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Now, gentlemen, we have surplus of labor a lot of times and I don't believe there is anybody that would advocate flexing labor's wages to balance off things. But that would come nearer balancing and getting cheap prices quicker than the farmer taking a little slide. I am not saying that. I know we don't want to flex wages. I am just showing you this thing is not right down here on us.
Now to back up the 90 percent. I want to use wheat. We all eat bread. And the farmers in 1946 were receiving $2.85 a bushel on an average for wheat and a loaf of bread was 13 cents. That is a pound loaf of bread. That same loaf of bread tody is selling for 19 cents a loaf and wheat is 80 cents a bushel cheaper than it was in 1946.
Do you think if they had given those wheat farmers this year 90 percent support that the bread price would be any different? You wouldn't know it. The very fact that they did not get 90 percent support, it cost the wheatgrowers, Senator Young, over $145 million this year. And next year with your new parity formula in effect and your flexing further down to 76 percent, it is going to cost the wheat producers alone over $390 million. I am going to tell you, gentlemen, that that spells a lot in the pocketbook of the wheat farmers in buying the needs for the families.
Senator Young. I am glad you mentioned the parity formulas. Are you in favor of letting the so-called modernized parity formula go into effect?
Mr. WINGATE. The modernized parity is not even a 20th cousin to parity. Whoever heard of a 10-year moving average being parity?
Senator YOUNG. I agree.
Senator Russell. I have no questions, but I would like to observe in view of Mr. Wingate's last answer that there are some details on which the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation, its president and members do not agree with the American Farm Bureau Federation.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, sir. That is what I meant when I stated a while ago that even in your own organization you did not have agreement and that goes for flexible as well as rigid.
Mr. WINGATE. I am sorry to say we have had an awful split in there, but it is something we have to work out ourselves.
The CHAIRMAN. You better do it soon.
Mr. WINGATE. They are coming closer. I am not joking. We are getting closer together the tighter this thing gets, and I believe we will do something at this convention.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. Next is Mr. Boswell Stevens. I know you have a written statement. STATEMENT OF BOSWELL STEVENS, PRESIDENT, MISSISSIPPI
FARM BUREAU FEDERATION, JACKSON, MISS. Mr. STEVENS Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. You are president of the Mississippi Farm Bureau? Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you anything new to add to what Mr. Wingate has stated ?
Mr. STEVENS I think so, sir. I think it is a little varied.
Mr. STEVENS. Shall I read the statement and subject myself to questions?
The CHAIRMAN. Do as you please, sir.
Mr. STEVENS. I would like to read it as president of the organization, if you don't mind.
The CHAIRMAN. Do so.
Mr. STEVENS. I am Boswell Stevens, a farmer of Macon, Miss., and president of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation.
We thank you most sincerely for the opportunity to appear before your committee. You were kind to let us appear at this hearing especially as we were not able to be heard at Alexandria, La., on the Oth and 10th of November.
The CHAIRMAN. Why was that?
Mr. STEVENS. We feel, however, that we had a valid reason for requesting this opportunity here rather than at Alexandria. We were in our annual meeting at which time the official voting delegates from each of the 82 county farm bureaus are assembled and our State policies are determined and the recommendations made to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
We believe the policies determined are the thinking of the vast majority of our membership due to the democratic procedure we pursue to determine the majority opinion.
This statement seems to be verified by the growth of our organization since I became its president in 1950. At that time we had slightly more than 16,000 members. In 1955 we have 46,274 farm families as members of the Mississippi Farm Bureau—a county farm bureau in each of the 82 counties against 54 county farm bureaus in 1950.
From the information and the interest shown it seems safe to assume we will have more than 50,000 members in 1956.
For your information we would like to explain our method of arriving at the opinions of our members. Under our bylaws it becomes the duty of the President to appoint the members of the State resolutions committee. This task has been simplified some by the suggestion of one of the former members of the resolutions committee in that one person is appointed from each of the 20 districts that the farm bureau has divided the State into, based on potential members in such district. Even with this guide, care must be taken that the committee is fairly appointed by interest, not allowing the committee to become overbalanced with representatives from a single segment of our varied agriculture.
There is also appointed, in addition to the 20 representatives from the districts, 5 women on the committee. These 5 usually represent the State and 4 district coordinators between the farm bureau and the home demonstration council. This organization has approximately 25,000 members throughout the width and breadth of the State. We find that we can work very closely together and they are most helpful in legislative matters.
This State resolutions committee meets from 4 to 6 weeks prior to the annual meeting to review county farm bureau recommendations and to have before it representatives of various organizations and agencies, trying to arrive at the best recommendations to propose to the delegates. After the committee has spent sufficient time in reviewing recommendations and resolutions and hearing testimony, they put into printed form the State's recommendations. These are prepared and sent to the county farm bureaus to be studied by the membership. They can amend, delete, or oppose any section or sections or the suggestions in their entirety.
Their voting delegates are instructed on what position to take on each topic. The last day of the State meeting is the business session. The voting delegates from the 82 counties, who had been selected by the membership
in the counties in proportion to the membership in the county, are approved by the credentials committee and seated.
The resolutions committee has been in session many times to review any change or deletions and additions since sending the proposals to the counties.
On Thursday, November 10—that is why we couldn't be at Alexandria—the delegates determined the 1956 policies of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation.
Cotton continues to be our No. 1 money, crop; therefore, I would like to quote you the opinion of these delegates with comment and briefly refer to other interests of our agricultural economy:
We recognize fully the impact of synthetics, foreign and domestic, and foreign cotton acreage expansion on our long-time historical share of the world cotton market. We are unable to visualize the recapture and maintenance of our share of the total market without meeting price competition.
Price competition can be provided in either of three ways: By the producer, by the Government, or by both in cooperation.
High cotton production costs, brought about by Government action in minimum wages, tariffs, and other concessions to labor and industry, so handicap the United States producer that he is unable to make the necessary price adjustments to meet this competition alone. Since the situation is primarily the result of Government action, particularly the restrictive sales policies of the State Department, Government must assume its share of the pricing necessary to recapture and maintain our share of the world cotton industry.
We insist that the Government develop, announce, and carry out a cotton export sales program to accomplish this end in cooperation with price adjustments by the producer. Any failure of immediate satisfactory administrative action on a cotton export program should be remedied by mandatory legislation by the Congress. Any such announcement, or necessary legislative action, must provide adeguate protection for domestic cotton mills through import quotas or tariff regulations.
In order to provide the producer's part of price adjustment in the cotton export market, and to meet the competition of domestic synthetics, we recommend that the basis for application of cotton support prices be changed from seven-eighthinch Middling to 1-inch Middling and price supports be retained at 90 percent of parity through the set-aside or by legislation, and that compensating increases in acreage allotments be made above that provided in the law.
Senator EASTLAND. About what price concession?
Mr. STEVENS. We know what it is. We figured that out, based on present pricing.
Senator EASTLAND. It would be about 312 cents a pound?
Mr. STEVENS. It will be approximately-well, it might have varied in the last 30 days, I haven't figured it in 30 days, but 30 days ago the difference would be about 2.40. Then you have got your moving parity formula that will become effective the 1st day of January and then you might change it, but at the present time it becomes law the 1st of January as I understand it and at that time it was about 85 points and you had the 2 together and it is a little over 3 cents.
Senator EASTLAND. Proceed.
Mr. STEVENS. We urge legislation to prevent cotton of less than 1 inch in staple being tendered for certificated stock purposes on any exchange or board of trade in the United States, and that on the application of such legislation the CCC clean up the current certificated stocks.
We deplore the actions of private American capital in expanding old, and developing new, cotton-producing areas in foreign countries under the protection of our price-support umbrella in competition with United States producers for the world export market as detrimental not only to cotton producers but to our entire economy.
I would like to delete the next paragraph as it has no bearing. We were under terrible pressure preparing this.
Cotton farmers are as all other people and would like to have as high income as is possible to have, but we must be realistic. They are quite sure now if we are to have any future as cotton producers we must regain our foreign trade and also increase our domestic consumption.
Our people believe we must offer for export a quality product at a competitive price.
It is quite apparent that we have lost many of our former accounts and now to regain this trade we must offer special inducements, either in quality or price or both.
There are other legislative acts that we believe will help.
1. The Reciprocal Trade Agreement Act should be vigorously pushed and liberalized.
2. Public Law 480 has great possibilities and with the agricultural attachés now under the Department of Agriculture there should be a renewed effort to regain exports of agricultural products.
Senator Young. May I ask a question on reciprocal trade agreements? Would you think it would be a good idea before people from farm States vote for reenactment of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act that we insist that there be at least one farmer on the Tariff Commission?
Mr. STEVENS. We farmers wouldn't object to it. We will put it
4. Subsidy for American shipping should be in the form of a direct subsidy if needed and not a subterfuge.
5. Sufficient credit for export is desirable.
7. There will be others, bills introduced which help us accomplish the end we desire and we hope everyone will exert every effort to pass such legislation.
The CHAIRMAN. What do you mean by No. 5, sufficient credit for export is desirable ?
Mr. STEVENS. They have been hampered, sir, I think particularly in their insurance, getting this cotton shipped into foreign countries there. That may have been somewhat rectified but it is my under
standing that they are not completely able to ship this cotton in and maintain stocks in these foreign countries and they were prior to the Second World War.
The CHAIRMAN. Does your plan envision a fund created by the Federal Government for that purpose ?
Mr. STEVENS. We will have to set up some sort of insurance program that will justify these boys in sending this cotton into these foreign countries to maintain these stocks where it will be readily available to the mills as needed.
The CHAIRMAN. Proceed.
Mr. STEVENS. There is much talk of the two-price system. With this we cannot agree. To hold the domestic price at a high level and export price at a lower level would be unfair to our own mills and our consumer and at the same time open the doors wider for expansion of the manmade fiber field.
The CHAIRMAN. Suppose we have export controls. Would you change your mind on this paragraph?
Mr. STEVENS. Export controls?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; I mean import controls of the commodities, that may be produced from this cheaper cotton.
Mr. STEVENS. I think we are dealing with synthetics there. The CHAIRMAN. We have had proposals that would have the effect of permitting the cotton to be sold on a competitive basis with world prices and since the foreigners would get cheaper cotton we would then have the proposal to limit their exportation to our country of the finished goods.
Mr. STEVENS. I think you have to do that. Japan is an example of that today. I think that I mentioned earlier we are going to have to do something about it. I don't think we could sell this cotton competitively in the world market, if it happened to be several cents or a. given amount below our price and open the doors to let them come in. It would have to be on a quota system.
The CHAIRMAN. You would not object to the sale of this American cotton abroad at a cheaper rate than the domestic manufacturer would pay for it provided you protect against importation ?
Mr. STEVENS. I think it will have to be worked out on that basis.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee cannot handle both. We have the Finance Committee to handle one and the Agriculture Committee the other. To make it operative the two acts would have to be adopted ilmultaneously.
Senator SCHOEPPEL. Mr. Chairman, I would like to mention one thing. You say we ought to liberalize trade. At one of our meetings we were presented with some exhibits, pretty compelling to me, what we saw. Here was an American blouse, manufactured in this country, $3.30 or 40-some centsThe CHAIRMAN. $3.89.
Senator SCHOEPPEL. The same type, looked the same, felt the sameI am no expert—the price was just a little over $1 and it came from Japan.
Now they are pretty good at moving out in to these things and I have every reason to believe these other countries will follow suit. I think you are putting your finger on something important. What will we do about that if we liberalize trade policies?