I will give an incident in my town. I talked to a man the other day who bought a quarter of a steer, paid 50 cents. The man that he bought that quarter from sold the quarter to a retail merchant. He sold that steer for 90 cents a pound. Senator, we are retarding consumption of good beef by charging extortionate prices. I don't think the consumer is getting the housewife's part of the dollar. Somebody else is getting the profit. That is the way I feel about it.
The CHAIRMAN. I think you are entirely right, sir. And that has been one of the chief complaints, as I indicated when we opened these hearings today, that the housewife wouldn't mind so much, the farmer wouldn't mind so much a lower price provided he could pass it on to the consumer, which would mean more consumption.
Mr. HOLMES. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. And maybe a decrease in the cattle population and thereby in the.course of time you would have an increase in price.
Mr. 'HOLMES. I have heard numbers of people saying at the market price of beef it is out of their class, so they substitute a chicken. I am
not saying they shouldn't buy chickens, but we want them to have a good steak once in a while.
The CHAIRMAN. How about turkeys?
Mr. HOLMES. It is all right. Turkey is about the cheapest meat you can eat.
The CHAIRMAN. Once a week and beef about six.
Mr. HOLMES. That is right, sir. I want to say a word about peaches, too, being a peach grower. ' I think we ought to impress on these growers quality rather than quantity. We might just as well face facts. We are set up to irrigate these crops more than we have ever been before. In my country the peach growers are in a position to irrigate 75 percent of the peaches they had this year if they hadn't lost them. I believe we ought to emphasize quality and then produce size and put it up properly.
The CHAIRMAN. Can you do that on the same tree by selected picking of the fruit?
Mr. HOLMEs. Yes, by thinning peaches properly. It is a question of good land, properly fertilized and properly watered.
The CHAIRMAN. Isn't that something more that could be handled on a local basis than for us to enforce it? As you say, couldn't you do it through education ?
Mr. HOLMES. We are not in position maybe to put on an educational program. I believe the Federal Government is in a position to do that, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. The Federal Government is almost broke, you know, with a $280 billion debt.
Mr. HOLMES. You know who the Federal Government is. It is the farmers and everybody else that pays taxes.
Senator JOHNSTON. I grow peaches, too. Isn't it true in the peaches grading you get a better price for the better grades?
Mr. HOLMES. That is right, size and quality.
Mr. HOLMEs. That is right. Talking about peaches, we have hydro coolers. We are forced to hydro cool practically all peaches by mechanical refrigeration or ice. We should always pick a riper peach with more flavor and then the housewife I think will consume more. I believe they would. I believe we ought to educate the farmers to pick riper peaches, more mature peaches with more quality.
The CHAIRMAN. With advanced refrigeration you could do that. It means more education.
Mr. HOLMES. Yes.
Now we have reached the hour of 12:07 and we have a little luncheon engagement that will last an hour. I understand Mr. Day, whom I don't find on the list here, desires to file a statement. Is Mr. Day present?
All right. We will recess until 1: 10.
(Whereupon, at 12:10 p. m. the committee was recessed, to reconvene at 1:10 p. m. the same day.)