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for the present allotment and marketing quotas and support price program.
The CHAIRMAN. We have a lot of evidence supporting your view,
Mr. TAYLOR. There is one other thing that Senator Thurmond knows and Senator Johnston too, that we have been working on this crop insurance. You know the peach growers this year in Georgia, in North Carolina, all these Southern States had a complete failure. Now we have been to Washington and we have had several trips around working on this crop insurance, this freeze crop insurance, an insurance that would take care of the crop through freeze damage and all that is similar to what they have in Florida. They have it in operation in some of the counties of Florida. We ask that there be funds set up sufficient to take care of
The CHAIRMAN. Experiments with that? Mr. TAYLOR. Yes. The CHAIRMAN. That is all we can do, you know. Mr. TAYLOR. We are not asking for a handout. We want it set up so it won't cost the Government a dime and will be self-supporting.
The CHAIRMAN. It would be an easy matter I presume to get your peach crops insured if you would get all the farmers to join but that is something you can't do. That has been the trouble as you remember with our cotton program and various other programs in that we couldn't get all of the farmers in a particular area to take out insurance. That seems to be the difficulty we are meeting with in respect to our insurance program. But study is being made of that to try to devise some way by which we might be able to entice them some way or another to take out insurance.
Mr. TAYLOR. Senator, on these diverted acres I have been a peach grower all my life and when this cotton program came up
The CHAIRMAN. You don't want them to plant those diverted acres to peaches?
Mr. TAYLOR. They are doing it now. Gentlemen, there is no fairness in that, and I don't know how you will work it out.
The CHAIRMAN. I am inclined to agree with you. I believe it is a problem that needs serious attention. Mr. TAYLOR. Absolutely. The CHAIRMAN. It doesn't look fair. Thank you very much. Mr. Williamson, please. Give your full name and occupation.
STATEMENT OF B. F. WILLIAMSON, DARLINGTON, S. C. Mr. WILLIAMSON. I am B. F. Williamson, farmer in Darlington County, farming being my sole occupation.
I farmed since 1924. A good deal of the ground has been covered and I know you haven't too much time.
The CHAIRMAN. It is not a question of time, but we have until 5 o'clock. We are going to hear everybody here if we have to stay later, and move to another room. I thought I would tell you of the notice I got a while ago.
Mr. WILLIMASON. On the subject of a long-range farm program, I believe that we are entitled to 90 percent of price support where we effectively control production. I would like to have my income from
farming come from the market place rather than through subsidy payments.
The CHAIRMAN. I would, too. You write a prescription for that, if you will Mr. WILLIAMSON. My prescription is price supports.
The CHAIRMAN. We have had that a long time, and they say it won't work. We may have trouble reinstituting 90 percent as you propose.
Mr. WILLIAMSON. I think it works where it is done with the right spirit, with the right backing. I think you all have given some excellent laws for price-support programs and in some instances they worked well and in some the purpose has been defeated.
On cotton, much of the ground has been covered. One thing that hasn't been mentioned that I like and I think South Carolina farmers want is a continuous acreage-control program. Even in the years when we are short on supply and can grow all we want, we still want to grow that within the program. That way we will keep our history and know where we stand on it.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course we have to conform to the law for that. The law provides that controls can be imposed where the amount on hand is more than 30 percent above normal supply. The supply is described as what we can consumed domestically and what we can export. That is in the law. You can't make it work unless those conditions are met. Mr. WILLIAMSON. I thought that the law might be amended.
The CHAIRMAN. You have to give a little leeway there. When your supply gets too low I don't know what could happen, but there has been a suggestion made and I think discussed before the committee that instead of making it 30 percent we might reduce it to 20 percent, but I am glad to have your view there, and that is under consideration, sir.
Senator JOHNSTON. I think what he has reference to is when we are not under acreage allotments, some areas plant more than they otherwise would. Thus, like in the West, a lot of the acreage came in when we had no controls.
The CHAIRMAN. You cannot stop it.
Senator JOHNSTON. He is recommending that we do something to stop them from coming in wholesale.
The CHAIRMAN. I wish we had the votes to do it. We would have done it a long time ago. We don't have the votes.
Mr. WILLIAMSON. My principal crop is flue-cured tobacco. It is the best example of growers' wishes being accurately expressed and put into the law of any farm program. It isn't that we tobacco growers think we are that smart. I think we have one very important factor that is often overlooked. That is that we are all in a comparatively small area. Any time we have a problem we can meet in Raleigh or somewhere and talk it over and the fact that we know each other in the program, we trust each other, and we can really work together to get a program.
The CHAIRMAN. That is because you are fewer and the tobacco crop covers a lesser area.
Mr. WILLIAMSON. I think we have a remarkable geographical advantage.
The CHAIRMAN. That is right.
Mr. WILLIAMSON. I am not critical of some of the other folks that they can't get together. It would be fine if they could get together. They would have as successful a program.
Senator JOHNSTON. You have a close-knit organization, county by county, and it happens to be in a small territory of the States.
Mr. WILLIAMSON. Yes. From the southern part of Georgia to the northern part of the tobacco, flue-cured tobacco, area is not too far apart that the growers can't all know about the problems and try to get an answer.
The CHAIRMAN. Proceed. Mr. WILLIAMSON. On the subject of tobacco, it is very probable that you are going to be asked to pass some legislation at this next session of Congress, as you know the quota for 1956 planting was set in June of this past year. At that time the estimated yield for this crop, which is based on the past 5 years, was 1,280 pounds per acre. Due to remarkably good seasons, new varieties, and improved cultural methods, we produced a crop of 1,500 pounds per acre.
Senator JOHNSTON. Let me ask you one question there: This to. bacco, this Coker variety, 139, are you sure you are going to be able to sell it? I am asking that question now because I don't want that grown next year and come to me and say they can't sell it and want me to do something about it. Are you going to be able to sell it?
Mr. WILLIAMSON. I will give you my opinion.
Senator JOHNSTON. That is not the Government. You are the grower.
Mr. WILLIAMSON. This year, any year, there is a pretty definite amount of tobacco that can be used by the trade, about 800 million pounds used for cigarettes and about 400 million pounds for export and there is a market for that much tobacco. This year we grew 1,540 million pounds, 250 to 270 million pounds with no place for it. This new variety, in my opinion, produced the kind of tobacco I have been trying to grow all my life. It is what we considered a good-quality tobacco.
Under the support-price program it is a higher-priced tobacco. The tobacco companies in buying your tobacco for cigarettes, that is all they want it for, if it is good enough to go in there, it is good enough for them. They can use a certain part of low-grade tobacco, a certain part of medium and certain part of high grade and get their blend. This year we had a tremendous oversupply in the high-grade tobacco.
The CHAIRMAN. Due to the weather. Mr. WILLIAMSON. Due to the weather and variety. I would say due to weather. Every variety made a lot of high-grade tobacco. I think that that is primarily what we are hearing so much about. That there is a lot of this 139 tobacco being held by the Stabilization Corporation because it was in those high grades. The companies don't need all of their pounds in the highest grade tobacco. Have I said that understandably, sir?
Senator JOHNSTON. The only thing I want to know is, are you going to get these companies to take it?
Mr. WILLIAMSON. The companies, in my opinion, are going to take it. They are buying it now, but they are not buying all of it. It is by grade, it is high, the X-3-L and C 4-L, and those high grades that they are not buying. It isn't varieties they are not buying.
Senator JOHNSTON. One of the witnesses said something about how it deteriorates and something made it so that the companies didn't want it.
Mr. WILLIAMSON. That is the first I had heard of it, sir, that it is deteriorating.
Senator JOHNSTON. I had heard of it 2 or 3 times; I have had people writing to me with the problem. I want my people in South Carolina growing tobacco they can sell and have no question about. If there is a question about it we will get in trouble.
The CHAIRMAN. What I understand from the witness, the tobacco grown is too good. It strikes me the companies ought to invite good tobacco and make better cigarettes.
Mr. WILLIAMSON. They have learned, after all, a cigarette is just good if a smoker likes it and we have been trained to like the cigarettes made out of part low, part medium, and part high.
Senator JOHNSTON. From all the reports, do you not think it would be well to have the companies give us their opinion on it and let us know what their opinion on it is so we will know what to advise you tobacco growers? I don't want to do something that might get you in some trouble. Mr. WILLIAMSON. One further comment on that variety.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you suggesting any legislation for tobacco? Mr. WILLIAMSON. Yes, sir; I am going to suggest some. The CHAIRMAN. Let's have it. Mr. WILLIAMSON. He asked about the variety. May I finish clearing that up?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Mr. WILLIAMSON. Senator Johnston, we in our area, and you, have heard this year the companies didn't like 139. I am sure we all heard it.
Senator JOHNSTON. Yes.
Mr. WILLIAMSON. There are two criticisms of it. One is that it didn't have the aroma. The other criticism was that they didn't know what its keeping qualities were. It is a new variety and, Senator, tobacco is kept, some of it, 21/2 years before it is used. None of that is proven, it is a matter of speculation.
Senator JOHNSTON. Haven't had time? Mr. WILLIAMSON. That is right. The feeling of the tobacco people is tobacco variety is all right. Any variety of tobacco should not be planted throughout the whole area a hundred percent. The companies in that event wouldn't have the choice of blending of flavors.
Senator JOHNSTON. They have to mix it up?
Mr. WILLIAMSON. Yes; they need to mix it. What percentage is safe to have in one variety I don't know.
The CHAIRMAN. Who will decide? Mr. WILLIAMSON. Nobody.
The CHAIRMAN. I thought you folks were working hand in hand with the tobacco people.
Mr. WILLIAMSON. We can probably get a recommendation on it. On the subject of legislation due to the high yields this year-I will drop back. The national quota on tobacco was set in June for the 1956 planting. The quota when allotted to farms amounts to 12 percent reduction in acreage for 1956. That national quota was based on the expectation that the 1955 crop would produce 1,275 million pounds of tobacco. Actually the 1955 crop produced one-thousandfive-hundred-forty-odd-million pounds of tobacco. We have 270 million pounds of tobacco more than was used in the calculation that resulted in a 12-percent reduction.
It is my opinion that we are going to further need to reduce tobacco acreage on 1956 further. We have to get our supply situation back in line. This isn't mandatory to get it back in line in 1 year, but we need to begin on a program of reducing our surplus. We have gotten in an unhealthy condition of tobacco surplus.
The CHAIRMAN. I thought that was the purpose of the few laws we passed this year. That was the argument put up for their passage. Won't those laws do that?
Mr. WILLIAMSON. We made in my opinion a serious mistake which was done by precedent and done by pressure from growers. But the national quota was calculated in June before the size of this crop was known. Had it been calculated in December the proper calculation could have been made. Under the law, under the present law, these individual farm allotments cannot be reduced once they are announced and voted on and approved. We approved a 12-percent reduction. What we want is a chance to vote on a further reduction.
The CHAIRMAN. I don't see how you could do that. Congress meets in January and to put a law through to change that and then give you time to vote, you would be planting your crop. Mr. WILLIAMSON. We will have time to do it if you
The CHAIRMAN. Then your program has worked well except for this year; has it not?
Mr. WILLIAMSON. It has worked well on the basis of helping supply in line with demand.
The CHAIRMAN. You produced too much per acre. I do not believe I would worry too much if I were you about the time that the announcement is made because you have had 1 year—your program has been in effect how long ?
Mr. WILLIAMSON. It has been in effect The CHAIRMAN. For 18 years now. Mr. WILLIAMSON. Yes. The CHAIRMAN. One in eighteen is not too bad an average. Mr. WILLIAMSON. We were getting in a bad surplus position already.
The CHAIRMAN. That is because you used too much fertilizer. You are planting your tobacco closer. Every farmer does that.
Mr. WILLIAMSON. We got too efficient in growing tobacco.
Senator JOHNSON. This year you had an unusual year as far as weather conditions went and it brought you in a tremendous crop. That helped build it up too.
Mr. WILLIAMSON. Senator, I want to stress that point. It is important with tobacco growers. For example on a 12-percent acreage reduction we voted over 95 percent for it. All we want is a chance to have the figures presented to us as to what we need to get in a good sound position and vote on it again.
This same thing, I mean.
The CHAIRMAN. I am telling you that I don't think you have any time to do that. Congress meets in January, and it takes quite a while to make the announcements and to vote again and by the time you