« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
selling 3 years ago at $70 to $72. We are getting $30 and have been getting $30 during this season for cottonseed.
The CHAIRMAN. How much is oil?
Mr. PLOWDEN. I haven't kept up with that. I am not familiar with it. I don't think it has gone down much. Our seed has gone from $70 to $30.
However, in fairness I would say the last break in cottonseed came from 1942 which was the high for the year, to $30 after the bad weather. So they tell us they graded off to that extent.
The next condition that came about was, as I say, reduced acreage, and that was with the parity applying that has hurt. We have many families, and it so happens that the unfortunate part in our country is we have many families who have a good many children that are unable to plant enough crops that if they made a full crop they couldn't pay their debts at the end of the year and survive. I want to touch on one phase of financing that affects them.
What would be the solution? I don't know except for this: If we are going to protect and keep prices up to 90 percent of parity in this country, when the Government makes a loan on oats or wheat or cotton this year, it is of little consequence to us if next year just when we go to gather they undermine you and sell to the grain mills, the textile mills, and everything, cotton 5, 10 cents lower than they can buy in the market.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean Commodity Credit?
The CHAIRMAN. That may be true as to that, but insofar as the basic commodities they have to bring 105 percent of the support price plus storage charges and interest, with certain exceptions.
Mr. PLOWDEN. Yes, sir. That would work out on that if you make them hold that.
(The following information was obtained from the Department of Agriculture:)
It is the policy of Commodity Credit Corporation in disposing of its pricesupport stocks to avoid sales which would interfere with the price-support program or depress farm prices or farm income.
Generally CCC sells domestically at the market price but not less than 105 percent of the current support rate, plus reasonable carrying charges, as provided in section 407, of the Agricultural Act of 1949. Market prices for grains recently have generally been below support prices and few sales for unrestricted use hare been made under this section. The very fact that the market prices are below the support prices indicates that plentiful stocks are available in private trade channels.
(CC often with holds its stocks from the domestic and export market when it can definitely be determined that its activity is an important factor in depressing the market prices.
The attached press release is illustrative of CCC's policy with respect to low market prices.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
Washington, October 27, 1955.
USDA ANNOUNCES SUSPENSION OF CCC SALES OF CORN FOR EXPORT The United States Department of Agriculture today announced a temporary suspension of all sales of CCC-owned corn for export except for quantities required to fill outstanding commitments including barter transactions. This action
is being taken to help strengthen producer prices for corn by reducing the amount of CCC-owned corn available for sale during the period of the corn harvest and heavy corn marketings. Export needs will thus be supplied largely from commercial stocks.
Commodity Credit Corporation offerings of out-of-condition corn and of corn in danger of deterioration will be continued. The volume of such corn available for domestic sale will be greatly reduced because the movement of old crop CCCowned corn out of bin sites has been about finished for this year.
Sales programs for other CCC-owned commodities, both export and domestic, are not affected by this action. CCC will continue to offer corn on the domestic market at not less than 105 percent of the current support price plus reasonable handling charges as required by law.
Mr. PLOWDEN. Those three factors are the reasons that we are where we are today.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me ask you this now. What would be your formula to keep this acreage constant?
Mr. PLOWDEN. I don't know, sir.
You are looking at men on this platform that have worked hard to prevent this westward shift.
Mr. PLOWDEN. I realize it. I served in the general assembly, and I know it is bad to criticize when you have nothing better to offer.
The CHAIRMAN. It is not a question of criticizing, but getting a method. You know what we lacked? Votes.
Mr. PLOWDEN. I understand that.
Mr. PLOWDEN. For instance, 90 percent on 200 acres, if you are able to produce 200 acres of cotton you can have a better chance of surviving at 90 percent on the 200 than 90 percent on a hundred acres, say, if you are cut because you can reduce your cost of production as you produce more units. You have to have the same combine for so much work, same tractor power and same operators that you can reach maximum production and reduce your unit cost. That is where with the program we have been curtailed it has hurt. I operate a large farm of more than 1,000 acres. I have been able to get by, personally. The weather has caused us to take some terrible losses. I have had to subsidize that farm. We have 15 families, many of them born and raised there who we are trying to carry on until we can hit better times or something works out.
Now what is worrying me if you let me change to a country banker position, we have deposits of about a million and a half. There are only two banks in our entire county. The Farmers' Home Administration has done a wonderful work in Clarendon County. I think that they have done a wonderful work in the South generally. They have been able to finance people that our banks who are insured under the FDIC cannot touch. We have to stay liquid, we can't tie up money. We have farmers coming right now begging me, I try to stay on the farm and leave it up to the cashier, I hate to face them, many of them begging us to lend them $300 or $600 on a tractor note or they will lose it. They financed it with a tractor company last year or year before. Those people have nowhere to go today. There is nowhere to turn. We can't handle them. Yet we are seeing many of them right now, that is why they need action, that are having to give
up their farming operations, they are caught in the squeeze, they have no secondary or subsidiary income to help them.
Now, I noticed a statement from some of the agricultural officials several months ago that they should go out and get extra work. Well, if there is no industry around and no available work a man is helpless and that is the condition we have in lower South Carolina.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there many of your farmers in that condition? Mr. PLOWDEX. The greater majority or more; yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. Are they in arrears in payments on their tractors ? Mr. PLOWDEN. Yes, sir; a good many of them are. The CHAIRMAN. How about their cars? Mr. PLOWDEN. A good many have and a good many will lose the tractor and retain the car in many cases. That is pitiful but it will happen with some. But that need to help them over exists.
Now, we hear rumors, it is not an official rumor and I could not prove it, but I have heard rumors in the last few weeks that our office of the Farmers Home Administration is going to be curtailed in their lending another year to the smaller farmers because they are too small to be a profitable farmer, so to speak. They are expendable and can be cast off. Our estimate is where they have been financing approximately 800 farm families, it is true some of them only have 5 acres and a good many are colored farmers that have their own little units and they are the ones with 8 and 10 children to support, and somebody has to feed them or take care of them.
If they leave the farm, where will they go? Right into the cities to your relief rolls. They are going to pile up. Crime will increase. Some of them argue you will lose something on these farm programs. You may lose 5 or 10 percent, but that is the greatest insurance this country can ever pay to keep down communism and communistic thinking because you have a father and mother with hungry children and they are liable to listen to any kind of preaching on any isms.
You may loan them $500, cover them with a crop mortgage and chattel. They may bring back only $450, you have kept them going and kept the economy as we know it in lower South Carolina moving along. If they are allowed to cut that from 800 families to approximately 200 families it is going to be a major disaster in our country. The program won't affect much of South Carolina or the Nation, but as to those individual families it will be a major disaster for those people.
Now I don't know the answer, but I wanted to ask this committee to try to please look ahead a bit to make the Agriculture Department define to you what is a small family or what is the smallest family unit they intend financing next year because I think that if we look ahead a bit we may save some trouble because word has been passed down, it hasn't been written
The CHAIRMAN. This is only hearsay?
Mr. PLOWDEN. It is pretty accurate hearsay because it has been passed down. It hasn't been writing of instructions as to a proper sized farm. I understand they are authorized under the present law to handle any of the smaller, doesn't matter how small. But the tendency is to pull away from that smaller man that he will be expend
able in the changeover to a larger self-supporting unit. I just wanted to bring that out. I have no program other than that except for the farm program. The thought occurred to me several years ago that if we were not going to be the guardian of Mexico and India and several of the other nations with a low-cost production, we could have a program here that every bale of cotton that is spun into cloth at a mill you could levy a subsidy tax there of, say, $25 a bale and then it would be passed on to every consumer in America, that $25 could subsidize or partially subsidize our cotton into the export market and recapture the world market as far as cotton production. Then by extra production of cotton we can keep the ginners and everybody that is related in the cotton industry in the South at full capacity.
It would certainly help a good bit. However, it would absolutely fail if we are going to take care of Pakistan and India and the rest.
(The following information was obtained from the Department of Agriculture:)
The Farmers' Home Administration has expanded, and expects to continue to expand its lending programs in the next year. During fiscal year 1955 loans totaled $293,189,999, compared with $228,965,705 in fiscal 1953. It is estimated that the total for 1956 will be in excess of $330 million. Under the BankheadJones Farm Tenant Act, which is the principal enabling act of the Farmers' Home Administration loans, it was the intent of Congress that loans made under this legislation be for the purpose of converting farmers from a tenant or sharecropper basis to farm owners or farm operators on economic, family-sized units, where the labor and resources of the family would provide sufficient income to enable the farmer to earn a decent living and be able to repay his debts and provide for his future. The size of this type unit will depend upon many factors and will vary from place to place, depending upon the circumstances.
Loans are authorized under Public Law 38 to be made to farmers who operate units smaller or larger than those provided for under the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act in times of production disasters in order to enable these farmers to overcome the disaster encountered and to get back on their feet again. In the State of South Carolina there was a production disaster in 1955 in the nature of a hurricane and 19 counties have been recommended for designation. In areas where the effects of a disaster have not been overcome, it is the policy of the Farmers' Home Administration to extend all or parts of this authority to the States affected.
The Farmers' Home Administration will continue to make the best possible use of the funds and authorities provided by Congress in assisting farm families to become successfully established.
The CHAIRMAN. All right, Mr. Hough.
STATEMENT OF HAROLD W. HOUGH, CAMDEN, S. C.
Mr. Hough. I am Harold W. Hough. I am a farmer. Since the war I have been personally operating an 880-acre cattle and grain farm in South Carolina. During the last 6 years I have actually done all the operation myself. I have 400 acres in cultivated or improved crops and I have no allotted crops at all. The cattle situation-4 or 5 years ago I could sell, $5,000 worth of cows, 15 steers for that easy enough. This year I have had to cut down and I sold 118 head of cattle for around $6,200. I had to cull them to get down and also to make debt payments. That shows the drop in the income you get from the number of head. A cow a few years ago would sell for over $200 for old cows. The same cow today won't bring $55 to $75, Hereford cattle. I raised Ilereford cattle for 20 years starting on my father's farm, of course.
The CHAIRMAN. You are giving us the trouble. What is the solution?
Mr. Hough. The large livestock people out west have kept cattle from getting on a supported basis, I assume. The CHAIRMAN. They sure have.
Mr. Hough. I am personally in favor of it. The livestock, milk, and cattle in this State or on the raw end of the deal as they have no support. They are selling farms. Anywhere in the paper you see cattle farms. The CHAIRMAN. Are you advocating we should support the cattle?
Mr. Hough. We should support cattle and others besides the basic five.
The CHAIRMAN. Would you suggest that on poultry? Mr. Hough. You can get into so small a scale of farming that it is hard to say whether to support it or not.
The CHAIRMAN. You see, we have a handful—and you are in that handful—advocating support on livestock which would include poultry, chickens, cattle, hogs, but you are in the minority. The question I have to ask you is, How would you control production of this livestock? You realize that a farmer who expects his Government to put a floor on any commodity he produces, be it livestock of whatnot, we must have some way to curtail production.
Mr. Hough. You could give an allocated basis over a number of years. If he overproduced 1 year he would have to cut the following year sufficient to meet the quota.
The CHAIRMAN. How would he do it? Mr. Hough. You can sell cows off. You can stop production. You can sell poultry and cut down to meet a quota over varied periods. They are not planning ahead.
The CHAIRMAN. That is easily said, but when you go to do it, it is a different matter.
Mr. Hough. I am hitting the wrong end of it by the type of farming I am doing. I have to make certain payments, combine payments, to run my farm. I have to produce a high yield. The lower it goes the more I try to produce.
The present program favors the row-crop farmer altogether and is not trying to save our soil for the future to any extent. Unless we have a program where every farmer will have to diversify a large percent of acres, even up to 40 percent into a grassland program or some soil-conservation program to build up that land. The type of farming you see in old countries, we will say England or France, they have grass on most of the land I have noticed there and it is a stable type of economy it looks like. It has lasted for years. The CHAIRMAX. They have little farms you could jump across. That is a different economy altogether. I have been all over it. You have been there? Mr. Hough. Yes. The CHAIRMAN. You know they are all small farms, they can work them with hand tools almost in many places.
Mr. Hough. The method that the present Secretary of Agriculture wants to do is eliminate all except the top or productive farms to 10 or 20 percent, which would eliminate all the small ones. I will proceed on something here.