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Mr. BERGHOLD. I understand.
Senator AIKEN. So to that extent you may assume that your statement is correct, that it does so indirectly, but directly it cannot.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Berghold.
The CHAIRMAN. Our next witness is Mr. Harold Weiss. Give your name in full for the record, please.
STATEMENT OF HAROLD WEISS, FARMINGDALE, N. J. Mr. WEISS. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee: My name is Harold Weiss. I am from Farmingdale, N. J. I have a commercial egg farm. Eight years ago when I went into this venture, when I was separated from the Armed Forces, I thought I had a right to try what I wanted and invested all my earnings in it.
For the first few years, while I was able to pay my mortgage, my amortization, my interest, in the past few years you know it has been impossible.
În our area there are some few hundred veterans. Also, other farmers who have literally walked off their farms. I imagine you are acquainted with this.
There are farms available to be rented or to have anything done with them. People are driven off.
Last year, for argument's sake, on a family-sized farm I went into some twelve to fifteen thousand dollars extra debt. How I am going to pay this off at present prices, I do not know.
Our efficiency from what I have seen is just as good and anybody else's. Of course, there is a disease factor, and so forth.
There has to be an answer for the veteran and the younger farmer who started these ventures. If we are not given some sort of help, there canont be anything for us but to walk out and go on relief or whatever it is.
The CHAIRMAN. What further help would you expect? I think the Government has been very generous with World War veterans, do you not agree both World War II and Korean veterans ?
Mr. WEISS. It is according to what you, Senator, consider help. They have given us credit, that is true, to a certain extent. We have to repay the credit. We have to repay these funds. If we do not have a fair price for our eggs we cannot repay these funds. It is up to a certain limit that they can go along.
The FHA is foreclosing on veterans' farms today. Very good friends of mine have been foreclosed by the FHA, not due to the fact that they were inefficient but because at the time when we hit this low slump in eggs they also had disease, which is always prevalent among the flock.
Production payments, we feel, is somewhat an answer for us. We are not afraid of regimentation.
There are these egg organizations, the farm poultry organizations that claim to speak in the name of the grassroots farmer, which is not so. To be specific, on some pretext or other-I do not know whether you are aware of it, because I heard Senator Holland say that in Florida all of the organizations were definitely against production payments or some such thing—I have seen where these organizations that claim 8,000 and 10,000 membership, how they get these names
with Worn veteranger help.
they get the membership-I do not know, but they run 2 or 3 meetings a year and there are 20 people at the meetings. Do these 20 people speak for all of the people? They do not.
We are grassroots people. Whoever I speak to has the same idea. Do we get a chance? We do not get a chance to have a poll, to have a vote on whether we want this or not.
If we wanted the Brannan plan, if it were thrown out to the public to be voted on, then we would really have a fair idea of whether we want it or not. If we have to have these organizations speak for us, it is not fair.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Weiss, would you suggest that if production payments were made available we would have to have a law to curtail production? Mr. WEISS. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. What would be your method of curtailing the production of poultry?
Mr. WEISS. So many hens per farm for the family-sized farm. This has been pointed out. We have been losing 6 and 7 cents per dozen of eggs. As the payments go down it is true we have to increase our production.
Where I am working very hard now and sometimes have to work off the farm in order to be able to eat, I am satisfied not to work so hard and not to have the production as large as it is and get a fair price for my eggs.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you not think that the cost of administering the program that you are advocating would be tremendous and the administrative part of it would be almost insurmountable ?
Mr. Weiss. I really am not familiar with these things. You may be suggesting that it is a big cost.
The CHAIRMAN. We are looking for answers to the problem. We get people to suggest what ought to be done, but when we ask them how it is to be carried out, there is no answer. You expect us to do it. Mr. Weiss. Right.
The CHAIRMAN. We are trying to get information to assist us to work out a program to assist every segment of the farming industry, if we can. That is why I am asking you for information as to how you would do it. Would you limit the number of chickens—would you curtail the number of farms, or what? Mr. WEISS. Curtail the number of birds.
The CHAIRMAN. Suppose you had a poultry farm with 10,000 hens, and another farmer had one with 1,000 hens, would you cut them the same way, the same proportion?
Mr. WEISS. There is a certain amount of birds that you have to have in order to make a living.
The CHAIRMAN. All right; what is that minimum?
The CHAIRMAN. I know; but I mean to carry through the plan you
The CHAIRMAN. What is the largest poultry farm in your area-can you tell us how many hens they have? Mr. WEISS. Ten, fifteen thousand. The CHAIRMAN. You would want an across the board cut ? Mr. WEISS. If they wanted to come in on the production payments; yes.
The CHAIRMAN. What would be the penalty if they did not cut ? Mr. WEISS. The penalty ? The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Mr. WEISS. That they do not share in the program—they do not advocate the program.
The CHAIRMAN. How would you separate it from those who do share in it—who do comply with it? Mr. WEISS. That is too technical for me. The CHAIRMAN. You can see the problem, can you not? Mr. WEISS. If you want me to see the problem
The CHAIRMAN. I want you to give us a suggestion. I think it was in Fresno, Calif., we had a lady and we asked her what would be the best way to control poultry. She said, “Get rid of all the roosters.” [Laughter.] She was not trying to be funny about it. That was her answer. Mr. WEISS. It is really not a laughing matter. The CHAIRMAN. I know that it is not. Mr. WEISS. She is looking for some way, and I am looking for some way.
The CHAIRMAN. That is what we are here for. I could visit my grandsons who are playing in warm Louisiana instead of being in cold Utica, but at the same time I want you to know I enjoy doing the job that needs to be done. However, we are here to get an answer for you. The thing is to give us a way to solve your problems. Do not forget that what you are suggesting now, not only would apply to New York or New Jersey, but to the whole country.
Mr. WEISS. Right, but there is also grains—if that were a costconsidered a cost-we know there is a tremendous cost to the Government of storing grains—if that were released I am sure it might help.
The CHAIRMAN. We are considering that, at least the committee will.
We thank you very much.
The CHAIRMAN. Our next witness is Mr. Kelsey. Will you give your name in full for the record, and your occupation ? STATEMENT OF MONFORD S. KELSEY, PRESIDENT, TRISTATE MILK
PRODUCERS COOPERATIVE, INC., CANASTOTA, N. Y. Mr. KELSEY. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee; my name is Monford S. Kelsey, I reside at Canastota, N. Y., in Madison County.
I have here a personal statement, but I am also president of the Tristate Milk Producers Cooperative, Inc.
With my son we own and operate nearly 400 acres, which is strictly a dairy farm. I have owned this farm since 1920. A lot of history has been made during these 35 years.
Thank yo next with and your
There is no question but that the farmer is in a price squeeze; just about everything he buys is produced by organized labor whose wages have been increased about every 6 months for the past 6 years. The minimum wage now by law is $1 per hour. Steel, which goes into farm machinery, has been going up steadily over a period of years. On our own farm our school taxes in 1955 were six times as much as they were in 1948. No one objects to bigger and better schools but they cost money and a lot of it. Roofing, cement, nails, wire, and lumber which farmers have to buy a lot of are all up 10 to 20 percent. A tractor which cost $2,000 in 1948 now sells for $2,500. În 1948 it took 40,000 pounds of milk to pay for it. Today at 1955 prices it takes over 70,000 pounds and this is only one illustration. An example like this applied to school taxes would be: in 1943 it took 2,000 pounds of milk to pay my school taxes, but in 1955 it took over 18,000 pounds or 9 times as much.
The CHAIRMAN. That is something that we cannot control, unfortunately. That is really a State matter.
Mr. KELSEY. That is right; but I am just reading this for the example.
I have a record of the amount of milk I have produced every day since March 1, 1920; also the butterfat test and the prices received. Let me call to your attention the prices actually received by me since 1948. They are not Market Administrator figures nor are they adjusted to any butterfat differential. Average price for
Average price for1948 was $4.99
1952 was $4.57 1949 was 3.98
1953 was 4.08 1950 was 3.93
1954 was 3.90 1951 was 4.54
9 months 1955 was 3.79 With milk prices going steadily down and costs going rapidly up how long can the farmers take it? There should be a remedy. For one thing our class 3 milk is priced too low. The wholesale prices of cheese, butter, and dried milk would seem to warrant a higher class III price. A Federal order covering all of the New York City marketing area would also be a help. Elimination of premiums paid to nearby producers would be another help. This applied to the blend price would probably not be very much but their milk is no better nor any easier to get to market than those farther from the market.
Price supports in my estimation only create bigger surpluses and I do not see how they can be carried out without rigid controls and that I am sure would not be satisfactory to the industry. If I were to have Government help I would rather have an out-and-out subsidy—something like we had in 1944. I believe a better plan would be a base price for 3 or 4 fall months and a surplus price paid for all milk over the base regardless of the month in which it was produced.
There is a plentiful supply of labor, yet no one asks them to work for a surplus price. If they did, labor would just strike until they got a raise. Farmers cannot go on strike with a perishable product but we take less and less because we have a surplus. Is there a good reason why dairymen cannot have the cost of production plus a fair profit?
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, sir.
Senator HOLLAND. Let me see if I understand this witness. In general you think that a revision of the Federal marketing agreement structure is the most needed thing, is that it?
Mr. KELSEY. Well, perhaps not a complete revision, but I believe if we were set up to have a base price in this milkshed for, say, 3 or 4 fall months and be paid a class 1 price for the base, the farmers automatically would cut some of the production when they realized they were taking the low price for over the base.
Senator HOLLAND. Then you agree with the several witnesses today who have said that it is not new legislation that is required but a revision of the marketing agreement structure?
Mr. KELSEY. Well, not completely new legislation, but some changes.
Senator HOLLAND. You are not for price supports ?
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
Tri-State Milk Producers Cooperative, Inc., is an independent cooperative, incorporated in the States of New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.
We recommend that there should be some method adopted whereby the dairy farmers in the States of New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont and other milkproducing States should be given cost of production plus a reasonable profit for their milk, the most natural food known to man. There are cost figures available from the agricultural colleges which could be used as a base for the cost of production,
Realizing that if the farmers received a lucrative price it would be an incentive for overproduction, therefore we recommend some method of regulating the volume of milk produced be it base or surplus or quotas or some other method which would be more acceptable to the majority of the producers. We believe if this were the case, there would be no need for subsidies or price supports or burdens on the Secretary of Agriculture for purchases of surplus commodities brought about by overproduction. This in itself could be a major factor in reducing taxes which are so burdensome to the entire population.
We further wish to state that in the present financial squeeze, we find our agricultural population in a minority position as far as purchasing power compared with other segments of the Nation and we realize that this condition cannot long exist without some drastic repercussion that would effect the entire economy of our country.
The amount of money required today to purchase a farm and equipment is prohibitive to a new beginner and is also having a serious effect on our older farm operator. Young men who should be our farmers of tomorrow are leaving the farms for industry. It is very evident that the returns on investment and hours of labor do not meet the approval of our younger people. In our experience in calling on the individual, we find that men who have operated farms nearly all of their lives are seriously contemplating retiring from farm operation for their sons have no interest to carry on under the same condition that their fathers have.
Is it any wonder that the young man who should be our farmer of tomorrow seeks employment in industry where he can work an 8-hour day, a 40-hour week, vacation with pay and much more leisure time for himself.
The increase in taxes that farmers have to pay necessitates some relief immediately and that can only come with increased prices. Otherwise, we may find that instead of carrying surplus we may be in the minus column for enough fluid milk to supply our market.
As far as we can see into the future there will be an increase in taxation to maintain our present highways and schools and build new ones to take care of the added population which is bound to occur. This is another reason for strongly urging the Senate of the United States to pass legislation to give us cost of production plus a fair profit.
The cost of producing milk in the northeast is somewhat greater than in some other parts of the country due to our long cold winters which demand a longer barn feeding season and a higher cost of production. The consumer is getting the purest bottle of milk today produced any place in the world and in the very near future another health safeguard is going to be put into
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