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segments of our economy for the preservation of our higher standard of living and yet allowing us to compete in world trade.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you got a plan as to how that can be accomplished ?
Mr. Long. In the preliminary statement I stated I was appearing before you before I found your knowledge of the situation was vastly superior to mine. I would like to State generally three things I would like to have you have. I would prefer to have you work out the details.
The CHAIRMAN. You know what was stated to us in one of these meetings? We had a gentleman appearing before us and I think at the time we were five Senators present, and he made a suggestion and I asked him how would it be carried out. Well, he said, “That is your business.” He said, “You here are getting $25,000 each," and he pointed to the 5 of us, and said, “With $125,000 worth of talent you ought to be able to do the job.” That is what you are suggesting to us? Mr. Long. I don't know, but what I agree with the gentleman.
The CHAIRMAN. Someone suggested that we are not getting $25,000, but $22,500. He said, “What is $2,500 ?” It doesn't help to make the suggestion unless you tell us how to do it because that is why I am spending my time here and that is why we are here, to get suggestions not only as to what ought to be done but how to do it. That is what we are trying to get from you.
Mr. LONG. In answer to that I think I can be a bit more specific. I stated in this that some form of subsidy is necessary. There is no form of subsidy other than 90-percent support for cotton produced within the marketing levels and then a system whereby that cotton has to be resold at the price above what it was bought at.
I am saying I don't believe you can continue on that system. We are going to have to change and I suggest that the change be in the form of a subsidy. As for the exact amount, I am not qualified to say.
The CHAIRMAN. Subsidy on domestic as well as that sold abroad? Mr. LONG. I am suggesting domestic production of cotton be subsidized. That might be a dirty word but it is necessary that we do something different from now. I think it is essential that system be established whether we like it or not if we want to stay in the cotton business.
Mr. COOLEY. Is that a two-price system for cotton?
Mr. Long. Yes, in effect it is. It is not a two-price system, it is different from that.
The CHAIRMAN. You are suggesting that cotton that is sold domestically and cotton sold abroad just be sold for what it will bring ? Mr. Long. At world prices.
The CHAIRMAN. And let the Government pay the difference above what it brings to what the price ought to be up here as a fixed price, either 90 percent or a hundred percent of parity?
Mr. LONG. One thing I would say in connection with that: You are making me be specific. You are correct in what I say. In order to accept that under no conditions would I like to see that situation exist without allotments and rigid controls. You understand what I am saying
The CHAIRMAN. I understand.
Mr. Long. Very clearly, I am saying it is necessary to accept a subsidy form of cotton economy or to continue the system we now have which I think we can't continue. That is the statement I wish to make. I hope that is specific enough.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. The statement you have said there of course is similar toMr. Long. To the one made by the previous gentleman?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; and similar to what former Secretary BrannanMr. Long. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, it is; it is a production payment. In other words, you fix the price of cotton up here at 90 percent of parity and let the cotton be sold at what it will bring and if it brings 40 cents and the support is 45, the Government pays the difference between 40 and 45 cents. Mr. Long. Yes; in effect.
The CHAIRMAN. That is the so-called Brannan plan. You can't get away from it. Mr. COOLEY. We are following the plan on wool.
The CHAIRMAN. We may have to go there some time but I just thought I would bring it to your attention that that is what you are proposing.
Mr. Long. Senator, you probably are correct. I can't criticize and say you are not. However, there are many features of the so-called Brannan plan that are most objectionable to me personally and when I hear it that is a dirty word to me, as subsidy is to many other people. I do think it is a necessary evil if we are to continue production of cotton. May I make my second point ?
The CHAIRMAN. All right. Mr. LONG. Two: Intense effort must be made to provide the legislative means for allowing a large portion of our surplus cotton to be sold at world market prices through normal marketing channels regardless of acquisition cost. This move is essential to the solution of the present cotton crisis since the drastic reduction in planted acreage in any given year would completely disrupt the entire cotton economy. If something is not done to reduce the inventory of cotton carried over, then reductions would seem necessary.
In effect, I said that in answer to your question.
Third: Some form of allotments should be continued under any program. If in any year there is no necessity for allotments, they should be continued so as to maintain a historical base for future allotments. This concept is borrowed from the tobacco program, which I believe is our most successfully operated commodity program.
In doing that I am suggesting that a historical base be continued for future allotments and before I finish, this is my text, I have 2 or 3 complaints that I would like to make.
First it is concerned with ASC program and I presume you want me to make it to you. I farm in Northampton County in North Carolina and in Virginia farm a considerable acreage. I am interested in soil conservation and do as much as I feel I am able.
In some years I am able to secure assistance from the Government for a small portion of this and in other years I have not been able to secure a great deal of assistance. This past year my brother and I farmed together as a partnership and we were limited in the amount of funds we could secure for soil conservation for two reasons :
First, because we had a considerable acreage of land and second because we farmed as a partnership we were not entitled to receive as much Government funds for soil conservation payments as if we had been individuals. I personally think that in my particular case it seemed an extreme injustice. I do think there is some error somewhere in your law that should be corrected on that particular point.
Basically, my criticism is in any soil-conservation program. If it is a true soil-conservation program it should not be limited as to the amount of participation one individual may do but should be limited in the amount of land that can be placed in a soil-conservation. That seems only just and fair.
A program that does not allow that seems to be politically inspired. That is my criticism.
The CHAIRMAN. I don't know about “politically inspired.” Mr. COOLEY. I agree with him because if you are going to have a soil-conservation program you want it to be nationwide in scope and not be restricted. The amendments which have been adopted, restricting the amount that could be paid, were prompted by politics. Somebody was trying to make hay by cussing out the big fellow.
Mr. Long. One other complaint: In any program that you are to consider, I will be very specific in this, Representative Cooley brought out this point previously. In 1953 I had a farm in Virginia which had a base acreage of 135 acres of cotton. In this year I received allotments of 30 acres. I was told by the committeeman, when I consulted him, he had done me a special favor in getting me 30 acres, entitled to 135, he got me 30 when he said I had only 5 acres. The situation was in the State of Virginia, the minimum 5-acre provision required that the total acreage be allotted to farmers on 5 acres if they had planted 5 acres during any 1 of 3 years.
In spite of the fact my farm earned for the State of Virginia that allotment, I was not entitled to it. I suggest for your careful consideration, don't be trapped into a program that would allow you to get in that situation again because what will happen, not only will you ruin the large farmer which earned the allotment, but the small farmer in many cases did not plant that cotton because they did not want it and they will not plant it even if you give it to them. Don't misunderstand me. I am not saying that for every farm but for the total result within the entire State that is the situation.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Roberts, please. Give your full name and occupation, please.
STATEMENT OF MAX ROBERTS, ASHEVILLE, N. C. Mr. ROBERTS. I am Max Roberts. I work for the Farmers Federation in Asheville, N. C. They asked me to say a few words concerning burley tobacco.
In 20 counties of western North Carolina we have allotments of about 10,000 acres, which is an average allotment of about fifty-three
one-hundredths per farm. We would like to ask the Senate Agriculture Committee if they will retain the minimum allotment if they possibly can of five-tenths, that they retain the acreage allotment and forget about the poundage allotment in our case. I would like to make a very brief report about the handling of the Commodity Credit through the Farmers Federation. They resold all Government tobacco through the 1951 crop, three-quarters of the 1952 crop, and over half the 1953, and we have sold last week all the lower grades of the 1954, which is certainly a bright picture on burley tobacco.
We would also like to say we appreciate the Government making it possible for farmers to receive 90 percent of parity in western North Carolina. We are in urgent need of some more money for the mountain people. The average farm in the mountains is about 40 ,acres and about 20 percent of those farms that can be tilled or used as grazing.
I am going to suggest to the Senate committee that they consider very seriously in using this land they talked about, taking out of production, that it be planted in some kind of forestry. I know our section, it would yield very well to that and would give an income to the farm people. It might be also necessary to give them a little money to pay the taxes on that land while the timber is in production and growing.
That is about all I have to say. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Roberts. At this point in the record we will insert a letter, dated November 12, 1955, and addressed to this committee, signed by Joseph Higdon, treasurer of the Farmers Federation, Asheville, N. C. (Mr. Higdon's letter follows:)
ASIIEVILLE, N. C., November 12, 1955. UNITED STATES SENATE AGRICULTURAL COMMITTEE,
Raleigh, N. C. GENTLEMEN : The Farmers Federation Cooperative, acting as agent for Commodity Credit Corporation in supporting burley tobacco in North Carolina, has distributed $119,967.78, representing the balance due to burley producers after handling charges, such as hauling, redrying, storage, insurance and selling costs were deducted. This distribution represents 5.28 percent of the amount of burley tobacco handled by the Farmers Federation Cooperative for Commodity Credit Corporation.
We have sold all crops up through 1951 crop vear and as of this date there has been no losses sustained on any crop handled which has been sold.
The balance of tobacco on hand as of this date is as follows: Crop:
-- 1, 316, 254 1954__
5, 350, 786 We have sold the large amount of the 1952 crop and considerable amount has been sold from the 1953 and 1954 crops, leaving the above amount on hand as of this date. Yours very truly,
FARMERS FEDERATION COOPERATIVE,
JOSEPH HIGDON, Treasurer. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Brown? Give your name, please, and your Occupation.
STATEMENT OF SAM C. B. BROWN, STATESVILLE, N.C.
Mr. BROWN. I am Sam C. B. Brown, dairy and crop general farmer from Iredell County. I would like to concur with the thinking in regard to the soil bank, rental plan or what-not. I want to also agree with the gentlemen preceding me in regard to forestry. I would suggest a 10-year plan and pay the farmer a rental fee of 6 percent of the value of the land plus the setting of the trees. For any other crop that would go into grass, I would recommend the same thing. Six percent of the value of the land plus whatever the Federal Government would like to have done with the grass or what-not.
They would bear that expense. That will take care of tobacco land, cotton land, wheat land, grazing land, almost any kind of land because in 16 years and a little more it will pay for itself and if I had any money I would be willing to buy the land from other individuals and rent it for 16 years for the total value of the land.
I don't mean what is on the taxbooks. I mean what it will sell for at this time.
Now, in regard to the allotment of acres or units I believe that could be handled by each individual enterprise. You might give the farmer a choice as to whether he would like to have 10 acres of cotton or 10 bales. Supposing previously he had 12 acres and 12 bales. I believe that the farmers upon any fair rental basis, allotment basis, will voluntarily produce the food and fiber needs for this Nation. I believe they will do it. They will do it. I believe they will voluntarily take out of production whatever is the right amount of acres if they are assured the cost of production.
I want to read one little item here. Mr. Joe Doaks, a farmer in my area, gave me permission to use these figures. He has an investment of $27,000 and during the years of 1952, 1953 and 1954 his total income from crops and livestock and products sold at wholesale, I want to emphasize wholesale, was $8,298. That is actual.
The CHAIRMAN. Per year? Mr. BROWN. Yes, per year, average of the 3 years. Total expenses for this farmer, Mr. Joe Doaks, leaving out anything for his labor, was $7,285. So that left a balance of $1,013 for that farmers' labor. Take even 2,000 hours, which is very low for the man that has the dairy, and has cotton and has wheat and other general crops, I want to make it low, I asked him to let me make it low, 2,000 hours would only bring him 50.7 cents an hour when the national minimum is 75. That isn't right.
The CHAIRMAN. We are trying to cure that. Mr. BROWN. I will try to give you the cure. The CHAIRMAN. That is what we are waiting for. Mr. BROWN. I want to make this statement: It is noted that the farmer like no other producer sells at wholesale and buys at retail. I have illustrated that above. The difference in this item up here, the difference between what he bought and what he sold and what he bought at retail would give him $657 if he could have the difference between retail and wholesale.
. Now, this farmer went out to the machinery dealer, to the feed dealer, fertilizer dealer and bought and will continue to do just like he has always done, but we are asking and I am asking for Joe Doaks and myself that the Federal Government make up the difference between