« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Mr. COOLEY. Did you favor that law?
Mr. COOLEY. The committee brought out the bill to give you a pricesupport program on an unlimited production; did it not?
Mr. SULIN. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. This is the first excitement we have had since October 23. Let's not argue.
Mr. SULIN. I don't want to argue.
Mr. COOLEY. I am already straight. You are the one who is out of line.
The CHAIRMAN. Let’s proceed in order, please. As I understand you, you wanted the law to be amended so that when a farmer votes he can vote for acreage controls or poundage.
Mr. SULIN. Yes, sir. In the State of North Carolina he has an option. When referendum is presented he has an option to take either way, whether by acreage control or by poundage. We in Maryland don't believe that the poundage controls is the solution. We don't believe that is the solution up there because the farmers will cheat. Any time you enact a law-and you have an audience right here-90 percent of them are sitting there figuring how to get around that law.
Mr. COOLEY. They are not cheaters.
Mr. SULIN. It is the truth. Let's face it. I know when I hear about a law I am trying to figure how to get around it and the way farmers get around it with tobacco is putting rows closer. I am trying to offer a solution of what I think will keep that from happening.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean stop cheating?
Mr. Sulin. Yes. I say as the Department of Agriculture reduced acreage allotments in the flue-cured belt and burley belt the poundage has gone up by the millions of pounds and under the poundage law this would be entirely eliminated. We seriously believe that the elimination of the rigid support price and practice of flexible support prices it would help to adjust current production to consumption. Our economy then can be and will be where it belongs. It is my honest opinion that you should take the farmers' problems out of politics and to always get opinions from farmers and farmers only.
If any of you gentlement were going to invest $10,000 you wouldn't ask a blacksmith, you would ask a banker.
Mr. COOLEY. You are for flexible supports; are you?
Mr. Cooley. In other words, you are perfectly willing to penalize the diligent farmer who is able to increase his per-acre yield and put him on a par with the average run of farmers ?
Mr. SULIN. No, sir.
Mr. COOLEY. How would you determine your poundage for tobacco to be allotted to each acre?
Mr. Sulin. Well, you know that the Department of Agriculture designates how many acres are to be grown. It could do the same with poundage. The records will show you over a period, the way they tried to do it in Maryland was try to take a 5-year average of the number of acres that farm was in production and do the same thing with poundage.
Mr. COOLEY. You would give the average production over a period of 5 years?
Mr. Sulin. That would be his starting point of poundage.
Mr. COOLEY. You would never encourage him to increase his peracre yield? That is what the colleges and experiment stations are trying to do.
Mr. Sulin. That would defeat the cause, then. We would be producing, if my land now produces 700 or 800 pounds per acre I don't care, that college or who it is, they don't want me to produce a thousand pounds. They don't want me to buy more fertilizers and burn my land up. Mr. COOLEY. You could produce 2,000 if you could.
Mr. Sulins. That would be all right, so the Department of Agriculture would cut down on the poundage, I would be cheating.
Mr. COOLEY. You would be what?
The CHAIRMAN. To what extent have you increased your production in tobacco in Maryland in the last 10 years?
Mr. SULIN. That carries about the same. Unless an act of God like the hurricane came this year, and our production I think is estimated at about 35 million pounds.
The CHAIRMAN. On your particular farm you mean to say that your poundage that you produce per acre is the same today as it was 10 years ago under the same conditions ?
Mr. SULIN. Yes, sir.
Mr. SULIN. The real truth of this is I am trying to produce a good grade of tobacco and if I were to put more fertilizer under our tobacco or move the rows in closer, it would produce an inferior grade.
Mr. Cooley. How many years in the last 10 years have the Maryland growers controlled acreage?
Mr. SULIN. Two times.
Mr. COOLEY. You are complaining about having a surplus and you have done nothing to prevent the surplus?
Mr. Sulin. We don't have a surplus.
Mr. Sulin. I am complaining about when there is a surplus in this State or in the burley that it reflects back to us.
Mr. COOLEY. Why?
Mr. COOLEY. I thought you grew a special type of tobacco that could not be substituted for any other.
Mr. SULIN. When we are under controls it all reflects back, sir, right back to where our tobacco is. Mr. COOLEY. You are not under controls? Mr. Sulin. Not now, but were we under controls it would. Mr. COOLEY. Nobody is trying to force you under controls. Mr. SULIN. You didn't say a word, sir. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Mr. Ferbee. Give your full name and occupation.
STATEMENT OF HARRY C. FERBEE, CAMDEN, N. C. Mr. FERBEE. Harry C. Ferbee. I haven't got a brief. I didn't know I was going to be called on.
The CHAIRMAN. Your name is on here as being a good farmer. Mr. FERBEE. Some think I am and some think I am not.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you any suggestions to make as to how best to solve this problem?
Mr. FERBEE. I don't know that I can contribute much. I might contribute a little. As I see it, the control program that we have had hasn't done much to cut the overall picture. Control tobacco, put it in grass, make more cattle, what have you done?
Control on corn and put it in milo; what have you done? It looks like something has to be done along that line.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean to control total acres?
Mr. FERBEE. I also think there is merit in the suggestion made to not compel a man to plant or lose his acreage. If he could lay out 2 or 3 years without losing his acreage you might have less acreage in some of those commodities.
The CHAIRMAN. Would that not end up in freezing the acres on a farm whether they plant it or not?
Mr. FERBEE. I would not mean do it over too many years. But you take during the potato acreage control, I am a potato farmer although I grow a lot of other things, the Department asked North Carolina to cut so much and I will use California as an example, they asked her to cut, we stayed in line and a little less, California increased every year and the next year they got the benefit of that increase in making their allotments for another year. I don't see how you can hardly work that.
Mr. COOLEY. You know you cannot have a potato support price unless you have controls. We fixed that in the law.
Mr. FERBEE. Personally, I would like to see some way the market could control potatoes.
Mr. COOLEY. You cannot control production of potatoes. We tried it and it failed disastrously and cost the Government almost $500 million.
Mr. FERBEE. I am not in favor of it.
Mr. COOLEY. We enacted the law under which you cannot have price supports on potatoes unless you have acreage allotments and marketing quotas.
Mr. FERBEE. I agree with you.
Mr. COOLEY. Is there a single Federal law on the books now that either you or anybody else in this room want to repeal outright or do
you advocate the enactment of a single new law that is not now on the books which would give the Secretary of Agriculture any more power than he now has?
Mr. FERBEE. You ask me a question I don't know if I am capable of answering
Mr. COOLEY. We have numerous laws and I voted for them over a period of 21 years and if there is 1 law which I voted for in those 21 years which somebody wants repealed, I want it named and numbered so that I may look at it.
Mr. FERBEE. I wouldn't say we have any laws that are not good. I think they need improving on.
Mr. COOLEY. Do you know of any authority the Secretary of Agriculture should have that he does not now have?
Mr. FERBEE. It looks like he has enough now. Mr. COOLEY. He has more than he knows what to do with? Mr. FERBEE. Yes. The CHAIRMAN. Anything further? Thank All right, Mr. Carper. Give your full name and your occupation, please. STATEMENT OF WARREN K. CARPER, CHRISTIANSBERG, VA, Mr. CARPER. I am Warren Carper, from Christiansberg, Va. The CHAIRMAN. What is your occupation?
Mr. CARPER. I am a farmer; partially I am a farmer, I will qualify that statement, Senator. I come from an area of Virginia which is a county, that is Montgomery, in southwest Virginia. Southwest Virginia agriculturally is very diversified. Of course we consider it diversified although we do not enter into the production of many of the price-supported commodities. The money that we as farmers derive for a living comes from livestock. And as most of the men and women here, and particularly from our area, realize we have no support on it. We are caught in a price squeeze. "It is the opinion of the farmers of our area—I am not speaking for all of southwest Virginia, though, I am from the resolutions committee that met yesterday in Richmond for the Farm Bureau and I do know the position that resolutions committee has taken on some of the issues concerning agriculture as far as the Farm Bureau is concerned in the Commonwealth of Virginia. But as for the farmers of Montgomery County we are in favor of flexible parity and we are also in favor that it not exceed a maximum limit of 75 percent and that it be cut down as soon as possible.
The CHAIRMAN. Lower than 75 percent?
Mr. CARPER. All crops that have price supports today. If we have a surplus I would like to see them cut down. That is my own personal opinion and the opinion of the farmers in our area.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think that would have the tendency of causing the farmers to grow less?
Mr. CARPER. I do.
The CHAIRMAN. We have had the flexible price supports on dairying. In 1953 90-percent supports were continued, as you may recall, by Mr. Benson and the production in 1953 was 121 billion pounds of milk.
Mr. CARPER. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. The flexible price support was put on last year and production was increased by almost 2 billion pounds of milk and this year with the flexible price support we will have the greatest production of raw milk ever known, 124,200 million pounds, or an addition of over 3 billion pounds more than we had under 90-percent price support. How do you account for that!
Mr. CARPER. I will say this: There are certain modifications and certain methods we feel that could be used and I am almost positive that I heard and I will say that some people that don't talk so loud
up here, you can't hear them back there and you can't hear them, that is not your fault and not the fault of anybody in the room, but at the same time we feel like when America ranks 13 among nations of the world in consumption of milk, one of the greatest foods we have, if the farmers of the Nation are interested in selling dairy products with the population we have, that we can radically reduce that surplus.
We feel that, by advertising and other methods and with proper information coming from our Department of Agriculture, we feel that condition can be improved but in order to continue we do feel that if we had a soil bank and take acres out of production and not have them diverted from one source to another—and I happen to know personally of areas in the eastern part of our State in the Peanut Belt with farmers with 50 acres and they diverted, they didn't divert, they diverted; when they had controls on peanuts they put them in barley and other grains, and came into southwest Virginia and bought cattle and put them in direct competition with us.
Of course I am a farmer and I have to be a contractor to live. We have had 3 years of disastrous drought in our county and with falling farm prices and increase in commodities, we have to buy it is extremely difficult to make the ends meet and of course our farm is not so small. We have around 1,500 acres and we can produce quite a few cattle. We produce quite a few sheep, too, but at the same time I find the contracting much more lucrative than I could farming, though basically I would rather remain on the farm if we could get an agricultural program worked out whereby we can make a legitimate and honest living and stay there, and enjoy the hills of southwest Virginia.
The CHAIRMAN. When did you start farming ?
Mr. CARPER. I was born on the farm and I live on the farm now, that has been in the name that I have for the last five generations, and I hope to remain there if taxes don't get to the point I can't stay on it.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you propose taking all price controls?
Mr. CARPER. Reduce them and if they don't have parity, the way we feel about it is this
The CHAIRMAN. What would be the advantage of reducing them, make the farmer poorer? I want your point of view. By the way, may I state to the witnesses here that the questions that I ask or other members of this committee ask, as well as those asked by Congressman Cooley, are not to be interpreted as the way we feel about the problem.