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But for the reason of water and soil conservation, and what might be called a permanent land culture, that lands might be best diverted only after mechanically restored.
And even if diversion of such lands is for forestation, it should not be employed until they are mechanically restored and planted with a close vegetation; for the gullied condition will never heal to the extent of redeeming the true value of the land. In the meantime, the loss of soil and water continues.
Trees utilize the land profitably, but they do not, like other and closer vegetation, readily render it more tillable and fertile. And trees would never reduce the abruptness of gullied landscapes to the even surface favorable to water conservation, which itself is not a minor problem.
Close growing vegetation, of which there is a variety in use, would be better suited for conservation purposes and for profitable land use on much of the land that might be too hastily abandoned to tree growing.
The machine work necessary to restore the more natural lay of the land should be accomplished by contractors employed by the landowners and initially financed by a Government loan on the land itself.
Thus the restoration of such lands would increase the use of tractor power over a long period, while a reduction in the use of tractor power would be taking place in the curtailment of cash crop cultivation. 3. The land is our most permanent resource
There will never be any more land. If there is one type of collateral which is as enduring as the Government itself, it is the land. If conserved, the land never wears out, but renews itself; and it's worth noting that land is more indestructible than the gold at Fort Knox. It is the only resource that time and wear do not deplete, if given reasonable care.
In assessing the value of the land, its current value in dollars and cents, should not be the primary basis for making a loan appraisal.
Farmlands, after the community where they are located has been given a lift by renewed activity on the land, might be worth many times as much utilized as a building site for an industry, or a school, or other institution, or a home. Land is actually the best collateral any government with dominion over it could conceivably have.
Land, especially that in the sphere of well-established communities, has a long-term collateral value far greater than the current market value.
Loans for the purchase of land for tree and grassland farming should be limited primarily to farmers living on their farms; second, to those who would establish residence on the land under loan.
Repayment of loans made for tree and grassland farming, and for the purchase of land for these purposes, and for land restoration, should be by allowances for conservation practices on the lands under loan, if the landowner should elect this plan, with the option to complete payment of the loan at any time. 4. Limiting land holdings by Government and corporations
Ownership of land by Government in areas of well-developed and old-established communities has proven to be detrimental to the rightful development of such communities.
Specifically, in my county of Edgefield, S. C., the Department of Agriculture has sent half a dozen county farm agents at great cost to the Government to foster rural community upbuilding. These agents are doing a good service. But in more than half the area in which they are working to bring about community improvement and development, the United States Forest Service owns almost 30,000 acres of land rendering hundreds of these community families hopeless of ever having a neighbor again, or of ever being able to induce their children to remain in the area. In addition, corporations are buying lands in these communities whenever they can find it.
This Government and corporation ownership of land, which is noticeably wholly undeveloped, even though it lies within a region which has contributed as much, historically, to the Nation as any area of its size in America, is one cause for the retarded road program in these communities, much of the roads still being muddy after rains. The schools are all but lost, the churches are struggling creditably, but against the forces that would destroy them, some of them in their second century.
The Federal Government has no right to raise the specter of debilitation, deprivation, and backwardness, and at the same time provide a monopolization and competition in the land and in the timber and wood resources.
That corporations should be unrestricted in their right to purchase and hold land is a tragic error.
The Forest Service came into the area about 20 years ago, while the landowners were pressed to pay their land taxes, and paid only from $3 to $6 an acre, hardly permitting these landowners to meet their tax indebtedness. It might be truly said that their own Government caught them in distress, and in their misfortune, grasped the opportunity to buy them out for taxes and to expand a government-in-business, socialistic venture in one of the most culturally advanced regions of the world.
Reseli Government land to farmers for tree farming.–These lands, especially and intially along the roads, should be divided into sections of varying acreages depending on the condition, surface structure, and location, and auctioned off to the people living in the Forest Service area who wish to buy them, priority going to former owners who had to sell to the Forest Service. And such purchases, in which loans are needed, should be financed with loans by the Government.
Corporations, in form of paper manufacturing companies and their subsidiaries, have been for many years purchasing all the available lands in the general area. Local citizens have not been able to offer competitive prices for lands being marketed. These corporations have been vast landholding agencies tending to monopolize ownership of lands, and also naturally moving toward price control over pulpwood, within the industry.
They are approaching, in their monopolistic growth, the relationship to the public that is well defined and regulated in the case of public utilities.
If corporations may reserve vast funds and resources with which to purchase private lands, why not some consideration for individual taxpayers?
I do not recommend regulation of corporations, but there should be some legal approach to this problem, and if possible a prohibition on corporate ownership of lands where such lands are desired for private management and operations by farmers.
One of the fundamentals of democracy as we have experienced it in America is ownership of the land by the individual, whereon he may enjoy the greatest degree of freedom. The preeminent right of the individual to landownership should be reemphasized in the next farm program.
Those who own the land are those who ultimately control the way of life.
There is a close affinity in the priority of ownership of land by the individual, for family use, for individual and vocational freedom, and the American concept of individual freedom.
Who owns the land controls the destiny of the Nation. And the individual should be the arbiter of that destiny.
Thus the protection of the small farmer, the family-size farm, and private ownership of land should be the underlying principle in any farm program, not for the reason only that it is right, but because it will lead more surely to the ultimate, successful democratic solution of the farm problem that all loyal and patriotic Americans earnestly desire, and it will also strengthen our democratic form of government.
It is not the small farmer who produces the surpluses. Yet the corporation farms cannot be relied on to produce for some future emergency needs, and the small farms have been left to the trend of wholesale abandonment which is taking place at the present time.
The farmer has never organized or implemented union powers against the pleas of his Government.
ELECTIVE PROCEDURE FOR BALANCING PRODUCTION 1. Farmer unit
Establish the individual farmer or farm family as a certified farmer unit. (a) It could be the farm owner or renter engaged in the operation of his farm. (b) Farm manager or overseer. (c) Farm laborer engaged full time on the farm. (d) Sharecropper engaged full time in farming operation.
(e) Renter if he should choose to rent as a part of the unit farm. II. Unit farm
Establish as a certified unit farm 1 or more farmer units operating under 1 management.
(a) It could be a farm with sharecroppers, whose farming was under management of the owner, or renter.
(b) A farm with 1 or more overseers, under 1 management.
(d) A farm rented and operated and managed by the renter enjoying all the privilege of his contract.
(e) A farm whose lands are scattered and yet operated under one management.
(f) A farm partly owner, partly rented but under one management. III. Permanent land diversion loan plan
Establish a loan plan under which any lands being diverted for longer than a stated period (specified by Congress) and planted to trees or other vegetation listed by the Department of Agriculture for permanent land diversion planting would entitle the farmer unit or unit farm to loans for such plantings, and for restoration of gullied lands and for planting these areas.
(a) One-farmer unit farms would have no stipulated limit placed on loans for land diversion, either in amount or period of expiration.
(b) Unit farms with more than 1 farmer unit would be limited to $5 per acre of lands being diverted and to a fixed term of 5 years. IV. Loan plan for land purchase
Establish a loan plan available to the farms with only 1 farmer unit, for the purchase of lands and not to exceed a total of 1,000 acres approximately to be covered by such loan. V. Loan repayment plan
Establish a plan of replayment of loans made for the planting and restoration of lands, and for the repayment of loans made for the purchase of lands.
(a) Allow $1 per acre annually on diverted lands under loan and following application of the loan to restoration or planting, for performance carrying out specified conservation practices for a period of at least 5 years.
(b) Allow to 1-farmer unit farms, in addition, $1 per acre annually to be applied on land-purchase loans for performance as caretaker carrying out specified conservation practices, with option to apply other income as part payment, or payment in full, at any time. VI. Unit marketing allotment
Establish a unit marketing allotment for each farmer unit.
(a) The Department of Agriculture would estimate, on a national basis, the production needs, for all commodities and livestock to be controlled.
(6) Divide the total estimated production needs by the number of farmer units to establish the unit marketing allotment for each farmer unit in the respective growing areas.
(c) The allotment would be in form of quota tickets (for bushels of wheat, pounds of lint cotton, head of designated livestock) for each crop to be controlled, the tickets bearing the name of the farmer unit and the unit farm, if part of one, these quota tickets comprising the unit marketing allotment, a quota ticket for each crop or product produced in the respective growing area. VII. Unit acreage allotment
Establish by States the number of acres, exclusive of pasture, of cropland needed to produce a unit marketing allotment.
(a) The average yield of each crop or product, in each State, would be divided into each crop or product quota, and the total acreage required in each State to produce the total unit marketing allotment would be the unit acreage allotment in the respective State, for each farmer unit. VIII. Unit acreage-marketing allotment pian
(a) The unit farm, with one farmer unit, electing the acreage-marketing allotment plan could plant without restrictions as to the kind of crops or quantity the unit acreage allotment, and could market from this acreage any crops or products within the quotas designated by the quota tickets issued to it and receive approximately parity prices following the actual sale of these products.
(6) The unit farm with more than 1 farmer unit electing the acreage-marketing allotment plan could also plant without restrictions any and all kinds of crops in any quantity on the total of all its unit acreage allotments, which would be the total of the unit acreage allotments multiplied by its number of farmer units. And it could market from this acreage any crops or products within the quotas designated by the total number of quota tickets and receive approximately parity prices following the actual sale of these products.
(c) In compliance with the one requirement of this unit acreage-marketing plan, the unit farm either with one farmer unit or more would divert all other lands owned or managed to tree growing or to vegetation listed for planting on permanently diverted lands, and be eligible for the loans for permanent land diversion.
(d) With production on the unit acreage allotments being unrestricted there would be surpluses in some years, above the marketing allotments. These could be stored on the farm or elsewhere at its own expense, consumed, or sold on the open market, or held over until the next year and sold at approximately parity prices under the next year's unit marketing allotment. IX. Plan for supported prices at approximately 100 percent of parity
(a) On presenting required evidence of sale of crops or products, such as proper receipt, or evidence designated by the Department of Agriculture for proving sale of his production, the unit would receive from the Government the difference between the 100 percent of parity price and the average market price of the particular commodity since January 1 of the same year.
(6) The subsidy fund could be raised by a specific commodity tax, levied against the processors or manufacturers using the commodity, such as the present tax levied on the manufacture of tobacco products. X. Unrestricted plan
(a) There would be a choice between the acreage-marketing plan and an unrestricted plan.
(6) There would be no restrictions of any kind either on acreages or kinds of crops or products or on marketing and no requirements to divert land, but there would be no price supports or subsidies under the unrestricted plan.
(c) Farms choosing the unrestricted plan would be informed of the prevailing unit market allotment and unit acreage allotment as guides to a voluntary effort to balance the supply of commonly overproduced crops with the demand.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 1955
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Raleigh, N. C. The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 9 a. m., in the Department of Agriculture Building, Senator Allen J. Ellender (chairman) presiding.
Present: Senators Ellender (chairman) and Scott.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. D. W. Colvard, please. Will you give us your name in full and your occupation.
STATEMENT OF D. W. COLVARD, DEAN, SCHOOL OF AGRICULTURE,
NORTH CAROLINA STATE COLLEGE, RALEIGH, N. C.
Mr. COLVARD. I am D. W. Colvard, dean of the school of agriculture at State college.
The CHAIRMAN. All right, Mr. Colvard. I understand you requested to make a statement as to the general situation in North Carolina.
Mr. COLVARD. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I think we know it pretty well, but if you desire to, you may file your entire statement in the record and highlight it
(Mr. Colvard's prepared statement follows:) As a background for the discussions which are to follow I shall make a few general observations concerning agriculture. I will then discuss some current trends and prevailing situations pertaining to farming in North Carolina. Representatives of farm organizations, agricultural agencies, commodity groups, and individual farmers present will no doubt give you a good picture of their specific problems and recommendations.
Several of my colleagues from the School of Agriculture of North Carolina State College are in the room. They may be in position to provide certain useful information as the hearing proceeds.
First of all, I should like to state that from the point of view of service to the Nation agriculture has done a fine job. In this respect agriculture is strong. The entire population is eating better than at any time in history. There is an abundance of high-quality foods a given quantity of which can be purchased with the smallest number of working hours on record. Even with the added costs of more processing and better packaging a greater share of consumer income is available for nonfood purposes than ever before.
The wartime needs for food and fiber for our country and, to some extent at least, for our allies were met. It was not necessary for the Government to operate farms to get the job done. Individual farmers rose to the occasion within a general framework outlined by the Government.