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wanted, or soil-building crops or if he just wanted to let it lay and do something he would have to pay him something to let the land lay idle.
I feel we ought to cut it down gradually and also pay him a little to lay it out. I would like to think we could put it up to the farmers and let them vote it themselves and if the majority voted we could make it compulsory.
Mr. COOLEY. They do it on wheat and can do it on corn, and all of the six basic crops. Farmers vote quotas on themselves.
Mr. FERBEE. I would like to vote to take so much land out and when we vote to take it out make it compulsory for everybody.
Mr. COOLEY. That is the way it is right now.
The CHAIRMAN. You suggest if 10 percent of all acres or 15 percent is put out, you first submit it to the farmers.
Mr. FERBEE. Yes, I think they would vote it.
STATEMENT OF HARVEY C. FAULK, SANFORD, N. C. Mr. Faulk. I am Harvey C. Faulk, Sanford, N. C. I grow cotton, tobacco, corn, small grain, milk cows, hogs, beef, and children.
I think this: We discussed all the different problems, everybody has agreed that farmers aren't getting enough. As a measure to help this:
Whereas, the cost of living is steadily going up, much to the public's discomfort, and whereas our welfare depends to a large extent on public opinion, we as farmers recommend as a measure to strengthen public relations between the farmer and the consumer and to help the consumer better understand where his dollar goes, that each product or article sold be stamped, showing the amount or share the farmer received out of, or for, said product or article.
I don't know if that will solve the problem, but it will, I can't help but believe it will raise our, give better public relations.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me say to you as chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, I have been having studies made just as you suggest there, had them publicized, made speeches about them and it doesn't work. The great difficulty is to get it to the consumer. The consumer is led to believe he is being gyped and it is the farmer doing the gyping. Of course it isn't true.
Mr. FAULK. How do we tell the consumer ?
The CHAIRMAN. I don't know. That is something the consumer ought to be interested in and if we could get help from the press and from the columnists and radio people we might be able to get somewhere.
Mr. FAULK. If this article was stamped showing the amount the farmer received
Mr. COOLEY. It fluctuates from day to day and would not be possible.
The CHAIRMAN. The administration of it would be overburdening. Mr. FAULK. Yes.
Mr. Cooley. Farmers get 30 cents for cotton in a $3.50 shirt, 3 cents for wheat that goes into a loaf of bread. We tell that story wherever we can.
The CHAIRMAN. I have stated it many times on the Senate floor and that is as far as it went.
Mr. Faulk. In other words, you don't think it would do any good.
The CHAIRMAN. We can continue to do it but it doesn't seem to do any good when the farmer today is getting out of the consumer dollar only 40 cents of it. Some time ago he was getting 52 or 53 cents. What we are trying to do is get ways to raise that and that is why we are here today to get suggestions. If you don't have any —
Mr. FAULK. I was just using that as a suggestion.
The next suggestion is to retain our present acreage, not necessarily our present acreage but looking at a scale of acreage all over, whereas we cut acreage some other country might take on our acreage to more or less sustain that, and to allow agriculture a fair share of the income that the basic product be at all times considered in pricing any finished product, if need be guarantee not only agriculture, but all segments of our economy comparable buying power, that it be made the regulatory factor of the finished product. I haven't heard that.
The CHAIRMAN. That would mean regimentation and fixing prices. That is something that we don't want to go into and maybe end up by destroying our way of life. I would rather keep it going as it is now rather than destroy our way of life.
Mr. FAULK. I would too. Our price is being set for us.
Mr. COOLEY. That is the unfortunate situation the farmer has always been in. He cannot fix his price. He has to take what is offered.
The CHAIRMAN. That is because we won't organize and my advice is to organize, but they won't do it.
Mr. FAULK. Yes, sir.
STATEMENT OF J. T. BURTON, NORLINA, N. C.
The CHAIRMAN. On farms?
The CHAIRMAN. You mean pass a child-labor law to prevent a farmer from working his own children on the farm?
Mr. BURTON. Hiring them out. The most dangerous occupation there is, and they allow them to work and still he can't go to town and get his children a job.
The CHAIRMAN. Not in a factory. Mr. BURTON. It is safe in a factory compared to the farm. The CHAIRMAN. You will never get a bill through Congress preventing a man from working a boy, his own boy, on his farm.
Mr. BURTON. A lot depends on their children, where it would cut production. They keep them out of factories to give people jobs.
Another thing that should be guaranteed—I don't know the average income of the farmer.
The CHAIRMAN. Very low.
Mr. BURTON. But just guarantee him a straight price for everything up to 10,000 or whatever they think it should be, and then figure the average income and pay him back a percentage of whatever he made of that. In other words, if a man, the more he makes the more percent makeup he would get. Put a kind of tax on the product to pay
Mr. COOLEY. It cannot be done that way. We tried it with processing tax and it was held unconstitutional.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF ERNEST CLARK, SHELBY, N. C. Mr. CLARK. Ernest Clark from Shelby, N. C., Cleveland County. I am going to touch this in the high spots since we put in the whole day and I don't think they have too much suggestion.
The CHAIRMAN. I wouldn't say that. We have suggestions.
Mr. CLARK, I don't see that the committee has been helped. I am going to another subject.
I am a dairy and cotton farmer of Cleveland County and I consider it one of my highest privileges to appear before you today. You are the lawmakers of our country and by virtue of being on the Agriculture Committee I know you are interested in the problems of farmers.
Before I present one of the problems of our farmers I want to say a personal word to Senator Scott. I believe in giving praise where praise is due to a man while he is living and not wait until he dies and then send him a bouquet of flowers. Senator Scott, we want to thank you for your interest and program to the average and little farmer of our country. Your road program means more than you can ever know to our people—your school program means as much, and rewards will come from them for the next hundred years.
My knowledge of your humble and real interest in us caused me to write you for a few minutes before you today.
I am interested in, and our farmers need a Federal crop-insurance program that will take some of the risk out of the hazardous business of farming. As you know, we have had a FCIC program since 1940. It was administered by the old PMA until 1945. During that time it was hard sledding. There were 4,220 contracts in Cleveland County in 1950, when it was turned over to the PMA. In 1954 when it was returned to the FCIC there were only 662 contracts.
In 1948 to 1950 FCIC was on purely an experimental basis and we had a meeting in Winston-Salem. Mr. Cisler, who was head of the FCIC in Washington, was there and I asked him since it was in an experimental stage that Cleveland County be left as it was, and not put back under PMA, because I knew that the number of farmers reached would be reduced to almost nothing. He practically promised me he would, but when it got to Washington, they said, "No." Since the beginning of crop insurance in North Carolina premium income has totaled $6,456,892 and indemnity outgo $5,184,405. So you see this program has not been a drain on the Government Treasury. Actually it has made a profit and at the same time has given the farmer a low premium cost insurance.
My main point today is that I have heard rumors that the cropinsurance program may be put back under the ASC program and I am very much opposed to this move. Why am I opposed to this move? Because in 1948 when it was in an experimental stage there were 9 counties participating in the program and there were 8,408 farmers insured. In 1950 there were 17 counties which wrote 30,839 contracts. During these periods it was administered as an independent agency. Then in 195î it was turned back to the ASC with 31,957 contracts. At the present time there are 34,185 contracts, and it is being operated as an independent agency. These figures show that every time the insurance program was operated by the FCIC itself, there was an increase in farmers insured.
The ASC has enough of the farmers problems to work on now. In fact, I do not believe they want it, because in 1948–50 they refused to enter into an agreement on a piece basis for sales and service. It should remain as a separate agency and a full-time office set up in each county or small area, so our farmers can go in and talk over the crop-insurance needs and be told what is available to them.
Another point I want to make is that the present coverage is only 225 pounds of cotton per acre and this ought to be raised to 300 pounds which would cover actual cost of seed and fertilizer and pay some on equipment and labor investment. The cotton production will average this year in Cleveland County approximately 600 pounds per acre and it seldom ever falls to the point where a farmer can collect now, and the present breaking point does not cover actual cost. I also feel that the cost of the premiums should be held at a low rate even though our Government may have to underwrite a part of the cost. I want to emphasize to you, gentlemen, that farming today is an expensive business, and it is hazardous. Our average farmer cannot stand the risk involved, and, unless some assurance can be given them, many of them are going to be forced out of business even though we consider the times pretty good now.
In conclusion, let me say that I have been interested in the Federal crop-insurance program since its beginning and have expressed my views to our State office many times and one time to the national director in a conference held at Winston-Salem, N. C., in 1950 which was just before it was put under the old PMA. Today, I am asking you to leave the administration of this program as it is at present, except to strengthen it by setting up officers where they are needed, so more farmers can be reached, and to reduce the premiums and increase the
coverage, so our farmers can stay in business.
STATEMENT OF GLENN MARTIN, WAYNESBORO, N. C.
Mr. MARTIN. I had hoped to get considerable time, but time has run out.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you anything to offer?
Mr. MARTIN. I have a different idea from what I have heard today. First, two problems that I see, which is over-production with resulting low prices. The other is intolerable conditions existing in the sharecropping in North Carolina and other Southern States that under civilized conditions should be remedied.
I heartily concur with the gentleman before me that child-labor laws should be applied in agriculture. Secondly, I feel that the wage and hour laws that are in effect in industry should by all means be applied to agriculture. If I hire a man to drive my tractor, give him the minimum at least. That will help the small farmer in that there are thousands of farms in North Carolina, like Mr. Cooley's, who are operated by tenants.
He may operate his own sharecrop basis but if he had to pay all his hired help $1 an hour which will soon be the law, it will eliminate a tremendous amount of farm produce all over the United States of America.
Now, as for conservation, to highlight that, we are blessed in the Southland in that pine trees grow abundantly and profusely, Any land taken out of crop production could very profitably be planted in pine trees. In the Great Plains, what I have seen of the farms, ponds are the only answer I have seen. I won't take more time.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mr. Martin. I feel 16 is young enough. Farming is a very hazardous occupation.
Mr. Cooley. One other question: You say if you paid $1 an hour for farmhands and plowboys and others who worked on the farm, until you could get commodity prices up, how could you pay the labor?
Mr. Martin. I work my farm and wouldn't have to pay it. If you hire yours done you go in the hole and quit production unless prices went up.
Mr. COOLEY. What will happen to those tenants you are talking about?
Mr. Martin. Governor Hodges is preparing small jobs in industry here to take care of a lot of them.
Mr. Cooley. If they could all find jobs in industry, that is right, but we cannot change the pattern of farming in the South overnight.
Mr. MARTIN. It is a long-drawn-out thing.
Mr. MARTIN. Anything in the world I can do in helping with furthering these suggestions I have made, just ask.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Give your name, please.
STATEMENT OF H. A. LEARY, CAMDEN, N. C. Mr. LEARY. With the honeymoon with the farmer over and prosperity and the small farmer being divorced from the farm by the Department of Agriculture, I would like to make two suggestions: We in the South in the northeastern part of North Carolina had three hurricanes and with the Department of Agriculture attitude toward