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views are not the views expressed by the poultry representatives, with the exception of some expressed by the Grange.
I certainly hope that you will find time to hear them. They are short statements; we consider them extremely important.
I thank you again.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you write their names on a separate piece of paper and give that to me, or send them to the clerk? Mrs. McDONALD. Yes; I will. The CHAIRMAN. The next witness is Mr. Mather.
STATEMENT OF ALLEN F. MATHER, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, AGRI
CULTURAL COUNCIL OF CALIFORNIA, SACRAMENTO, CALIF. Mr. MATHER. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, my name is Allen F. Mather, executive secretary of the Agricultural Council of California.
The Agricultural Council of California represents more than 70,000 farmers of the State, and is organized on a commodity organization basis. For example, the Cattlemen's Association, lima beans, et cetera.
Nowhere in the United States is the diversity of agriculture more apparent than here in California.
I think you have seen that today. The CHAIRMAN. I surely have. Mr. MATHER. The problems of agriculture are as diverse as its products and techniques. They have no simple or broadly inclusive solution. There is frequently sharp disagreement among agricultural groups with respect to approach, means, and even goals, in solving agricultural problems; but I speak for more than 70,000 farm producers in the State of California who share the conviction of more than half the farmers in the United States that farmers' cooperatives have successfully solved many of their problems of marketing and have facilitated their purchasing of production supplies.
California agriculture is dominated by specialized farming enterprises. Many California-grown commodities are produced in such quantities that they must seek, find, and maintain market outlets throughout this country and the world. More than half a century ago, California producers perceived the need for united effort in the achievement of their marketing objectives. Men of determination translated this vision into a reality-the strongly integrated marketing cooperatives that have effectively served through years of fluctuating economic conditions, shifting population trends, wide variation in competitive supply situations, and vast technological changes.
In a day when direct assistance from the Federal Government was unknown, producers in this State evolved this solution to their most urgent problem—an adequate and assured market for their products, many of them perishable, many of them then dietary innovations. They found the way to self-help through group effort aided by such approving legislation as the Capper-Volstead Act. And because of their flexibility, their recognition of the need to continue as pacesetters, the farmers' marketing cooperatives of this State have adjusted to evolutionary changes in marketing patterns and are today, as they have been for several decades, preeminent in the marketing of California farm commodities.
For example, California produces about 80 percent of the walnuts commercially grown in the United States and 75 percent of these are cooperatively marketed. Virtually all of the almonds commercially produced in this country are grown in California, and 65 percent of our crop is cooperatively marketed.
California is the only State commercially producing dried fruits, and approximately 40 percent of this production is cooperatively marketed. Seventy percent of the rice, a crop which has risen to great prominence in our production scene since World War II, is marketed through cooperatives.
Close to 90 percent of the citrus fruits grown in California are cooperatively marketed. In the past two decades, cotton has risen from comparative obscurity to become our No. 1 crop in value of product, and about 20 percent of our State's production is cooperatively ginned and marketed.
We have emphasized the importance of cooperative marketing among our specialized crops, but we have found these methods equally well adapted to such commodities as eggs, dairy products, and alfalfa hay. And most of the cooperative marketing associations in California are engaged in processing and packing, as well as distribution and selling.
Nor are their benefits confined to those producers who are their members. Their impact upon products and markets—in quality standards, orderly distribution, and judicious pricing policies strengthens the position and increases returns to producers without as well as within their ranks.
The astute advertising and merchandising of Calavo Growers of California has introduced millions of consumers throughout the United States to their delicately flavored fruit. The benefits of this program have been felt by all growers of avocades—as well as by satisfied consumers throughout America.
For many years the name of Sunkist has been virtually synonymous with oranges and billions of Florida oranges, as well as those California-grown and Sunkist-labeled, have been consumed because Sunkist Growers made consumers conscious of vitamin C.
Not all California prunes and raisins are Sunsweet or Sun-Maid, but nearly all consumers of these nutritious foods have learned about their mineral values from the advertising copy of these two famed cooperatives.
Thousands of egg producers in California have been persuaded to produce more clean eggs through better ranch management practices because several California egg marketing associations have publicized the dangers of quality deterioration as a result of egg washing. Again, the benefits have accrued to producers and consumers alike.
And, at long last, cotton production and marketing is throwing off the shackles of obsolescence and inefficiency, because 3,000 growers in California have initiated concerted action to improve and protect cotton quality. Result? Cooperation all the way—among growers and gins and marketing association, to achieve a uniform and qualityprotected fiber that commands a market premium.
We do not suggest that farmers' cooperatives offer or provide a comprehensive solution to the problems of agriculture or even of the farmers who patronize them. We do submit that these constitute a powerful factor, in California and throughout the United States, in stabilizing market supplies and prices; in continued elevation of quality standards; in educating producers to aim for and achieve a higher quality of product; in informing producers of changing market demands, recognizing that satisfied consumers hold the key to successful marketing.
Farmer cooperatives are not unmindful of the valuable contribution of a friendly Federal Government to their success. Their encouragement has fortunately not been a political issue; it has been a platform of American agriculture. Early in the presidential campaign of 1952, both major political parties went on record in support of farmer cooperatives. In evidence, Senator Estes Kefauver stated :
Marketing and purchasing cooperatives are an important and vital part of our agricultural economy and should be encouraged.
At about the same time, the late Senator Robert A. Taft made this statement:
I believe very strongly in the cooperative principle. Cooperatives are important to the American farmer because in the end they enable him to work out his own problems with less reliance on the Government.
The member-patrons of farmer cooperatives in California and throughout the Nation are hopeful-and confident—that Federal policymakers, including you as members of this most important congressional committee, will continue to acknowledge the influence of cooperatives as farmer-owned, farmer-controlled organizations with clearly defined objectives and practical, progressive, effective means of accomplishing them.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand that Mr. Sehlmeyer has filed a statement for the record.
Next is Mr. George Wilson.
Will you step forward, Mr. Wilson? I notice that you have a statement. Could you highlight that statement for us? We are trying to get as many as we can. If it is inconvenient for you to do that, I will listen to the whole statement.
STATEMENT OF GEORGE H. WILSON, PRESIDENT, CALIFORNIA
FARM BUREAU FEDERATION, BERKELEY, CALIF.
Mr. Wilson. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, my name is George H. Wilson, president, California Farm Bureau Federation, farming in California since 1906.
My principal crops include sugar beets, tomatoes, seed crops, beans, hay, grain, and cattle.
The California Farm Bureau Federation consists of over 60,000 farm families, in all of the agricultural counties of California.
In addition to our general activities, we have commodity services, including 10 commodity departments, well represented throughout the State.
It is difficult to make an accurate statement as to the position of California farmers in November 1955.
Certainly, net farm income has dropped materially in recent years; in fact, in every year since 1947 excepting only 1951. While this is due in part to a fall in farm prices, it is as much influenced by the increase in farm costs of products. Farmers are definitely being pinched, although for the first 6 months reports show a 2-percent increase in farm income for California for 1955, as compared to the 4-percent national decrease.
Our California population has increased rapidly, but both numbers of farms and farmers have remainded about stable in the last 15 or 20 years.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Wilson, you are now stating the problem. I think the committee knows a good deal about that. I wonder if you could confine your statement to a remedy, if you do not mind.
I want to assure you that the entire statement will be put in the record, setting forth the problem, but what the committee would like to get from you is a solution to the problem. Mr. WILSON. I will come to that.
The CHAIRMAN. I know you will come to it. But suppose you come to it now.
Mr. Wilson. Since 1920, except for the war years, farmers have continuously been faced with surpluses. We have tried throughout this time to raise farm prices through Government action, without at the same time adding to the surpluses. This has not been accomplished.
You may remember that after Pearl Harbor and after we were actively in World War II, we still had acreage restrictions on the production of wheat and sugar because of the heavy surpluses then on hand. Most farmers had come to the conclusion that it is just as impossible for a farmer to get a fair price for his commodity in the market place, while our warehouses are bulging, as it is for the producers of radios, television sets, Fords, and Chevrolets, to get a fair market price for their commodity when everyone knows that their warehouses are bulging.
It would seem, then, that our first objective must be to reduce the total farm surpluses to a point where they are not a depressing factor in the market. We have done a great deal with the active support of Congress in developing legislation and programs which have encouraged increased exports of the surpluses.
We hope the actions already taken will result in more exports in a year or two ahead. This may require some changes in State Department policy.
I might say here that it seems to me that there are some things which the Congress can do. Your investigation, I think, is going to help a great deal in that. But I believe there could be some policy statement, even if you went as far as giving to the Department of Agriculture definitely some increased responsibility in this field of export.
Further, the Commodity Credit Corporation should trade more on needed perishable farm surpluses for valuable and easily storable strategic materials. They could do it at the present time, but a little change in directive, I think, from the Congress, would assist in that rather materially.
Another one of the factors which I think is quite real is that, quite naturally, the industrial group of America is far better represented in the State Department than the farmers of America are represented. I have traveled somewhat, and have found this to be true in foreign countries.
I believe that we could designate definitely that there should be agricultural representation within the State Department. We could help this situation quite a bit.
We are exceedingly fortunate that the American economy is stable and that people are eating well. We believe, however, that a well organized and continuing drive supported by the Department of Agriculture, our colleges and farmers and industry, dependent upon agriculture for the increased consumption of animal proteins, could bring material results in reducing our excessive supplies of grains and other livestock feeds.
The beef program, the dairy program, lambs and poultry programs have been good, but we believe a concerted program, including all of the animal proteins, would be most effective. And by this I do not mean just saying that we are going to have a little program. Neither do I mean that the Government should spend a lot of money, because I think other sources would make all of the money available that is needed to carry out a program, but if we really concentrate on an animal protein program in which all of the animal industry, livestock, red meats, poultry, dairying contribute, then we would eliminate a feeling on the part of a lot of people that they cannot get in and support a single program.
I am thinking of the distributing people in the country, and a great many others, who would support, I am sure, an all-out program in this area.
A realistic appraisal, however, would indicate that even with the stepped up foreign and domestic sales we will not reduce our surpluses effectively, if we continue to add to the supply in the warehouses as fast as we now are.
In 1945–55 we sold or gave away 2.1 billions worth of our surpluses, but we added 3.2 billions to our surpluses. This is in dollars. This, of course, is a net loss to us.
We, therefore, must develop an efficient means of actually reducing the overall production of farm commodities for which there is no active demand today.
We have tried restricting acreage for the basic commodities. This has resulted in a very aggressive game on how do we outfox Uncle Sam by producing more on the restricted acreage.
This is demonstrated this year with an increase in production of cotton, in the face of a 14 percent decrease in acreage. This 14 percent diverted acreage has likewise gone into grains, vegetables, and other commodities, further adding to the surpluses and depressing prices for all farmers.
Theoretically I believe farmers recognize that these diverted acres should be prohibited from production of crops, for harvesting or feeding to livestock. We recognize, however, that the administrative difficulties connected with carrying out such a program through compulsion or as a condition for support prices is very difficult.
Any program whether called a soil fertility bank program or under any other name must be simple of administration and relatively easy to assure compliance with this provision. But above all, it must result in a material net decrease in overall farm production and must not only prohibit but must prevent use of these conservation acres for livestock production.
During this period immediately ahead of us much could be done by the Department, colleges and others in assisting farmers in cutting the cost of production for the purpose of increasing that net farm income.