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of 3 years. I have introduced a bill that would restore these supports on a permanent basis. If the committee cannot agree to bring out this bill permanently restoring rigid supports, it should approve immediately the 3-year-bill already passed by the House and now pending in your committee. I am sure it would receive swift approval on the floor of the Senate.
I introduced a bill for 90-percent parity. If the committee doesn't see fit to act on permanent parity, I hope it will bring out the bill the House passed on 90-percent parity.
The CHAIRMAN. I want to say that when the House passed the so-called Cooley bill, which restored the 90 percent of parity, your colleague here, Senator Johnston, made the motion to bring that to the floor immediately but the committee thought that if that bill were brought to the floor without further study that it wouldn't have a chance to pass, so that in the event we do submit the 90 percent of parity we will have something to add to it which will make it possible for the President to sign the law.
Senator THURMOND. I suggest for consideration of the committee instead of a 3-year bill, parity on a permanent basis. If it is good ito pass for 3 years it ought to be good permanently and if we find anything better, I am ready to go for something better, but until then I think 90 percent is available.
No. 2. Increase of sales of farm produce on foreign markets: As a result of our price-support system and our continual loss of world markets, the Federal Government has accumulated huge stockpiles of farm surpluses in Commodity Credit Corporation warehouses. In approaching a solution to our farm problems, one of the first steps to be taken must be the establishment of an orderly program for disposing of Government surpluses.
One of the most feasible plans for disposing of these surpluses is to be found through increased sales on the world markets, which in recent years we have been rapidly losing.
However, I was pleased to note Secretary of Agriculture Benson's statement of November 9, that in the first 9 months of 1955, one-third more CCC
irpluses were disposed of overseas than during the same period of 1954. These sales have reached a total of $1,300 million.
Now let us consider the cotton surplus as an illustration of the problem. We have approximately 8 million bales of cotton in Government warehouses and by the end of this year we may have 4 million or more additional bales. At the same time our share of the world markets for this great money crop for South Carolina and many other southern States has dwindled from 60 percent to less than 30 percent of the world total.
It is in danger of being lost altogether. Cotton acreage in this country has been reduced 2514 million acres in 1953 to 17 million acres in 1955. By reason of the drastic acreage cut in 1955 alone, 55,000 cotton-farm families were put out of business. An additional 130,000 farmers already making less than $1,000 per year were reduced to an income of less than $900 per year. Senator Eastland of Mississippi and I, with the support of 60 Senate colleagues, have introduced a bill which we believe will help the Government cope with this grave situation confronting our cotton farmers. It has two purposes : To assure cotton sales in the world market at competitive prices and to establish quotas on imported foreign-manufactured cotton goods.
A program of this nature is essential if we are to prevent complete disruption of the economy of the cotton producing and manufacturing areas of this country. South Carolina, as you know, is a leader in both of these functions which are so vital to our national economy. I advocate increasing world sales on an orderly basis not only for our cotton surpluses but also for other crops which are so vital to our economy, such as tobacco, corn, grains, and dairy products.
3. Improvement of domestic marketing system for farm produce: I believe it is imperative to improve our domestic marketing system of farm produce throughout the United States. Last summer cantaloups which sold at 3 cents each in South Carolina were sold in Washington for 35 cents each. This is a deplorable situation which should be remedied. Growers must get more of the profit out of the crops they produce.
The CHAIRMAN. I want to say that the cantaloups that sold in South Carolina for 2 or 3 cents sold in Washington and New York for 40 cents and 50 cents, and the farmer does not make the profit.
Senator THURMOND. If a study could be made of the situation it would be a godsend to farmers.
No. 4. Expansion of agricultural research to enable the farmer to produce at a lower cost: I favor more expenditures for expanded research projects and extension services, such as those at Clemson College, to teach our farmers how to produce their crops for less money. Increased research is vital to secure greater knowledge on the use of fertilizer, methods for fighting insects, diseases, soil erosion, marketing, et cetera. Certainly one way to offset the problem of rising prices on farm implements and supplies is to find methods of reducing the costs of raising the crops. With the farmer paying more and getting less, he must learn to produce at a lower cost.
This is one of the most important things that can be done because our farmers must be able to produce at a lower cost to stay in business and compete. This research is essential.
5. Study of acreage-allotment system for a more equitable acreage distribution: We must arrive at a system for allocating acreage allotments on cotton and tobacco that will be most satisfactory to the greatest number of farmers. Much of the mail I have received has been on this subject. A study should be made of our family-size farms under the acreage-allotment system. Under the present setup, acreage restrictions are driving some small-acreage farmers off the land. Others are being pushed into marginal operations.
6. Improvement of disaster-relief program: Recent natural disasters, such as floods, droughts, and freezes, have cost farmers millions of dollars. We must improve our disaster-relief programs. Drought aid should be extended to cover hogs, poultry, and farm workstock as well as cattle. Legislation should be enacted to provide assistance to cover farm animals affected by a shortage of feed grains as a result of natural disasters.
7. Payments to farmers for retiring acreage growing price-supported crops: If the diverted acreage is planted in legumes or other soil-conserving crops, a larger payment should be allowed than if this is not done. This proposal is not a complete solution, but it is believed the reduction in acreage would aid greatly in avoiding large
surpluses, thereby relieving the Government of the expense of disposing of the same.
That is important not only to this generation but future generations and in case of war or emergency when we will want to have fertile soil to produce large crops.
I feel, too, if such a plan is adopted, it would be preferable for it to be tried on a voluntary basis-a voluntary plan is more desirable than a mandatory one-however, if it should not function properly on a voluntary basis, then compulsion may have to be used, and the Secretary of Agriculture should be given the needed authority to make it work.
During the past session, I joined Senator Russell and several other Senators in introducing legislation that would have given relief to thousands of peach farmers in South Carolina, Georgia, and other States which lost their crops as a result of an early-season freeze. This bill would have granted temporary additional crop acreage to these farmers. Had the bill passed, such farmers would have been authorized to grow a substitute money crop to provide a livelihood for their families and farm workers. This bill was approved by your committee and by the Senate. The House Agriculture Committee tabled the bill. Legislation of this type is just as needed as ever and should be enacted as soon as possible.
I am happy to inform you that the Agriculture Department has agreed, at my urging, to negotiate a peach-crop-insurance program with South Carolina peach growers. It is hoped that such a pilot program will be available to our peach growers in 1957.
As I conclude these remarks, let me urge you, as I know you will, to give thorough study to the suggestions which have been made by the agriculture leaders you have heard during the course of these hearings. It is difficult for any of us to recognize the problems existent in agriculture. It is extremely difficult to arrive at workable solutions to these problems. Nobody knows the practical approach to their consideration like the farmer himself.
I commend you today on hearing these farmers who know their problems and have presented them to you.
Also permit me to commend the Agriculture Committee for the interest and time it has devoted to the problems of the farmer during this year. With unity of purpose, I am confident that adjustments can be made in agricultural laws which will improve the lot of the farmer in this State and the Nation.
Thank you very much. The CHAIRMAN. Is there anyone else who desires to be heard ? I wish to express the gratitude of the committee for your attention and we hope from what we have heard from you and what we expect to obtain from other sections of the country that in early January we will be able to draft a law that will assist the farmers as a whole.
If there is nothing further, the committee will stand in recess until 9 o'clock tomorrow morning in Raleigh, N. C.
(Whereupon, at 5:05 p. m., the committee was recessed, to reconvene at 9 a. m. the following day, Tuesday, November 15, 1955, in Raleigh, N. C.
(Additional statements filed for the record are as follows:)
STATEMENT FILED BY HARRY T. HARLLEE, FLORENCE COUNTY FARM BUREAU,
FLORENCE, S. C. Processing and marketing cost of farm produce has risen almost to the point where farm price of commodities has little or no bearing on the retail price. I suggest that more Federal time, money, and effort be expended on a study and remedial effort concerning marketing rather than research leading to the increase of production. Most fertilizer and seed companies maintain research staff to improve production whereas no new market methods of facilities or of note have been developed in many years. Local markets are conspicuously absent from many areas of our great State. South Carolina for instance has only one good produce market whereas at least one in each of the congressional districts would greatly improve the farmers' chances of diversification. Federal cooperation with States' help in the establishment of area markets is desperately needed.
The South Carolina ASC Committee Order No. 4101 and supplements which prohibits the combination of rented and owned lands into one farming unit which can be economically operated will cause a tremendous hardship on thousands of South Carolina farmers and will in effect make small farmers of them all. This order is contrary to the Department of Agriculture's definition of a farm. You are urged to help prevent it becoming effective on January 1.
STATEMENT FILED BY M. G. MARTIN, MASTER, AND WOODROW VAUSE, SECRETARY,
MIDDLE GROUND GRANGE, HORRY COUNTY, CONWAY, S. C. I oppose any reduction above 12 percent in the present bright leaf tobacco acreage. Favor 90-percent parity.
STATEMENT FILED BY W. M. MANNING, Clio, S. C. Stop all welfare checks and give these people farm surplus. Living on welfare is better than farming.
STATEMENT FILED BY W. W. MIMS, EDGEFIELD, S. C.
The substance of the plan outlined herein is to restore the preeminence in farming and landownership to vocational farmers—those who husband the soil—and to foster decentralization in ownership and production with respect to our most fundamental resource—the land.
But any Government farm program should be considered, at best, emergency or stopgap legislation to be dispensed with as early as possible, and the nature of such farm programs should be calculated to restore independence on the landindependence to as many citizens as possible.
It seems a practical necessity at this time for the Government, which has entered the realm of private business and organizations in many ways increasing the cost of living of the farmer, to help achieve an economic balance between the major economic segments, the farmer being squeezed out of business at an alarming rate.
In the county of Richland, seat of our State capitol, the abandonment of farms has been at the rate of over 100 each year for many years. In my county, abandonment of farms has closely approached that rate. This is a condition typical throughout South Carolina and much of the Southeast. There are reasons for this marked exodus of our people from their homes where they and their families have been anchored to a deeply religious, patriotic, and wholesome tradition. Continuing policies of the Federal Government are somewhat to blame. If left on his own, the farmer might not be facing a cloud of confusion and hopelessness quite so fatal. It is time to make wholesome and far-reaching
The farmer unit suggested in the following proposals would be, in part, an answer to the labor union bids for control, and the price supports based on unit acreage-marketing allotments for each farmer unit would be a method of meeting the minimum-wage wall being steadily heightened in face of the farmers' falling income.
There must be maintained a realm or sanctuary of freedom on the land, and stopgap legislation which shall hold the line for individual landownership and vocational farming should be the basis for providing the framework of an enduring Republic and bridging an abnormal period of transition.
These proposals or suggestions, it is hoped, will present a helpful viewpoint from 1 citizen and from 1 area where the farm problems are perhaps as varied as will be found anywhere, and reveal a cross section of the overall national problem.
PROPOSALS FOR A REVISED FARM PROGRAM
1. Make Government loans to divert lands to tree and grassland farming, and for the purchase of lands for these purposes.
2. Make Government loans to farmers to restore gullied and sheet-eroded lands to a permanent culture as a first step in proper land diversion and soil and water conservation.
3. Establish the individual, or farm family, along with land utilization and conservation, as the essential components and rightful heirs in a Government farm program by establishing the individual farmer or farm family, sharecropper, or full-time laborer on the farm as a farmer unit.
4. Reverse the trend of Government and corporation ownership of lands, where such holdings are in the region of well-established communities, schools, churches, and where those holdings tend toward monopolistic advantages restricting the freedom of the people locally to expand and develop their communities, their employment opportunities and their way of life. Permit more farmer ownership and management of these lands.
REASONS AND SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS 1. Land diversion
There is no overproduction of trees used in the production of building materials, paper, furniture, plastics, and other wood products. If there should be an oversupply, the harvesting of trees as a crop lends itself to systematic marketing much more easily than seasonal and annual crops.
It is a well-known fact that many new uses of wood promise an ever increasing market for the almost endless variety of wood products.
But instead of this new outlet for vocational agriculture being within the grasp of the farmer, who might develop tree farming as a means to further selfemployment and farm independence tree farming has tended to be a form of investment, protected from fires (in a similar way that most large and corporate investments are protected) by agencies of Government.
For a farmer to become a tree farmer he must have inherited the forest land, and therefore a readymade stake in this new type of farming, or he is prevented from participating because woodland investment is a long-term investment, and there has so far been no lending agency, either private or governmental, which would even in a small way fill the need for financing tree farming or the purchase of land for this purpose.
The farmer, therefore, contemplating growing trees, or purchasing forest land, to become a tree farmer, or to diversify his farm program, must have access to long-term special loans for these purposes.
Grassland farming is also beyond the means of many capable farmers, and loans are necessary for the reasons cited below. 2. Restoring land to permanent culture
For many generations, the Southeast has farmed its lands without adequate returns which would make soil upkeep possible, and extensive areas are farmed out. Some of the lands are deeplý gullied and uncultivatable now, and will always be uncultivatable until mechanically restored by the use of heavy machinery.
Much hillside and sloping land is too thin to be tilled, until rebuilding throngh the process of returning humus to the soil and terracing has been undertaken. There are extensive areas with combined gully and sheet erosion.
It has long been recommended that these lands be considered primarily as treegrowing or forest lands.