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munist-dominated countries will move to take up the "room" provided by the acreage reserve just as they have taken up much of the “room” provided in world cotton and rice markets as we have cut back through acreage allotments and marketing quotas in 1954 and 1955.
We recommend adoption of the "conservation reserve” section of the soil-bank plan with emphasis on soil-and-water conservation and the building up of our forest resources.
Long-range benefits to the United States could come from a program to encourage the voluntary shifting of a portion of our cropland to grass, trees and water storage. The scope of this program, as outlined by the Secretary, would involve approximately 25 million acres and would be intended as a long-range adjustment in land use. With adequate incentives, much could be accomplished toward accelerating the shifts of actual production in areas of high efficiency, building up fertility reserves and preventing the loss of topsoil to wind and water.
Along that line, we are highly in favor of that for this reason. In our territory, as we are cut back on our cotton acreage we have been putting that acreage in soybeans, for instance. Now, we realize the danger of what that will mean to soybean market farther down the line so we feel that this would be fine.
In other words, when we take it out of cotton and have to take these cutbacks, instead of putting it into soybeans to depress that market, we can put it into soil conservation.
We agree with that heartily.
The CHAIRMAN. On what basis would you expect it would be handled that way?
Mr. PATTESON. Well, in order for it really to be effective, are you talking about what prices?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; that is what I am talking about.
Mr. PATTESON. It would have to be commensurate with what we have been making on soybeans, and I believe as the Secretary recommended the other day, a little bit higher than that.
The CHAIRMAN. That was allotted acres. The Secretary had in mind allotted acres, Mr. Patteson.
Mr. PATTESON. I think, for instance
The CHAIRMAN. He makes a difference between the acres that are taken out of allotment and then the general run of acres that are set aside purely for conservation.
Mr. PATTESON. I thought his program was based on any commodity that there were price supports on, was it not?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Senator Aiken. The conservation reserve applies to all commodities on all acres wherever located, whether the price has been supported or not.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; that is right. But the payments, though, are to be higher on the allotted acres that are taken out of cultivation than on the regular run of soil-conservation acres.
Senator AIKEN. On the conservation reserve which is to be taken out of the allotments, the Secretary indicated that the payments would have to be higher than what the grower would normally expect to receive from producing that crop there; otherwise he would not come out of production.
Mr. PATTESON. You mean the
acreage reserve? Senator AIKEN. The acreage reserve; that is right. Mr. PATTESON. I am sure he is right on that.
Senator AIKEN. And that applies to only four commodities as it is written now. But you understand, that is tentative; that is a proposal.
Mr. PATTESON. But nevertheless, in my own case, this cutback that I have received in cotton for the last 2 years—and this year is going to be the third straight-we are immediately putting that into soybeans, because it is the only other cash crop that we are allowed to grow.
Senator AIKEN. Yes.
Mr. PATTESON. So we would be delighted to put that into the soil conserving end of the program.
Senator AIKEN. That would have to go under the conservation program
Mr. PATTESON. The conservation program.
Senator AIKEN. And be taken out of production for a period of years.
Mr. PATTESON. That would be all right, sir,
Senator AIKEN. Whereas, under the acreage reserve, that is a yearto-year proposition for the next 4 years.
Mr. PATTESON. I understand. But we would be willing to do that because we are being a little selfish even in that, because we realize that when we put it into soybeans and come into competition with the Corn Belt and Wheat Belt, we are not only hurting them and hurting our own price on soybeans, but we are also hurting our price on cottonseed.
The CHAIRMAN. What would you consider a fair return per acre? Mr. PATTESON. I think that is more or less based on the land.
The CHAIRMAN. Take your farm as an example. Give us your farin as an example.
Mr. PATTESON. Well, let us put it this way. Say that we probably average about 25 bushels of soybeans to the acre. A dollar to the bushel, that is $1.50.
Senator THYE. Now, how much more do you earn on cotton ?
I have been trying to get a couple of questions in here for several minutes, Mr. Chairman. I regret that I have
The CHAIRMAN. You will get your turn, Senator, in a minute. Senator THYE. All right, Mr. Chairman. If you want to run a show like this, go ahead.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, that is the way it was run this morning during my absence, and I am sticking to it.
Senator Thys. Thank you. I did not know. You were running a couple of series of questions up there at the end of the table and I thought I had an idea that might contribute something to the value of this hearing, and so I tried to throw it in.
The CHAIRMAN. It will save. It will not deteriorate, will it? You will be able to ask it later.
Senator THYE. Go ahead, Senator. The CHAIRMAN. I just wanted this one answered. Senator Thye. But you and Senator Aiken were just running a crosscurrent of questions, and I just thought I had an idea and I tried to throw it in.
The CHAIRMAN. What I desire to have is simply an answer to my question--that is all—and after he answers my question then you can go on and ask the questions you want. That is the way we have been running this committee and I hope to keep it that way.
Mr. PATTESON. What was the question, Senator?
The CHAIRMAN. The question was how much cash would you require on your own acres?
Nr. PATTESON. On the soil conserving end of it, I would say that I would be glad to rent quite a number of acres at $10 an acre.
The CHAIRMAN, $10 an acre?
The CHAIRMAN. Wait a minute. Is that the profit that you make on soybeans?
Mr. PaTreson. No. Let me explain. You see, I hire no day labor at all. I have quite a large farm but they are all tenant farmers. I do not raise an acre of cotton or an acre of anything. I have some cattle. But mine are all tenans. I have a tenant on my farm, and they are family-size tenants, you see. So I just get a proportion of what comes off of that.
Say that that acre will produce $10 out of soybeans. Then I get $10.You see, I get one-fourth of it.
The CHAIRMAN. What would your tenant get?
The CHAIRMAN. No, no. But I mean, if you were paid $10 by the Government, what would your tenant get?
Mr. PATTESON. What I think is going to happen on this-of course it has already happened—there are going to be quite a few tenants that are not going to be there.
The CHAIRMAN. So it would reduce the number of people that you now have as tenants ?
Mr. PATTESON. There is no question about that.
Mr. PATTESON. That is right. That is what would happen. But that is what is happening, as I say, already, because every time we get cut back, we are not forcing them off; it is the economic conditions. There is not enough cotton there for a family to make a living on. So they are leaving the farms by the thousands, anyhow.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Thye, do you desire to ask a question?
Mr. PATTESON. No. 7. We recommend drastic revision or outright suspension of all foreign aid programs tending to stimulate production abroad of commodities in surplus supply in the world markets or on which production is curtailed within the United States.
No. 8. We note with interest that the Secretary indicated he would increase price support levels for protein crops such as soybeans and flaxseed. We hope that he will take similar action on cottonseed.
9. A planned program of dispersal outside normal trade channels, and aimed at the utilization of surplus cotton for the relief of less fortunate citizens, is indicated as desirable under present conditions.
A stamp plan or some other plan is suggested so that cotton wearing apparel and household necessities, including mattresses and other articles of cotton, may be channeled directly to low-income families and eleemosynary institutions, either at a low cost or as a direct donation from the Government. Such a program would serve a two fold purpose and would tend to strengthen rather than complicate domestic markets. The CHAIRMAN. Any questions? (No response.) The CHAIRMAN. Thank you ever so much, sir.
Mr. PATTESON. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, thank you very much for the opportunity to appear.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Gilbert Parker.
Will you give us your name in full for the record, and your occupation, please?
Mr. PARKER. Gilbert F. Parker. I am a cotton farmer. I live in Tiptonville, in Lake County, Tenn.
The CHAIRMAN. All right, proceed, sir.
STATEMENT OF GILBERT F. PARKER, TENNESSEE AGRICULTURAL
COUNCIL, TIPTONVILLE, TENN.
Mr. PARKER. I ask your indulgence to read this.
I am a director of the Tennessee Agricultural Council and am appearing here today in behalf of that organization. I am also a director of the American Cotton Producer Associates, whose repre. sentative just spoke to you.
The Tennessee Agricultural Council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the support and improvement of the economy of our State. We speak for Tennessee cotton farmers and appreciate the opportunity to present their views.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you agree with the statement just made by Mr. Patteson on behalf of the organization that he spoke for?
Mr. PARKER. I do.
Mr. PARKER. The people of Tennessee depend upon agriculture for a major part of their income. We have but a few large industries in our State and, in most of our counties, all segments of our economy and society depend either directly or indirectly upon the agricultural dollar. Cotton accounts for approximately 50 percent of the total income from farming. We have 263 cotton gins, 30 compresses, and 13 oil mills serving over 56,000 Tennessee farmers growing cotton for their living. The average cotton acreage per farm in Tennessee is less than 9 acres.
The problem that we wish to emphasize is concerned with the drastic decline and loss of a reasonable or fair share of the world cotton export trade. Had we continued to export at our historic level, we would not now be faced with a cotton problem.
Senator EASTLAND. Mr. Chairman, could I ask him a question there! The CHAIRMAN. Yes, Senator.
Senator EASTLAND. Mr. Parker, of course, you know that the Department of Agriculture has favored the export pricing program for cotton. That is true, is it not?
Mr. PARKER. Yes.
Senator EASTLAND. Now, it has been blocked by the State Department?
Mr. PARKER. That is my understanding.
Senator EASTLAND. Yes, sir. Now, do you agree that it has been blocked at the instance and by the influence of 4 or 5 international cotton shipping houses that have influence with our State Department ?
Mr. PARKER. I do.
Senator EASTLAND. In other words, you think that our foreign cotton policy has been manipulated to enrich those 4 or 5 corporations; is that true?
Mr. PARKER. That is the only conclusion I can arrive at, Senator.
Senator EASTLAND. Yes. And we have hundreds of thousands of farmers lined up on one side with 4 or 5 great corporations on the other side?
Mr. PARKER. That is about it.
Senator EASTLAND. And those corporations are able to influence governmental policy; is that correct?
Mr. PARKER. They seem to, yes, sir. We do not. And I speak as a small cotton farmer.
Senator EASTLAND. Now proceed.
Mr. Parker. As we see the problem today, we have only two courses before us. One course—and let us call it the negative course, if you please—is to continue to operate as we have in recent years. Under this program, the cotton farmers of the United States will make the supply adjustment for the entire world. The United States will continue as a residual supplier in world markets. This means continued stepdowns in acreage allotments. At the same time, foreign production will continue to increase and become more firmly entrenched. Thus, the United States share of the world market will become smaller and smaller. If our exports continue at the present rate for the remainder of this year, they will have dropped from nearly 50 of the world total in 1949 to approximately 20 percent. Actually, the figure at the moment is 19 percent.
The October 1955, monthly review of the world cotton situation, published by the International Cotton Advisory Committee, Washington, D. C., summarizes the situation as follows:
As the season progresses, it becomes increasingly obvious that aggregate free world production outside the United States will set a new record high for the postwar period—indeed, an all time record. On present estimates production is put at approximately 17 million bales compared to 15.5 millions in 1954–55. Several important observations can be made concerning cotton production outside the United States :
(1) Production has increased every year since 1947-48 and in the aggregate has almost doubled over this period.
(2) The upward trend in cotton production is apparent in virtually all countries.
(3) The rate of increase has accelerated in the last two seasons.
(4) Of late, this increase has occurred despite the tendency to lower cotton values.
(5) Cotton production has now become entrenched as a major industry in many countries where cotton was relatively important a few years ago.
(6) The continuous upward trend in cotton production has exploded the myth that the production potential for cotton outside the United States is limited.
(7) If present trends continue, in two more seasons cotton production outside the United States may be sufficient to meet all consumption requirements outside the United States without any imports from that country whatsoever.