« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Mr. Cox. We understand it and we think this: We did not ask, the grain-sorghum producers, did not ask that we be supported with our product at 90 percent of parity or 75 percent of parity. We asked the Secretary of Agriculture, and we think he had the power to do it, we asked him to give us the same price support this year he gave us last year, support in the neighborhood of $2.08 a hundred, which is far below parity price of corn, less than 6623 percent. That is our reaction to that whole thing.
In the basic area in my county, some of the counties, we would be glad to accept acreage control in those counties where it is a basic crop to us if we could have a reasonable percentage of parity for the stuff we sell, but we certainly do not want acreage control and find ourselves facing $1.58 a hundred on grain sorghum.
While I am here I want to talk about another thing.
The CHAIRMAN. What we want you to talk about is the problem and how to solve it. Let's not go around the lot, if you please.
Mr. Cox. I want to dig right through the center of this.
Another thing I cannot understand is how agriculture with a sliding scale of prices as set up now in the law can continue to exist and operate with our prices going down under a sliding scale and the things that we are buying going up on another scale. It is certainly sliding and sliding up. I don't know the answer to this problem, but I have never yet seen a businessman, or laborer, or a farmer that could pay their debts and get out of debt and operate and have a reasonable standard of living—which I say agriculture is entitled to if any group in the Nation is entitled to—and do it with a cut price.
I did not believe, gentlemen, that the sliding scale of parity we have today is reducing the acreage.
The CHAIRMAN. If that won't do it, what would you suggest ?
Mr. Cox. We are going to have to have better acreage control under the law today.
The CHAIRMAN. What about your support prices? Would you make them rigid?
Mr. Cox. I certainly would.
The CHAIRMAN. Would you add to the present basics any other crops? Would you put grain sorghum in?
Mr. Cox. I certainly would if I was going to regulate it.
Mr. Cox. Yes, sir; because the oat farmers and barley farmers are in exactly the same position as grain-sorghum farmers.
The CHAIRMAN. What else would you suggest?
The CHAIRMAN. What else would you suggest we do in addition to a rigid price support which you are suggesting on all grains? Would you do anything else?
Mr. Cox. I think you are going to have to eliminate some of the waste that you have of getting around the present acreage allotment program that we have. I am not too hot about the acreage allotment. I am pretty strong for a bushel allotment but we don't have that before us today and it is not before your committee.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, we are considering it. It is another method that has been suggested.
Mr. Cox. It scared daylight out of folks the other day when Congressman Hope suggested it, but it still has merit.
The CHAIRMAN. We considered it in 1938 and decided against it. It may be necessary to go to it. I don't know. But you say that you would rather have bushelage or quantity controls and let the farmer plant all he wants.
Mr. Cox. I don't think you are going to be able to do that if you try to store that stuff in Government storage. I think you will develop the situation we have now. I do think that I would rather go out and plant 100 acres of crop and raise whatever I raise on it and get a reasonable price for it as plant 200 and go broke, because I don't get enough to pay cost of production.
The CHAIRMAN. That would be the natural thing, but many don't do it that way. What would you do with diverted acres in case we had controls?
Mr. Cox. On everything?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. In Louisiana we plant a lot of cotton. Suppose a man planted a thousand acres last year and this year he could plant only 700. What would you want him to do with those 300 acres!
Mr. Cox. That is a problem I certainly cannot answer and nobody else can answer.
The CHAIRMAN. It is very simple. Would you want him to plant sorghum on those 300?
Mr. Cox. Some are doing it.
The CHAIRMAN. Would you want him to plant sorghum in competition with you in Oklahoma?
Mr. Cox. You have got the problem and we might just as well face it realistically that so long as we are going to have supported prices that we are going to have some problems that come up with it. Let me say to you when it is all said and done
Thë CHAIRMAN. You are not answering my question.
The CHAIRMAN. We are using this means to gain information. If you wish to say “yes,” or “no," just say it. Would you have the law require that on diverted acres, this 300 acres I am speaking of, that the farmer cannot plant any crop that would come in competition with a crop that is supported ?
Mr. Cox. You are getting into cross compliance.
Mr. Cox. No, sir; not until we can arrive at some basic price for the stuff we are going to produce under cross compliance. I would rather farm a hundred acres of grain sorghum and get a reasonable support price for it than plant 200 acres if I had to put the other hundred in grass or whatever we have to do with it.
The CHAIRMAN. If you feel that way, why are you against cross compliance ?
Mr. Cox. Because cross compliance does not always work and it has not worked in our area. I mean when we started talking about cross compliance 2 years ago and the Secretary backed off from the thing, we could immediately see this thing coming up. We live in an area where we do not produce a wheat crop every year. If we did the grain sorghum would not be a problem.
The CHAIRMAN. You wouldn't plant so many sorghum acres if you could grow wheat?
Mr. Cox. No.
The CHAIRMAN. On all lands you didn't plant to wheat you put it in sorghum ?
Mr. Cox. Yes, we had to make a living.
The CHAIRMAN. When you did that, I understand the problem, but I am just trying to draw it out of you. When you planted an excess amount of sorghum that was in competition, let's say, with corn because you say it is as good as corn
Mr. Cox. It is.
The CHAIRMAN. Then it was also in competition with oats and barley. If, as you state, we should protect or put price floors under all commodities, then it would be unfair in my opinion and probably in the opinion of many Senators for Congress to pass a law that would protect all grain growers and also permit them to plant on diverted acres crops that would be in competition with others that may be in the same difficulty as you find yourself.
Mr. Cox. That is certainly the situation happening today.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand that, but we are trying to correct that.
Mr. Cox. We do not maintain that we as grain sorghum producers have produced a surplus. We do not believe that is true.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not know. You increased acreage over 7 million acres and production, as I have just indicated, is almost 100 million bushels more within just a space of 2 years.
Mr. Cox. I still come back to this, that we cannot as farmers continue to exist and produce
The CHAIRMAN. I understand that. That is the problem we are trying to solve, but at the same time I do not think it is right to present a program to help one segment of agriculture that would do damage to another segment. That is our problem and that is what we are coming here for, to get ways and means of trying to settle it. If we had only Oklahoma to deal with, and my good State of Louisiana, it probably would be simple, but any law we put on the statute books must apply to the 48 States.
Mr. Cox. And equally to all farmers.
Senator Young. Would you be for cross compliance if the Federal Government provided an adequate incentive payment to take that diverted acres out of production?
Mr. Cox. I would. If we can have a support price for products we produce that will guarantee us cost of production plus a reasonable profit, that is all we ask,
Senator Young. You would be in favor of cross compliance if an adequate incentive payment was provided by Federal Government to put those acres into soil-conserving practices?
Mr. Cox. Yes, and it would be a fine thing to put some of these acres into soil conservation practices.
Senator SCHOEPPEL. I recognize that what you have said with reference to the western section of your State corresponds greatly to the western section of my State. Upland farming areas, semiarid, as some people refer to it. It is either wheat or the grain sorghums generally. Unless you go into the bottom lands or irrigated lands you can't raise corn, you can't raise alfalfa, you can't raise soybeans, and we will hit once in a while on barley and on oats, so we have two crops to depend on. That is wheat or sorghum.
Mr. Cox. That is right.
Senator SCHOEPPEL. Now, as the Senator from Louisiana, our chairman, pointed out, grain sorghums were not listed and included in the law as one of the basics.
Mr. Cox. I understand.
Senator SCHOEPPEL. Now personally I am for protection of my area. I do not make any bones about that, with reference to wheat and grain sorghums, because those are the two things we must rely on in our area. If we put grain sorghums in as a basic I think you have admitted here we would have to have acreage allotments.
Mr. Cox. In the area where it is a basic crop.
Senator SCHOEPPEL. Yes. I want to ask you if it is your judgment that this committee should consider the, let's say historical areas, where these crops originated, and have been produced as 1 of the 2 crops that are about the only thing farmers can raise in those areas. Would you make that differentiation?
Mr. Cox. I think I would.
Senator SCHOEPPEL. I think that is important, because that is going to confront us. Now what would you consider to be the average acreage out in your area, for a fairly good rounded-out farm operation, for wheat or grain sorghum ?
Mr. Cox. You mean per individual farm?
Mr. Cox. Somewhere between 640 and 1,280, 1 to 2 sections. We cannot in my area operate on a half section or even a section. We cannot in my area do that. Some our our farmers do farm about a section, but I would say the average would run in the neighborhood of 900 to a thousand acres.
The CHAIRMAN. Now of course our difficulty is we are going to have to meet objections from other States. Some of my friends from Indiana and Ohio and Illinois and some in Nebraska have said by going to grain sorghum, you will be in competition with corn producers. We have to have those fellows vote on the program. They pay off the Congress in votes. That is the toughest ball game. They play for keeps.
Mr. Cox. We are learning that.
The CHAIRMAN. I was interested in your suggested unit of operation a farmer could get along on. Would you be satisfied if sorghums were named as a basic, and its price support were related closely to that of corn?
Mr. Cox. Certainly, that is what we need. We have a wheat problem. We have the same wheat problem all the rest have. We will produce more wheat than we will grain sorghum in normal moisture years, but in years like this we do what everybody else is doing. When we can't produce wheat and when you produce only 3 times out of 5, the program we have on wheat hurts us.
The CHAIRMAN. I recognize that because our situation is comparable to yours on wheat, but if we put grain sorghums in as one of the basies we are going to allocate acreage on grain sorghums the same as on wheat.
Mr. Cox. Certainly.
Mr. Cox. We will wind up with a good all-round farm program in our area. When you get into the border counties where once in a while they go to grain sorghum, but normally cotton or wheat, which is our basic crops, I don't know whether you should put acreage allotments on those areas or not, because I don't do it on corn. We could go out and produce corn if we could produce it. We could raise a few acres when conditions are right. But where sorghum is a basic crop we would go for acreage control if we can have a support price that would justify acreage controls.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Cox.
Mr. Munn, please. STATEMENT OF LEWIS H. MUNN, PRESIDENT, OKLAHOMA FARM
BUREAU, OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLA. Mr. Munn. I am Lewis H. Munn. I would like to make this statement. My statement is not as an individual. It is as a member of the Farm Bureau and in view of that fact and in light of your desire to hear farm people, if it is all right with you I will file my statement and relinquish my time to other people.
(Mr. Munn's prepared statement follows:)
My name is Lewis H. Munn. I am a farmer and currently president of Oklahoma Farm Bureau.
First we wish to extend to you, Mr. Chairman and the entire committee, a most cordial welcome to our great State and sincerely hope your brief visit will be pleasant.
It is my understanding that there are more people desiring to be heard than the limited time will permit; in light of that, my statement will be short.
Having lived on a farm all my life and operating one for myself and my family for 30 years, I should know some of the farmers' problems. The principal part of my income is still from the farm, which my son and I operate on a partnership basis. To be sure our income was greatly reduced this year and the year before, primarily because of weather conditions, for which I hold no one in political office or no farm program responsible.
Oklahoma Farm Bureau has a membership of 40,971 farm families, all of Oklahoma's 77 counties are represented in this membership. Farm Bureau policies are the result of study and action by the membership or their chosen delegates at the county, State, and National annual meetings. Since Oklahoma Farm Bureau will be in annual meeting November 14–18, 1955, and the American Farm Bureau Federation's delegate body, with delegates representing 48 States, will meet in annual session December 15, 1955, I have no authority or desire to reflect our position beyond the above dates.
Oklahoma Farm Bureau's 1954 recommendation to the American Farm Bureau Federation has been quoted a number of times as being for 90 percent of parity price supports, period. The delegate body in annual session November 12, 1954, by majority vote, adopted the following recommendation, and I quote.
“We favor price supports at 90 percent of parity on basic commodities with rigid controls that will not permit surpluses to exceed a normal supply,” end of quote.
Should production be reduced in accordance with this recommendation, the present variable price-support program would provide high supports on basic commodities.
Oklahoma Farm Bureau opposed H. R. 12, legislation that would reinstate the rigid 90 percent price-support program, but did not provide adequate controls to do the things asked for in our 1954 recommendation. Declining farm income was being charged to the variable price-support program, when the