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The CHAIRMAN. How many acres do
you farm? Mr. EDWARDS. I have a farm of my own and I have others I look afier. Do you want the total! Of my own I have 400.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mr. EDWARDS. Senator, I might illustrate to begin with how the farmers are feeling. You want to know the feeling of farmers.
The CHAIRMAN. I know their feelings pretty well. What I want to know is a solution to their problem.
Mr. EDWARDS. I was glad to hear you make the statement that agriculture was basic and had to survive if the rest of our economy survived. We are in that price squeeze you know about. Farmers I contacted in this State believe in the sound principle on our basic farm commodities of price supports, as long as we adjust acreage.
We believe in the principle of the law of supply and demand. We believe that as long as other groups are subsidized to the extent they are we are entitled to a 90 percent support price as long as we adjust acreage.
We feel that that will help to solve the farm problem about as well as any other solution that has been suggested.
Now, many suggestions have been brought up. Your committee and Congress have played around with flexible supports but we don't feel that will help solve the economic situation as well as when we are willing to adjust acreage; then we feel like 90 percent is the least we should ask for.
We believe that. I do and I believe the farmers I have discussed it with believe our soil conservation program is necessary. We believe that it has proved most beneficial not just to ourselves but to the people of America in building up the soil and in preserving for posterity the lands we are working.
The CHAIRMAN. In that connection we have had quite a few suggestions made to the effect that our farm plant has grown so big that in order to help rid ourselves of some of these surpluses the plant should be reduced. Some suggested 10 percent, others 15 percent, and that this acreage be set aside and worked along the same way as we are now providing for soil conservation. I am wondering what you think.
Mr. EDWARDS. I am inclined to think a soil bank would be a feasible plan and should be tried.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you any formula as to what compensation should be paid to a farmer? Let us say that we start off with a 10 percent acreage decrease covering the whole Nation on cultivated acres. Would you suggest compensation? If so, how much and how woulil you arrive at the figure!
Mr. EDWARDS. Senator, I feel that we should-if we are going to set that soil aside in a soil bank we should conserve that soil when we set it aside by soil conservation practices which would be recommended to us and we at least should be paid the cost of the soilbuilding practices if no more. I am afraid that that would not be sufficient to take care of the smaller farmers we were talking about
a few moments ago because as the smaller farmer sets aside acres he is setting aside
something that he needs a livelihood from and so probably we would have to work out a formula to help that small man to a greater extent than a larger farmer. So any direct figure I would give you would be just out of thin air.
The CHAIRMAN. It has been suggested that it be on a graduated scale as you are now suggesting and it has also been suggested that in addition to such seeds and such cultivation as may be necessary to preserve the soil, we compensate the farmer on a fair return percentagewise on the value of the acres he sets aside.
Mr. EDWARDS. You would have to consider what fair return, what type crop he would have had on that particular soil.
The CHAIRMAN. Some say 50 percent of the profits he might realize on that acre. Some say if the acre is worth a hundred dollars, give a return of at least 6 percent on his money; some have said 5 percent. In other words, what we are trying to do is get suggestions which will help us if we set aside these acres, and to properly compensate the farmer, of course taking into consideration the size of the farm and the locality.
Now to give an instance of the problem, the average farm in the State of Wyoming is only 3,300 acres. In Louisiana it is 90 or less. In North Carolina it is about 40. You can see the problem is one that not only merits a lot of study but it will take good heads to get together to write out a sound formula.
Mr. EDWARDS. I agree with that. That is the reason I made the statement. I don't believe I could stand here and give you a specific figure. The CHAIRMAN. You might do it for North Carolina.
Mr. Edwards. Yes, might have some particular crops in North Carolina but as a whole I could not.
The CHAIRMAN. You have stated you planted cotton, tobacco, and peanuts-three supported crops. To what extent, Mr. Edwards, have you used diverted acres to plant crops that would be in competition with other protected crops ?
Mr. EDWARDS. I am afraid I have planted some of my diverted acres in corn that might be in competition to the corn grower out West.
The CHAIRMAN. Was that corn used by you on your farm to feed
Mr. EDWARDS. Yes, sir.
Mr. EDWARDS. No, we have a few cattle we didn't have 10 years ago but we were raising swine 10 years ago we are not raising now.
The CHAIRMAN. You would have a bad price for them today. This cattle business you have been in right along?
Mr. EDWARDS. In a small way.
Mr. EDWARDS. Those that tried to grow into it have been in a lot of difficulty recently.
The CHAIRMAN. As I indicated a while ago, it does not seem fair for, let's say a wheat farmer, or corn grower in the North, to be curtailing his acreage and then permit the others in other areas to plant a commodity that will cause him more trouble.
Mr. EDWARDS. I believe our farmers in North Carolina will agree to that statement entirely and will be glad to abide by that statement.
The CHAIRMAN. Something ought to be done with these diverted acres and not let them be planted in crops that will conflict with the producers of similar crops in other places where there has been curtailment?
Mr. EDWARDS. Yes; I can say part of mine are in crotelaria, 30 acres that will stay through the winter, soil building crop. We have to start things of that kind.
The CHAIRMAN. Some have suggested that it might be possible to work a program of diverted acres into this program, set aside, say, 10 percent, and instead of curtailing the entire diverted acres we might get a certain percent of it into crops that may be grown and that may be used locally such as feed for poultry and things like that.
Mr. EDWARDS. I think definitely that can be done and many small growers can increase their income by probably going into things of that kind rather than just sticking to the old crops they have produced.
The CHAIRMAN. I think the problem can be solved if only we can get together and bear with each other and that, as I said at the beginning of these hearings, may spell the difference between having a bill and not having a bill that will pass because it is a very touchy subject in many parts of the country where these diverted acres have been used to do violence to other growers whose acres have been cut in the same crop these diverted acres have been used on.
Mr. EDWARDS. Farmers in North Carolina are ready and willing, it is my opinion, to go along with a program whereby these diverted acres will not be planted in crops that will hurt the growers of similar crops in other areas.
The CHAIRMAN. I wish I could say the same for Louisiana.
STATEMENT OF VICTOR A. SULIN, SEVERN, MD.
Senator, after hearing your early remarks about repetition I will leave out part of mine and get to the crux of this thing.
The CHAIRMAN. I can give you assurance your entire statement will be printed in the record.
VIr. Sulin. We in Maryland believe that the rigid support prices and the acreage control has created the surpluses of tobacco. The New York Times stated editorially on November 6 that this committee had heard many complaints but not many remedies. Gentlemen, I now offer for your deep consideration a remedy for the tobacco situation. That is control by poundage. The Department of Agriculture set the poundage for a certain type of tobacco and that would be the figure. Only that number of pounds could be marketed. This would stop all the griping about measurements before and after the harvesting of crops.
The CHAIRMAN. What would you do with the surplus grown on those acres ?
Mr. SULIN. I didn't get that.
The CHAIRMAN. What would you do with the surplus grown on those acres ?
Mr. Sulin. There couldn't be a surplus.
The CHAIRMAN. Suppose a farmer should make a mistake and put an acre more and the Lord would be good, as this year, the Lord has been good in many areas wherein on a given acreage instead of producing what the farmer thought he would produce he went about a third more. Now, assuming that we would have a poundage control here as you suggest and a farmer produced more on his acres than he thought he would, what would you do with the surplus !
Mr. Sulin. Keep it. Keep it for the year when the Lord wasn't too good for him, let him barter with the farmers. That is one thing I think the farmer should have an opportunity to barter among themselves instead of taking it on the market and have his market price drop down.
The CHAIRMAN. How long have you been raising tobacco ?
The CHAIRMAN. And you started out, what was the size of your farm when you started?
Mr. SULIN. Same as today.
Mr. Sulin. Same thing. We have no controls in Maryland. We are afraid of them.
Mr. Cooley. You came here from Maryland to tell us that the acreage allotment and marketing quota law and price support program have been responsible for the surplus we now have in tobacco ?
Mr. Sulix. Yes, sir.
Mr. Sulix. I beg your pardon, sir, we had controls in Maryland 2 years. Mr. COOLEY. How long ago?
Mr. Sulix. Four years ago we had it and 3 years ago we had it, and we voted it out because we were scared and if you let me finish I will tell you why.
The CHAIRMAN. Proceed.
Mr. Sulix. It would stop the farmer from-defeating the real cause it would stop the farmer from planting their crops in their rows closer. As you know, under the present law at the reduction by the Agriculture Committee in acreage the poundage has gone up by the millions of pounds. Yet your dean of agriculture sits here and tells
you this morning that the average pound per acre in North Carolina went up 200 pounds. That didn't happen from an act of God. That happened from putting more fertilizer under the tobacco and it also happened by planting the rows closer. I am here to ask for a law for both acreage and poundage and if people in North Carolina like acreage control it is all right, but we in Maryland don't like it.
The CHAIRMAN. That is what I was going to suggest.
Mr. Sulin. I am calm. I am not excited. Representative Cooley here asked me a thing and the only thing
The CHAIRMAN. Let's keep our heads.
Mr. Sulin. He asked me something, sir. I guess he doesn't know it but he is about the most unpopular Representative in Maryland because we think it was an insult to our intelligence to ask other than a farmer into his committee to testify about the farmer.
The CHAIRMAN. We don't want to be personal. Mr. Sulin. I think it would do you good to know how the people feel, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I am sure the people of North Carolina feel good about him for having sent him so often and I consider him one of the leading Congressmen.
Mr. SULIN. I do, too.
Mr. COOLEY. Leave it in the record. I should like for his colleagues in Maryland to read it.
The CHAIRMAN. Let's go back to this: The farmers of Maryland grow a certain type of tobacco?
Mr. Sulin. Type 32. It has less nicotine and tars in it than any domestic tobacco, noncancerous.
The CHAIRMAN. But now the growers on type 32 were given the democratic right to vote for or against controls?
Mr. Sulin. Yes, sir; each year.
The CHAIRMAN. Why not give the same privilege to people in North Carolina ?
Mr. Sulin. Yes, sir. What I want to ask you is to try to get us a law where it would give the people, the tobacco growers, an opportunity or an option whether to take it on poundage or have it on acreage allotments.
Mr. COOLEY. Will you yield for one point?
Mr. COOLEY. You do not want acreage controls on your tobacco? You do not want a price-support program?
Mr. Sulin. I didn't say that. I am for poundage controls. You are trying to put words in my mouth and I am not going to let you do it, sir.
Mr. Cooley. You said that acreage allotments and price supports resulted in a surplus.
Mr. Sulin. I certainly did.
Mr. COOLEY. How much have you reduced your acreage in the last 3 vears? Mr. Sulin. In Maryland ? Mr. COOLEY. On your own farm. Mr. Sulin. None. We haven't reduced it any. Mr. COOLEY. You haven't reduced acreage in 3 years? Mr. SULIN. Yes.
Mr. Cooley. Three years ago Maryland farmers came to my committee asking for price-support program on an uncontrolled crop. Mr. SULIN. I remember that.