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nuts in there, they put milk, they put 'eggs, they put even Irish potatoes. Whether that was wise or not
Mr. HOKE. It was wise at that time.
The CITAIRMAN. Of course it was. We will agree because if those products had not been produced you know who would have paid through the nose, the consumer. That is who would have paid.
Mr. HOKE. It was wise, it was an incentive.
The CHAIRMAN. The fact is that we provided somewhat of a cushion and the consumers benefited by that; won't you agree!
Mr. HOKE. Yes, sir.
Mr. HOKE. Then we began to see, some of us who knew the 1921 period, and said here this war is going to end some day. Should we do something to remove this incentive? Well, we came along and of course started to talk parity; 1909–14.
Later we revised that and I sat in on some of that thinking. If the United States Government I think had listened to some of the farmer thinking during the period when we suggested that this thing should be reduced because we are going to create surpluses under this incentive program of 90-percent support price, I said to wheatgrowers who said we can produce wheat in the Middle West for 80 cents a bushel, why should the Government pay us $2.20 support price? I have heard the cattle men from the West and I always refused any support from the Government, I heard corn fellows say it cost us so much to produce corn, why should we support corn prices? We tried to temper this thing and bring it down where we wouldn't create these surpluses.
But without making a long story, we have the situation. Now, then, I believe this, that if the farmers in the farm organizations of this country will get together and work out a program, if you get them together, if we can do it on a nonpartisan, stewardship basis, which is the farmer and the land-use plan.
The CHAIRMAN. As chairman of the committee, I have invited them to do that, and I will expect them to respond and if they don't, we are going to have to do it ourselves.
Mr. Hoke. They are out doing it every day, policy development meetings, the Grange, National Farmers Union, and American Farm Bureau Federation.
The CHAIRMAN. They are so far apart that it is a disturbing factor on the Washington level. If you get one pulling this way, they will have a lot of Senators and Congressmen with them.
Mr. HOKE. They take their lessons from the Senators and Congress
The CHAIRMAN. No, they don't, but they have a little influence on some of them, don't you see.
Mr. HOKE. The farmers or the Congressmen? The CHAIRMAN. I am talking about the organizations. You know what I am talking about. I am talking about your organizations, the woods are full of them on the Washington level. That is why we came here, this committee decided to come here, to the grassroots and get this from the farmers themselves in the hope that we could find something to solve the problem.
Mr. HOKE. You are leading me to believe that you would not have too much confidence in the representatives that the farm organizations send to represent us.
The CHAIRMAN. We have had them all this while and we have been able to get them together on the Washington level.
Mr. HOKE. I wouldn't say that. Some legislation we have been very much together on. The farm credit bill was passed in 1953. I was in part of that.
The CHAIRMAN. I agree they got together on some things, but the thing we want to try to do now, let's quit arguing, the thing to do now is to get a solution to our present problem.
Mr. HOKE. That is what I am proposing.
Land, farmer, and government. Let's take these programs we have, and I have been talking of their great cost of money and it is going to continue to cost us money, and I am not too sure in my mind, I made this statement already, I am beginning to wonder with the farm population driving down to five million, whether it is the American farmers' business today of producing the food of this country, or if it is the general public's business to see that this food is produced that the farmer is paid for and that goes back to the statement you made. I wonder what the American consuming public would pay if we organized on the basis of labor.
I am not ready for that, and another statement you made this morning that the last freedom of the American people is out here on these family-sized farms. And God knows, and you know, Senator and Congressman, that we cannot maintain these small farmers on these farms under present economic conditions. I have told farmers in my community I felt like a sinner, I felt sorry, but I told them the truth. It cannot be done. Here is a gentleman from the mountains who says these people make a living on less than an acre of tobacco. That is news to me. That is about the size of my statement.
Mr. COOLEY. What do you propose ?
Mr. HOKE. It revolves around a program of taking these programs that we have, these diverted acres which are just complicating the problem over and over, you have heard it all today and in all your hearings, I think more rigid restrictions, the soil bank appeals to me, I know it is going to be difficult, I sat in policy development meetings and I have heard fellows get up and they don't want any part of it, but I told those fellows there is a national program and the Congressmen of the United States must pass legislation which affects every farmer in the United States, whether he owns as much as Hammond in Texas or the big boys in the cattle country, or the little fellow in the mountains.
So the details of the plan, if the representatives of farmers get together on the rental basis-a lot of discussion here today, what would you pay the farmer!
the farmer? All right. Most of our land is classified. Most of our soil conservation districts have a classification of land in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, and ACP payments are made on land usage practices on that land. I don't see any reason if a man that has land producing a hundred acres of corn, he should be paid by the Government on a basis of at least net on that acre of land.
Mr. Cooley. You know that when we were providing money for an ACP program the greatest farm organization in the country bitterly opposed our appropriation and tried to reduce it. Now everybody
seems to realize that it would have been a mistake to have reduced it then, and it would be a mistake now not to increase the program.
The CHAIRMAN. The suggestion was made during the 80th Congress.
Mr. HOKE. I think the criticism was mostly directed at the abuses in that program, and I have seen abuses where farmers, I am a conservationist, I practice it on my farm, I doubled production on my farm.
Mr. COOLEY. What the chairman suggested was that leaders of farm organizations get together and reconcile differences and present a solid front.
Mr. HOKE. They are not too much apart.
The CHAIRMAN. Too much rivalry for membership. That is what I found to some extent on these groups, and that is why at every meeting I told these organization leaders, I would not permit the use of this committee as a springboard to increase their membership, that what we wanted
Mr. HOKE. That is the last thing I want.
The CHAIRMAN. We want to hear from the farmers themselves. That is why I am out spending my own time, I could be home with my grandchildren. I love them. This is no fun, but I am doing it and That is why we come here.
Mr. HOKE. May I ask a favor of you?
Mr. HOKE. If we can get the farmers of this country together through major organizations and work out a program that would give us a program over a period of 5 or 10 years to move the surplus, it may be a godsend in the next 5 years.
The CHAIRMAN. You do that.
Mr. HOKE. If we do that can we have the nonpartisanship basis of Congress?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, do that. (Mr. Hoke's prepared statement follows :) There are several views I would like to present in the agricultural situation confronting the American farmer and the public at large.
1. 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.
We need but review the past history of our agricultural program to find that the farmers of this Nation were not permitted to solve their own problems, but that politicians felt that they could solve the farmers' problems through Government, conceiving various programs that cost billions.
It is costing us billions, and it will cost us billions to again balance our production to demand.
Honorable Senators, there is but one place to dispose of agricultural commodities and that is in the market place. It has never been proven that a political law can replace an economic law.
The basic fundamental principles of producing agricultural commodities are tied to two facts: (a) the farmer himself who historically adjusted his production to demand; and (b) the nature of agriculture being unpredictable, supplies us with abundance or shortages.
There is no question in my mind that high, rigid support prices have caused the present agricultural situation.
2. Thus, we face a situation although grave, I believe can be resolved by organizing a team of: (a) land, (6) farmer, and (c) Government.
If these three parties, as a team, will face the present situation in a non.partisan stewardship and land-use plan, I believe we can adjust our supplies with demand, and thus eventually have less Government in agriculture.
Therefore, gentlemen, I would like to propose an ever normal storage plan in the soil, or a soil bank upon which our future generation can draw.
It is an established fact that we have wasted our soil resources.
I believe that this team should get together at once and conceive a program that is fair, just, and workable in the public interest as well as the farmer.
The land in this team being the silent partner, must, however, be represented by the other 2 members of the team on a basis of 1 goal (land and crops) or (crops and land) and thus whatever the cost, we can adjust our production.
The CHAIRMAN. Mrs. Robinson? Give your name, please.
STATEMENT OF MRS. R. B. ROBINSON, LITTLETON, N. C. Mrs. ROBINSON. I am a farm woman, a great, great, great granddaughter of a gentleman who was once presented the loving cup by the Governor of Virginia for the greatest improvement made in the growing of tobacco. I live on a farm consisting of a hundred acres; 56 acres open land in cultivation. We have a farm family of 11 members on that farm. Mr. Robinson and myself have to derive our support from that. The acreage is 3.5 acres of tobacco, 7 acres of cotton, 7.4 acres of peanuts.
We supplemented that income with cucumbers for the past few years. We are very grateful for living in the section of North Carolina that we can diversify our crops. Again I would like to say that home demonstration markets have played a major part in supplementing their income. I was asked to come here to give the opinions of the small tobacco growing families in my surrounding county. You may ask, and rightly so, how does this farm woman go about getting these opinions? And my answer is, by having worked and been closely associated with the home demonstration work since coming to North Carolina in 1917.
We feel that in Halifax County we are opposed to the 20 percent cut straight across the board in our tobacco allotments. This policy, as it has been followed in the past and is now proposed again, is forcing our small farmers out of existence. It is forcing some of our best young farmers, most of whom were veterans, to seek employment elsewhere. These young men want to stay on the farm but in most cases there is just not enough crop allotment to support the parents who still own the farm and the son and the son-in-law who would like to make this his home on the family farm, since it will some day be his own.
Gentlemen, these farmers, some of them, are men who fought and still suffer the effects of war that you and I might enjoy the prosperity and freedom of today. So let us not forget them.
Now, what we ask is that we would like to see a minimum farm allotment set which would justify the operation of at least one curing barn. This minimum allotment should be we feel about 4 acres. This would help protect our small farmers and help them to maintain at least a decent standard of living.
I thank you, gentlemen, for giving me this time.
All right, Mr. McDowell, please. Please give your full name and your occupation.
STATEMENT OF FRANK H. MCDOWELL, ASSISTANT MANAGER,
CAROLINA MILK PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION, GREENSBORO, N. C.
Mr. McDoWELL. I am Frank H. McDowell, assistant manager of the Carolina Milk Producers Association at Greensboro. I am sorry our president and manager couldn't be here today, particularly with regard to our president, because we would have liked for him to have spoken as a dairy farmer rather than myself, as an employee of the association.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you represent him?
Mr. McDOWELL. Yes, sir; I represent the president and some 1,400 members that we have who are grade A dairymen in the Piedmont or central portion of our State.
The CHAIRMAN. Proceed.
Mr. McDoWELL. We know that you have heard a lot of testimony in the dairy areas, particularly, and that you will hear more when you go into the New York area of the problems of the dairy farmers.
The CHAIRMAN. Vermont, too.
Mr. McDOWELL. Yes. We would like to express our opinons on some of these issues and we believe them to be the opinions of our members.
Before doing that, and the first part of our testimony describes briefly our industry and we think that is important because it is different than that of the other of the major milk producing areas. First we are primarily a fluid milk area.
The CHAIRMAN. We have had testimony on that issue.
Mr. McDoWELL. I am sure you have, sir, but in one respect we are different from some of the other Southern States because we have made more growth. We have problems here in this State that are different than they are throughout the country and the position that our farmers would take is somewhat different than the position of the dairymen in the Midwest, for example.
The CHAIRMAN. Any different from what others would take in your own State?
Mr. McDoWELL. Sir?
The CHAIRMAN. Are the suggestions you are going to make different from those that will be made by other dairymen in your State!
Mr. McDoWELL. We think we represent the overall opinion of the dairymen.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you state what you have in mind, please ? ?
Mr. McDowell. The primary thing is, as I stated, that we are essentially a fluid milk State. The distribution on the distribution side is essentially in the fluid milk industry. With the exception of the processing and distribution of ice cream, which is a major item in this State, we rank 14th in that regard. Of course we are proud of that. So far as manufactured milk is concerned, we have very little of the processed and very little cheese and butter or dry milk solids has gone into storage from this State.
The trend is upward insofar as milk is concerned, cow numbers have been over the last several years, the records will show, have changed in cyclical periods of 4 to 6 years, we are apparently now on the down slope of a change. We have been to a peak and cow numbers