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Gentlemen, it is hard to realize the seriousness of any situation unless you are directly affected by it. When your heart and soul and 30 years work plus what earnings you might have had are needlessly going down the river then you can realize it.
I say we do not have an oversupply of beef but a market controlled by the few. There gentlemen, this is where you come in as our duly elected representatives of the people.
STATEMENT OF A. C. LAWRENCE, CHAIRMAN, AGRICULTURAL
POLICY COMMITTEE, NORTH CAROLINA STATE GRANGE, APEX, N. C.
Mr. LAWRENCE. I am A. C. Lawrence, a farmer living in western Wood County. I raise tobacco, corn, some wheat and a few livestock and hogs and a few other small general practice crops.
The CHAIRMAN. Proceed.
Mr. LAWRENCE. I also serve in the official capacity as chairman of the agricultural policy committee for the North Carolina State Grange. I am not any speechmaker such as the Grange representative who preceded me.
The CHAIRMAN. We don't want speechmakers. We want you to talk to us as a dirt farmer.
Mr. LAWRENCE. That is what I will do.
Mr. LAWRENCE. In reference to some questions that were given to Mr. Caldwell as our representative as to whether or not he was representing the feeling, the sentiments, and recommendations of the North Carolina State Grange or his own, I, speaking for the agricultural policy committee who had a part in developing the policy under which the Grange now operates and who have just recently come out of the policymaking meeting of the grange, I will say that the things which he gave us here this morning do constitute a part of the agricultural policy committee of the State grange at this time.
Those solutions and recommendations for your consideration which we offered, all of them were in our recent policy and in his statements to our organization which was approved unanimously by the group.
Now I have a statement here of the policies of the grange, I am not going to give them because he has already covered them. He did have one thing which he did not cover.
Recognizing the importance of the continuation of the family-sized farm in our American way of life, we recommend the promotion of all necessary measures to insure its continuance.
The CHAIRMAN. What are those measures? What would you suggest? You know a statement like that doesn't do too much good unless you expand it by telling us what those measures are. Would credit be one of them?
Mr. LAWRENCE. Yes, sir.
Mr. LAWRENCE. We think that credit should be made available at as reasonable rate as possible. That should certainly be true in the case of young people trying to get started in the farming business.
The CHAIRMAN. Would you make that credit available only in the event that the local banks or local lending agencies can't help?
Mr. LAWRENCE. Yes, sir; I think the local lending agencies should be given the first chance.
The CHAIRMAN. If they can't or won't
The CHAIRMAN. How can we get those reasonable rates! How can we force it? You tell me.
Mr. LAWRENCE. I am not in the credit business. That is out of my line. I am just a farmer.
The CHAIRMAN. All we can do is suggest. We don't want to pass any law to force any banker in North Carolina to charge 2 or + or 6 percent. That is their business.
Mr. LAWRENCE. We do think credit, a careful screen of individual cases should be made before credit is extended.
The CHAIRMAN. How many acres are you planting now, cultivating?
Mr. LAWRENCE. No, sir. A part of the land is utilized for pasture, noncrop pasture, but most of my pasture is improved.
The CHAIRMAN. Of these 56 acres, how many do you have in cotton?
Mr. LAWRENCE. All my life, and my father planted it on the farm before me.
The CHAIRMAN. That is used on the farm?
The reason I was trying to find out if you were planting diverted acres to other crops—that is a problem we will have to try to solve. Have you any other suggestion?
Mr. LAWRENCE. I noticed in your opening statement you suggested that the main idea of your committee was to try to keep all farm people on the farm; was that it?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. LAWRENCE. I say that you have a problem the way we increase on the farm and also you have a problem to supplement the income that the farm people demand if they stay.
The CHAIRMAN. It is a problem, but we will try to solve it if it is possible.
Mr. LAWRENCE. That is good politics but we should not try to fool folks.
The CHAIRMAN. It is not politics, it is to save America. You put the farmer on his feet and give him the same right to earn a living as labor, and the country will prosper.
Mr. LAWRENCE. I don't want him to be put on his feet with nothing to stand on.
The CHAIRMAN. That is what we are trying to do.
Mr. LAWRENCE. I would like to offer 1 suggestion or 2 to take care of these people we want to keep on the farm. I want to keep them there. We are all interested in keeping people on the farm. But we have to recognize the fact that many of our farmers have got to have some way of supplementing their farm income. So I think we should encourage not only vocational agriculture but other vocations in our schools. I think education is the key to the solving of this problem of keeping our low-income farms on a livable basis. People can't be expected to stay on these farms unless they make a living comparable to other folks.
We have cases like in other industries where people ought not to have help because they don't work enough but if a man stays on the farm and works there practically all the year around like the man in the factory ought to have some way of having a good showing for it.
The CHAIRMAN. That is what we are trying to do. I hope we can. That is why we are here.
Mr. LAWRENCE. We have to educate them to the fact that they have to do something else besides depending on making a living on that farm.
The CHAIRMAN. That may work all right in North Carolina, as I pointed out, where you have a lot of industry. Mr. LAWRENCE. I am talking about folks right here.
The CHAIRMAN. You see, when we pass a law we are dealing with 48 States, not only with North Carolina. If it were left to me to draft a law here to help North Carolina, it would be a simple matter relatively speaking,
Mr. LAWRENCE. I realize I am on the wrong track. We need to go to our local folks on this. You are correct on that. Another way would be to license farms.
The CHAIRMAN. To what!
Mr. LAWRENCE. License farms. People in other professions have licenses.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean you would want to have a farmer to get a license to farm?
Mr. LAWRENCE. Yes. If he has a farming history he could be set up to start with.
The CHAIRMAN. That would only increase his cost, would it not?
Mr. LAWRENCE. It probably would, but I don't think it would increase his cost comparable to what he has to do to compete with the man who is farming and makes his living from some other profession and farms as a sideline to hide some of his income he makes in other jobs.
The CHAIRMAN. I see. Your idea would be not to encourage one of these city slickers to farm.
Mr. LAWRENCE. In competition with the young man out there trying to purchase a farm and he can't compete with this fellow who has the cash to meet all his obligations.
The CHAIRMAN. A way to meet that, we have quite a few suggestions on that, is not to give the same benefits in price supports to a man who is a banker or lawyer or maybe a Senator, who is in the farming busi
ness, make it so that the real farmers are going to get the benefits of these supports.
I think that might be better than licensing because if you start charging a license you might drive them out.
Mr. LAWRENCE. I think we have a problem there. I recognize what you say in the affiliation I have with the ASC. I know the majority of our payments, we are asked to use this money to come in, we try to use it the best of our judgment but in spite of that most of this money is going to this very type of farmer I am criticizing.
The CHAIRMAN. Any questions?
I wish to say when I said Senators I meant one who made his money in Washington and has just started farming. Senator Scott and any others who have been farmers a long time-I will exclude them.
(Mr. Lawrence's prepared statement follows:) As an aid to the solution of the present depression in agriculture, the North Carolina State Grange in its recently adopted agricultural policy offers the following recommendations.
We see the need for a positive and effective Government program to control production. To accomplish this end we recommend :
1. Rigid supports of not less than 90 percent of parity for basic commodities which producers approve by referendum their intentions to make adjustments of supply in line with demand.
2. A commodity-by-commodity approach for commodities being considered for j:rice supports.
3. Soil-bank and land-rental proposals : Major emphasis must be given to measures which conserve resources and yet do not result in an immediate increase in production. It is our belief that an expansion of the present agricultural conservation program offers the most practical method of doing the job.
4. Flexible supports may be the best method for securing desirable shifts in production for some commodities and should be used under those conditions.
5. Study markets and explore every possible method for expanding consumption both at home and abroad.
6. Ready credit at reasonably low interest rates for worthy farm projects.
7. Recognizing the importance of the continuation of the family-size farm in our American way of life, the promotion of necessary measures to insure its continuance.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Shockley, please give your name in full and your occupation.
STATEMENT OF LOUIS W. SHOCKLEY, SNOW HILL, MD. Mr. SHOCKLEY. I am Louis W Shockley. I am a broiler producer from Worcester County, Md., which is near the heart of what we call the original commercial broiler producing area. I feel that I represent the Delmarva broiler producers even though it consists in part of three States, which is Delaware, eastern shore of Maryland, and eastern shore of Virginia.
It goes to make up Delmarva. The poultry producers of the area have always been very strong and firmly against any and all forms of price supports, Government subsidies, easy profit money or Government financing in the poultry business. We would rather paddle our own canoe and make out the best we can and instead of having rigid price controls, with the Government telling us what to do, how to do it, when to do it and, above all, how many chickens we can produce and when we can produce them.
Gentlemen, that is the feeling of the Delmarva poultry people.
: The CHAIRMAN. Congressman Fountain has just come in.
Mr. SHOCKLEY. If grains which make up our feeds, which after all is highest cost in producing broilers, if they are going to be rigidly supported at high cost, we may have to change our thinking in the broiler business on whether we want help, but we sincerely hope not.
The CHAIRMAN. To keep them in business, to keep your broiler business going, don't you think something ought to be done to protect the grain grower?
Mr. SHOCKLEY. We have no complaint certainly with the grain producer getting a sufficient revenue from his grains. We think he ought to have it but I am saying if the prices are rigidly enough at a high enough cost supported, then in the broiler area or in the broiler business we may have to change our thinking as to whether we want relief. We would rather be free. We don't want help; don't want Government in our business.
The ('HAIRMAN. The only grain that is now supported anywhere near 90 percent, I think, is corn. Some other grains are supported at as little as 70 percent of parity. You don't think that is excessive, do you?
Mr. SHOCKLEY. Of course, Senator, corn is one of the largest ingredients in broiler feeds. It makes up well over 50 percent of our feed.
The CHAIRMAN. You think that they should not be protected or if they are you want protection, too; is that it?
Nr. SHOCKLEY. No; I wouldn't say that. We are not asking for protection yet and we realize that those grain farmers—I can't say they do or do not need protection; I am not a grain farmer-of course we know they need reasonable prices to make a profit. But the only thing from that standpoint we in the broiler area would be interested in is that those prices don't get entirely out of line so that it would raise our cost of production to where our product would be so high that the housewife couldn't buy it.
The CHAIRMAN. Don't you concede that in the price of your feed the manufacture of it costs more than the grain itself, is the largest part of the cost?
Mr. SHOCKLEY. No, sir. The ingredients' cost is much greater than the manufacturing cost.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you do that on your own farm?
STATEMENT OF ALONZO C. EDWARDS, GREENSBORO, N. C. Mr. EDWARDS. I am Alonzo C. Edwards, a farmer. That is my occupation. I am from eastern North Carolina. I am a producer of tobacco, cotton, peanuts, sweet potatoes, some small grain, and in a small way livestock. I try to diversify my agriculture.