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not only hurt me but you hurt the farmers that I am working with. They are low-income people who are not able and have not been able to take care of themselves economically otherwise. For them I speak because it affects directly me and them. I believe there are hundreds of farmers in North Carolina, eastern North Carolina particularly, that are affected very adversely by the acreage reductions that have come. I myself diversified, have diversified very largely and consequently I have gone out of-formerly I had about 20 tenants on
At the present time I am using 10. And still we are not able to make a reasonable living in comparison with industry such as was pointed out to the committee this morning by Mr. Caldwell of the grange, which I think was a very fine and very comprehensive statement in regard to the comparative estimates of our standards of living in comparison with that of labor. We believe that the United States Government should take steps to reduce the amount of cotton that we have on hand by selling it to the world at world competitive prices.
If that is taken off our market we would come nearer in future anyway of being helped by it.
That is about the extent of my statement to you particularly from the standpoint of this Negro farmer. I speak for him wholeheartedly. I believe you are sympathetic with what he needs and what he wants.
Mr. COOLEY. Mr. Pope, your tenants are in exactly the same distressing situation as Wylie Plummber is in.
Mr. POPE. Yes, sir.
Mr. COOLEY. A result of these drastic cuts. You think we should not make the reduction in tobacco acreage any more drastic in 1956 than 12 percent, do you?
Mr. POPE. I am one that is to be convinced of a larger percent until the reports finally come in in regard to the production this year.
Mr. COOLEY. Even if it takes 2 or 3 years to absorb the surplus, it would be better to do it gradually than all in 1 year, would it not?
Mr. POPE. I agree.
Ladies and gentlemen, this committee has the pleasure of having before us the Governor of your State. I am happy to have him here before the committee and I understand, Governor, that you have a short statement. He is a busy man, we all realize.
We will be glad to her from you, Governor. You may have the answer to all the problems we are trying to solve.
STATEMENT OF HON. LUTHER H. HODGES, GOVERNOR OF THE
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, RALEIGH, N. C. Governor HODGES. I doubt that is the case. It is good to be here, and have you here in the State of North Carolina with our people.
Senator Ellender, Senator Scott, Congressman Cooley, Congressman Fountain, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to express my appreciation to the committee for providing North Carolinians this opportunity to express themselves on the farm situation. Of all the 48 States, North Carolina has the largest percentage of population living and working on farms. Next to Texas, North Carolina has the largest number of individual farms. Naturally, as Governor of this State I am immensely concerned over the farmer's place in this selective prosperity which some of the Nation's citizens are enjoying at this time. I would like to emphasize what has already been said by various people that is, that we cannot hope to have continuing general prosperity if a large segment of our population is caught in an economic depression; that is, on a comparative basis. If the history of the 1920's teaches us anything, it teaches us that if farmers are left out of prosperity eventually everybody will be out. I join my voice with the other voices we have heard today in saying that something constructive must be done.
I assume, of course, that this committee is interested in securing our views on what the Federal Government ought to do with respect to this situaiton. I would like to say that we here in North Carolina are fully aware that there are things which can and ought to be done by State leaders. Indeed I would like to call your attention to the fact that we are doing something about it in this State. We have already in motion a small industries plan, designed to provide jobs whereby the income of farmers and farm families may be supplemented without the necessity of their moving from their farms.
It is my belief that our small industries program in due time will provide great help. Perhaps it would be preferable that farming be made so profitable that all farmers could supply their needs and wants without other employment, and I believe you should continue to work toward such a solution for as many farmers as possible. However, while this solution is being sought, our farmers are in need and we intend to try to provide the means for satisfying at least some of those needs by helping create small industries located near the farms and by encouraging the development of food processing industries which can use some of the products which the farmers grow. In the meantime, the Federal Government ought to change its present agricultural policies.
What we need is a return to rigid price supports along with a controlled acreage program. We know that rigid supports will provide the farmer with sufficient income to live on, and we also know that sliding supports will not. Even if, before controlled acreage can take full effect, such a program should continue temporarily to build up the surpluses we hear so much about, it is still necessary that we have it. I am somewhat impatient with those people who point to the existence of agricultural surpluses as evidence that the farmer is creating a burden to be borne by the American public. Actually the existence of these surpluses is evidence that the Federal Government is at least getting something for the money it spends in aid of the farmer.
Furthermore, by their very existence these surplus commodities provide a reserve which helps to keep consumer prices down to a practical level. And I call your attention to the fact that the agricultural commodities held by the Federal Government are at least as much, if not more than what the Federal Government gets for some of the money it expends in aid of other segments of our population; to be specific, transportation subsidies through mail contracts and other means, tax writeoffs for certain industries, defense contracts with guaranteed profits, et cetera. Mind you, I am not criticizing these other things, I am simply trying to emphasize a point made by Senator Kerr Scott in a recent speech—namely, that the farmers are not the only ones who receive help from the Federal Government; it just happens that they give a tangible product in return for what they receive.
The existence of these products in surplus amounts—I want you to get this point—unduly highlights the aid which the Federal Government provides for the farmers. We do not seek preferential treatment for our farmers, but we do seek some approach to equality of treatment. We are aware that all of us including farm organizations and groups have much long-range planning to do to reach a permanent solution of the farm problem, but for the present at least it is my belief that only through rigid supports and controlled acreage is the farmer going to be able to secure his share in the wealth of the Nation.
Thank you for the privilege of appearing before you.
The CHAIRMAN. Governor, would you mind expanding on one statement you made there about this self-help, the help to the farmers? What is the State doing?
Governor HODGES. What we are proposing here, we have had it in operation in plans for some months to create here grassroots industry, small industries starting in the localities. We are a State of small towns and villages primarily. What we believe is more fundamental to the final rising economy of the State, and we need it because we are still down 43d in the Nation in our per capita income, is to get a larger proportion of our communities with some little home industry, We raise things; we take things out of the water, out of the fields, and we send them away to somebody to process and package and to make money as middlemen, and merchandising.
We propose as far as we can, and we are raising money to that effect, have credit corporations going, in the coming months we have in mind, already have, applications for two and a half million dollars of credit from these little industries throughout the State.
The CHAIRMAN. That is the kind of aid you are making available.
Governor HODGES. We hope we can keep the people on the farm as far as possible, and if you can get aid in that way we can get up processing plans.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, sir. We are glad to have had you.
STATEMENT OF S. L. HOKE, WESTMINSTER, MD. Mr. HOKE. I am S. L. Hoke, from the Free State of Maryland. I am a seventh generation farmer. fellow said this morning he is a fourth generation. I top that by saying I am a seventh generation farmer.
Without going into the brief I prepared, there are two points that I thought of making. I think we are all familiar with the situation that we are in. I think we are all, the Congress of the United States, the farmers of this country, are attempting to work out a plan to get us out of this present situation into a better situation or position. I have given a great deal of study on this matter over a number of years, I have been associated, besides being a farmer, a beef cattle farmer, I am one of these beef cattle fellows, I served on the national advisory committee for 10 years of the American Farm Bureau Federation and I have witnessed their policymaking by farmers from every region of the United States on a commodity basis, and in my opinion I don't think there is any place in this country where, when you get peanut growers from the regions, cotton growers from various regions, cattle
men, hogmen, sheepmen, and over a hundred representative farmers coming together at least twice a year presenting their views, gentlemen, at times the fur flies. But those points of view had to be resolved, as you stated this morning, on a national basis because you are a national Senator, Congressman Cooley is a State Congressman but he must pass laws that represent every farmer in the United States. Am I right?
The CHAIRMAN. That is right, both of us.
Mr. HOKE. Now, then, we are in a situation of surplus. I have never liked the word "surpluses" and therefore in this statement as you will notice here, I put this in there:
The agricultural surpluses of this Nation (although a blessing from a grateful God who has blessed this Nation with abundance) poses a great threat to our whole economy. I went through the depression of the 1930's and as we cattlemen
I lost my shirt practically in cattle feeding. I had plenty of that product which we as cattlemen know as B. S. I couldn't eat it, I couldn't pay taxes with it, but I had a spirit and determination and knew from the historic past of cattle people that that situation would pass. I lost money terrifically in 2 years feeding cattle. In 1934 and 1936 I regained more of my losses, far more than I had lost because of the severe drought years of the farmers in the South west and Northwest.
Here again I mention two facts in my opening remarks. We need but review the past history of agricultural programs to find that the farmers of the Nation were not permitted to solve their own problems, but that politicians felt they solve the farmer's problems through Government by conceiving various programs that cost us billions. We are spending billions today, gentlemen, to continue this program. There is a public relationship from the public who says that the American farmer is being treated to a billion-dollar grant every year, ACP payments, storage costs, and all this.
The CHAIRMAN. You don't believe that, do you?
Mr. HOKE. It is not much less than that, if you count ACP payments.
The CHAIRMAN. If you will do like Secretary Benson did when he appeared before the committee in 1953 and put in ACP payments, REA, foreign aid, and everything else, you could maybe make it $25 billion.
Mr. HOKE. Isn't it money?
The CHAIRMAN. But get the amount correct. I don't care what it is. Here is the record taken from the Department of Agriculture itself.
Mr. HOKE. You read those.
The CHAIRMAN. If you had read it you wouldn't make the statement you made.
Mr. HOKE. I am not sure.
The CHAIRMAN. The price-support program on basic commodities that have been supported through June 30, 1955, that is this June, was $392,648,091. That is a pretty far cry from the billions you have been talking about, isn't it?
Mr. HOKE. It is all part of the cost of these programs.
The CHAIRMAN. Let's put the facts as they are, sir. The commodities that have been assisted—that is, through a program of price supports, are the basics at 40 percent.
Mr. HOKE. My point is it is all money that is appropriated by the United States Congress for specific purposes.
The CHAIRMAN. That is right.
Mr. HOKE. I didn't say billions; I said approximately a billion, a billion a year.
The CHAIRMAN. A billion a year? The amount I have just indicated here is for a period of 22 years.
Mr. HOKE. It hasn't cost us a billion?
The CHAIRMAN. I am talking about basic commodities. If you add milk in that
Mr. HOKE. I am talking of all commodities.
The CHAIRMAN. If you add potatoes in that and if you add eggs and if you add all those other commodities, that were added during the war at the request of our Government in order to provide more of those commodities, of course you will find a total of $2,117,006,000 over a period of 22 years.
Mr. HOKE. All right. Now, I would like to go back to the statement you made in your opening remarks this morning. We would like for the farmers of these hearings to develop a program to lessen some of the government in this, if I recall, or something to that effect. I think every farmer in the United States is interested in having less government in farm programs.
The CHAIRMAN. I agree. That is what we are trying to do.
Mr. HOKE. We are in agreement on that. We could sit here and could debate a lot of questions on a partisan basis, which I am going to refuse to do.
The CHAIRMAN. I have refused to do it since I started these hearings. Mr. HOKE. Now, then, what is the solution?
The CHAIRMAN. That is what I want to hear. You give us a solution. That is why we invited you here.
Mr. HOKE. I was very happy this morning when I heard you make a statement if only for God's sake the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Grange, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, I know most of those gentlemen, the Farmers Union, throw those in, would get together, work out a program and I was thinking of that. I put this in here. We are dealing with three things. We are dealing with land, and when I say "land" I mean whether you said commodities or land, to me it is the same thing because it is the same thing.
You produce commodities out of that land, food, and fiber. The farmer and the Government, I am not ready to throw off every program that is in existence now. I sat in a meeting in 1948 where a lot of us were discussing the Steagall amendment and the Steagall amendment was a cushion helping to solve even this rapid drop of farm prices.
The CHAIRMAN. No. The Steagall amendment when first put on the statute books was to provide an incentive that our Government asked be put on the statute books to provide for production of certain crops.
that were short at the time, peanuts, they put pea