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to me that he gripes and complains. There is a terrific unbalance between the plight of the farmers and the conditions of all other segments of our population.
I cannot understand why it is that there is so much hue and cry about some moderate sum that might have been lost in supporting a crop when subsidies of one sort or another reach so many other segments of our population, albeit they may reach them indirectly.
I was told not long ago that two ships of the United States Navy became impaired or damaged in Japan and that they could have been repaired at a cost not to exceed $1 million in Japan, but that they were towed back to the United States to be repaired in shipyards here at a cost of about $5 million. I have the word of our own Congressman on this.
I understand that some of you gentlemen are farmers and you surely must know that when agriculture gets in the doldrums it carries other lines of business with it. If farmers are prosperous, our little town is prosperous. It seethes with activity and happiness prevails.
I have the word of the president of the Georgia Farm Bureau that a year ago $250,000 was raised at a dinner in Chicago to sustain a drive to get peanuts taken off the list of basic commodities. That would mean that the price of peanuts would not be supported any longer. If this should happen there would be terrible distress in the peanut-growing sections of the country. Tractor sales would fall off and land values would go down. We people in Georgia, and the other States, think that since peanuts have become a major crop with us they should remain on the list of basic commodities and that the price of them should be supported at a reasonable figure. You know, of course, that the population of farms is decreasing. It is my opinion that the reason for this is that farm life is becoming so unattractive as compared to the wages that people can earn in the cities. If this trend continues, some of these days we will need no farm price support but, on the other hand, people will begin to go hungry.
I realize that perhaps supports do, in some instances, result in overproduction. This can be cured by acreage restrictions. I think also that there have been some inequities in the allocation of acreages, but it seems to me these are local matters that can be worked out. I am endeavoring to look at the matter in a broader sense and appealing to you to muster your influence to keep price supports in effect on peanuts, corn, cotton, and wheat.
Referring back to the matter of overproduction, I really do not believe there has ever been a year in which there has been real overproduction. Distribution has been faulty. There are people living on this earth who have never, one single day, had enough to eat. If our Nation expects to survive we must take a proper view of the matter. We must think about a little something other than balancing the budget and eliminating a few losses because of supporting the prices of crops.
I am on the State school building authority and, since I have been appointed thereon by our governor, I have been thinking about children more than ever in my life. The school building authority has floated $200 million worth of bonds and has built or is in process of building about 160 projects. We see now that these facilities are inadequate. Schoolchildren are knocking on the doors of schoolhouses all over Georgia, and those who have gone through high school are knocking on the doors of colleges and failing to gain admittance. If this trend continues and is prevalent all over the Nation, it won't be long until there will be no overproduction of any of the basic commodities—there will be more mouths to feed and more clothes to be worn. In the meantime, I hope that nothing will be done to undermine or impair our agricultural situation.
In conclusion, I should like to point out one other fact to you. There are all sorts of people in this Nation-most of them loyal and most of them patriotic. But when you go into the rural areas and contact the farmers, you are at the bedrock of patriotism and loyalty. Nothing bordering on communism is found there. And when a crisis strikes the Nation, as it did in the First World War, Second World War, and the Korean affair, the farmer gives up his son to enlist and mounts his tractor or gets behind a mule with less griping and grumbling: than anybody else. I implore you not to do anything or let anything be done to make the lot of this man any harder.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 1955
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Columbia, S. C. The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 9 a. m., Hotel Wade Hampton, Senator Allen J. Ellender (chairman) presiding.
Present: Senators Ellender, Johnston, and Scott.
Also present: Senator Thurmond; Representatives Ashmore and Dorn.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will please come to order.
This grassroots procedure is not new to me. Exactly 18 years ago this fall, when the late Senator Cotton Ed Smith was chairman, and I was serving my first year in the Senate, we held hearings in this very city, part of our hearings held throughout the Nation. From those hearings we presented to the Congress the present Agricultural Act of 1938, which has done such a good job in agriculture.
About 10 years later I again came back to Columbia. In the meantime, the Republicans had taken over the 80th Congress and instead of the committee being headed by a Democrat it was headed by a Republican, Senator Aiken. I can well remember all the farmers coming before us and saying we like the program, unless you can get something better, leave well enough alone. That was the cry then.
Today I am the only survivor of that group that started 'way back in 1937 in order to hold hearings, and this committee is now trying to obtain all the information possible from all of the farmers, not Senators and Congressmen and business people, so much but from the farmers, in order to find out how this program is working, how it can be improved. That is why we are here today.
This committee has been on the road now since October 23 and we have had meetings, overflow meetings everywhere we have been, and we have received much valuable information.
Senator Johnston or Senator Scott, have you anything to say before we proceed with the hearing of witnesses ?
Senator JOHNSTON. I think you have already outlined what we are here for. We are here to get the information from the farmers and not to give information at this time.
We are glad to have you here in Columbia, and in South Caroline, you and Senator Scott, and we appreciate your making this one of your stops.
The CHAIRMAN. We are privileged to have Congressman Dorn from the Third District with us, and we hope that you can stay all day, Congressman, but I understand that you folks are busy now beating the bushes and making speeches here and there.
Senator JOHNSTON. I talked with Congressman Dorn and he says, "I am going down there just as a farmer, I grow cattle and I have a farm."
The CHAIRMAN. I wish to state to those who will testify that the first witnesses, in fact probably all the witnesses who present themselves, may be cross-examined as to any plans or programs that are offered and please don't judge the questions we may ask as indicative of the way any of us feel.
You know, I find in having witnesses before us the best way to get the facts is to take the negative, if the witness takes the affirmative, and vice versa. Oftentimes witnesses say “this is the plan that will cure all.” It does not take long sometimes to show by a few questions that it is not as easy to put into law as the witness contends.
So, any time any questions are asked, do not feel hurt or do not think you are being abused because members of the committee may not agree with you. We are here to get the facts and it is hoped that from these facts we will be able to get a law on the books that will give to the farmer a program that will be long lasting.
All of us, I am sure, would prefer being home. I know I would. I have been riding in an airplane now since August 13. I have made a complete circuit of the world on this foreign-aid program. Many of us have led the fight in the Senate in order to curtail it, curb it; some of us succeeded last time in cutting a good deal of the foreignaid program that was requested by the President.
I wish to say that in connection with this recent trip of mine, when we meet next year I am going to be loaded for bear and hope to be able to continue to curtail these foreign expenditures.
You know we have a lot of folks on the Washington level as well as those who represent us abroad who when they make a recommendation for these huge expenditures abroad, do not take into consideration what effect these expenditures will have on our own economy.
We have spent millions of dollars to show people how to grow cotton and now it is hurting us. We have shown a lot how to grow rice and how to grow other commodities that are now in surplus in this country.
I have learned a lot and I hope, that from the facts I have gathered, we will be able to do a little better job next year.
Mr. Warner, please.
STATEMENT OF JAMES GARDNER, GREENWOOD, S. C. Mr. GARDNER. I am reading this for Horace Warner. My name is James Gardner.
My name is Horace Warner. I reside at route 1, Greenwood, S. C. I am a bona fide farmer, having never followed any other occupation. I am presently engaged in raising cattle and growing pine trees. I am sure I speak the sentiments of a vast majority of my fellow livestock producers in my section of the State.
At one time I planted over a hundred acres of cotton on my farm. But with a gradual reduction of acres over the years, and the increase in the cost of production, I was forced to abandon the cultivation of cotton entirely. I now plant no cotton. I now raise 400 head of cattle.
My purpose in coming before your committee today is to urge Congress to take no action to place cotton or any livestock, for that matter, under a pricesupport program which would result in curtailed production. I do not know that Congress has seriously considered such program, but I do know that varies, from time to time, with every drop in cattle or hog prices have proposed Government price supports and a limiting of herds in production. With all of the earnestness at my command, I urge you, gentlemen, to not further aggravate the problem by putting livestock under Government restrictions and regulations, This would only mean an additional headache to the Government and more redtape for the farmer and would not be a real solution.
I believe time will take care of our livestock problem. It is true that prices have fallen while production costs have increased, but it is also true that the per capita consumption of beef has risen to the highest per capita consumption in our history. The Department of Agriculture tells us that there are approximately 94 million head of cattle in the United States today. They also estimate that by 1965 we will need 101 million head with the increased population to maintain the present per capita consumption, which is 79 pounds per person annually.
Further, with the increasing population, 108 million head will be needed by 1975 by a conservative estimate. I believe, gentlemen, this will take care of the present livestock dilemma much better than Government interference,
The CHAIRMAN. Now, Mr. Gardner, would you mind answering a few questions, please. Mr. GARDNER. With Mr. Warner's help.
The CHAIRMAN. How many acres do you farm, Mr. Gardner ?
The CHAIRMAN. Have you ever planted more than a hundred acres of cotton ?
Mr. WARNER. I have planted up to 150. The CHAIRMAN. When was that? What year? Mr. WARNER. I believe it was around 1935. The CHAIRMAN. When did you quit growing cotton ? Mr. WARNER. I finally completed the quitting of cotton last year. The CHAIRMAN. Last year? Mr. WARNER. There are two things that enter into the production of cotton. It is labor and also the Government program. I was allotted a certain number of acres; I couldn't plant any and turned them in. I think today I don't have any acreage.
The CHAIRMAN. You actually quit growing cotton ?
The CHAIRMAN. I had several witnesses to appear before us who said that—one in particular, in Georgia, I think he had been reduced to 3 acres. When I asked a few questions I found out he had done what you did, had abandoned the growing of cotton. It is not because of the program that you did not get the acreage in cotton; it is because you quit of your own volition. Mr. WARNER. I brought that out.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand. I wish to say that the consensus of opinion that we have so far received from the cattle growers of the country is in line with your statement here that they don't want any price-support program on cattle. I don't think you need fear that Congress is going to put it on if we are to judge from the evidence that has been so far produced before the committee.
Any further questions? If not, we thank you very much.
The next witness on the list is Mr. G. D. Bell. Give your name in full and your occupation.