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Mr. COLE. My farm, like those of my neighbors, was reduced to less than half its size by allotments. Our part of the world's cotton market has been taken by Mexico, Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey, Peru, and others.
Meanwhile, wage increases and their effects on the machinery, and supplies we use in our business, coupled with unrelenting efforts of labor union representatives-clothed in the respectable garb of State and Federal bureaucrats—to force us to pay wages beyond our ability and to try to render our Mexican labor agreements unworkable, continue to exert pressure to force me and many of my neighbors out of the farming business.
I had to buy my farm-it wasn't given to me. It isn't paid for, and if present conditions continue, it won't be. Many of us missed the best years of opportunity for farmers while in the service of our country. Now it appears to us that the American farmer has become a pawn in the game of international relations and so-called dynamic foreign policy. Press releases concerning the high individual incomes of farmers won't feed my family nor pay for my farm.
The CHAIRMAN. When did you acquire your farm?
The CHAIRMAN. You are a war veteran?
The CHAIRMAN. How about farm machinery and things like that? Mr. COLE. Farm machinery has more than doubled since I went into farming, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Proceed. Mr. COLE. We need immediate, positive, and bipartisan efforts to develop both an emergency plan for dealing with the present farm crisis and a sensible long-range plan to prevent the present chaotic condition in agriculture from recurring. The prescription that some have suggested—more of the present program—may cure the fever but will likely kill the patent.
Economic studies too numerous to mention emphasize the danger to the rest of our economy of allowing any large segment, and particularly the basic industry of agriculture, to suffer a depression while the rest of the economy enjoys booming prosperity. The present situation strikes hardest at some of our brightest younger farmers, men that an increasingly scientific agriculture can ill afford to lose.
To conserve your time, my remaining remarks are abbreviated in outline form:
1. We believe that the principle of price flexibility is sound.
2. We do not believe that any agricultural program can suceed under present surplus conditions.
3. We recognize that any support program will encounter the same obstacles in recovering our world market that confront the present program, primarily on account of the incredibly low cost of labor which our foreign competitors enjoy. We believe that prompt and vigorous action should be taken under present law and under such programs as may be necessary, to not only recover those markets lost io American cotton producers, but to provide market outlets for an expanding production of American farm products.
4. We agree that any congressional action should take due cognizance of the welfare of the American cotton spinner, our best customer. Any damage to this industry would be shortsighted indeed.
5. The soil-bank plan and other related ideas have many features to commend them; however, to avoid undue hardship in some areas, we recommend that, if such a plan is contemplated, it be of a voluntary nature, on an incentive basis, and that due regard be given to water problems and cost-of-production differences existing between the various agricultural areas.
6. We recommend that the import quota on extra long staple cotton—that is American Egyptian cotton-be reduced to allow an opportunity for this valiantly struggling industry to survive.
I assume that you are familiar with the promotion program of that industry.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Mr. COLE. We ask that restrictions on the shipment of agricultural products under the Cargo Preference Act be eliminated.
The following plan has been discussed with our State cotton and labor committee, and while they have not adopted it, they offer no objection to its presentation.
i. Insulate the present cotton surplus from the market to be disposed of over a period of several years or retained as a reserve for an emergency.
2. Establish a flexible price-support system based on demand for the various grades and staples. If middling. 118-inch cotton was less than, say, 120 percent of supply, the support would be 90 percent of parity. If low middling 73 inch was, say, 130 percent of supply it might be reduced to 85 percent. If 140 percent, say 80 percent, and on down to 75 percent.
Depending on the demand for the particular grade and staple of cotton, this would tend to stimulate farmers to produce for the market.
The CHAIRMAN. In that connection, would it not be better to encourage the production of a salable staple rather than one that we have trouble disposing of? Mr. COLE. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Would it not be better, for instance, if the 7sinch cotton has no ready market in the United States, that it be produced at a very much lower support price than that for cotton that the market desires ? Mr. COLE. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I have a bill in the Congress providing for that, and I hope to work it out.
Mr. COLE. Yes, sir; I am aware of that. That is where I got the suggestion for this second point; it was from your bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
Senator ANDERSON. You believe, do you not, that the accumulation of cotton in the loan is largely of the grades that we are talking about, that just will not move? Mr. COLE. Yes, sir, I do.
I do believe this, Senator Anderson: That some of our cotton quality is good quality cotton, has been priced out of the market; that it would be in demand if it were at a slightly lower price and competing along with other staples, but because of the rigid marketing system,
the rigid support system we have used, some of that cotton has not moved in the trade.
I think the loan is made up not only of some cotton that cannot be sold or will not be used under any conditions, but also some very fine quality cotton.
The CHAIRMAN. As I see the record of the carryover, on August 31 of this year either 41 or 42 percent of the cotton that we carried over was seven-eighths, and under. Mr. COLE. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. We cannot readily sell that. It has the tendency, because it is cotton, of depressing the price on other qualities. Mr. COLE. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. Proceed. Mr. COLE. We cannot sell it in the United States; is that not correct?
The CHAIRMAN. I understand that is correct. You might sell some, but not too much of it. Mr. COLE. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. Let us put it that way. Mr. COLE. Yes, sir.
3. Allot the expected domestic consumption–9 million bales—to farmers on a bale basis with domestic allotment certificates for a certain number of bales at above parity levels.
The CHAIRMAN. Would that mean that you would let the farmers plant as many acres as they wanted ?
Mr. COLE. No, sir. As I develop this plan, it will become a little clearer. The CHAIRMAN. All right; proceed. Mr. COLE. 4. Establish a foreign export goal of, say, 6 million bales. Set aside 1 million of this for disposal of the present surplus over a period of years, then allot the remainder to farmers with foreign allotment certificates to be sold on the world market at world market prices.
5. Protect domestic spinning industry by an export subsidy derived from import duties on foreign cotton goods or products coming into the United States and on raw fiber being imported.
6. Advantages to this type of program.
(a) Farmer has a dependable source of income in his domestic allotment and can thus afford to gamble for his part of the foreign market.
(6) Farmer encouraged to produce grades and staples demanded by the trade.
(c) Domestic spinners, now in a precarious position, would be encouraged to produce more for export and competition from cheap labor areas should be more easily met.
(d) Surplus gradually reduced without danger to domestic cotton industry.
(e) Farmer allowed greater volume and encouraged to greater efficiency.
The CHAIRMAN. All right, sir; I want to thank you.
STATEMENT OF JAMES HUMPHREYS, LITCHFIELD PARK, ARIZ.
Mr. HUMPHREYS. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, my name is James Humphreys, and I run a feed yard in Maricopa County, Ariz.
I am opposed to high rigid price-support program or any program that interferes with our free-enterprise system which in the past hail so much influence in developing and making this country what it is today.
I feel strongly that this Government should withdraw gradually within the next 3 years from supporting any agricultural products. The time has come to look at this problem in a hard, cold, economic way, and let the laws of supply and demand determine what prices should be. In this way it will eliminate the inefficient and tend to make the other produce quality products.
Today the feeder has to buy one-half of his feed that has a high price support and still market his cattle on a free open market, thus causing an unrealistic imbalance between production cost and price received.
The primary cause of the cost-price squeeze has been not decreasing of farm goods but the increasing of wages, services, machinery, taxes, and such other items over which the farmer has no direct control.
This is something over which Congress has some control, such as minimum-wage laws, taxes, encouraging wage increases by setting the example within Congress and also controlling Government cost.
Any farm program to be successful must not be aimed only at increasing farm prices but primarily aimed at stabilizing the entire economy.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the size of your farm?
The CHAIRMAN. I know; but what I means is, you buy feed to feed to the cattle?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. Therefore you do not want any protection on the feed grower? Mr. HUMPHREYS. No. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. That is all. Mr. E. A. Malm? (No response.) The CHAIRMAN. Is Mr. Glen Malm present? (No response.)
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Sim McFarland? STATEMENT OF SIM MCFARLAND, PRESIDENT, MCFARLAND BROS.
BANK, LOGAN, N. MEX. Mr. McFARLAND. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I am a small banker over in Logan, N. Mex. I am here in the interests of the broomcorn producer. Sometimes I wonder if I am here in the interest of the banker. Anyway, we finance a number of broomcorn producers. I feel that I am a better hand to state conditions than I am to suggest remedies, but I feel that we have an honorable, capable Congress that can handle this situation, if it is called to their attention.
The CHAIRMAN. I think that the committee is very much informed as to what the conditions are as to the various industries. We are seeking now a solution. If you have that solution, we will appreciate it, or any suggestions from you. Mr. MCFARLAND. I feel that we have some suggestions to offer.
I note that imports of broomcorn are permitted to come in right at the time our broomcorn is ready for market, making it in direct competition from the cheap labor country on our producers.
It seems to me it would be better if our producers could have time to dispose of that crop before imports were permitted to come in.
I feel also that prices on most everything are regulated by taxes, tariffs, and trade agreements handled by the Government, and rightly should be.
I cannot see where we will benefit by sending our capital abroad to build factories and improve production and allow their commodities to come from the cheap labor countries free of tariff, and in competition to our products.
The CHAIRMAN. I have been fighting that, sir, for 3 years. So far, I have not succeeded, but I think that next year will produce results.
Mr. McFARLAND. For anything further, we have a producer here of broomcorn, Mr. Trent Ham. I would like to introduce him, if you would hear some more from our part of the country.
I also have this table, which I should like to make a part of the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well.
(The prepared statement referred to, submitted by Mr. McFarland, is as follows:)
New Mexico being one of the major broomcorn-producing States in the Nation, and Quay County is one of the major broomcorn-producing counties of the State, the economic status of the farmers is of vital importance to the economy of the country, State, and Nation.
There is an estimated 20,000 acres of broomcorn grown annually in Quay County. This represents the total cash income for an estimated one-tenth of all families in Quay County. The weather condition, such as rainfall, wind, etc., are such that often times broomcorn is the only crop a farmer can grow
The table below gives some information regarding broomcorn, (These figures are estimates from the USDA and County Agent's Office in Quay County.)
Tons Total consumption in the United States --
45,000 Total production in the United States.---
30,000 Total import to the United States..
15,000 Production in Quay County (estimate)-
1,500 With the above information in mind, the Quay County broomcorn growers are asking for an import duty of $50 per ton be placed on all foreign broomcorn shipped into the United States.
The CHAIRMAN. Is Mr. Trent Ham on the list? If so, I will call his name. I would like to proceed alphabetically, as I have it, Mr. McFarland. If he is not on the list, we will put him on, and we will hear from him, if it is possible.
Thank you ever so much.
Next is Mr. McGee. All right, will you give us your full name and your occupation ?