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STATEMENT OF W. M. MANNING, SUPERINTENDENT, STATE
PENITENTIARY, COLUMBIA, S. C. · Mr. MANNING. I am W. M. Manning of Columbia, formerly of Sumter, S. C. I farm in Sumter County. I lived there until I went to the war. I am now superintendent of the State penitentiary here in Columbia.
In that connection, sir, I would like to digress from my brief long enough to express the hope that the Congress will permit penitentiaries to be added to charitable institutions and hospitals for the purpose of getting perishable and surplus goods.
One other thing I would like to say is I hope that some steps will be taken to prevent the Department from selling grain and other farm produce just at the time when we are harvesting our crops and crops and finding difficulty in getting a price.
Last June there came out just while we were harvesting our oats, came out offers from Dallas of several hundred thousand bushels of oats to be bid on from the surplus. It was thoughtless and stupid, I thought, and I told them so.
Senator JOHNSTON. I called attention to the same thing in regard to cotton. They were about to dump it right at the time we started gathering.
Mr. MANNING. That is their favorite time for selling.
I have here reference to one amendment that I would like to suggest for the Agricultural Act as amended. It has to do with section 344 (M) (2). I believe that was your amendment to permit a man to give up his allotment and retain
Senator JOHNSTON. Transfer within the county and if the county didn't use it, transfer it to the State.
Mr. MANNING. I thought it was a fine amendment with one exception. There is one clause I would like to see deleted and I think I will take this opportunity of offering it to you.
The clause reads: Except that this shall not operate to make the farm from which the allotment was transferred eligible for an allotment as having cotton planted thereon during the 3-year base period.
In other words I went into town and released my allotment with the feeling I would be safe on it if I wanted it back the next year. I did that both years, 3 years I think it was, and didn't catch this clause. Therefore, I did not bother to plant a tenth of an acre which would have been sufficient to safeguard my allotment. I didn't think about that. My allotment is gone. There is nothing you can do now to help me. But I believe that that militates against small farmers, mostly, who aren't as alert as the larger business men are. I don't see that it would do any damage because the planting of a tenth of an acre doesn't prove a man is interested in cotton. It doesn't make it certain that he will want to retain that allotment.
I didn't have but 22 acres on allotment. It didn't make any difference much to me. I did have this year a neighbor with 8 children that wanted to sharecrop that 20 acres and I was going to let him and I went to make my arrangements and found I didn't have any allotment at all.
There is another point about that that I would like to emphasize. An allotment of cotton increases the value of your land, makes it more available. Now it can easily happen as it did in my case that a man as he begins to approach his retirement age and his son's have all gone to other sections of the country and other professions, he has no member of the family that will want to continue his farm, he begins to think about selling that farm. I began this spring to see if I could sell a part of mine. I found there was no demand for it because I had no allotment of cotton.
In other words, my land depreciated in value from an innocent mistake. I don't think Congress intends that. I would like to recomment that that provision be deleted from the bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, sir.
1. I respectfully recommend that the following restriction clause be deleted therefrom: “except that this shall not operate to make the farm from which the allotment was transferred eligible for an allotment as having cotton planted thereon during the 3-year base period :".
2. Reasons: The basic purposes of the Agricultural Act as amended are twofold: (1) To allow for a reducation of cotton acreage when conditions demand such reduction; and (2) to provide an orderly method of alloting the acreage to farms where such allotment is needed. There is no question but that the act serves the first purpose. Nor is there any question but that paragraph (2) of section 344, subsection (M), substantially serves the second purpose.
However, the clause in paragraph (2) which it is desired to delete merely complicates the procedure. It does not require that a certain proportion of the allotment must be planted, fertilized, cultivated, and harvested. It merely requires that cotton must be planted at sometime during the 3-year period.
Under that requirement, a farmer with an allotment of 1 acre, or 10, or 20, or 1,000 acres, need only plant once in 3 years one-tenth of an acre to maintain his allotment. Can that seriously be thought to indicate a need for an allotment on that farm. When the farmer with an allotment takes the trouble to go to the county seat and sign a voluntary release, does not that indicate his desire to retain his allotment as an asset of his farm? Why then require the additional and useless gesture of planting a little patch?
A further and more cogent reason for this deletion is the effect of a loss of allotment on the value of property. When the allotment is lost through an inadvertent failure to comply with this unreasonably burdensome provision, it is a long uphill struggle to reestablish that allotment. Yet it is important to the value of the property that there be a reasonable allotment.
Take the case of a farmer approaching the age of retirement, whose sons are in other professions or in other sections of the country. As retirement approaches he begins to plan the sale of his property. For some years, because of scarcity of labor or other causes, he has devoted his farm to other crops, has planted no cotton, and now finds that he has no cotton allotment. Has he been blameworthy? Has he hurt the cotton industry by failing to plant cotton? He has not. Then why arbitrarily deprive him of an asset of his farm? As a result of the loss of his allotment he finds it more difficult, if not impossible, to sell his farm even at a reduced price.
Mr. Houston MANNING. I want to say I oppose planting any acre of land diverted for control and supported crop into any other crop in the land that is being controlled or supported. I wanted to put that in the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Taylor, please. Give your name in full and your occupation.
STATEMENT OF EARLE R. TAYLOR, GREER, S. C. Mr. TAYLOR. I am Earle R. Taylor. I am a peach grower in Greer, S. C. I am 56 years old. I own 640 acres and rent approximately
200 acres. I have about 250 acres in peaches and 150 head of cattle and my cotton allotment was 15 acres.
Gentlemen, I wanted it understood I am speaking for no one but myself. I represent, I might say I am president of the South Carolina Peach Council, also chairman of the fruit and vegetable committee for the Farm Bureau and I am also on the agricultural marketing commission for South Carolina but I want it understood I am speaking only for myself.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. Mr. TAYLOR. In my estimation the No. 1 problem of our peach industry and vegetable industry is in the field of marketing. When I say that I mean the big terminal markets, especially New York City. I understand there is a bill in the House, not affecting New York but affecting any of the markets. This big terminal market in New York City controls the markets of our fruit and vegetables of this country. It is just like you might say your political saying, "How goes Maine so goes the Nation." That is absolutely more true in our vegetable and fruit industry. The market today in New York City is used on us in an f. o. b. price back in Spartanburg and Greenville Counties when we are selling peaches. If the market breaks in New York it breaks where we are. And you know that is not right.
The CHAIRMAN. How would you remedy that? What would you want us to do?
Mr. TAYLOR. The thing I want you to do is straighten out that mess in New York.
The CHAIRMAN. But how? You can't force them to buy your peaches.
Mr. TAYLOR. You can at least bring enough pressure from Washington to bear to where it can be moved out and put in a place where we can cut down the handling cost of our vegetables that go in there. If you pull a truckload of peaches in there, my truckloads of peaches in there, say I pull them in there they meet me and I have to put a driver on and I have to pay those high handling costs and it is the most dilapidated market in the world. It dates back to the horse and buggy days. For any further information on that I would like to refer you to Mr. Crow in Washington. He can give you
Senator SCOTT. Mr. Crow is in the Division of Marketing.
The CHAIRMAN. I am wondering how we can handle that legislatively.
Mr. TAYLOR. We here in South Carolina had a problem here in Columbia of a market here. We suggested that the State take the thing over, which they did, and moved it out of the city of Columbia and it is self-supporting, it is not costing the State of South Carolina one cent and it is paying its bonds before they come due. If the same thing can be worked in New York, we realize it would be a larger scale.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that not a local matter over which Congress has no control?
Mr. TAYLOR. That of course would be, but the point we are trying to bring to you is that that thing should be a national matter because it represents your State and my State.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand.
eral Government can't take part. You corrected the evil, that you say is an evil, here in South Carolina by means of a State law. It appears that this is really a State matter and not a Federal matter.
Mr. TAYLOR. Well, just the pressure that you folks could bring on in Washington would, I think, be instrumental in bringing this about.
The CHAIRMAN. What kind of pressure could we bring? Mr. TAYLOR. You could at least condemn it and keep Congress condemning it until we get something done about it.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean by resoluting against it? Mr. TAYLOR. Absolutely, or anything else. Then I think in the peach business I would just like to recommend that the use of the United States grade 1 be restricted to products that have actually been inspected.
Our growers and some of our people that handle these peaches that come in from other States-none of our local handlers that live here do this thing—but they come in here and they will misuse that“U. S. 1" stamp. They stamp fruit that hasn't been inspected.
The CHAIRMAN. You can put somebodyMr. TAYLOR. What we want to recommend to you boys in Washington is that under the United States grade they be required to have a certificate showing that they have actually been inspected if they use that United States 1 grade stamp on the basket.
The CHAIRMAN. If they use that “U. S. 1” stamp without inspection they can be sent to jail for it. Why don't you make charges against those you know who do it and put a few back of the bars? You would stop it.
Nr. TAYLOR. I think if you investigate that you will find that it is not true.
The CHAIRMAN. This can't be done? It is misrepresentation and under your local laws you could have it done here but if somebody puts a stamp on an article that is supposed to be U. S. 1 and it isn't, that is a violation of your criminal law and certainly that could be handled locally.
Mr. TAYLOR. Since it is United States it would have to be handled, it is shipped out of the State, would have to come under the Federal regulations. Mr. STANTON. We amended that law this year.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me read it. I remember something we did there.
Senator JOHNSTON. We made it a criminal act this year, I believe. Mr. TAYLOR. It is something new.
The CHAIRMAN. I am sure there was some correction made. You may proceed.
Mr. TAYLOR. Right along that same line, just what—this has come up in the last year.
The CHAIRMAN. This law has penalties for forgery and other violations in connection with inspection of agricultural commodities. That has been corrected. I hope it works.
Mr. TAYLOR. I do, too.
Senator JOHNSTON. You haven't had occasion because we didn't grow peaches this year.
The CHAIRMAN. Next time you might get that corrected. I know we had difficulty that way but yet even under our present law if you could catch him in the act of certifying to something that isn't true, you could get him on some other criminal violations. This, as I said, applies to agricultural commodities so that I believe you are pretty well protected now.
Mr. TAYLOR. Since hydrocooling and stericooling peaches has become a necessity in order to assure safe transportation and marketing of more mature peaches and vegetables and also since the large majority of better growers are making use of these facilities I would like to recommend that the inspection certificate service be more lenient on their rules affecting maturity and thereby allowing growers to harvest peaches in a riper stage than in the past. Also that the inspection service be required to take a sufficient number of temperature readings after the hydrocooling process and that these readings be placed on the certificate. It has been called to our attention that a number of packing sheds are speeding up hydrocooling to such an extent that the value of this process is being destroyed and the above regulations would prevent this abuse and protect the conscientious grower who is using this process properly. That is being done. This is what we want done. We want those readings taken and put on the certificate.
The CHAIRMAN. That could be done administratively. We will look into it.
(The following information was obtained from the Department of Agriculture:)
Inspections in large peach areas like South Carolina and North Carolina are voluntary while those in such sections as Georgia, Colorado, and California are required under the provisions of the marketing agreement and order.
Peaches to meet U. S. No. 1 grade must be mature but there is nothing to prevent a grower or shipper from packing them more mature than at present. Also under marketing orders the minimum is provided but there is nothing to prevent packing and shipping of more mature fruit. Stericooling and hydrocooling are common in many peach-shipping areas. If fruit is properly hydrocooled it may be left on the trees 2 or 3 days longer and thus mature better than fruit which is not hydocooled. The inspection service encourages the use of hydrocooling and the shipping of more mature fruit when such cooling is used.
When peaches are hydrocooled the packages are normally so marked. When growers and shippers are willing, the inspection service obtains and records the temperature of hydrocooled fruit and places the temperatures on the certificate. It is impracticable to place such temperatures on the label on the individual packages, as the temperature information is normally not available until the fruit in a particular trucklot or carlot is all packed and loaded into the truck or car.
Mr. TAYLOR. We of course are interested in this trip lease. We certainly want that bill and that bill as you know is up. We want that to go through and since farmers are already penalized by the way of cheaper prices for their products and higher costs for articles used for producing we urge that Congress continue the exemption of the provision of minimum wage and hour law for agricultural workers.
The CHAIRMAN. That is coming before us this session. Mr. TAYLOR. All right. Here is one other thing: We recommend to Congress the change in the law to provide that no farmworker who is employed for less than 60 days in a calendar year in agricultural work shall be subject to the provision of the Social Security Act.
The CHAIRMAN. You are getting out of our sphere now. We don't have jurisdiction over that. That is in another committee. All we do on that is vote. I am sorry. Anything else?
Mr. TAYLOR. Yes, sir. I would like to go on record as favoring the sound soil fertility bank plan as a supplement to but not as substitute