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Mr. BELL. Our Nation has lost standing in the world cotton export trade to the detriment of the cotton farmer. Most foreign demand is now being supplied by foreign producers.
The CHAIRMAN. At that point, do you believe that the cotton farmer, whether he be small or large, can compete in price with the peon labor of Mexico? Mr. BELL. I do not. The CHAIRMAN. Of Brazil ? Mr. BELL. No. The CHAIRMAN. Of Peru? Mr. BELL. No. The CHAIRMAN. Of Pakistan? Mr. BELL. No. The CHAIRMAN. No; he could not compete. Proceed. Mr. BELL. Absolutely not, sir.
(6) Our Nation has lost standing in the world cotton export trade to the detriment of the cotton farmer. Most foreign demand is now being supplied by foreign producers.
(c) The large surplus of cotton now on hand makes the solution of these problems more difficult. To relieve these practices and conditions and help us regain and hold our world trade I feel the Government should sell all of the surplus cotton over and above our needs for national defense and domestic supplies on the world market at world prices placing proper import duties and quotas on foreign-made textile goods to protect our textile industry, which is the largest purchaser of American cotton.
I understand they use about 75 percent of our cotton.
The CHAIRMAN. You would be surprised at how the cotton mills have been opposed to that. That is, to a price differential abroad to what they pay here in America. Even with import regulations. You see, it would be very difficult for us to accomplish what you propose there because this committee has no jurisdiction over the whole problem. In other words, you would have to go to the Finance Committee to be able to do some of the things you are talking about now, to raise your import duties. Of course, if we could arrange to put a quota, as you propose, that may be all right but I doubt that you can do that except as to commodities that we don't produce a sufficient quantity of for our own consumption such as sugar and wool and maybe tung oil and things like that. That is where the difficulty lies. Mr. BELL. I know it is difficult.
The CHAIRMAN. I thought I would bring it to your attention.
No. 3: Overhaul the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 relative to cotton so as to stabilize cotton production on cotton farms and aid in balancing the farming operations of such farmers. Let the act provide a continuing cotton-control program every year with a 100percent price support, raising and lowering the annual production according to current needs.
The CHAIRMAN. How would you do that? That is the point. How would you do that? It is easy to say it. How would you do it?
Mr. BELL. The situation seems like this: The conditions we have confronting us are ruining the old cotton growing section of the
country. Where we had seventy-odd-thousand acres in Greenwood County, now we only have a little over 4,000 acres.
The CHAIRMAN. It may be that many farmers did what Mr. Warner did, he abandoned it.
Mr. WARNER. I didn't go far enough on that. He is contendingthe acres I lost should have gone to somebody else in Greenwood County and we could have continued to grow cotton but that is what hurts. When I lose my acres it goes somewhere else. That is his contention, I believe. Mr. BELL. Another factor I have
The CHAIRMAN. Suppose others do what you do. That is how it. was lost. We found that condition to exist in Georgia. You could transfer it from south George to north Georgia or vice versa, but they found cattle growing paid more and they abandoned cotton. That happened in many cases. It may not hold true in your own county.
Senator JOHNSTON. Speaking of reassignment, I had an amendment to the bill and put it in just a few years ago that you could reassign in the county and if the county failed to make use of it, then it went back to the State and the State could reassign it. Mr. BELL. That is right, sir. That is what I understand it to be.
The CHAIRMAN. We tried to put all kinds of gadgets in there to retain it. If that gadget isn't used the law is not to blame for it.
Mr. BELL. In my case I have been farming cotton all the time and I know that I have had an acreage allotted of 80 and 90 acres. Now mine is down to forty-odd acres.
The CHAIRMAN. Eighty or ninety?
The CHAIRMAN. There was no limit just 3 years ago, you could plant all you wanted to and before that you could do the same.
Mr. BELL. I had 82 one year, 75 one year, and last year I don't know how much more, but I got a reallotment of some that was turned back in. This year it was about 46 or 47 and they pushed me up to 54.
The only time I haven't planted as much cotton as I could plant was the time I got mixed up in acreages and you have to plant within 90 percent of your allotment but if it is within 90 percent it does count. That is the only time I failed. I fell below 90 percent. It cut the acreage.
The CHAIRMAN. Why did you fall below 90 ? Mr. BELL. I got mixed up in my acreage. I had 75 allotted and I didn't have but 65 which cut me about two acres and a half that the county would lose on that allotment for the next year.
The CHAIRMAN. How much more has your cotton production increased per acre to what it produced, say, when you had the 75 acres. Mr. BELL. That depends on the season more than anything else.
The CHAIRMAN. The Lord pleased almost all of us all over the country with good seasons this year.
Mr. BELL. Last year, my crop usually runs about three-quarters of a bale per acre, and this year it is running approximately a bale to the acre?
The CHAIRMAN. A bale ? Mr. BELL. Yes, sir; but I attribute that to the season. I will mention something else if I may in this connection. We hear a lot about the increase in production per acre killing the effects of acreage control. I will tell you what causes that more than anything else. It is because a man operating a family-sized farm who has to make a living for himself and his children and go to all the expenses necessary to operate the farm, he has to make so much or he has to get out of business. He does everything he can to make a certain amount of cotton and he has to do that to stay in busines. That is why, the way I figure it, that is the real reason you have such an increase in acreage production. I think that is certainly the case in my community
The CHAIRMAN. I have been figuring a little bit here. You made on your 54 acres in 1954 just about 2 bales less than you did on 75 acres just a few years ago.
Mr. BELL. I use the same fertilizer that I did then and worked it the same, I thought. It was a difference in the season. I didn't make any special effort because I had that cotton acreage. I always have it now so that I wouldn't get mixed up like I did a few years ago. I have it surveyed by the Government fellows so I know just what I am putting in.
I had 53.7 acres where I was allotted 54. Senator Scott. Have your improved varieties of cotton helped you? Mr. BELL. I planted the same kind. I get new seed every few years; it is Coker wilt-resistant cotton. We lost a lot from people jumping in and out, and that is why I said stabilize it. The in-and-out farmers get acreage this year and don't turn it in, don't farm it, and they are just really not regular cotton farmers and therefore that is lost to our county on the next acreage allotment. That is one reason we have lost so much in addition to what Mr. Warner just stated.
The CHAIRMAN. Proceed, sir. No. 4: Provide a minimum allotment of 5 acres for any cottongrowing farm family dependent on the farm for support. We have people that come in there that lose a job where they are working and they get up in age and can't find another job in that same line of work. They were farmers before they went there; they had to leave the farm; they come out on the farm to try to make a living for themselves; they are independent people; they don't want to get on the public welfare and such as that. They want to make their own living. They allot them 2 or 3 acres and they can't make a living to save their lives.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think it is fair to the other segment of farming if you let a man go in and out and if he wants to plant 5 acres this year let him, and if he wants to plant something else let him get out of it and come back? Mr. BELL. No.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course not. When the law was first passed here, the law I fostered with the late Senator Bankhead and others, we provided for a minimum of 5 acres. What happened?
In many instances farmers wouldn't plant it. Those fellows who were in and out lost that because they wouldn't plant it, don't you see?
The BELL. Genthave heard but pleas
I have heardon't know that this is
That is why in a measure the law was changed later. Don't you think: it was fair to do that?
Mr. BELL. Yes, sir. I mentioned that that I believe is why we loses part of our cotton allotments. These people that come back to the farms and want to make a living there they can't make it on 2 and 3 acres of cotton.
The CHAIRMAN. You don't feel it would be fair to give it back to them and take it away from somebody else who stuck with it? Mr. BELL. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. That is another one of the problems that is hard of solution.
Do you get the point ? Mr. BELL. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. There are those who stuck with it through thick: and thin. If you take it away from them and give it to one who got; in and out and in again your action is not justified. Mr. BELL. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. Proceed.
Mr. BELL. Gentlemen, I don't know that this is even to be considered by Congress. I have heard something to that effect and we do have this condition in this State, but please don't pass laws affecting the water rights of the people of the several States and under no circumstances take this valuable property right away from the farmer without paying just compensation therefor.
The CHAIRMAN. What do you have in mind ?
Mr. BELL. I mean, sir, that we have got a proposal down here in this State, we have riparian rights in this State and that boils down to the simple statement that it gives every landowner along a stream rights to use that water for useful purposes provided he doesn't use it to such an extent as to interfere with the one below him or above him from a like use of the water. That is the law we have. That is a valuable right that belongs to the farmer.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you know of anybody who is trying to take that away from you? Mr. BELL. Absolutely. The CHAIRMAN. Who is? Mr. BELL. It is a proposal down here in the legislature of this State. The CHAIRMAN. That is something thatMr. BELL. That is a State matter. The CHAIRMAN. I don't think we have jurisdiction in Washington. Senator JOHNSTON. I see Senator Thurmond has come in. The CHAIRMAN. Come up, Senator Thurmond. Mr. BELL. No. 6: I respectfully suggest that the Congress appoint a committee to investigate and make recommendations concerning the monopoly of timberlands rapidly being built up by vast corporations. This situation is rapidly reaching the acute stage in my section of the country.
The CHAIRMAN. What are they doing?
Mr. BELL. I just thought maybe it might go into the question of being a monopoly and I wanted Congress to investigate that because they are buying it up and leaving it out there, what pulpwood they are buying
The CHAIRMAN. Maybe the State could handle it. It is a State matter. I don't think Congress would have too much to say about that.
Mr. BELL. I just thought maybe Congress could appoint a committee to investigate that.
Senator JOHNSTON. You are going to find also, speaking of your water rights, that it is going to be a matter within the State for the State to decide wherever it doesn't cross State lines. That is a matter for each State to regulate within its own State. I think in regard to your forests where the Federal Government itself doesn't hold title to the land and it is within the State, the State will have to regulate that also.
The CHAIRMAN. Congressman Ashmore is here. Please come up with us, Mr. Congressman.
Mr. BELL. Our No. 7: I conscientiously feel there should be 100 percent parity on our basic crops, placing the farmer on equality with other groups. I don't see why farmers should take 90 percent. That 10 percent can make or break a man.
The CHAIRMAN. How would you change that?
The CHAIRMAN. You mean strike out 90 percent and put in 100 percent?
Mr. BELL. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. You know, those who oppose 90 percent of parity state that the price of cotton is so high that you can't sell it abroad. Now, suppose you put a hundred percent. Wouldn't that aggravate the situation more? Mr. BELL. I wouldn't think so. The CHAIRMAN. You wouldn't ? Mr. BELL. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. That is the contention of a lot of people. I am just asking you.
Mr. BELL. The way I see the thing it is that the Government puts a floor under wages and they place import duties and tariffs on things imported to protect the manufacturers, in other words, to give them a good profit, and you give wages to the working people, good wages. You have raised that to a dollar per hour to go into effect in March.
They protect those fellows and by the same token I understand this parity business is to find out what would be a reasonable price for our stuff
The CHAIRMAN. You don't have to argue with me on that. I want you to give me a formula.
Mr. BELL. Take the same formula you have with the 90 percent and take out 90 and put in a hundred. I feel it would be just that easy.
The CHAIRMAN. Just that easy.
Mr. BELL. Yes, sir, if they are going to subsidize on one thing they should subsidize another and not discriminate.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, if it has the effect of raising cotton and thereby making it less possible for us to dispose of that cot