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foreign labor on a short time notice or even when a request is made at a reasonable time ahead. This should be administered at State level.
Weather has a major influence on the production and harvesting of farm crops. A better knowledge of weather conditions as far in advance as is possible to forecast would aid the farmer in the more economical production of his crops. For example, in the control of apple scab it is necessary to have the foliage and fruit protected during wet periods of 9 hours or more in order to prevent infection. Accurate information on the length of rainy periods during the scab infection period would make it possible for the grower to plan a more effective and economical scab control program.
The executive committee requests that the United States Weather Bureau be given a large enough appropriation to provide personnel for special agricultural weather forecasts.
DIAGNOSING PLANT ILLS
The problems of determining the fertilizer requirements or diagnosing the troubles of abnormal trees or plants is often difficult or impossible because of insufficient information about the symptoms that result from minor element deficiencies or unbalanced nutrition. For example, was the small leaves and poor growth of twigs last spring and summer on apple trees and the excessive drop of McIntosh apples this fall caused by minor element deficiencies, by excessive bloom last spring, or by drought?
There is need for better methods of diagnosis. The leaf analysis method for determining the mineral requirements of plants was thought to be the answer a couple of years ago, but is losing support today.
Research work on the causes and diagnosis of abnormalities in trees and plants other than those caused by fungus and bacterial diseases and insects is desired.
The marketing of fruits and vegetables is as much of a problem to the farmer today as is production.
The production of such varieties of apples as McIntosh, that require careful handling and the demand for higher quality products has made the cold storage as necessary for the applegrower as the spray machine. Small applegrowers whose business is not large enough to warrant the investment in a cold storage, are finding it more and more difficult to market their product, since the wholesaler or retailer will not accept common storage apples later than a few weeks after harvest. For this reason, the small grower finds it necessary to dump his crop on the market at harvesttime, oven causing an oversupply, a demoralized market, and returns below the cost of production.
The most recent trend in marketing certain fruits and vegetables as apples, and carrots, for example, is prepackaging. Some of this service is being done by individual farmers. It requires an added investment in bagging equipment and grading and storage space, and also a packing room suitable for allwinter packing, and a volume of produce large enough to supply his customers for the normal marketing period of a product.
What to do with offgrade produce is also a real problem. Most growers feel that it is necessary to market offgrade apples in the regular fresh-fruit channel because there is no outlet for processing or as a byproduct except for a small amount for juice and vinegar. There is a need for research work on the uses for these offgrade apples.
Many retailers of fruits and vegetables prefer a uniformly packaged product rather than to prepackage their own. Such a service is not available in many towns in New Hampshire. Should the grower attempt to supply such a service? Can farmer cooperative equipped to prepackage and market directly to retail stores successfully take on such a service? Someone will be doing it. If farmers or farmer-controlled organizations could, they would have an opportunity to supply a better product to the consumer and to have a say in the retail price.
The demand for more and more services on the part of the consumer has increased the cost of produce to the consumers, while less and less of the consumers' dollars are received by the producers. Today the producer receives only 43 cents of the consumers' food dollar. The growers are being continu
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ally told that they will have to produce more efficiently. How efficient will the farmer have to get in production to stay in business with the present methods of marketing?
Some research work on the part farmers or farmers' cooperatives should take in the new developments in marketing their crops is certainly needed at this time.
Social security tax deductions becomes a burden on the small producer (one who cannot justify a bookkeeper). Seasonal labor fluctuates a good deal on farms. At harvesttime, for instance, some of our applegrowers may have 300 to 400 listed on their payroll. Some pick for only a day or two and others stay the entire season. The problem of how and when to deduct the social security tax is a real one. Should the grower deduct from each payment? If this is done and the employee earns less than $100, then the tax must be refunded. Should the deduction be made when $100 has been earned? This requires some accurate booking; otherwise, the grower may find he will have to pay the whole tax if the employee quits working before the tax is collected.
It is desirable to have less complicated requirements for the collection of social security taxes. Maybe the minimum amount earned should be raised, or deductions should be made on all earnings regardless of size and no refunds required.
A few of the problems regarding the efficient production and marketing of fruits and vegetables in New Hampshire are (1) obtaining sufficient labor to harvest seasonal crops; (2) getting better localized agricultural weather forecasts; (3) finding ways to diagnose orchard ills, especially those resulting from unbalanced nutrition; (4) knowing about the future trends in marketing of agricultural products and how the farmer can obtain a larger share of what the consumer pays and (5) simplification of the social security tax deductions where labor is hired for working in the production and harvesting of seasonal crops for short periods of time.
Mr. FITTS. For the rest of my time I would like to have you call on the remaining people listed. Some of them, I believe, have gone home. Mr. Holmes is not here. I think the rest of the men are here. You can cross Mr. Henry Stevens off. You can cross Mr. Phelps off. Mr. Cole would like to make a statement of his own. I think Mr. Connor would.
Senator HOLLAND. The witness has directed us to cross certain ones off the list. I think the record should show they are here.
Mr. FITTS. You asked if this statement is agreeable to them.
The CHAIRMAN. Those are the ones I have mentioned from New Hampshire. Is there anyone else?
Mr. FITTS. Mr. James Cole reported to me this morning of Litchfield. He is a large vegetable grower.
The CHAIRMAN. Is he on the list here? Mr. FITTS. He is not; but he should be called on, sir. He has a report which I think will interest you people.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that all?
The CHAIRMAN. Are you present, Mr. Stevens? You heard the commissioner, the statement made here, are you in accord with what he stated ?
Mr. HENRY STEVENS, New Hampshire Poultry Growers Association.
I concur with his statement. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, sir. Mr. William Phelps, do you concur in the statement made by the commissioner? Mr. WILLIAM PHELPS, Manchester Dairy System. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. All right, thank you, sir. Mr. Donald McLeod. Do you concur?
Mr. DONALD MCLEOD, president, New Hampshire Horticulture Society. I do concur with the commissioner.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Mr. Stacey Cole, do you desire to add anything more to what has been stated ? If so, we will be glad to hear you.
STATEMENT OF STACEY W. COLE, WEST SWANZEY, N. H. Mr. COLE. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen:
I have a brief statement that I should like to make. My name is Stacey W. Cole. I am a poultryman, primarily. I have some cows and some pigs in West Swanzey, N. H.
There are many fields in which Federal Government can assist farmers, and should. Among them are education and research, regulatory procedures such as inspection of quality and grades of farm products, protection of farmers against unscrupulous buyers and the protection of the public as well as the farmer against deceit. I am for these in general; they are essential. But I am going to speak of what I think of the Government's job in setting farm prices.
The role of Federal Government so far as prices are concerned should be to help achieve stability. Some adjustments in quantities of various farm goods produced are needed frequently.
Government should continue to help by furnishing reliable information as to trends in production.
It should avoid forecasting prices because forecasting of higher prices unnecessarily stimulates production. Forecasting of lower prices gives buyers a tool to depress prices.
The CHAIRMAN. Would you mind an interruption?
The CHAIRMAN. We had quite a lot of testimony at a few places to the effect that if the Government were ably to gather information as to the amount of a commodity on hand and let that be known to the farmers of the Nation, and let them more or less take cognizance of that they could plan their crops accordingly.
Mr. COLE. That is in line with my statement that the Government should continue to help.
The CHAIRMAN. That is what I gathered.
The CHAIRMAN. As to the trend; in other words, it was stated before the committee that if the Government were able to let producers, let us say of wheat, corn, or any product, know how much you have on hand and how much the market could consume, to let them judge as to what to plant, as to what to produce in that area, do you think that the farmers could be induced to gear their production to meet whatever the Department would suggest is necessary and more or less on their own, that is, without compulsion or without incentives?
Mr. Cole. I am a firm believer in allowing the farmer to make as many of the decisions as possible on his own. I am quite confident that the farm people today are more cognizant of trends in production. They also are beginning to become more familiar with quality, and to a greater extent the markets can be judged by the individual farmers, I feel, a lot more effectively than they can be by some agency.
The CHAIRMAN. You feel that if we had more information from the Department as to needs and what should be planted in order to meet the needs of the coming year you might get them to be in line, particularly as to those commodities that are not protected, wherein they do vote themselves into acreage control, et cetera ?
Mr. COLE. I am not in favor of that. I would like to speak about the things I do favor rather than those things that I do not favor, but the type of things that I am not in favor of are folks coming out and saying everybody ought to get into this type of industry, because it is going to be profitable next year. Who knows whether it will be ? Just the mere statement that is made that it will be is a stimulant to production, and with that in view I firmly believe that the facts should be known and let the farmers make their own decisions as to what they want to produce and how much.
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed.
Mr. COLE. I am going to get into an area where I do not think Government should be.
The CHAIRMAN. It should not be? Mr. COLE. Yes. Government should definitely not guarantee a profit to any group except in national emergencies or in case of some enterprises which Government must definitely control.
As a farmer I would be the last person to permit myself to come under controls if I could avoid it.
Flexible price supports will work if given a chance. They are already beginning to prove their worth. High rigid price supports are a menace to agriculture under usual conditions. To me as a poultryman they often force me to pay higher prices than necessary for grain.
Flexible price supports would put a floor under such prices and prevent ruinously low grain prices—in other words, afford stability.
Another set of tools for stability provided by Government is marketing agreements.
In milk, Federal orders provide stability and at the same time allow for needed adjustments in production.
In potatoes and fruits and other perishable items marketing agreements provide tools whereby the producers, and in some cases distributors, can jointly prevent disastrous oversupplies from seriously depressing prices.
This is just a personal observation.
Personally I feel that such procedures as I have outlined are as far as Government should go in helping stabilize prices. To go further is to take from the hands of the farmer his right to make major decisions as to how he shall operate. Personally, if Congress is going to make laws to take away my right to decide how I operate my farm, I'd definitely rather not farm.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, sir.
STATEMENT OF LESTER CONNOR, HENNIKER, N. H. Mr. CONNOR. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, that is rather difficult to say at this time in the hearing, Mr. Senator. My name is LesterConnor of Henniker, N. H. I am a dairy farmer in the town. I am up here today with the hope that I could convey to this committee
my own personal feelings as to what I feel should be the Government's stand in agriculture.
I firmly believe in free individual enterprise.
I realize that I may be unpopular, having listened to previous speakers, in that I believe that the Government should not have high rigid price supports. I believe in flexible price supports, so that in hard times our family might not lose entirely everything they have, but I think that we must rely upon personal initiative, the survival of the fittest. I think that is the thing that has made American agriculture great.
I think it is the only thing that will permit us to continue to exist.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think labor could have attained the heights it has without any legislation to provide, say, for collective bargaining and things like that?
Mr. CONNOR. I will answer that in this way, that I think that labor is heading for trouble. If we were in the same position as labor, I think in the long run we would be worse off than if you leave us alone and let us run our business. And those who cannot do it, go out of business.
The CHAIRMAN. What crops in New Hampshire receive price supports; any? Mr. CONNOR. I do not know as I am in a position to answer you that. The CHAIRMAN. You folks produce a lot of poultry, I guess. Mr. CONNOR. We produce some. The CHAIRMAN. And dairy products ? Mr. CONNOR. Dairy products, fluid milk. The CHAIRMAN. What you would like to have is cheap feed ? Mr. CONNOR. Well, yes. The CHAIRMAN. That is what you would like to have? Mr. CONNOR. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. You would not want to protect those that produce that?
Mr. CONNOR. I am not talking about the western farmer. I am merely talking about us here.
The CHAIRMAN. We do not deal with just New England or Connecticut, you know. We deal with the whole country.
Mr. CONNOR. I think what goes for us goes for them. If we had run our own farm we would be all better off.
The CHAIRMAN. I know that. The situation in New England is far different from what it is all over the West, the Midwest, and some parts of the South. I was surprised to learn that in some parts of the South the dairy farmer is taking the same attitude that the farmers in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine, and Vermont. Why? Because they have a ready market for what they produce. Florida does not want it. They have a ready market for what they produce. They have marketing agreements and everything else.
It is in some areas, where through the war years they produced quite a bit, that they are in trouble. Those are the ones that need attention.