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one-hundredths per farm. We would like to ask the Senate Agriculture Committee if they will retain the minimum allotment if they possibly can of five-tenths, that they retain the acreage allotment and forget about the poundage allotment in our case. I would like to make a very brief report about the handling of the Commodity Credit through the Farmers Federation. They resold all Government tobacco through the 1951 crop, three-quarters of the 1952 crop, and over half the 1953, and we have sold last week all the lower grades of the 1954, which is certainly a bright picture on burley tobacco.
We would also like to say we appreciate the Government making it possible for farmers to receive 90 percent of parity in western North Carolina. We are in urgent need of some more money for the mountain people. The average farm in the mountains is about 40 acres and about 20 percent of those farms that can be tilled or used as grazing
I am going to suggest to the Senate committee that they consider very seriously in using this land they talked about, taking out of production, that it be planted in some kind of forestry. I know our section, it would yield very well to that and would give an income to the farm people. It might be also necessary to give them a little money to pay the taxes on that land while the timber is in production and growing.
That is about all I have to say.
At this point in the record we will insert a letter, dated November 12, 1955, and addressed to this committee, signed by Joseph Higdon, treasurer of the Farmers Federation, Asheville, N.C. (Mr. Higdon's letter follows :)
ASHEVILLE, N. C., November 12, 1955. UNITED STATES SENATE AGRICULTURAL COMMITTEE,
Raleigh, N. C. GENTLEMEN : The Farmers Federation Cooperative, acting as agent for Commodity Credit Corporation in supporting burley tobacco in North Carolina, has distributed $119,967.78, representing the balance due to burley producers after handling charges, such as hauling, redrying, storage, insurance and selling costs were deducted. This distribution represents 5.28 percent of the amount of burley tobacco handled by the Farmers Federation Cooperative for Commodity Credit Corporation.
We have sold all crops up through 1951 crop year and as of this date there has been no losses sustained on any crop handled which has been sold.
The balance of tobacco on hand as of this date is as follows: Crop:
900, 440 1953_
1, 316, 254 1954_
5, 350, 786 We have sold the large amount of the 1952 crop and considerable amount has been sold from the 1953 and 1954 crops, leaving the above amount on hand as of this date. Yours very truly,
FARMERS FEDERATION COOPERATIVE,
JOSEPH HIGDON, Treasurer. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Brown? Give your name, please, and your occupation.
STATEMENT OF SAM C. B. BROWN, STATESVILLE, N.C.
Mr. Brown. I am Sam C. B. Brown, dairy and crop general farmer from Iredell County. I would like to concur with the thinking in regard to the soil bank, rental plan or what-not. I want to also agree with the gentlemen preceding me in regard to forestry. I would sug; gest a 10-year plan and pay the farmer a rental fee of 6 percent of the value of the land plus the setting of the trees. For any other crop that would go into grass, I would recommend the same thing. Six percent of the value of the land plus whatever the Federal Government would like to have done with the grass or what-not.
They would bear that expense. That will take care of tobacco land, cotton land, wheat land, grazing land, almost any kind of land because in 16 years and a little more it will pay for itself and if I had any money I would be willing to buy the land from other individuals and rent it for 16 years for the total value of the land.
I don't mean what is on the taxbooks. I mean what it will sell for at this time.
Now, in regard to the allotment of acres or units I believe that could be handled by each individual enterprise. You might give the farmer a choice as to whether he would like to have 10 acres of cotton or 10 bales. Supposing previously he had 12 acres and 12 bales. I believe that the farmers upon any fair rental basis, allotment basis, will voluntarily produce the food and fiber needs for this Nation. 'I believe they will do it. They will do it. I believe they will voluntarily take out of production whatever is the right amount of acres if they are assured the cost of production.
I want to read one little item here. Mr. Joe Doaks, a farmer in my area, gave me permission to use these figures. He has an investment of $27,000 and during the years of 1952, 1953 and 1954 his total income from crops and livestock and products sold at wholesale, I want to emphasize wholesale, was $8,298. That is actual.
The CHAIRMAN. Per year?
Mr. Brown. Yes, per year, average of the 3 years. Total expenses for this farmer, Mr. Joe Doaks, leaving out anything for his labor, was $7,285. So that left a balance of $1,013 for that farmers' labor. Take even 2,000 hours, which is very low for the man that has the dairy, and has cotton and has wheat and other general crops, I want to make it low, I asked him to let me make it low, 2,000 hours would only bring him 50.7 cents an hour when the national minimum is 75. That isn't right.
The CHAIRMAN. We are trying to cure that.
Mr. Brown. I want to make this statement: It is noted that the farmer like no other producer sells at wholesale and buys at retail. I have illustrated that above. The difference in this item up here, the difference between what he bought and what he sold and what he bought at retail would give him $657 if he could have the difference between retail and wholesale.
Now, this farmer went out to the machinery dealer, to the feed dealer, fertilizer dealer and bought and will continue to do just like he has always done,
but we are asking and I am asking for Joe Doaks and myself that the Federal Government make up the difference between
the retail and wholesale which would give Mr. Doaks 28.3 cents per hour more, which would only give him an hourly wage of 79 cents, and that is not out of line with the minimum.
Now in the future, shortly, we will have $1 per hour, which you gentlemen, you Senators and Representatives, have said is the minimum, $1. I don't know how to get that other 21 cents. I really don't. But I have tried to show you where you can get the 28 to make it up to 79.
The dealers in machinery will approve of it. They told me they are in favor of it. The producers of machinery would be in favor of it. Producers of all these things that the farmers buy would be in favor of it. And I believe it can be sold to the consumers who naturally will have to pay it or the taxpayers, because you are only asking, we are only asking that you pay us the difference between retail and wholesale, we can't buy at wholesale.
Now, the Government could buy at wholesale for us but we can't organize and buy at wholesale.
The CHAIRMAN. Why not? Can't you form a cooperative? We have a splendid law on the statute books now that would permit the farmers of this country to organize themselves into cooperatives in various parts of the country and if they used that law as Congress intended to use it, you go somewhere and you get all of these things you are talking about wholesale just the same as other cooperatives are doing it.
Mr. Brown. I beg your pardon, but they don't get it wholesale. I belong to the cooperative. The cooperative has to sell at retail.
The CHAIRMAN. I know, but just the cost of handling it, which is little or nothing.
Mr. Brown. It is more than that.
Mr. Brown. You are saying that about the North Carolina Cooperative Association.
The CHAIRMAN. I don't know one from the other, but the cooperatives were permitted to be organized for the purpose of permitting farmers to buy in bulk for themselves and sell to themselves in bulk with a little service charge, and then that same cooperative can take the products that the farmers produce and sell that on a cooperative basis and if a little more of that were done you might get some of these buyers here to respect you more and pay you more for what you produce.
Mr. Brown. That is true. I will agree with you. I will do my part in that and a lot of other farmers will, too, but there is already a precedent in this problem. The Congress of the United States has permitted and advocated parity selling, 90 percent, now it is flexible. All I am asking is parity buying.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, sir.
STATEMENT OF J. M. RAMEY, MARSHALL, VA.
Mr. RAMEY. I have a prepared statement I am not going to follow at all because there are several things I have picked up I want to talk about. I will be brief. I have a story to tell you to illustrate
the point that I think you will remember after you forget a lot of these things.
First, I want to point out that several persons on this stage today have said that farmers in this community had a special problem. That isn't true. All farmers have the same problem. None of them make as much money as they think they ought to make. That is the problem. Maybe there are too many of them in it.
The CHAIRMAN. Too many farmers?
Mr. RAMEY. Maybe. I think before we end up we will have less on the farms than we have now.
The (HAIRMAN. You don't want that to come to pass, do you? Mr. RAMEY. I think it is going to be a necessity. The CHAIRMAN. I hate to see the day come when the production of your livelihood, food and fiber, will be put in the hands of a handful of people.
Nr. RAMEY. I don't think it will ever be a handful, but those that produce it must be able to make a living at it.
The CHAIRMAN. It was only about 65 or 70 years ago when you had almost 70 percent of your people engaged in the production of food and fiber and it is predicted that within the next 10 or 12 years you are going to have about 10 percent. Do you think that will be a healthy situation ?
Mr. RAMEY. We don't have much more than that now.
The CHAIRMAN. A little under 14. Then it might come to as low as 8 percent. I think we ought to do something in order to keep the small farmer in business if it is possible.
In other words, encourage a farmer to remain on the farm and try to attract more. I am sorry you were interrupted.
Mr. RAMEY. During the discussion here there has been a good deal of discussion of price-support level. From my point of view the level of price support is not particular material. Any commodity can have the price at whatever level they want if they control production. They can have a 125 percent if they are willing to do the things that are necessary to do it.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean the farmers on a voluntary basis?
Mr. RAMEY. On a voluntary or under Government program, either one, they can have it if they are willing to pay the piper. Tobacco people have done it, peanut people have done it to a slightly less extent and others have not done it. The support level doesn't make any particular difference because we had a 90 percent support level where grains and cotton were selling at considerably below that. So your support level doesn't make any difference unless you have controls.
Now, if we are willing to do it we can control it, but the acres that we take out of those must go into some kind of a pool where they won't be used. The only thing that I see that you can put those into that can't be used for some other commodity is forests. The CHAIRMAN. What would you do in areas where you
grow forests? You have thousands of acres in the West where you can't grow any kind of trees. What would you do with that land ? If the problem were to be solved in Virginia, in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, we would have a picnic doing it, but we have to legislate for 48 States and I have been over areas on this trip in Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, and other States where you can't grow any kind of trees. So your plan may not apply there.
Mr. RAMEY. That is the only one I know of that doesn't compete with anything else. Now, in some of those Western States you may get it back into some sort of range grass but then you get in competition with cattle.
The CHAIRMAN. That would hurt you here.
Mr. RAMEY. That doesn't make a solution. Well, we have a flexible support price which I say doesn't make any particular difference because unless you control production you don't get that price for it.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. RAMEY. It is my belief that we have gradually got to abandon vovernment in agriculture.
Mr. ('OOLEY. When you do, you will go bankrupt before harvesttime. You couldn't stand it. Every farmer in North Carolina would be in bankruptcy, right now. When the Government is out you will get out pretty quick.
Mr. RAMEY. I don't say you can get out tomorrow or next year or in the next 10 years, but that is an aim.
The CHAIRMAN. That is a goal we aim for. But it is to work out of the present program of surplus and return health to the farmer. Have you any suggestion to offer on that?
Mr. RAMEY. I have offered most of the suggestions and I will tell you the story I said I would tell you to illustrate the point of what happens.
I am a beef cattle man and from animals on the farm we learn a lot about people and sometimes we learn a lot from people about animals, but when we used to have more horses on the farms than we do now, you ran into trouble with them. If you had a sick horse and he could not get up you put a sling under him and pulled him up on his feet. And once you got him on his feet he would put his feet down and you could loosen the sling; maybe have to keep it there a few days in case he lost his balance and feil, but he would stand there.
You can take a cow and do the same thing with her but when you get her up to the top she comes down on the ground. She is perfectly content to lie there in the sling and you can let the sling down, you can raise it up, doesn't make any difference. She will ride up and down with the sling all day long. The only way you can get that cow up on her feet is to let her lay on the ground until she is well enough or makes up her mind to get up and she gets up by herself.
Now, this country has a lot more cows in it than they have horses. And there are a lot more people that are like cows than there are like horses in this country now. As long as we have support prices and Government programs that they think are going to do their job for them, they spend most of their time figuring out ways to beat that
program rather than to figure out their own salvation as to how on their own farm they can get a living made.
Mr. COOLEY. I have a question. Are you in the beef cattle business? Mr. RAMEY. Yes, sir.
Mr. COOLEY. You are advocating that the Government get out of agriculture. Just tell us in what way the Federal Government is interfering with you as a beef cattle man? What law have we that now embarrasses you in any way?