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STATEMENT FILED BY THOMAS HODGES, ALVORD, TEX.
My name is Thomas Hodges, I live in Wise County, Tex., 10 miles from Decatur, where I farm 408 acres of which 105 acres are in cultivation in hay crops, and the remainder is in pasture. I am a dairyman, and I milk 50 cows producing grade A milk. I should like to testify before the committee against the Benson sliding scale, and for 100 percent of parity.
I should like to say that I run my farm with no outside help. I would like to emphasize the fact that I am a family farmer, that is to say that the farm is operated 100 percent by myself, my wife, and my children.
I think my records will show that my farm is efficient in household and farm operations; my family and myself average over 75 hours of work a week on our farm the year round. These facts prove to me that all this talk of hard work and efficiency falls a long way short of the answer to the farm problem.
My farm is completely electric, and I think in every way as efficient as it is possible to make it; however this has not solved my income problems.
I would like to enter in the record here the following figures of mine for my farm operation. The capital investment in my farm is over $40,000. As you will notice the income from my farm has been dropping steadily since 1952.
The costs of running my farm have increased over $1,000 since 1952, and though I have expanded my herd my gross income has still gone down over $6,000 in the past 3 years. My records by the way are taken from the annual reports I have filed with the Farmers' Home Administration in compliance with my loan from them,
If the present agriculture policy is continued it will be impossible for me to continue farming.
I don't think that the problems of dairy farmers like myself or the problems of cotton or wheat or any other type of farmer should be solved by plowing the family farmers under.
I think that the only way that the farm problem could be solved would be to remove Ezra Benson from office, and put some one in as Secretary of Agriculture who would put in the Brannan plan with production payments direct to the farmer with an outside limit on such payments.
Abstract of farm accounts of Thomas Hodges, Wise County, Tex., 1952 through
1 Household and farm expense operation do not add to total expenditures, because of excluded items, e. g. debt repayment, capital expenditures and farm ownership payments.
Records through October 1955.
STATEMENT FILED BY HENRY D. HYNDS, VAN ALSTYNE, TEX.
Washington, D. C.
Three hundred acres of my farm is in pasture, 200 acres was my 1954 cotton allotment, 65 acres wheat allotment, the remainder in oats, corn, maize, and alfalfa. In the plan I offer, I will use cotton as an example as it is main crop; however, it will work on all the major crops.
1. Make a fair allotment to each farmer in pounds on the past 5-year history average yields and acres (drought and weevil damage taken into consideration) on a basis of domestic consumption, say 9 million bales.
(a) Farmers who do not exceed their allotted amount will receive 100 percent parity.
(b) Those who overplant and exceed their allotment will receive 90 percent of parity on their allotment and the market price on the surplus, 3 percent tolerance allowed. (c) There would be a tax on all cotton above your allotment as follows:
1 to 10 bales surplus producer, 6 cents per pound
All over 100 bales surplus produced, 15 cents per pound (d) Allow no new land allotment of over 1,250 pounds.
(e) To be no Government loans. All cotton to be sold through regular trade channels with PMA marketing card. The Commodity Credit Corporation to reimburse the farmer the difference between the 6 months average of nearest of the 10 designated spot markets and 100 percent or 90 percent of parity for the grade of his cotton. All cotton to be classed by Government on green card system.
() The Commodity Credit Corporation to market none of the surplus cotton now on hand until after January 1 of each year. Not over 20 percent in any 1 year. To sell same on foreign markets at market price but to raise tariff on cotton goods to protect American spinners.
2. To qualify to reap the benefits of the cotton parity price guarantee the farmers must take out of production 15 percent of his cultivated land for the soil-fertility bank. Cannot harvest for seed or feed. Must rotate idle land each year. If he will follow PMA practice, he will receive benefits not to exceed $6 per acre on same.
As you note, this plan should hold our cotton crop under 10 million bales and cotton should advance to parity and allow the CCC to get rid of its surplus in foreign markets with a minimum loss. The tax on surplus cotton will take care of the guarantee. The 15 percent taken out of production for soil-fertility bank will reduce all the 5 major crops and wipe out the large surpluses. As these surpluses are reduced, the Secretary of Agriculture can adjust the size of the 5 major crops and idle lands to hold the markets at parity, while at the same time be building up our soil through the soil-fertility plan.
I feel confident that if this plan is followed that within 5 years we will have no surpluses on hand and agriculture prices will be on parity with labor and industry. I thank you for your careful consideration of this plan.
HENRY D. HYNDS.
PONDER, TEX., November 5, 1955. Hon. John C. WHITE,
Commissioner of Agriculture,
and the Senate Agriculture Committee, Austin, Tex. GENTLEMEN: Thank you for this opportunity to bring to your attention some phases of the farm situation actually being experienced by farmers of my neighborhood.
I own and operate 2,310 acres of land; and am barely able to pay my farming expenses and pay my taxes. To operate this acreage, I have had to buy a lot of expensive equipment made by workers, who, when they are not making a living wage, strike for higher wages.
Farmers are badly in need of higher income. Men and women of farm families have to get other jobs to supplement farm income to support families and keep children in school.
Farming land is more and more being owned by business and professional men who are able to pay high prices for land out of money made by other means than farming. Farmers could not pay for a farm by what they can save out of their farming income.
Recently I had a carpenter do some needed repair work on some tenant houses. He charged $3.50 per hour. I paid out $2,000 which is more than I made this year.
Workers of most other industries are continually getting a raise in income, while farmers and ranchers take less each year for their labor.
Heavy insect infestation of late years causes added expense of spraying or dusting crops. Income from our two best paying crops, wheat and cotton, is reduced by reason of acreage allotments. The reduction of acreage is probably necessary; but we should certainly get 100 percent parity for crops raised on our allotted acreage.
Declining prices on cattle and hogs are causing hardship on livestock raisers, who, because of drought and lack of feed, have to sell livestock at a sacrifice.
We realize that no one can eliminate the hazard of weather in farming and ranching; but, at least, we could have the assurance of reasonable and stable prices on what we are able to raise.
If we don't get rid of the sliding scale of farm prices, and get 100 percent parity; farmers are all going to go broke.
SILVERTON, TEX., October 24, 1955. Mr. JOHN C. WHITE, Commissioner of Agriculture,
Austin, Tex. DEAR SIR: The farmer needs 100-percent parity to prosper and should small farmer not prosper our national economy will be in jeopardy. Our cotton allotment should not be cut on small farmers but larger farms can stand reduction required without hurting anyone very much. It sometimes seems that we are being deliberately forced out of business. Should small farmers, like myself. be allowed to grow into larger operator then I still say we could stand reduction in acreage, but hope to see justice done for the sake of all. There are actually farms (large) in this country that are being operated by big concerns that would help enormously were they rented to several families each and the landlord would receive far more net income. Thanks for your interest. Yours truly,
SILVERTON, TEX., October 24, 1955. Mr. JOHN C. WHITE, Commissioner of Agriculture,
Austin, Tex. DEAR SIR: We urge you to please use your influence on getting 100-percent parity for farmers. We desperately need it to survive and to help our Nation be strong. Yours truly,
J. E. JOWELL.
October 24, 1955. Hon. John C. WHITE,
Commissioner of Agriculture DEAR SIR: My sincere desire as a down-to-earth farmer is that we are to have 100 percent of parity. I am sure farmers of this district are concerned about labor and management and industry but if we are to continue to prosper and grow as a Nation we small farmers must have a price for our produce that will pay our necessary bills and keep ourselves solvent. I am not opposed to growth either, but certainly think large farmers can bear acreage cuts without hurting national prosperity. There are many instances here in my county where even small farms have been rented out, and landlords receiving more rent than as operator. Yours truly,
October 24, 1955. MR. JOHN C. WHITE, Commissioner of Agriculture,
Austin, Tex. DEAB MR. WHITE: I am a small farmer and think we should have full parity of 100 percent, as I think you will agree. I am not opposed to big-acreage farms, but I certainly think they are in better position to bear acreage cut than we small farmers who need every acre to produce more than good crop to have a decent living for our families. Yours truly,
John E. JOWELL.
VERNON, TEX., October 7, 1955. Mr. JOHN C. WHITE, Commissioner, Texas Department of Agriculture,
Austin, Tex. DEAR JOHN: Thanks for your letter of September 29 in which you express your willingness to submit my views on the farm problem to the Senate Agricultural Committee which is to hold a meeting in Fort Worth, November 5. Although I do not presume that I have the solution to this problem, I do think that I recognize some tragic faults in the present program.
It seems to me that if the present program, especially as it relates to cotton, is continued for long, it will bring about its own destruction.
Inasmuch as the industrial segment of America is protected by various means such as tariffs and labor union contracts, it would be unfair and also unwise to withdraw all governmental assistance to agriculture. But we must cease growing crops with the purpose of selling them to the Government through loans or purchases.
Because of the type of work in which I am engaged, I am more familiar with the cotton problem than I am with other farm problems. All of us know that the cotton situation is deplorable. (a) We are reducing our cotton acreage each year while at the same time foreign cotton-growing countries are increasing their acreages keeping the world production at about the same level. (b) Our unrealistic pricing policies and the operation of the Government loan is causing us to pile up huge surpluses of cotton in America to the point where we will soon run out of warehouse space. At the same time foreign grown cotton is underselling our cotton and is being consumed. (c) Also, at home our pricing policy on cotton is encouraging the producers of synthetic fibers to take over our domestic markets.
I certainly do not have the answers to this problem, but I do know that what we are now doing is bad for all concerned in this country. It is my hope that the Congress will face the farm problem realistically and without too much political consideration. I believe that the American farmer can compete for world cotton markets if his Government will give him a fair chance. Again, thanking you for writing me, and with best regards, I am, Sincerely,
B. T. JUVENAL.
ALVORD, TEX., October 21, 1955. DEAR MR. WHITE: I wish to let you know I am for 90 percent parity on farm products and also dairy products.
Mr. and Mrs. T. KUYKENDALL.
STATEMENT FILED BY WILLIAM M. LIGHT, SAN ANTONIO, TEX. In order that you may know something of my background and experience, I wish to mention that my family and myself have been in the ranching and farming business in the State of Texas since the year 1853. At the present time, in partnership with my two brothers, David W. Light and Jack H. Light, I own and operate farm and ranch properties in the following counties of Texas: Collin, Denton, Dimmit, Grayson, Jackson, and La Salle. Individually I own and operate a farm and ranch in Comal County, Tex. I am also a member of the city council of Alamo Heights, Tex., having been on said council for the last 4 years. Over 90 percent of my time is devoted to farm and ranch matters.
I should like to discuss some changes in the cotton control law needed by cotton farmers in regard to the control quota assigned counties which have both cotton and peanut farms, the method of allotment of cotton acreage by such counties to the individual farms in those counties, and to suggest some basic changes in the method of support of cotton prices that I feel will in time relieve the Government of the large surplus of cotton on its hands and at the same time permit the cotton farmer in this country to stay in business.
First, I should like to confine my discussion to the changes in the cotton control law needed by cotton farmers in regard to the control quota assigned counties which have both cotton and peanut farms and the method of allotment of cotton acreage by such counties to the individual farms in those counties.
In Denton County my brothers and myself have over 18 different farms upon which we have managing share tenants. Denton County is almost evenly divided between black-land farms and sandy-land farms. On the black-land farms, cotton is the main cash crop, whereas on the sandy-land farms peanuts are the main cash crop. Peanuts are not planted on the black-land farms, and cotton is usually, except under controls, not planted on the sandy-land farms. Cotton planting on the sandy-land farms of Denton County went out of vogue during the 1930's and comes back only to a limited extent during the years when cotton acreage controls are in effect. Our farms are in the black land of Denton County.
By the operation of the cotton acreage allotment system as now in effect, our tenants in Denton County have been forced in the 2 years of controls to make reductions in their cotton planted acreages of from 50 to 55 percent of their usual noncontrolled cotton plantings. The worst is yet to come, because, even if there were to be no reduction made nationwide next year under the control law, the black-land cotton farmers of Denton County will be forced by the operation of the law to make still further reductions. This is in contrast to the operation of the cotton acreage allotment system on our farms in Collin County, where our tenants have so far had to reduce their cotton planted acreages only by 20 to 25 percent of their usual noncontrolled plantings. The reason for this disparity is that in Collin County all farms are black-land farms and all plant cotton, whether controls are on or off.
As you know, when the Government gets ready to apply cotton control after a period of years of noncontrol, it endeavors to find out what the nationwide acreage planted to cotton has averaged over several past years of noncontrol. To do this they have every county obtain from the individual farms in the county the number of acres planted to cotton over the years in question, and thus obtain the county's base cotton acreage. Thus, it so happens in Denton County, that the county's base cotton planted acreage is made up almost wholly from the plantings of cotton by the black-land farmers of the county, because the sandy-land farmers have not been planting cotton. The county's base is the figure that is used under controls to make the reductions that are deemed necessary under the control law.
Let's say that the Agriculture Department decided on a 20 percent cut in cotton plantings. This 20 percent cut is then applied to the county's base and the resulting figure gives the county's new cotton allotment base. Now that the county has its new controlled acreage allotment base, you would think that it would then go back to the individual farms upon which cotton had been planted during the base years and use the percentage cut to arrive at each farm's cotton acreage allotment. However, this is not the way it works.
When the county gets its controlled acreage allotment base, it then takes the figure of the total cultivated acreage on each farm in the county and adds them up to obtain the total county cultivated acreage. Then, using the county's controlled acreage allotment base against the figure representing the total county cultivated acreage, it arrives at what proportion the county's controlled acreage allotment base is of the total cultivated acreage in the county. The percentage figure thus arrived at is then used on each farm in the county to arrive at the number of acres of cotton allotment each farm is to have for that year, based on the total number of cultivated acres in the farm.
It will be immediately evident that every farm upon which any land has been cultivated in the year before cotton controls gets a cotton-acreage allotment, whether or not that farm has been planting any cotton. Also, it is easy to understand why the cotton-control law operates to penalize the black-land farmers of Denton County and other counties having the same planting circumstances, and why the law does not so penalize cotton farmers in other counties where all of the farms plant some cotton.