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Now we have reached the point in our discussion where the peanut farmers (sandy-land farmers) who have not been planting cotton since the last time cotton controls were in effect have each received a cotton-acreage allotment. What can such a farmer do with this cotton allotment? He can plant all of it, or so much of it as he pleases, or none of it, or he can turn all of it back to the county, or some of it back to the county, if he is not going to plant it. What do they actually do with it? A small percentage of them turn it back in to the county, from whence it is allotted out among farmers who have applied for increased quotas, but most of them just don't do anything in regard to this cotton allotment. They neither plant it nor turn it back in to the county. This causes the county's average planted cotton acreage to drop each year by the amount of acres allotted to the sandy-land peanut farmers which are not planted. I know of no instance where the total cotton allotment on a blackland farm in the county has not been planted. Each year that control are in effect, one of the past years which were used in the beginning to arrive at the county's cotton planted acreage base is dropped out and in place thereof there is substituted the year just past, which in the second year of controls would be the first year of controls. Thus, in the third year of controls, to obtain the county's cotton planted acreage base they would be using the last 2 years when controls were on and the last year before controls went on.
Thus it is clear that the longer controls are on cotton under the present law in Denton County, and in other counties having the same planting circumstances, the smaller the county's cotton acreage allotment becomes and the smaller the individual farmer's cotton acreage allotment on an individual farm becomes, even if nationwide no additional reduction is decreed by the Agriculture Deaprtment. I don't believe that Congress intended to put the cotton farmers of Denton County and other similarly situated counties out of the cotton business with the cotton-control law, but this is what is actually happening.
As I understand it, the peanut-control law does not have the gimmick in it that the cotton-control law has. Thus, although peanuts and the acreage allotted to the county for peanut planting are under controls like cotton, the peanut-control law does not give a peanut allotment to a blackland farmer who has not been planting peanuts. Thus, the net effect of these two laws is that the cotton farmer of Denton County has to share his cotton allotment with the peanut farmer of Denton County, but the peanut farmer of Denton County does not have to share his peanut allotment with the cotton farmer of Denton County. Now it will be said that if the peanut-control law is changed so that it works the same way in Denton County as does the cotton-control law, and the blackland cotton farmer were to thus get a peanut allotment, he would not plant it anyway. The answer to this is that he probably would not plant it, but if it is all right for a peanut farmer to get a cotton allotment and not plant it, why is it not all right for a cotton farmer to get a peanut allotment and not plant it?
I really do not think that were the peanut-control law to be changed so that it would work like the cotton-control law and give the cotton farmer of Denton County a peanut allotment, that the peanut allotments thus given cotton farmers would not be planted, because I believe the cotton farmers would use these peanut allotments to encourage the peanut farmers to turn back to the county their cotton allotments that they are not going to plant in return for the cotton farmers turning back to the county their peanut allotments that they are not going to plant, and that these turned back allotments would then be parceled out among those cotton and peanut farmers who applied for an allotment increase, and thus all of the cotton acreage allotted the county would be planted and all of the peanut acreage allotted the county would be planted. To make sure that this would be the result, these cotton and peanut acreage allotments could be made negotiable between farms in the county, and in this way a cotton farmer with a peanut allotment could go to a peanut farmer with a cotton allotment and swap allotments with him.
The above paragraph outlines one way in which the situation could be remedied. This way would involve changing the peanut acreage control law so that it would be handled in the same way as the cotton acreage control law, and then making both laws provide that the acreage allotments made to individual farms and farmers thereon negotiable countywise between farms in the county.
Of course, still another way would be to change the cotton-control law so that in counties like Denton the cotton allotment would be allotted only among the farms which had been planting cotton in the years immediately before the cottoncontrol law was placed in effect, or have the law provide that each farm would
share in the county's controlled acreage-allotment base in the same proportion that the said farm contributed acreage to the county's cotton-acreage base.
I have now arrived at the point in my discussion where I would like to suggest that basic changes should be made in that part of the cotton-control law which has to do with the price-support and cotton-loan system. It appears from our experience the last several years that our cotton is being priced out of the world market by the workings of this part of the law. Our cotton exports are in a steep decline, cotton is piling up in the Government loan, and foreign countries are breaking out new lands by the millions of acres each year and planting them to cotton. Our cotton has just about quit moving in the world market places.
To remedy this situation is going to take drastic action and a major about-face in our method of aiding the cotton farmer to obtain a decent price for his commodity.
For your consideration, I should like to recommend the following plan of action be taken by Congress in regard to the cotton-control law. Keep that part of the law having to do with acreage controls, correcting the inequities in the law, one of which I have previously discussed. Freeze as much of the present stocks of cotton owned by the Government and now in the Government loan as is thought necessary. Permit cotton farmers to sell their 1956 crop at the best price obtainable in regular cotton-marketing channels. This will permit our 1956 crop to move in the world market.
Then, as an integral part of this plan, set the support price at say 80 to 90 percent of parity for the 1956 crop year, and have the Department of Agriculture, at the end of the usual cotton-marketing season for the 1956 crop, determine what was the average price paid farmers for their cotton of various grades during the marketing of the 1956 crop. If these average prices for various grades of cotton are less than the support price as set above for the same grades, then allow the individual farmers to apply with his sales receipts for this difference.
Congress already has this plan in operation in regard to wool and mobair, and it appears to be working very satisfactorily. Of course, this plan will be open to the charge that it is a direct subsidy to the cotton farmer, but, if it is all right to tax the American people to subsidize foreign countries as we have been doing since the end of World War II, it surely should be all right to subsidize some of our own people to prevent bankruptcy and to get them over this critical period. Naturally, this plan will also have to run the gauntlet of foreign criticism, but has any plan ever been devised for Americans that has not been objected to by foreign nations?
I greatly appreciate the opportunity you have given me to present my views before your important committee. Respectfully submitted.
WILLIAM M. LIGHT.
MATADOR, Tex., October 14, 1955. DEAR JOIN: I am a family-size rancher and as time for that agricultural meeting is about here, I would like to make the following suggestions :
1. The family-size farmer is beginning to get some recognition.
2. The family-size rancher is still the forgotten man, as we have taken a loss for the last 4 years.
3. Everything we buy is protected and the only thing we sell, which is calves, is not protected.
4. Any product that a man depends on for his only income is a basic commodity to him. We appreciate the efforts you have made in our behalf. Yours truly
EARTH, TEX., October 15, 1955. JOHN WHITE,
Commissioner of Agriculture, Austin, Ter.: I would like very much to testify before the Agriculture Committee to be held in Fort Worth.
I am taking this occasion to make my wishes known.
I am very much apposed to sliding scale in farm prices. If you will take notice to price rises in industry and the things farmers have to buy, you can see that the sliding scale is bankrupting the farmers.
Nothing less than 100 percent of parity will prevent farm disaster.
I meet hundreds of farmers and I have yet to meet one who is in favor of the sliding scale regardless of political party. Sincerely,
J. A. LITTLETON.
STATEMENT FILED BY HOWARD LOGAN, CELINA, TEX. As a farmer in Collin County, Tex., I wish to express my opinion on the following phases of the farm program:
First. We, as producers of Collin County, think that we should have the opportunity of handling our farm program, without too many directives from a central agency. We believe that we are qualified to elect people from a local level, who are qualified to administer our program better than any centralized agency.
Second. As to the scale of production payments, I believe that any method of payments should be stabilized and adopted far enough ahead of time, so that the producer can plan his operations during the period, either 1 year or more.
Third. I am heartily in accord with the Secretary of Agriculture in any economy move, in the operation of farm agencies, so long as the efficiency of operation is not impaired.
STATEMENT FILED BY WALTER MALEC, PUBLISHER, THE TRIBUNE, HALLETTSVILLE,
What would happen should those at the bottom be subjected to the same rate of income tax as those at the top? That would make it impossible for most of our people to make a living.
Just as destructive and unjust is the cotton allotment policy those small diversifying farmers same as the commercial producers. Our diversifying farmers actually suffer more than the others.
In spite of their original diversification our counties still lost two-thirds of their cotton acreage while the commercial farm sections plant more cotton now than ever.
And with the cotton, went also the farmers. This Ninth Congressional District lost 29 percent of its farmers and is losing more. Many of our counties were thrown back to what their population was 60 years ago.
This State, as reported, lost half of its farmers, and nothing has been done to stop this trend.
Yet this great loss of family farmers is either utterly ignored, or dismissed as natural and good, simply a result of farm mechanization and efficiency. Hence less farmers produce more crops, that's all.
But this mechanization did not move the cotton acreage from here to big farm sections.
It was not the machines that denied so many family farmers the right to make a living.
Not this factor is driving our farm people into the cities and denying our young people a future on their farms.
The main cause is in the farm program inequities. And there also is the remedy.
Make the cotton allotment graduated-cutting those most who are responsible for the surpluses. Don't penalize our small family farmers for the benefit of the large commercial producers.
More cotton could be sold at the market price unhindered by the artificially high parity price.
More farmers we would have if the parity could be paid separately and limited to so many bales per farm family.
More justice in the allotments in lint, instead of acreage.
Let us stop favoring commercial producers chiefly responsible for the surpluses.
Stop destroying family farmers, for they will surely pull the rest of us down with them.
Stop undermining our very foundation as free people, which is in family farmers.
It is proposed to pay rentals for the land taken out of production, while at the same time spending huge sums to reclaim by irrigation new land for production.
It is argued that the parity paid separately would be a direct subsidy-strongly opposed by the Congress. What would those proposed rentals be, or what were the billions just given away to various countries?
The Agriculture Department would also bolster, by direct handouts, the income of small farmers, instead of giving them a chance to do their own bolstering.
The present farm program inequities are entirely due to the farm families not being considered at all in our farm policies, yet the land belongs to the people.
SILVERTON, TEX., October 24, 1955. DEAR MR. WHITE: Just a few lines about price support on farm products. We cannot operate under the sliding scale. What we need is 100 percent parity. Yours truly,
Mr. and Mrs. L. A. McJIMSEY, Secretary of Briscol County Farmers Union.
STATEMENT FILED BY W. M. PIERCE, Pilot Point, Tex. It is a privilege to submit the written statement which was prepared by a committee of Jeff Pedigo, Albert Duesman, Frank Pelzel, Lenard Berend, Albert Pelzel and W. M. Pierce. This committee's farm program suggestions has the approval of our community center composed of some 400 farm families.
The group will work hard for the following points : (a) 100 percent support price for the basic crops. (b) Acreage control on production. (c) Help for the small farmer. (d) Abundance in farm commodities are essential. (e) We believe REA's program as is. (f) 100 percent price support for dairying with production controls. (g) SCS with farmer organized districts. Brief discussion of the above points, we have their ideas which was given, why can't we have parity as the retailers and wholesalers do, their's is 100 percent. They reason it is better to have less acreages to work with better prices, but not the two to be low.
With a unanimous opinion small farms should have at least 10 acres of cotton or peanuts and can plant both. Twenty percent of our farmers have off-the-farm jobs to make a livelihood.
Do we really have an overproduction or was it created by the Department of Agriculture to force the sliding-scale program into being? Why does our State Department have the dictate to whom our products can be sold in a foreign market? Don't you think this a coverup for the USDA? Why can't the farmers under an open market as Mr. Benson wants us to have? This could be subsidized with a guaranteed price of 90 percent of parity. Why did the USDA import 100,000 tons this summer and fall? Was it to create a surplus and lower the price, also ask for an acreage cut? With our decline in prices makes problems like W. M. Pierce had this summer. He took his platform canvas to local dealer for a repair job. He was told that a repairman was not available. So a new one was bought costing $45. Mind you this was cheap combines being bought new in 1953 for $1,175, but the comparison was it took 3,000 pounds of maize to pay for this canvas.
Our people think that cooperatives are healthy for our economy and we should have the right to continue REA as first enacted. It gave us light when private enterprize wouldn't. REA has paid its way so they say.
We approve the Soil Conservation Service to continue work through soil conservation districts which is controlled by farmer-elected supervisors.
STATEMENT FILED BY R. C. ROBINSON, Iowa PARK, TEX. I am for any kind of legislation that will help keep the family-type farmer on the farm as there has been too many farm families left the farm already and moved to town. If we all have to move to the cities and hunt jobs that will create more labor troubles, of which, everyone knows we have plenty already.
Farmers have never asked for handouts from the Government and never will, but we think the farmer should have equal chance with other businesses as farming is one of the largest and most important businesses in our country.
For farmers to get their fair share of the Nation's economy we should be guaranteed 100 percent of parity. Of course this brings up the question of surpluses but at the rate our population is increasing, in a very short time we will be having food and fiber shortages.
We are not only thinking of the present but the future security for the farmer today helps to maintain security for our children and this is one thing we all know that any time the farmer prospers, business over the country will be good and thereby helping the laborer and then everyone is happy. Respectfully yours,
R. C. ROBINSON.
STATEMENT FILED BY ALVIN SAHM, GEORGE WEST, TEX. I am Alvin Sahm of George West, Live Oak County, Tex. I now own 211 acres.
I came to Live Oak County in 1925 and started to develop a 100 acre tract of brushland into a farm homestead. I put 600 acres in cultivation and put up a little frame building to live in, which, of course, was intended for an outhouse and garage later on.
In 1929 I lost my wife and 9 months later lost a 342-year-old boy. All this caused plenty of hardship and grief but there was more in store, for in 1931 came the depression and then the New Deal program.
Up to that time I usually planted 18 acres of cotton 1 year, 22 acres the next and 28 acres the following year and then back to the 18 acres. The balance was planted in corn and feed for my workstock and milk cows and a few tons to sell or carry over into the next year and also planted some few acres in Red-top cane for seed. This provided a very nice income to tide me over.
Then came the New Deal. I had a high yield per acre but was forced to take the community average when it came to issuing script to cover the poundage allotted. And at that, I did not get what I should have received and then I'd have to wrangle around the AAA office, with apparently no results. Then, when I wanted to sell my cotton I had to go to the bank and borrow the money and buy script out of the Government pool. And then way late in the year or early the next year I'd receive scme more script issued to me. It didn't do me any good then; after I had spent borrowed money to get script to cover my cotton and I put into the Government pool to be sold. But then came the bad news, the program was abandoned and everyone that had script in the pool was paid for only his proportionate share of script sold. I received a little less than $10 out of some $100 to $200 worth in the pool. I wonder, dear Senators, if you think that such a procedure makes the farmer happy, and if you don't agree with me that we who had bought script are not entitled to get our money together with a reasonable interest repaid, for as the matter stands it was a clear case of renouncing what the Government owed us. The New Deal certainly did not help me progress or prosper.
Then there was the Government land that could be planted to cane for home use but many farmers sold the cane to seed company who would have the seed threshed and leave the farmer the feed. Well, that was the end of cane seed business. Too much black-market stuff—and I was forced to quit.
Of course, when the new program started on the acreage basis, I did not have much of a base to start with and still had to take a cut on allotted acres and it finally didn't pay to stay with cotton. But we could not discard it altogether as cotton can always be planted late after other crops might have failed to come up or were destroyed. Since 1944 I raised a few head of hogs as a side line and increased as years went by it was then that I had a hard time getting an allotment.
In 1950 1 had 18.6-acre allotment and planted 18 acres, in 1951 I planted 24 acres ; 1952 no cotton; 1953 no cotton. In 1954 I received 18-acre allotment but too late, all my land was planted and crops were up, so I turned it back for redistri