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3. Participation should be voluntary but conditioned upon farmers practices in erosion control and soil-fertility building.
Production controls when needed should be handled through marketing quotas and allotments based on pounds and bushels, and all allotments should be tied to the farin operator instead of the farm.
4. A vastly expanded program of low-cost credit to assist tenants, sharecroppers, and returned veterans to become farm owners and operators is needed. For those farmers whose farms are so small or resources are so limited that they do not yield an adequate family income, supplementary employment on conservation or public-works projects should be provided.
5. Lastly farmers need an economic foundation on which a healthy agriculture can be built. That means a domestic program of full production and employment at good wages and a world food program that provides an adequate diet ior all people. It calls for an economy of abundance, publicly and democratically planned, instead of an economy of scarcity under corporate dictatorship privately planned. It means moving away from an acquisitive, exploitative, society that reward men according to what they wrest from society, and toward a creative, cooperative society that rewards men according to what they contribute to society.
STATEMENT FILED BY TIM H. BLANEY, LOVELL, OKLA.
On January 12, 1954, I appeared as a witness at a hearing held before the Agriculture Committee, House of Representatives, 83d Congress, at Enid, Okla.
Since that time there has been no change in my opinions regarding the farm problem, so I therefore submit to this committee a copy of that statement verbatim:
“Chairman Hope and members of the House Agriculture Committee, I own and reside on 240 acres of land. I will go along with the idea of soil conservation, and I also believe in farmers co-ops. I also believe that an increase in population in the near future will take care of the situation of overproduction.
“Any sensible constructive farm program brought into effect by the 83d Congress should first of all grant back to the farmers the rights of individual responsibility in the management of their own affairs in earning a livelihood from the soil. This is in complete agreement with the sound principles written into the Constitution by our forefathers, limiting government and granting individual responsibility to each person to completely pursue his way of life and livelihood so long as he did not interfere with the same rights of others.
"Of course this is in direct opposition to the concept of the bureaucratic welfare state to manage the affairs of the farmer as well as all other segments of our economy on the grounds that our problems have grown more complex as our country has grown and that the rights of individual responsibility and personal freedom to manage one's own affairs must be subordinated to bureaucratic control in order to bring about prosperity to all regardless of capabilities or personal efforts.
"I realize there are many farmers who believe the Government should further subsidize and strengthen bureaucratic control over the farmers on the grounds the Government subsidizes other industries and therefore should support basic farm commodities, including cattle at 90 or 100 percent of parity, and the general taxpaying public be made to pay the bill.
"Karl Marx, in his Communist Manifesto in 1848, stated : 'Government should take from each according to his abilities and give to each according to his needs.' This of course to be accomplished by excessive taxation of those who produce the most during the transition period from individual ownership to government ownership.
"Reports released by the Committee on Un-American Activities reveal beyond doubt that in the early 1930's there were several departmental functionaries helping organize the AAA who were nothing less than Communist rats. These men were Lee Pressman, Assistant General Counsel for the AAA; Nathan Witt, on the staff of AAA; John Abt, attorney for AAA. Alger Hiss and Charles Kramer were also on the AAA staff. They must have had a lot of influence in bringing about the bureaucratic control that still shackles the American farmer.
"We all know the high price-support system has resulted in a vast overproduction of basic farm commodities with the unresolved problem of how to dispose of them. The Government has wasted billions of dollars on this plan and in turn the taxpaying public has had to foot the bill.
"Every farmer knows he can raise as much wheat or cotton on 30 percent less acreage by the simple method of better soil preparation and increasing the amount of fertilizer. This results in further decreased acreage allotments and will decrease the farmer's income regardless of high price supports. I reject the whole idea of controls and price supports for the farmer as unworkable.
"The Government should withdraw and allow the farmers to resolve their own problems according to their abilities and the amount of work they want to put into their efforts to earn a living from the soil."
STATEMENT FILED BY C. R. BoggS, CORDELL, OKLA. Mr. Chairman and members of the Agricultural Hearing Committee, farmers, and guests, I am C. R. Boggs, a dirt farmer of Washita County, living 2 miles east and 114 miles south of Cordell, Okla. This county is the largest cotton county in the State of Oklahoma, approximately the fifth largest wheat-growing county, a minor peanut county, and one of the largest grain sorghum-producing counties. I would like to state at the beginning of my testimony that these statements are from record and the opinions I express are strictly my personal opinions as a farmer and I am making same as such.
First, I would like to ask, Why is a farmer not entitled to 100 percent of parity when the laboring class of people have their set guaranteed wage? When their cost of living goes up, their contract is renewed and they receive an increase in pay. Second, in the past year or so, everything the farmer has had to buy has been going up in price. Everything he has had to sell is going down as a result of the sliding scale.
As for record, I would like to cite the votes that have been voted in our great agricultural county of Washita in behalf of cotton and wheat in regard to continued price support. In December of 1953, the cotton farmers voted for controls and at that time they did not know exactly what they were voting for, however, they overwhelmingly voted for controls so that they would have a guaranteed support. The vote in Washita County was 1,084 voting for marketing quotas and only 70 voting against. In the month of December 1954, the cotton farmers voted on marketing quotas on the 1955 crop. The vote was 596 voting in favor marketing quotas and 81 against. The reason for the light vote was due to the fact that it was one of the busiest times in the county that I can remember. Even so, 677 farmers took time out to democratically vote on this important matter. In 1953, the wheat farmers voted for marketing quotas on the 1954 wheat crop with 1,004 for and 85 against. In 1954, the wheat farmers voted for marketing quotas for 1955 with 698 votes for and 67 against. In June of 1955 the wheat farmers voted for quotas for the coming year with 505 for and 117 against.
According to the information received from our county office, Washita County, you might say, has gone as the Nation has gone, overwhelmingly for controls with the guaranteed price, however, it is my personal opinion that the farmers are getting more and more dissatisfied due to the fact that every time they turn around their support price is being whittled a little here and a little there by some new concoction they call the new formula which cuts the price. As I understand it, the cost of labor is not figured in parity. It is my opinion that the cost of labor is one of the main facts in figuring the parity.
It is my personal belief that when quotas are voted, a law has been passed, and when it is violated, they should be subject to a more strenuous penalty than in the past. I feel that they should receive no ACP assistance when they exceed their allotment. I personally feel that it should be on a set yield with no provisions for upward or downward adjustments in yield. Again I would like to personally recognize the efforts of our local county committee and county office along this line. In checking, I find that only four producers in Washita County remained overplanted last year on wheat and that no cotton farmers remained over their allotments this year. This in itself would indicate to me that the farmers of Washita County are practically 100 percent in favor of some kind of support price. In my personal contacts with my neighbors, they have repeatedly said to me, “Boggs, let's keep the program we have until a better one can be formed and try to get 100-percent price support."
Being in the frame of mind of one of our great Senators in the State, I am an apostle of plenty and believe that we should carry a greater surplus in the United States. We never know when we could be attacked. Also why couldn't we ship some of this surplus to countries that are now having famines while we are feasting.
I thank you for your kind attention.
STATEMENT FILED BY LEROY BROCK, DURANT, OKLA. The farmers of the United States are in trouble and unquestionably need help. But just what kind of help and how it should be given is a matter of conflicting opinions that seem to be producing more confusion than solution of the problem.
I think it is impossible for us to reach a proper solution, until the people of our Nation individually and/or collectively are willing to put into practice the principles taught by Jesus Christ and our legislative bodies are willing to look to God for guidance.
As it is every segment of our economic life in the United States is jockeying for an advantage over every other segment. And our legislative bodies are unquestionably yielding to pressure that means the most votes for their party and themselves individually (with notable exceptions of course) rather than for an honest solution to the problem of establishing a sound economy.
Government aids, grants, price fixing, etc., which were needed and set up as a shot in the arm to give the farmer temporary relief have instead made him an addict of relief programs that amounts to an opiate that is habit forming and made him captive of the idea that requires perpetual assistance that will get him out of any hole he gets in through overexpansion and/or bad management. There should be no help given that will relieve the recipient whether farmer, laborer, or capitalist, the sense of responsibility and for maximum effort and/or destroy their initiative.
I have been a Democrat all my life and still am, but am becoming disgusted. The flexible price-support law was enacted by the Democratic administration, as a result of sound thinking, and I think it would work if it was allowed to function. But the Democrats are doing most to keep it from working. Why? Just because they think it is politically expedient to do so.
There is no doubt in my mind that there can be international agencies established that can put our burdensome surpluses in the hands of needy people of Europe, Asia, and other countries at a price they can pay with their own national currency and still not jeopardize the normal channels of international trade. Of course there will be howls by some interests, but that will happen no matter how it is done.
The idea of dumping our surpluses in the ocean is morally and economically wrong. As a Nation that would, should, and probably would suffer for such doing.
There should be no help given any economic group, including the farmer, that would relieve them of their responsibility for the success or failure of their group, or that would destroy their initiative, individually or collectively. We must, if we are to preserve our democratic way of life, get away from the idea of paternalism that seems to be blighting our Nation at present. Rewards should be determined by contribution. And not by political pressure. Subsidies are all right for infant enterprises, but when an enterprise, after a reasonable time cannot become self-supporting the subsidy should be dropped.
The cry for help is not so much out of distress, though there are some exceptions, but because one segment of our economy thinks some other segment is getting a bigger cut of pie.
I quit the dairy business over 2 years ago because of the squeeze between feed and labor cost and the consumer price. After 31 years in the business, and because I needed a rest. But I still could have made a living milking cows. I had rather be a poor man all my life and have freedom than to have security at the hands of bureaucrats and regimentation.
It is time for our Government agencies to quit their wasteful and unwarrante:1 spending and balance our budget, rather than to continue selling our future generations into economic slavery. This can easily be done when our legislative bodies make up their minds to do it.
STATEMENT FILED BY BART J. CAVENDER, SAPULPA, OKLA.
1. As one of Oklahoma's pork producers, receiving the major portion of my income from this phase of farming. I feel qualified to state one representative producer's views on our present pork-price problem.
2. For some time, price fluctuations in the supported farm commodities has varied very little, compared to the rapid decline of pork prices. Specifically, these commodities are wheat, soybeans, peanuts, tobacco, and cotton. As one of these, soybeans is the main ingredient of the protein supplement in hog rations, the gross imbalance between supported and nonsupported commodities becomes an undeniable fact.
3. We want a more stable pork-price support, that will at least compare favorably with other supported products. The flexible support program in effect now affords little or no profit to Oklahoma's hog producers.
By using only the best and most scientific methods of producing economic gains, a microscopic profit can be realized. But to earn a fair-living wage, it would be necessary to operate on such a large volume, the average Oklahoma pork producer has neither the capital, facilities, or enough hours in the day to carry on. If he could operate on such an expanded scale it would consequently greatly increase the Nation's hog population, and glut an already glutted market. In that event, the national and local packing plants would be buying pork at even more ridiculously low prices than are being paid now. A particular oddity, is that these sliding pork prices are carried through little or any to the final purchaser and consumer-Mrs. Housewife of America.
We, the Oklahoma pork producers find it difficult to derive a decent living wage from present prices being paid for our product, leaving nothing for purchase or maintenance on equipment, dwellings, transportation, or any other necessity related to good farming practices.
4. The Government pork-buying program proposed by Ezra Benson in my opinion is only a windfall for the packers, who can clean out their packing houses of cheaply-purchased pork at high prices. Then take a deep breath and start. with renewed vigor to dig the spurs deeper in Oklahoma's already windbroken-pork producers.
5. The situation I have summarized needs remedial action immediately to prevent complete collapse of the pork industry. By immediate action, I do not mean in a year or two or after a change in administration, but it must be soon forthcoming or too many of us will be forced to take bankruptcy. As I see it, one solution would be 90 percent or better parity-support prices. After all you are not dealing with an insignificant and unimportant food product, but with one that is essential not only to America but to the whole world.
STATEMENT FILED BY GEORGE C. CHIGA, GUTHRIE, OKLA. I am a part-time farmer, have worked with veterans on the agricultural farm program in Logan County for about 8 years, have an M. Sc. in agriculture, am presently practicing law in Logan County, Okla., an agricultural farm community.
I do not expect to obtain time on your program to voice my views. However, I have, by education, training and inclination, a deep interest in the farmer's problems.
Therefore, I would like to make my views available to you in this letter, hoping they may serve to further the best interests of farmers.
I believe the problems facing farmers are not so much new, but rather that they have become more acute in recent months and years.
I am reasonably sure that good statesmanship has as its ultimate goal, parity for all segments of the national economy, that agriculture as an industry is being somewhat overlooked.
This overlooking is not a matter of words spoken but of action taken in the interest of agriculture. It is exemplified by the attitude of the general reference to high farm prices which are considerably below parity. I also observe that only in the industry of agriculture is a program of reduced production advocated, when all industry subscribes to the theory that there must be increased production to maintain progress.
A program that singles out one industry in our economy to be the goat of reduced production coupled with reduced prices, to which is added unfavorable publicity through an incomplete presentation of facts concerning support prices in other industries along with related facts, can result only in immeasurable harm which may effect a severe crippling of our most basic industry
Farmers contribute rather directly to various forms of subsidies which benefit other segments of our economy, through tariffs, which act also as trade barriers, carry some of the load of the 2712 percent oil income tax exclusion. Fair trade items along with the guaranteed annual wage, tied to the cost of living, become additional burdens carried by the farmers in part
Defense production is often subsidized as is the ship replacement program and then the financing of so much of the housing construction which serves to benefit
the plumbing, appliance, lumber and construction industries as well as the financing concerns.
The State Department's aid to development of agriculture of backward countries will aid the development of markets for the products of other industries, but serves to reduce the world markets for agricultural products, while increasing the competition. At the same time State Department policy and legislation both favor the expansion of markets for the products of other industries.
Whereas most industries control the sale of the products produced by them, agriculture as an industry has little control of marketing and enjoys no similar benefit as is afforded by such control, e. g., the oil industry.
Farmers' fixed costs and cash expenditures to other industries are mounting ; crop failures on successive years can now liquidate a farmer with a substantial investment and equity. The risk of farming has increased with the increased dependence of the farmer on other industries.
The farmer's income has been restricted by the changing times. No longer can he profitably raise a few fryers, the egg and dairy industry are now specialized to an extent that efficient operation is out of reach of a small farmer who would turn to eggs or milk cows during crop failures or as a supplemental income.
Truck and fruit as a source of income in our community is gone because of insects and competition.
Insects, competition and allotments have reduced the incomes for a small farmer from cotton.
Nine years without a corn crop has made the hog situation anything but favorable.
Grain and cattle are the mainstay of many general farmers in this community, their income reduced by allotments and low prices.
We need a program designed to make it possible for a farmer to make a decent living with an average investment of capital and effort, not one that serves to reduce the number of people farming, while increasing the amount of the capital required to farm to a degree out of proportion to what is the rule in other private enterprise forms of business endeavor.
I suggest that we first correct the trend toward riding the farmers with unfavorable publicity, and give the public a picture of all other supports, subsidies and tariffs and some idea of the relationship that actually exists, while pointing out that any support a farmer gets, requires first that he produce.
Secondly, we need a legislative program that no longer groups all farmers in one group, but treats the highly specialized phases of agriculture, where crop production is not involved, separately.
Third, we need a State Department program that will give more consideration to the present plight of the farmer, one that will require the industries that benefit most from the programs of tariff, foreign policy, and trade agreements to carry a proportionate share of the burden that is placed by these State Department activities on the farmers of this country, and one that will exploit the world market possibilities for agriculture as well as for other industry and not restrict them.
The farmer that raises a sow and 14 pigs contributes more real wealth to the economy than the man that tightens the same nuts on the left rear wheel of a vehicle on the assembly line for a guaranteed annual wage. Let's treat him accordingly.
Supports, subsidies and tariffs are our way of operating this great country; the farmer could possibly withstand the dropping of all types of protection as well or better than most people. We would not want to return to a standard of living that would result from a complete reversal of the trend for supporting the economy where it needs it.
Because he has done his job too well, we have the farmer paying a penalty.
STATEMENT FILED BY FRANK CONNER, KEYES, OKLA. I homesteaded in what is known Cimarron County, Okla., in 1906. Been farming here ever since. I sold wheat in the 1930's for 24 cents per bushel. We had no support price then; but we had overproduction. We farmers are entitled to 100 percent of parity; we sure pay parity plus on everthing we buy. If we can get 90 percent of parity on our basic crops, I am very well satisfied with the program we have. Cut acreages till demand catches up with supply.