« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
(Additional statements filed for the record are as follows:) STATEMENT FILED BY HARRY T. HARLLEE, FLORENCE COUNTY Farm BUREAU,
FLORENCE, S. C. Processing and marketing cost of farm produce has risen almost to the point where farm price of commodities has little or no bearing on the retail price. I suggest that more Federal time, money, and effort be expended on a study and remedial effort concerning marketing rather than research leading to the increase of production. Most fertilizer and seed companies maintain research staff to improve production whereas no new market methods of facilities or of note have been developed in many years. Local markets are conspicuously absent from many areas of our great State. South Carolina for instance has only one good produce market whereas at least one in each of the congressional districts would greatly improve the farmers' chances of diversification. Federal cooperation with States' help in the establishment of area markets is desperately needed.
The South Carolina ASC Committee Order No. 4101 and supplements which prohibits the combination of rented and owned lands into one farming unit which can be economically operated will cause a tremendous hardship on thousands of South Carolina farmers and will in effect make small farmers of them all. This order is contrary to the Department of Agriculture's definition of a farm. You are urged to help prevent it becoming effective on January 1.
STATEMENT FILED BY M. G. MARTIN, MASTER, AND WOODROW V'AUSE, SECRETARY,
MIDDLE GROUND GRANGE, HORRY COUNTY, CONWAY, S. C. I oppose any reduction above 12 percent in the present bright leaf tobacco acreage. Favor 90-percent parity.
STATEMENT FILED BY W.M. MANNING, CLIO, S. C. Stop all welfare checks and give these people farm surplus. Living on welfare is better than farming.
STATEMENT FILED BY W. W. MIMS, EDGEFIELD, S. C.
The substance of the plan outlined herein is to restore the preeminence in farming and landownership to vocational farmers—those who husband the soil-and to foster decentralization in ownership and production with respect to our most fundamental resource—the land.
But any Government farm program should be considered, at best, emergency or stopgap legislation to be dispensed with as early as possible, and the nature of such farm programs should be calculated to restore independence on the landindependence to as many citizens as possible.
It seems a practical necessity at this time for the Government, which has entered the realm of private business and organizations in many ways increasing the cost of living of the farmer, to help achieve an economic balance between the major economic segments, the farmer being squeezed out of business at an alarming rate.
In the county of Richland, seat of our State capitol, the abandonment of farms has been at the rate of over 100 each year for many years. In my county, abandonment of farms has closely approached that rate. This is a condition typical throughout South Carolina and much of the Southeast. There are reasons for this marked exodus of our people from their homes where they and their families have been anchored to a deeply religious, patriotic, and wholesome tradition. Continuing policies of the Federal Government are somewhat to blame. If left on his own, the farmer might not be facing a cloud of confusion and hopelessness quite so fatal. It is time to make wholesome and far-reaching moves.
The farmer unit suggested in the following proposals would be, in part, an answer to the labor union bids for control, and the price supports based on unit acreage-marketing allotments for each farmer unit would be a method of meeting the minimum-wage wall being steadily heightened in face of the farmers' falling income.
There must be maintained a realm or sanctuary of freedom on the land, and stopgap legislation which shall hold the line for individual landownership and vocational farming should be the basis for providing the framework of an enduring Republic and bridging an abnormal period of transition.
These proposals or suggestions, it is hoped, will present a helpful viewpoint from 1 citizen and from 1 area where the farm problems are perhaps as varied as will be found anywhere, and reveal a cross section of the overall national problem.
PROPOSALS FOR A REVISED FARM PROGRAM
1. Make Government loans to divert lands to tree and grassland farming, and for the purchase of lands for these purposes.
2. Make Government loans to farmers to restore gullied and sheet-eroded lands to a permanent culture as a first step in proper land diversion and soil and water conservation.
3. Establish the individual, or farm family, along with land utilization and conservation, as the essential components and rightful heirs in a Government farm program by establishing the individual farmer or farm family, share. cropper, or full-time laborer on the farm as a farmer unit.
4. Reverse the trend of Government and corporation ownership of lands, where such holdings are in the region of well-established communities, schools, churches, and where those holdings tend toward monopolistic advantages restricting the freedom of the people locally to expand and develop their communities, their employment opportunities and their way of life. Permit more farmer ownership and management of these lands.
REASONS AND SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS 1. Land diversion
There is no overproduction of trees used in the production of building materials, paper, furniture, plastics, and other wood products. If there should be an oversupply, the harvesting of trees as a crop lends itself to systematic marketing much more easily than seasonal and annual crops.
It is a well-known fact that many new uses of wood promise an ever increasing market for the almost endless variety of wood products.
But instead of this new outlet for vocational agriculture being within the grasp of the farmer, who might develop tree farming as a means to further selfemployment and farm independence tree farming has tended to be a form of investment, protected from fires (in a similar way that most large and corporate investments are protected) by agencies of Government.
For a farmer to become a tree farmer he must have inherited the forest land, and therefore a readymade stake in this new type of farming, or he is prevented from participating because woodland investment is a long-term investment, and there has so far been no lending agency, either private or governmental, which would even in a small way fill the need for financing tree farming or the purchase of land for this purpose.
The farmer, therefore, contemplating growing trees, or purchasing forest land, to become a tree farmer, or to diversify his farm program, must have access to long-term special loans for these purposes.
Grassland farming is also beyond the means of many capable farmers, and loans are necessary for the reasons cited below. 2. Restoring land to permanent culture
For many generations, the Southeast has farmed its lands without adequate returns which would make soil upkeep possible, and extensive areas are farmed out. Some of the lands are deeply gullied and uncultivatable now, and will always be uncultivatable until mechanically restored by the use of heavy machinery.
Much hillside and sloping land is too thin to be tilled, until rebuilding throngh the process of returning humns to the soil and terracing has been undertaken. There are extensive areas with combined gully and sheet erosion.
It has long been recommended that these lands be considered primarily as tree growing or forest lands.
But for the reason of water and soil conservation, and what might be called a permanent land culture, that lands might be best diverted only after mechanically restored.
And even if diversion of such lands is for forestation, it should not be employed until they are mechanically restored and planted with a close vegetation; for the gullied condition will never heal to the extent of redeeming the true value of the land. In the meantime, the loss of soil and water continues.
Trees utilize the land profitably, but they do not, like other and closer vegetation, readily render it more tillable and fertile. And trees would never reduce the abruptness of gullied landscapes to the even surface favorable to water conservation, which itself is not a minor problem.
Close growing vegetation, of which there is a variety in use, would be better suited for conservation purposes and for profitable land use on much of the land that might be too hastily abandoned to tree growing.
The machine work necessary to restore the more natural lay of the land should be accomplished by contractors employed by the landowners and initially financed by a Government loan on the land itself.
Thus the restoration of such lands would increase the use of tractor power over a long period, while a reduction in the use of tractor power would be taking place in the curtailment of cash crop cultivation. 3. The land is our most permanent resource
There will never be any more land. If there is one type of collateral which is as enduring as the Government itself, it is the land. If conserved, the land never wears out, but renews itself; and it's worth noting that land is more indestructible than the gold at Fort Knox. It is the only resource that time and wear do not deplete, if given reasonable care.
In assessing the value of the land, its current value in dollars and cents, should not be the primary basis for making a loan appraisal.
Farmlands, after the community where they are located has been given a lift by renewed activity on the land, might be worth many times as much utilized as a building site for an industry, or a school, or other institution, or a home. Land is actually the best collateral any government with dominion over it could conceivably have.
Land, especially that in the sphere of well-established communities, has a long-term collateral value far greater than the current market value.
Loans for the purchase of land for tree and grassland farming should be limited primarily to farmers living on their farms; second, to those who would establish residence on the land under loan.
Repayment of loans made for tree and grassland farming, and for the purchase of land for these purposes, and for land restoration, should be by allowances for conservation practices on the lands under loan, if the landowner should elect this plan, with the option to complete payment of the loan at any time. 4. Limiting land holdings by Government and corporations
Ownership of land by Government in areas of well-developed and old-established communities has proven to be detrimental to the rightful development of such communities.
Specifically, in my county of Edgefield, S. C., the Department of Agriculture has sent half a dozen county farm agents at great cost to the Government to foster rural community upbuilding. These agents are doing a good service. But in more than half the area in which they are working to bring about community improvement and development, the United States Forest Service owns almost 30,000 acres of land rendering hundreds of these community families hopeless of ever having a neighbor again, or of ever being able to induce their children to remain in the area. In addition, corporations are buying lands in these communities whenever they can find it.
This Government and corporation ownership of land, which is noticeably wholly undereloped, even though it lies within a region which has contributed as much, historically, to the Nation as any area of its size in America, is one (ause for the retarded road program in these communities, much of the roads still being muddy after rains. The schools are all but lost, the churches are struggling creditably, but against the forces that would destroy them, some of them in their second century.
The Federal Government has no right to raise the specter of debilitation, deprivation, and backwardness, and at the same time provide a monopolization and competition in the land and in the timber and wood resources.
That corporations should be unrestricted in their right to purchase and hold land is a tragic error.
The Forest Service came into the area about 20 years ago, while the landowners were pressed to pay their land taxes, and paid only from $3 to $6 an acre, hardly permitting these landowners to meet their tax indebtedness. It might be truly said that their own Government caught them in distress, and in their misfortune, grasped the opportunity to buy them out for taxes and to expand a government-in-business, socialistic venture in one of the most culturally advanced regions of the world.
Resell Government land to farmers for tree farming.-These lands, especially and intially along the roads, should be divided into sections of varying acre ages depending on the condition, surface structure, and location, and auctioned off to the people living in the Forest Service area who wish to buy them, priority going to former owners who had to sell to the Forest Service. And such purchases, in which loans are needed, should be financed with loans by the Government.
Corporations, in form of paper manufacturing companies and their subsidiaries, have been for many years purchasing all the available lands in the general area. Local citizens have not been able to offer competitive prices for lands being marketed. These corporations have been vast landholding agencies tending to monopolize ownership of lands, and also naturally moving toward price control over pulpwood, within the industry.
They are approaching, in their monopolistic growth, the relationship to the public that is well defined and regulated in the case of public utilities.
If corporations may reserve vast funds and resources with which to purchase private lands, why not some consideration for individual taxpayers?
I do not recommend regulation of corporations, but there should be some legal approach to this problem, and if possible a prohibition on corporate ownership of lands where such lands are desired for private management and operations by farmers.
One of the fundamentals of democracy as we have experienced it in America is ownership of the land by the individual, whereon he may enjoy the greatest degree of freedom. The preeminent right of the individual to landownership should be reemphasized in the next farm program.
Those who own the land are those who ultimately control the way of life.
There is a close affinity in the priority of ownership of land by the individual, for family use, for individual and vocational freedom, and the American concept of individual freedom.
Who owns the land controls the destiny of the Nation. And the individual should be the arbiter of that destiny.
Thus the protection of the small farmer, the family-size farm, and private ownership of land should be the underlying principle in any farm program, not for the reason only that it is right, but because it will lead more surely to the ultimate, successful democratic solution of the farm problem that all loyal and patriotic Americans earnestly desire, and it will also strengthen our democratic form of government.
It is not the small farmer who produces the surpluses. Yet the corporation farms cannot be relied on to produce for some future emergency needs, and the small farms have been left to the trend of wholesale abandonment which is taking place at the present time.
The farmer has never organized or implemented union powers against the pleas of his Government.
ELECTIVE PROCEDURE FOR BALANCING PRODUCTION I. Farmer unit
Establish the individual farmer or farm family as a certified farmer unit. (a) It could be the farm owner or renter engaged in the operation of his farm. (0) Farm manager or overseer. (C) Farm laborer engaged full time on the farm. (d) Sharecropper engaged full time in farming operation.
(e) Renter if he should choose to rent as a part of the unit farm. II. Unit farm
Establish as a certified unit farm 1 or more farmer units operating under 1 management.
(a) It could be a farm with sharecroppers, whose farming was under management of the owner, or renter.
16) A farm with 1 or more overseers, under 1 management.
(d) A farm rented and operated and managed by the renter enjoying all the privilege of his contract.
(e) A farm whose lands are scattered and yet operated under one management.
(f) A farm partly owner, partly rented but under one management. II. Permanent land diversion loan plan
Establish a loan plan under which any lands being diverted for longer than a stated period (specified by Congress) and planted to trees or other vegetation listed by the Department of Agriculture for permanent land diversion planting would entitle the farmer unit or unit farm to loans for such plantings, and for restoration of gullied lands and for planting these areas.
(a) One-farmer unit farms would have no stipulated limit placed on loans for land diversion, either in amount or period of expiration.
(6) Unit farms with more than 1 farmer unit would be limited to $5 per acre of lands being diverted and to a fixed term of 5 years. IV. Loan plan for land purchase
Establish a loan plan available to the farms with only 1 farmer unit, for the purchase of lands and not to exceed a total of 1,000 acres approximately to be corered by such loan. V. Loan repayment plan
Establish a plan of replayment of loans made for the planting and restoration of lands, and for the repayment of loans made for the purchase of lands.
(a) Allow $1 per acre annually on diverted lands under loan and following application of the loan to restoration or planting, for performance carrying out specified conservation practices for a period of at least 5 years.
(b) Allow to 1-farmer unit farms, in addition, $1 per acre annually to be applied on land-purchase loans for performance as caretaker carrying out specified conservation practices, with option to apply other income as part payment, or payment in full, at any time. VI. Unit marketing allotment
Establish a unit marketing allotment for each farmer unit.
(a) The Department of Agriculture would estimate, on a national basis, the production needs, for all commodities and livestock to be controlled.
(0) Divide the total estimated production needs by the number of farmer units to establish the unit marketing allotment for each farmer unit in the respective growing areas.
(c) The allotment would be in form of quota tickets (for bushels of wheat, pounds of lint cotton, head of designated livestock) for each crop to be controlled, the tickets bearing the name of the farmer unit and the unit farm, if part of one, these quota tickets comprising the unit marketing allotment, a quota ticket for each crop or product produced in the respective growing area. VII. Unit acreage allotment
Establish by States the number of acres, exclusive of pasture, of cropland needed to produce a unit marketing allotment.
(a) The average yield of each crop or product, in each State, would be divided into each crop or product quota, and the total acreage required in each State to produce the total unit marketing allotment would be the unit acreage allotment in the respective State, for each farmer unit. VIII. Unit acreage-marketing allotment pian
(a) The unit farm, with one farmer unit, electing the acreage-marketing allotment plan could plant without restrictions as to the kind of crops or quantity the unit acreage allotment, and could market from this acreage any crops or products within the quotas designated by the quota tickets issued to it and receive approximately parity prices following the actual sale of these products.
(b) The unit farm with more than 1 farmer unit electing the acreage-marketing allotment plan could also plant without restrictions any and all kinds of crops in any quantity on the total of all its unit acreage allotments, which would be the total of the unit acreage allotments multiplied by its number of farmer units. And it could market from this acreage any crops or products within the quotas designated by the total number of quota tickets and receive approximately parity prices following the actual sale of these products.