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the retail and wholesale which would give Mr. Doaks 28.3 cents per hour more, which would only give him an hourly wage of 79 cents, and that is not out of line with the minimum.
Now in the future, shortly, we will have $1 per hour, which you gentlemen, you Senators and Representatives, have said is the minimum, $1. I don't know how to get that other 21 cents. I really don't. But I have tried to show you where you can get the 28 to make it up to 79.
The dealers in machinery will approve of it. They told me they are in favor of it. The producers of machinery would be in favor of it. Producers of all these things that the farmers buy would be in favor of it. And I believe it can be sold to the consumers who naturally will have to pay it or the taxpayers, because you are only asking, we are only asking that you pay us the difference between retail and wholesale, we can't buy at wholesale.
Now, the Government could buy at wholesale for us but we can't organize and buy at wholesale.
The CHAIRMAN. Why not? Can't you form a cooperative? We have a splendid law on the statute books now that would permit the farmers of this country to organize themselves into cooperatives in various parts of the country and if they used that law as Congress intended to use it, you go somewhere and you get all of these things you are talking about wholesale just the same as other cooperatives are doing it.
Mr. Brown. I beg your pardon, but they don't get it wholesale. I belong to the cooperative. The cooperative has to sell at retail. ..
The CHAIRMAN. I know, but just the cost of handling it, which is little or nothing, Mr. Brown. It is more than that. The CHAIRMAN. You are not a good cooperative, then.
Mr. Brown. You are saying that about the North Carolina Cooperative Association.
The CHAIRMAN. I don't know one from the other, but the cooperatives were permitted to be organized for the purpose of permitting farmers to buy in bulk for themselves and sell to themselves in bulk with a little service charge, and then that same cooperative can take the products that the farmers produce and sell that on a cooperative basis and if a little more of that were done you might get some of these buyers here to respect you more and pay you more for what you produce.
Mr. BROWN. That is true. I will agree with you. I will do my part in that and a lot of other farmers will, too, but there is already a precedent in this problem. The Congress of the United States has permitted and advocated parity selling, 90 percent, now it is flexible. All I am asking is parity buying.
STATEMENT OF J. M. RAMEY, MARSHALL, VA.
Mr. RAMEY. I have a prepared statement I am not going to follow at all because there are several things I have picked up I want to talk about. I will be brief. I have a story to tell you to illustrate
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the point that I think you will remember after you forget a lot of these things.
First, I want to point out that several persons on this stage today have said that farmers in this community had a special problem. That isn't true. All farmers have the same problem. None of them make as much money as they think they ought to make. That is the problem. Maybe there are too many of them in it.
The CHAIRMAN. Too many farmers? Mr. RAMEY. Maybe. I think before we end up we will have less on the farms than we have now.
The CHAIRMAN. You don't want that to come to pass, do you?
The CHAIRMAN. I hate to see the day come when the production of your livelihood, food and fiber, will be put in the hands of a handful of people.
Mr. RAMEY. I don't think it will ever be a handful, but those that produce it must be able to make a living at it.
The CHAIRMAN. It was only about 65 or 70 years ago when you had almost 70 percent of your people engaged in the production of food and fiber and it is predicted that within the next 10 or 12 years you are going to have about 10 percent. Do you think that will be a healthy situation? Mr. RAMEY. We don't have much more than that now.
The CHAIRMAN. A little under 14. Then it might come to as low as 8 percent. I think we ought to do something in order to keep the small farmer in business if it is possible.
In other words, encourage a farmer to remain on the farm and try to attract more. I am sorry you were interrupted.
Mr. RAMEY. During the discussion here there has been a good deal of discussion of price-support level. From my point of view the level of price support is not particular material. Any commodity can have the price at whatever level they want if they control production. They can have a 125 percent if they are willing to do the things that are necessary to do it.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean the farmers on a voluntary basis? Mr. RAMEY. On a voluntary or under Government program, either one, they can have it if they are willing to pay the piper. Tobacco people have done it, peanut people have done it to a slightly less extent and others have not done it. The support level doesn't make any particular difference because we had a 90 percent support level where grains and cotton were selling at considerably below that. So your support level doesn't make any difference unless you have controls.
Now, if we are willing to do it we can control it, but the acres that we take out of those must go into some kind of a pool where they won't be used. The only thing that I see that you can put those into that can't be used for some other commodity is forests.
The CHAIRMAN. What would you do in areas where you can't grow forests? You have thousands of acres in the West where you can't grow any kind of trees. What would you do with that land? If the problem were to be solved in Virginia, in North Carolina, South Carofina and Georgia, we would have a picnic doing it, but we have to legislate for 48 States and I have been over areas on this trip in Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, and other States where you can't grow any kind of trees. So your plan may not apply there.
Mr. RAMEY. That is the only one I know of that doesn't compete with anything else. Now, in some of those Western States you may get it back into some sort of range grass but then you get in competition with cattle.
The CHAIRMAN. That would hurt you here. Mr. RAMEY. Yes. The CHAIRMAN. You see, the problem is not easy of solution. Mr. RAMEY. That doesn't make a solution. Well, we have a flexible support price which I say doesn't make any particular difference because unless you control production you don't get that price for it.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. RAMEY. It is my belief that we have gradually got to abandon government in agriculture.
Mr. COOLEY. When you do, you will go bankrupt before harvesttime. You couldn't stand it. Every farmer in North Carolina would be in bankruptcy right now. When the Government is out you will get out pretty quick.
Mr. Ramsy. I don't say you can get out tomorrow or next year or in the next 10 years, but that is an aim.
The CHAIRMAN. That is a goal we aim for. But it is to work out of the present program of surplus and return health to the farmer. Have you any suggestion to offer on that?
Mr. RAMEY. I have offered most of the suggestions and I will tell you the story I said I would tell you to illustrate the point of what happens.
I am a beef cattle man and from animals on the farm we learn a lot about people and sometimes we learn a lot from people about animals, but when we used to have more horses on the farms than we do now, you ran into trouble with them. If you had a sick horse and he could not get up you put a sling under him and pulled him up on his feet. And once you got him on his feet he would put his feet down and you could loosen the sling; may be have to keep it there a few days in case he lost his balance and fell, but he would stand there.
You can take a cow and do the same thing with her but when you get her up to the top she comes down on the ground. She is perfectly content to lie there in the sling and you can let the sling down, you can raise it up, doesn't make any difference. She will ride up and down with the sling all day long. The only way you can get that cow up on her feet is to let her lay on the ground until she is well enough or makes up her mind to get up and she gets up by herself.
Now, this country has a lot more cows in it than they have horses. And there are a lot more people that are like cows than there are like horses in this country now. As long as we have support prices and Government programs that they think are going to do their job for them, they spend most of their time figuring out ways to beat that program rather than to figure out their own salvation as to how on their own farm they can get a living made.
Mr. COOLEY. I have a question. Are you in the beef cattle business? Mr. RAMEY. Yes, sir.
Mr. COOLEY. You are advocating that the Government get out of agriculture. Just tell us in what way the Federal Government is interfering with you as a beef cattle man? What law have we that now embarrasses you in any way?
Mr. RAMEY. It doesn't embarrass me.
Mr. COOLEY. What is corn selling for now?
Mr. Cooley. You may buy it here for 90 cents a bushel. You do not want it any cheaper than that.
Mr. RAMEY. This year we can buy it cheaper than we can raise it. Mr. COOLEY. This is the year 1955 we are talking about.
Mr. RAMEY. But that has not been the case until this year and here we get into the fact, again, that our support price held the price up. I would grow less corn if I could buy it as cheaply as I can grow it. Mr. COOLEY. Surely you would. You would buy more corn? Mr. RAMEY. If I could buy it as cheap as I can grow it I would stop growing corn and buy it. Therefore, your level of price that you have your supported level-your artificial level is the word-artificial level has priced somebody's corn out of my market.
Mr. COOLEY. You want to buy it as cheaply as you can grow it? Mr. RAMEY. I am going to grow for my own cattle unless I can buy it cheaper.
The CHAIRMAN. You are a cattle feeder. I don't blame you for being against price supports for corn, but we are thinking about the man who grows this feed for you. Unless you protect him some way as against other things, he may be in trouble. You would not want to be enriched and let him go down would you?
Mr. RAMEY. I wouldn't want him to be enriched and me go down, either. Mr. COOLEY. The corn producer is not getting rich today. The CHAIRMAN. Not at 90 cents. Thank you, Mr. Ramey.
Is Mr. Pope here, please? Give your full name and your occupation, please.
STATEMENT OF M. C. POPE, WARSAW, N. C. Mr. Pope. My name is M. C. Pope. My address is Warsaw, N. C. The CHAIRMAN. What is your occupation? Mr. POPE. I am a farmer. I raise corn, cotton, potatoes, tobacco, cattle, and hogs.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you a solution to the problem we are now talking about? Mr. POPE. Yes; I think so. The CHAIRMAN. Give it to us, please. Mr. POPE. All I have heard here today seems to agree that the problem is that the farmer is not getting sufficient to live off of. And the only way I know for him to get any more is give it to him. It seems to be simple.
The CHAIRMAN. We want him to earn it if he can.
Mr. POPE. Give it to him as wages and let him earn it. I think he is already earning it and not getting it.
Mr. COOLEY. Amen.
Mr. POPE. I think our parity price is not figured on the right basis. It is figured without the farmer's labor being added in.
The CHAIRMAN. Hired labor is, but not the work of the farmer himself, or any member of the family. You are right.
Mr. POPE. I can't see when the farmer raises the crop he has nothing in it but his labor and his fertilizer and those expenses, and if his labor is not added in it, he has not got much equity in it.
The CHAIRMAN. We are talking about the parity formula. That is what I had in mind.
Mr. Pope. That is the idea. I can see no difference in the sliding scale of parity when the parity is fixed on nothing. I can see no difference in 70 or 75 when the parity is nothing; 200 percent of nothing, he has still got the same. That seems to be the idea in Washingtonstraighten this thing out by giving us so much percent of nothing. It is not paying for our labor.
The CHAIRMAN. How long have you been farming ?
Mr. POPE. We did pretty well. The thing I think is the trouble I may be wrong, but our trouble started right then anyhow. It was declared in 1932 that the farmer could not add his labor into parity. Then to carry out that program they made another declaration that the farmer's produce could not rise in price until it reached the hands of the processor. Therefore today corn is 90 cents a bushel and meal is $4.20 a bushel. When the miller, the processor, gets hold of it, it can rise in price. It can't rise as long as the farmer has it. It can go down, but not up. The only thing I see to do is give the farmer parity price.
The CHAIRMAN. How would you do that?
The CHAIRMAN. But we are dealing with millions of people. In a
The CHAIRMAN. They farm under different conditions to attain what you call, I am sure you have cost of production in mind, it would be a big problem, and I don't know that we could write anything into law to do it.
Mr. Pope. I have this here, I don't know if you can read my handwriting. This is a farmer's worksheet that will give you what å tenant farmer gets for raising 8 acres of tobacco.
The CHAIRMAN. You have all zeros here.
Mr. POPE. That is what it amounts to. That is an itemized statement of everything done. It comes out with a row of zeros. We get 90 percent of nothing. Mr. COOLEY. I think that should be inserted in the record. The CHAIRMAN. It will go in the record at this point.