« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
We question the moral right of organized labor to call a strike such as nearly came about this past summer in the dispute between milk drivers and milk distributors, which if called would have inflicted severe financial loss upon the farmers who were not parties to the dispute. The activities of union organizers caused enormous loss to the farmers on Long Island this past summer and labor has served notice that it will not stop until it has enrolled every farmworker. If farmers were so organized that they could withhold agricultural products from the markets and prevent their being brought in by ship, rail, truck, or air, would not labor be the first to condemn them for bringing hunger to the workingman's doorstep? Organized labor should be bound by the same laws and bear the same responsibilities as individuals or corporations.
We feel that every worker is worthy of his hire but we have mixed emotions when we have minimum wage laws for labor and read of their hourly wages and compare it with the 30-cent hourly average for farm operators. All we ask for is equality and we would hesitate to express our views on labor had we not noted that a well-known union official testified on farm problems at an agricultural hearing before the House Committee on Agriculture. Labor costs affect farm costs more than any other item.
We recognize the need for the products of certain industries in national defense. We know that infant industries sometimes need tariffs for protection from foreign competition. When those industries have become strong should not Congress resist the powerful lobbies and reexamine the need for tariffs, subsidies, and like benefits? It is time to inquire if fair-trade laws do not stifle competition and nullify antitrust laws. Industry, today, quickly grants wage increases and accepts other costs knowing that it can pass it all on to the consumer. Stiff competition alone will not help keep prices of manufactured articles down to the level where farmers can afford to buy them.
We know that the farm program as carried on during the past years is definitely not the solution to the farm problem. It has completely nullified the law of supply and demand. As first written, if carefully administered under a modernized parity formula, it might help. Under high rigid supports as extended from time to time the program has forced our Federal Government to buy agricultural commodities at a price which enabled the large operators to realize a profit. This stimulated production. Everyone knows the result. It should not continue.
We feel that if allowed to operate as originally intended the present program with the changes here mentioned might ease us out of this condition. However, a limitation should be placed upon the amount of money any one producer could receive. The program would then act as an insurance against bankruptcy for the farmer in cases such as the end of a war. The same machinery could also be used to stimulate production quickly if a need arose.
We believe that the huge supply of agricultural products in storage depresses our markets. They must be disposed of, down to a normal carryover, as soon as possible. Let us sell or trade them to the needy peoples of the world for anything of value they have in return. Have we lost the ability of the Yankee trader? Let us repeal the law requiring half of such goods to be carried in American ships. Must American farmers alone bear the cost of subsidizing the merchant marine? Let the starving peoples come and get our surplus with their own ships or those they can afford to hire. Let us get trade moving with friendly nations so they will be financially able to buy goods from us. Maybe if we got the law of supply and demand working again, and we kept powerful interests from interfering with it, we would find it a pretty good law after all.
We call your attention to the fact that a serious inequity exists in the Northeast under the present setup. Our products are highly perishable and cannot be stored successfully, hence we do not enjoy the same supports as farmers of other sections. However, we are a large consumer of feed wheat and corn which are supported at high levels. The sale of stored grain not fit for human consumption at reduced prices to this Northeast section would move it out of costly storage and serve to even things up a bit for us. The suggestions that acres taken out of production of the basic crops be rented by the Government or that compensatory payments be made by the Government is one more step toward socialism. Frankly we are skeptical of such plans. The sudden transfer of land from raising supported commodities to unsupported ones will bring more dislocations and hardships. We of the Northeast milkshed protest any large and sudden transfer of such acres to dairying to compete in our already oversupplied market.
Agriculture has one great need that it can not provide for itself because of its unorganized and impoverished state. This need the Government can fill and in so doing benefit every citizen. Congress years ago in the Research and Marketing Act set up a plan for ever-expanding agricultural research. The money was never appropriated and farm research lagged behind. It would take some time for efforts in this direction to affect our economy but when its effects began to be felt they would be permanent and would benefit everyone. We have done wonders in research for better production methods. Let us search with greater endeavor for new and beter ways of preparing our agricultural products for market and especially for new crops and new industrial uses for all agricultural products.
These suggestions have been of a general nature but it is not difficult for one familiar with national laws and events to know where corrections are indicated. The American farmer wishes to be free to make his own decisions. He does not come to the Government looking for handouts, as some would have everyone believe. He does look to the Government for protection of his rights so that all segments of our economy may operate on the same level.
STATEMENT FILED BY ARNOLD SCHMUCKLER AND ARTHUR TUTTLE, DIRECTORS OF
INTERCOUNTY FARMERS COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION, INC., WOODRIDGE, N. Y. We wish to introduce ourselves as Arnold Schmuckler and Arthur Tuttle, directors of Intercounty Farmers Cooperative Association, Inc. We earn our livelihood as full-time poultry farmers in Sullivan, Ulster, and Orange Counties. These three counties are the most intensive poultry- and egg-producing counties in New York State. We have requested an opportunity to appear before this committee hearing as representatives and spokesmen of the membership of Intercounty Farmers Cooperative Association. Intercounty Farmers Cooperative Association represents over 500 poultry, egg, and turkey producers in this 3-county area.
The national economy is sound; corporate profits are up; every segment of our economy is in good financial shape and is doing well, be it heavy industry, automobiles, organized labor, etc. But what about agriculture, wherein farm income is continually dropping; particularly poultry farm income.
We, New York State poultry farmers want to be equal to our urban neighbors. We desire equal educational facilities, equal transportation facilities, and equal social standing and acceptance in our communities. We want to make a decent living for the long hours of work and the tremendous financial investments, which are a part of our business. We work a minimum of a 10-hour, 7-day week, year round, aided and assisted by unpaid family labor. Today's average poultry farm investment is $10 per laying bird (quote, Cornell University Department of Agricultural Economics and other leading agricultural colleges). Because of today's high costs of living and other costs, a poultryman must have a large efficient farm unit. It 1940 a farm of 2,500 laying hens equaled a living. Today, 7,500 laying hens are necessary to make a living. This is a $75,000 investment. Interest at 6 percent is $4,500 per annum. How about labor costs, taxes, insurance, repairs, other overhead, and other expenses?
We have just gone through a disastrous period in our poultry economy. Were it not for groups of farmers working together through the power of cooperative purchasing, which enabled us to get feed and farm supplies at some small saving, we poultrymen would have been even deeper into debt. Our farm (o-ops have been instrumental in effecting savings through efficient group purchasing practices.
Because of the existing economic situation on our poultry farms, the present younger generation is looking elsewhere for a future. They do not relish the long hours of labor coupled with low financial return. The today in industry is toward a guaranteed annual wage, unemployment benefits, sickness benefits, and paid vacations. This also is true of civil-service employment. This is not true of poultry farming today.
Almost everything we purchase for our farm business, be it feed, gas, farm machinery, building materials, even labor, is purchased and paid for at practically full retail price. Our farmers' production, that is, what we have to sell, be it eggs, poultry meat, or turkeys, is sold at below the quoted wholesale market price.
We would like to see continued intensified research in disease problems, in nutrition problems, in breeding problems, and in marketing. We would also like to see the USDA set up a research branch to explore possible conversion of our farm products for uses other than food consumption. Perhaps for uses in industry, chemistry, medicine, etc. Research similar to that in petroleum byproducts, chemical byproducts, industrial byproducts, and coal byproducts. Also an investigation by the USDA into market pricing practices and into daily and seasonal variations in prices, variations unjustified by supply and demand. These market dips have been and continue to be ruinous to poultry producers, as witness today's poultry-meat prices.
We feel that 90 percent of parity would give us a fair return for the investment and labor involved in our industry, so that we may further secure the Nation's agriculture for today and for the future. We feel that this is neither an excessive nor an exorbitant demand, but rather a request which embodies a realistic approach to the poultrymen's problem. January 1954 through June 1955 was a decidedly ruinous period for egg producers, a period during which a disastrous egg-feed ratio existed.
It will take time to overcome the effects of this period. Buying power of poultry farmers was and still is drastically curtailed. Our rural communities and local businesses have felt and are continuing to feel the effects of lower farm income. Poultry farmers have stretched their sources of credit and their credit ratings to the limit. The attitude of the commercial banks in the area toward poultry farmers is one of extreme caution.
We poultry farmers are completely disgusted and disheartened that both political parties, once every 4 years, use us as a football. We would like the same consideration given to poultry farmers as the Government has been giving to other farm groups and to other lobby groups. Now we are asking for fairness, understanding, and consideration. We hope that we poultrymen will never have to come to our Government with demands.
STATEMENT FILED BY JACK B. BISHOP, STEUBEN AREA Potato COUNCIL,
WAYLAND, N. Y. The Steuben Area Potato Council requested time to present their views to you today. But have not received a reply. We respectfully request that you read this telegram to your group and have it inserted in their records as our statement. Our area grows over half of all potatoes grown in upstate New York. We are convinced that there will be a farm program for a long time to come, and we demand comparable protection to that afforded other farmers. As we see it the only way to protect potato growers from diverted acres is to establish acreage allotments for potatoes without going into detail.
We favor legislation similar to S. 2634 introduced at the 81st Congress in 1949 with some important revisions including a national market agreement or similar legislation to withhold low grades, provision for shipping holidays, standby diversion plants, strict control of imports, and a check of system to provide money for research and promotion on a national scale.
If we have the machinery to hold our production somewhere near in line with demand we can then siphon off the small but inevitable surplus through marketing agreements, and will not necessarily need price support except for moderate diversion payments occasionally. We have no faith in any voluntary approach. The ineffectiveness of acreage grades has been demonstrated this year. Potato growers are in a very serious financial condition, are worse than at any time in their history, and the smaller ones will be taken over by large corporate interests. We urge that your committee give potatoes equal treatment in any new farm legislation.
Regarding the overall surplus problem suggest that you consider raising the support level and drastically cutting acreage until the surplus has been brought down to the desired level. In this way the farmers income will be maintained and the Government will be able to sell its surplus at prices that will not show a loss. Possibly a two-price system would be needed to carry this suggestion out. We have faith that your committee will find the answers to many of the problems that are causing such great depression in agriculture when the rest of the economy is enjoying unprecedented prosperity.
STATEMENT FILED BY FORREST BROWNELL, JOHNSONVILLE, N. Y. As a member of the Rensselaer County Poultry Commodity Committee, I have every opportunity to meet and know the leading poultrymen of this county.
Concerning the restriction on acreage that is now in effect for raising wheat, I can make a statement to the effect that I have never heard of any poultryman from Rensselaer County in favor of this practice.
I believe such a practice places New York poultrymen at a disadvantage in competing on the market with their product. With new varieties of grain, improved crop-production methods, and sufficient acreage, I feel, as all poultrymen I have talked with, that it is very unfair to penalize this group to raise not more than 15 acres of wheat. If we could raise more of our own home grown grains I feel we could better meet the present economic situation that is now facing farmers.
This same group of poultrymen are also very much against any price support on eggs.
STATEMENT FILED BY JAMES F. HUXTABLE, PRESIDENT, HERKIMER COUNTY FARM
BUREAU, DIRECTOR OF YOUNG FARMER GROUP, AND ADVISOR, WEST WINFIELD FUTURE FARMERS, WEST WINFIELD, N. Y.
Below you will find the combined views of the three groups of farmers with whom I am directly associated. They are views which have been obtained through individual and group discussions. My own opinion, as a farmer, follows that which has been expressed by the groups. However, in some cases I feel a little stronger than the group expression would indicate.
PRICE POLICIES We feel that the Federal Government should continue with the flexible price support program. That it should certainly not be abandoned now, when some adjustment of production to market demand has started.
We are definitely not in favor of high rigid supports. In high supports we see nothing but an aggravation of a perplexing problem. We believe that high supports lead to the continuation in business of marginal farms and submarginal farmers, to the accumulation of additional surpluses, to production control through allotments, to area unbalance of agriculture, to loss of foreign markets, to unwarranted taxation for unnecesary spending, to loss of independence for farmers, and the eventual socialization of agriculture.
As we discussed these problems it seemed to me that the opinion of the majority was against any further priming of the farm plant through direct Government spending. We felt that price supports should be used to stabilize farm income and guard against financial loss in emergency situations.
ASC PRACTICE PAYMENTS
Here again farmers felt that payment should be made for only those practices which are permanent in nature such as reforestation, pond construction, drainage, and so forth. We are not in favor of increasing the Federal funds which go into ASC payments.
Farmers in our area are in favor of promoting farmer-financed programs for the expansion of domestic markets. We think that the Federal Government should do all it can to stimulate the purchase of our farm commodities in foreign countries.
We heartily agree with any program which through research and education will increase the consumption of meat, milk, and eggs and thereby contribute to the health of all the people.
We are happy to see a decline in Government purchases of dairy products. We look forward to stability in our metropolitan market. A comprehensive order for all areas supplying the market seems to us the best answer. The burden of processing surplus milk should be shared equally by all who take advantage of the supply.
If gasoline is to be taxed for highways by the Federal Government, we want a rebate on that which we use on the farm. This applies to the present 2-cent tax as well as any additional levy.
We do not believe in a continued rise in Federal taxes of any kind. Particularly when it is for the financing of programs which will eventually make the individual the servant of the state.
The social-security law should be changed in respect to part-time and migrant workers. To assume that a farmer should pay social-security tax on this type of labor is unrealistic.
It is thought by farmers in this area that any individual should have the right to work if he wants to do so, and that this privilege should be guaranteed. We feel that it is not in keeping with our American heritage to deprive the individual of this freedom to work. Yet we find this is happening through the unethical tactics of some labor unions.
We the groups of Herkimer County wish to thank you, of this committee, for this opportunity to express our views.
STATEMENT FILED BY DAVID JAFFE, GLEN WILD, N. Y. I am a poultry farmer living in Sullivan County, New York States' largest poultry and egg producing county. For the past few years in our vicinity the farmers have found it difficult to make ends meet. These farmers are good, hard-working men. One has been on his farm since 1938 caring for 7,000 laying chickens. During the past 12 months he was forced to liquidate his flock and go out to work because, he was not earning a living. Another one of our neighbors is an agricultural school graduate, served in the Army, established a purebred herd of cows plus several thousand laying chickens and now finds he must go off his farm to seek work in order to make ends meet. Still another neighbor, also a Veteran of World War II, who upon his return began poultry farming and after a few years had to sell out his flock and go to work in order to earn a living for his family. In this same area there is a large broiler-producing farm operated by three young veterans who have been struggling along to make ends meet, and finally had to diversify and go out to work in order to stay on their farm. Even today this modern plant owned by these veterans is in a most precarious financial condition and its continued operation depends upon the betterment of the agricultural price structure.
Gentlemen, all these people mentioned are hard-working farmers who are willing to work hard in order to stay on their farms. They are good operators who are able to apply the latest scientific methods to farming, combined with the willingness to work all kinds of bours in order to make a go of their farms.
I, as a farmer, believe that support prices for grain and no support prices for poultry and eggs creates a price squeeze, which is one of the main causes of our very severe difficulties. This does not mean that I am opposed to support prices for grain. I am for it. However, some measures must be taken to help poultry farmers. Therefore I would like to see the Government support egg and poultry prices at 100 percent of parity.
Gentlemen, as a farmer I feel that the continued rise in the standard of living of the American worker plus the tremendous business boom that we are experiencing at present is being jeopardized, and indeed will be destroyed, by the depression which has hit the American farmer during the past few years. The country cannot continue to be prosperous at a time when one of the large segments of our economy finds itself unable to purchase what the worker makes and what the businessman has to sell.
* The experience of this country is that depressions begin with the farm population and drag the rest of the country with it. The only way to prevent this is to maintain the standard of living of the farmer on an equal basis with that of the rest of the people.