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turn to the Congress and earnestly beg that you take a strong hold and save us, not just as individuals, but us, U. S., the United States itself. But it is a strong hold that you will have to take.
You remember the beef-buying program you financed? Do you know that a considerable amount of that money went to buy canned gravy?
You remember the cheese-buying program that Congress financed ? Did you read in the paper that the Secretary of Agriculture bought more than $2 million worth of cheese at 37 cents per pound and sold it right back to those companies for 3412 cents per pound, without ever having taken legal possession of the cheese?
I see in the paper that Comptroller General Joseph Campbell has ruled that this was unauthorized and improper, and the Government is now trying to recover these illegal payments.
So, if you trust the Department with a pork-buying program, watch out that the Secretary does not simply buy cracklings with the money.
Your hearings will, I am sure, cover the whole great field, so I will discuss only the soil- and water-conservation needs so blackly underscored by our continuing drought.
The proposal for a national acreage reserve seems to me a farsighted and practical program.
I hope that Congress will establish such reserve for the future as well as the present good of the Nation,
The building of earthen dams to impound the water from local rains has been a blessing. Often, having that water for the livestock has meant the difference between weathering a drought or having to make a sacrifice sale of a suffering or bleeding herd. I hope this program can be continued greatly enlarged.
Thank you, Senator.
STATEMENT OF MRS. JOHN F. WEINZIERL, RIVERSIDE, TEX.
Mrs. WEINZIERL. My name is Mrs. Marie Weinzierl; I am a housewife and a landowner, and I am a farmer.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you proceed with your statement, please. Mrs. WEINZIERL. Mr. Chairman, I am pleading here today not as an expert in economics nor as a professional in the field of agriculture, but as a member of a small farm population that makes up the east Texas Cotton Belt.
The feeling of the majority of these farmers is that we must have a return to the straight 90-percent parity or better if this segment of farmers is to survive.
The nationwide opinion that subsidizing the farmer has caused the overwhelming surplus may be true, in part. But has not this subsidizing of industry caused similar surpluses?
These surpluses in the agricultural field, as well as in other phases of our American scene today deserve attention and long-range programs and planning of trade and consumption.
We feel that by such planning and return of 90 percent or better of parity, that there would be a much healthier economic outlook than now exists.
The very greatness of America in the past was due to the existence of a healthy middle-class population. We cannot afford to lose that nucleus through the impoverishment of the small farm operator who depends largely on cotton for a cash crop to meet his financial needs. This farmer is not expendable.
The small cotton farmer cannot subsist on the acreage now being allotted to him. He must have a fair share of cotton acreage or he must have financial support in shifting his farm operation to other cash crops.
The small farmer might well question the justice of the vast cotton acreage allotments to penal institutions, when these institutions might profitably use their land and manpower to produce foodstuffs for the entire system of eleemosynary agencies and college-level schools.
The small farmer is looking to this Congress for justice and a better place in the sun.
Big business has its rapid tax writeoffs; the railroads, publishers, small business, and endless other enterprises have substantial props. Oil has its 271/2 percent depletion allowance; the farmer needs parity.
The definition for subsidy is a Government grant to assist a private enterprise deemed advantageous to the public. The small farmer is not only a customer, he is the base on which America stands.
The CHAIRMAN. Would you have any suggestions for us to improve the old parity formula or would you enact it just as it was written before the so-called sliding scale came into being ?
Mrs. WEINZIERL. Well, I think the majority of the farmers with whom I have been in contact are in favor, Senator, of the old rigid price; but there seems to be no complaint particularly if the surplus could be well handled, and that could be done by a well-planned disposal of surplus instead of piling it, stockpiling it, and manipulations that do not benefit the farmer.
The CHAIRMAN. In that regard, have you any solution to it? We have been wrestling with it for quite some time, and under Public Law 480, the President is authorized to dispose of as many as $1,700 million of these surpluses? Mrs. WEINZIERL. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you any other gadget or any other method to offer than what we have already done?
Mrs. WEINZIERL. I believe that in your agricultural field and in your Department of experts and economics, that there should be men and women more qualified to give you the answers to that question than I as a small farm owner can so do.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, I was just looking for light.
I have been in the business myself for quite some time. I have been on the Senate Agriculture Committee now for 19 years. Mrs. WEINZIERL. Yes; we appreciate that very much.
The CHAIRMAN. We are simply trying to get some ways and means of bettering the old program.
As I indicated several months ago when the House enacted the reestablishment of the old program of 90 percent, unless we could add some new blood to it, the chances are we might fail to get it approved even before the Senate, and that is why I am asking for suggestions to improve it, if possible.
Mrs. WEINZIERL. Well, Senator, I believe that these hearings are a very healthy thing. I think that you will get a wide scope of opinion
from the people who appear before you and that, in your overall evaluation of these programs, that should be an aid to you people who are more experienced than those of us who are the small farmers from these impoverished cotton belts that are in distress.
The CHAIRMAN. It is my hope that these hearings will stimulate the thinking of the people who are not present here, but who might read from these fine stories these boys are going to write, and in that way we might get some ideas as to what to do.
To say the least, the problem is a vexing one, and it is one we have been wrestling with for many, many years. In fact, it was the No. 1 problem on the agenda when I came to the Senate and, of course, when the war was on, and we were producing all we could, and the prices were fair, there was no complaint.
Now that we have our cupboards full of food and add we can use, why, that is when our trouble comes.
Mrs. WEINZIERL. Well, I believe that the long-range planning of the disposal of the surplus might be a solution in a way, and I think you are decidedly correct in stating that the press will be of great aid.
The CHAIRMAN. There is no doubt in my mind that any program we inaugurate, be it the old or the new one, will not succeed unless we can get rid of these surpluses that are now dangling over the market and are depressing prices.
Now, that is the first problem, and my hope is we can find some solution to that.
Mrs. WEINZIERL. Thank you, Senator; that certainly is encouraging.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you ever so much.
Is Mr. Hogge present? Will you give us your name in full, please, and your occupation ? STATEMENT OF J. R. HOGGE, PRESIDENT, TEXAS WHEAT
PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION, AMARILLO, TEX. Mr. Hogge. My name, Mr. Chairman, is J. R. Hogge. I am a farmer, as were my father and grandfather before me.
I live on, operate, and do my own work, taking care of a 640-acre, dryland farm located in Potter County, near Amarillo, Tex., and for the past 25 years I have been operating this same farm and that is my source of livelihood and means of support for my family.
I appreciate the opportunity, Mr. Chairman, of appearing before this committee, with the idea that it will be helpful in the general discussion of the problem that is common to us all.
We are pretty well agreed here today that agriculture is basic and the taproot of our economic tree, and without such supports our whole economy would be imperiled, as well as the health, welfare, and national security of the Nation.
Each report that comes out from time to time, and especially do I call attention to the report of the last business quarter, indicates that there is an increasing rise in volume of business and in corporate profits and business profits of different sorts, while, at the same time, the reports show a downward trend in the farmer's share in the national income, which is not only detrimental to the future of the present farmers, but, at the same time, is detrimental to the possibility and probability that our youngsters, our sons, will remain on
their fathers' farms and continue to make it possible to provide our present enjoyable agricultural abundance and it is to those problems that we wish to address ourselves.
Now, charges have been made that the farmers are expecting and demanding excessive incomes that might be in the nature of excess profits.
We are not. We are told, as a matter of fact, that the price supports, rigid in nature, of recent years, were only a continuation of wartime price levels, and that this, at the current time, is not realistic; therefore, we must console ourselves with going to a peacetime economy, so far as prices on the farm are concerned, and not expect this.
However, to me, it seems that we are missing the problem a little. Why not be realistic and look at the facts as they are ?
I cannot see the wartime price level argument that has been so often proposed because of the fact that the things that I have to buy have increased in cost since the war. ,
My farm machinery costs more, my automobile, my pickup, my costs of living, all the way down to our haircuts and a shoeshine, all have increased in price, while the things that I have had to sell have decreased in price, in spite of the bolstering supports of our Government.
So let us be realistic and discuss this thing on a comparative basis, rather than on a wartime price level basis.
Let us understand the fact that the spread between the producer and the consumer is caused by a certain amount of factors that have not been given the proper publictaion by these able gentlemen of the press.
They have not told all the story, in my humble opinion, so that the consumer who buys practically everything that he buys on a monthly-payment basis, except groceries, howls to high heaven when she gets to the grocery store and finds she has to pay the full price, and that is the only thing that is considered, the full price, as it were, by and large, because she had to pay it all that day and not on an installment basis.
We have overlooked a lot of the factors. The fact that her husband's salary, for example, will buy more groceries for her than it ever has in the past; and the whole thing is a matter of relativity, in my opinion, and the farmer is entitled to his place in the relative position of other segments of our society, as I see it.
For my farm program to possess those qualities that I believe to be necessary for the security of our economy and Nation, it must include ample provision that will assure the continued solvency of the American farmer and, at the same time, afford him ample opportunity to earn a livelihood and a standard of living that is comparable to that enjoyed by other members of society.
Now, to that end, let us discuss the farm program for a moment, if you please.
It is my feeling that since we are in a regulated economy and there is no end to the regulation in a regulated economy, we have learned we cannot be isolationists, and we have learned we cannot compete with the remainder of the world, nor can we give it away and raise the world standard without automatically lowering our standard of living.
go the fact"pports hoped cen some
So we have to hope for some way to remain solvent, and at the same time go about our business as a normal member of the family of nations.
I believe that the nearest approach to that has been the rigid parity of not less than 90 percent, with rigid controls, and marketing quotas being applied when necessary.
However, if there has been some failure of price supports to create the result that we hoped for them to do, rather than charge it to the price supports themselves, I prefer and suggest that it be charged to the fact that there has not been sufficient controls or quotas to go along with the program to attain the purpose for which it was intended.
Now, there is another contention: Under the present support program, we do know what acres in farming can be operated at a reasonable profit; whereas under a sliding-scale program, or some other untried program, it is an indefinite factor as to whether or not we will operate as a profit; and it is a feeling of the farmer, and I know it is true with me, that I would rather operate half my acres at a profit than the whole shooting match at a loss. [Applause.]
Now, may I say a word about the sliding scale. As the gentleman so aptly put it, the slide goes downward instead of upward, even without controls, and reaching the level that we hoped that commodities would reach, no great deal of relief will be given to the consumer because the cost of the basic product is relatively small in the finished item; witness the loaf of bread, or a cotton shirt, without going into the details.
You could lower the price of cotton sufficient to break cottongrowers without effecting much saving in the price of a shirt, and likewise in the price of a loaf of bread. You could lower the price by 1 cent and put wheat farmers out of business.
So, consequently, we have to look at a comparative level there. Therefore, I think that the necessary controls must be imposed to hold the production in line with our normal domestic demand and our normal portion under the restrictions, of course, it now has from the State Department, the Department of Agriculture, of the foreign trade situation, that we might enjoy, and even if we do put production controls on a sliding scale, we would slide the scale downward to where, I think, the thing would happen which would be this: That the price would become so low and the effort so great to produce more bushels that the point of diminishing returns would be reached to the extent that it would be entirely a dead weight at the hands of the Government to attempt to keep it going, even though the price were low.
Now, that brings us to the two-price system. I would like to say a word or two about that. If we go into a two-price system, and support domestic parity at a hundred percent, well and good.
However, we have to determine a reasonable manner in which to arrive at what our domestic allotment quota would be and in many areas of the country that has been fraught with drought and uncertainty of production—the thinking seems to be that a 10-year period, or some such average, would possibly be a more normal expression of the normal productivity upon which you could base a figure to arrive at the domestic allotment quota.