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suggest anyway on earth you could help the food crops because they are not imperishable like cotton and tobacco.
Cotton and tobacco are the two most imperishable crops we have and therefore can be considered separately from these other crops. As far as the tobacco program, I don't know one thing I could say to improve it except leave it like it is and cut the production where you can
sustain the price at approximately where it is. The CHAIRMAN. Let me ask you this in connection with tobacco. I don't believe that any effort is going to be made to change the support price. It is in the law now and I don't think you need be disturbed in that regard, but there is a move on to make farmers, try to make farmers grow better qualities. Mr. MANNING. The price demands that. The price
of good tobacco ranges from 70 cents down to 15 and if you go into 15-cents tobacco you will be out of business.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean from the same stalk? Mr. MANNING. Absolutely. You need not do one thing if you want to help and that is a particular ax he has to grind.
The CHAIRMAN. I would like to put this in the record. Do you mean to say that I can plant an acre of tobacco next to you planting another acre of the same kind, that there will be a difference of as much as 15 cents and you might get as much as
Mr. MANNING. Off the same stalk every year there is a difference, the low grade brings about 13 cents support price and it ranges to 71 cents support.
The CHAIRMAN. What gives the better grade, time of picking?
Mr. MANNING. The better grade is second and third and fourth cropping. The first is the priming. It is good but second, third and fourth is better, toward the top.
The CHAIRMAN. Why don't all do the same? Is it because they don't pick it right or at the same time, or be short of labor ?
Mr. MANNING. The weather will affect the stalk some time. Sometimes you gather it and it is 50 or 60 cents a pound and the rain can make it 15 cents a pound from there.
Senator JOHNSTON. The leaf grows bigger and sells for more midway up the stalk.
Mr. MANNING. It depends on each individual crop. One crop will be good from top to bottom.
The CHAIRMAN. What does it?
year. The CHAIRMAN. How many
? Mr. MANNING. Sixty. The lowest man on my farm made $480 an
The highest man made $1,100 an acre.
Mr. MANNING. I am just telling you. But don't get the impression
The CHAIRMAN. You will get people in the tobacco business.
Mr. MANNING. Don't get the impression tobacco makes $1,100. I have never sold an acre of tobacco for a thousand dollars before this year. We had a new type that made mighty good.
The CHAIRMAN. Just for the record, now, is this new type different from what your neighbor planted ?
Mr. MANNING. Well, some of my neighbors planted it but not so many, and the companies are kicking on the tobacco saying it is not a lasting quality and are liable to cut it out.
The CHAIRMAN. Then there is a method by which you can improve quality ?
Mr. MANNING. Surely you can improve quality by farming. One farmer makes good and one poor tobacco.
The CHAIRMAN. It is not entirely dependent on the seed you plant?
Mr. MANNING. Most quality tobacco is made with the proper amount of sunshine and rain.
The CHAIRMAN. The reason I am asking these questions is to get it in the record. I may understand it because I could talk to some tobacco farmers here, but the question may come up to revise the law so as to encourage better quality tobacco. Now how would you do that?
Mr. MANNING. There is no way in the world you can legislate better quality tobacco, no way on earth you can effect it. Because every man makes the best tobacco he can off that crop. You can with cotton and stuff.
The CHAIRMAN. You said you had quality, it was a variety.
Senator JOHNSTON. Most of them made more pounds per acre with that.
Mr. MANNING. It made more pounds per acre this year.
Mr. MANNING. Good quality. They say the keeping qualities may not be so good. The companies are figuring on not buying it because they say it produces worms in it in storage.
The CHAIRMAN. I wouldn't blame them for not buying it because let me tell you something: If farmers will plant just to produce and make a thing that the trade won't take, I don't blame the trade for not taking it.
Mr. MANNING. They buy tobacco by the grade. They don't care if you have 10 million pounds they will buy it or if you have only a hundred thousand they will buy it.
The CHAIRMAN. That is a great trouble we have with the wheat producer in the northwest.
Mr. MANNING. Tobacco averages about 750 to 800 pounds an acre. But those
Mr. MANNING. Average price per acre.
Mr. MANNING. Gross, yes. The profit in tobacco is not so much as you might think. I would say $1.50 a pound. Any farmer in the land should be satisfied that the tobacco program be let alone, you can't legislate quality tobacco any more than you can legislate quality of religion in Washington. The companies regulate that. We have from 13 cents to 71 cents a pound. I sold tobacco this year for 75 cents a pound.
The CHAIRMAN. It is all supported at 90. I want to make it so the Government won't have to buy that tobacco. I want the dealers to buy it.
Mr. MANNING. If the Government hadn't bought it we would have got $200 or $150 an acre.
The CHAIRMAN. So as a tobacco grower then it is your view that Congress could not do anything that would make it so that the Government will not have to take some of this inferior tobacco and hold it under loan?
Mr. MANNING. I can't imagine any way in the world you could do it. I have been producing it 40 years.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mr. MANNING. I wouldn't change the tobacco program one iota except I would cut the production, I would grow with the Government, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the manufacturers; you have to deal with them, all the rest have to march to the music; 4 or 5 companies make all tobacco products in America, comparatively so. Get them to agree what they will use each year and cut your acreage to produce as near to that as you can every year regardless of whether the farmers want to or not.
The CHAIRMAN. As I remember, during this session of Congress there were 5 or 6 laws we passed further curtailing the amount of acres to be allotted to the small farmer. I think it is down to seven-tenths of an acre. Mr. MANNING. I don't know the minimum. About half an acre.
The CHAIRMAN. As I recall, that was done because of the fact that on hand today we have a 31/2-year supply of tobacco.
Mr. MANNING. You have got to have over a 2-year supply to keep it aged.
The CHAIRMAN. But not 342!
I am going to digress a bit on account of the question you asked. I want to say that I have been a very proud man all my life and am no part of Communist or Socialist. Å man informed me the other day I could get $1,500 to $1,600 soil conservation. That has been in force for 10 years. I never have qualified for one dime of it and didn't ever want itbut 4 years ago I had 1,500 acres of land paid for and today I got $30,000 in mortgages on it. Now I am not saying that it is because of prices of goods, but because of the weather I haven't been able to make one dime in 4 years.
I put $70,000 cash outlay every year besides all my land and 25 or 30 tenants, used to be 50, in the mule day, my work and all the farming implements. I haven't made $5 in 4 years.
Now, that is not due to prices of products, it is due to rain and sunshine. The weather has cut me over $60,000 a year income annuallythe weather. I am bringing this out to show you that farmers cannot plan a certain production in pounds, in bales, and maintain it because it depends on the weather sent by the Lord. Farming is the most hazardous business in the world.
Usually I make good money on the farm. I have as fine land as there is in South Carolina. My father ahead of me was a large planter. I lost that prosperity the last 4 years.
The CHAIRMAN. That was due to weather.
Mr. MANNING. Four years of bad wether capped last year by hurricane Hazel. Hazel cost me 12 to 14 thousands dollars in buildings last
year. Having gotten in pretty tight circumstances, I wanted some of that money that President Ike put out for relief of the storm sufferers. I went to the man who is supposed to handle it. He referred me to the Small Business Administration in Wilmington, N. C. I wrote them and they answered back that they were very sorry, there was no provision made for the farmer to get any of that money.
A man who makes cotton, tobacco, foods, no provision for him to get a scent of that money. That was written to me.
Senator JOHNSTON. How many of your curing houses were damaged ?
Mr. MANNING. The storm damaged most every tobacco barn I had, blew down one house entirely, and damaged dozens of houses and pack houses. The storm cost me around, I spent eight or nine thousand this year repairing and have to spend three to five more to get where I was on repairs. Farming is such a hazardous business. It will take 2 to 3 years of good income now to make back what I lost in 1954.
The CHAIRMAN. Did any of your neighbors get any of this money?
Mr. MANNING. I don't know of a one that got it. Most were not damaged as much as I was.
The CHAIRMAN. This damage payment is not a gift. It is a loan that is made at cheap interest. There were no gifts made.
Mr. MANNING. I didn't mention interest. It would be cheap.
Mr. MANNING. They didn't let me have a dime. I have a good reputation for paying debts. It wasn't for anything like that.
The CHAIRMAN. Another provision in the law, as I understand it, if it is the same law I am thinking about the Government won't assist a farmer who is able to get the money locally.
Mr. MANNING. I have had to get a bit.
The CHAIRMAN. Maybe you are able and that is why you were eliminated.
Mr. MANNING. They just said there was no provision for farmer to get any money for that storm relief. That is what they wrote me.
Senator JOHNSTON. Did you ask for a loan?
Mr. MANNING. Yes, sir. I wanted some of the money and they wrote me back no provision made. It was for the boys with plenty of money there. I am not critical of that because you have done a very great lot of good things for the farmer, gentlemen; I am not unaware of that, in the Congress.
Senator JOHNSTON. There is a possibility you couldn't qualify under it. Knowing you as I do, you could probably go to the bank and borrow all you want. That may be the hitch.
The CHAIRMAN. That is probably the hitch.
Mr. MANNING. I want you all to remember I am stressing the fact that cotton can be handled different from these perishable products. A bale of cotton in storage, Senator, in a dry place,
I have no doubt will keep a hundred years without deterioration. There is a man up here near Senator Johnston's county has a bale of cotton made in the 1800's and is apparently in as good condition as it was then. No deterioration in stored cotton in a dry place, approximately none, might be some technical deterioration. You can handle our cotton situation a whole lot better with a whole lot more assurance than perishables.
You could set this 10 million bales aside. Don't forget that cotton is wealth, cotton is not like money, a medium of exchange, cotton is pure wealth. It turns into 78 times its value, 10 million bales of cotton is worth a billion and a half dollars today. But at interest it is worth 10 to 12 billion dollars. You can take a long-term use and do something for it.
The CHAIRMAN. You don't have to talk to me about that. But we like to have it in the record.
Mr. MANNING. There are 3 or 4 things you could do to help our cotton farmers. The first is you get together and put somebody like you and Senator Johnson on the committee that reaches a parity price. Anybody that has an ounce of brains knows that the parity price that they have set is fair to us, which is now around 33 or 34 cents, doesn't give any American his just share of our national income, as President Eisenhower said on the statehouse steps. Any man that thinks cotton at 33 cents a pound gives the farmer his just share of the national income they ought to be put in the insane asylum, or else he is a man with an impure heart. I am talking from 40 years' experience, not just 10 days.
So get you a parity concept that takes into account the labor of producing cotton and put that labor down just like the preacher, the teacher, the lawyer, doctor, the labor-union men, all the railroad employees, everybody in America, clerks in the stores, everybody, and be sure they get that $1 minimum that you put for everybody.
The CHAIRMAN. Hired labor is included in the formula now.
The CHAIRMAN. The dollar an hour won't take effect until next January.
Mr. MANNING. I am not talking about the best farmers on the best land in America. I am talking about the average cotton farmer in South Carolina. That is all I am familiar with.
I would suggest after you get that parity concept changed—while we are on parity wasn't it based on the years 1909 to 1914?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. MANNING. That came in the years I was going to college. I went to college in 1910. And I made up my mind in those 4 years as I got older and got out of the sticks and went to town a few times, went to Columbia and Spartanburg and Richmond and New York, that in spite of the fact my father was a big farmer in his day, 1,500 bales of cotton a year, I said God deliver me from the farm.
The only reason I am here today is instead of going to Harvard and studying law I developed tuberculosis and the people up in New York, the best doctor in the land, says stay on the farm, the rest of your life. I would rather live on the farm than die in the President's chair. I am here for that reason. That is when I made up my mind, 1909–14, those favorable years—and God knows I had a favorable start as far as finances—that is why I am here today. I am bringing those out because those are supposed to be the favorable years that we based parity on.
The CHAIRMAN. They were only favorable to this extent, that it gave to the farmer what they considered a fair purchasing power at that time.