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Any program has to have a penalty. What we would like to see in the way of a penalty, if this voluntary plan could be put into effect, is that the grower would not get any kind of Government support or help if he exceeds his allotment. Such help as section 32 funds or any APC benefits that might accrue to his farm or any other kind of a price program that might be established. We think that would be some kind of a penalty that would tend to keep the acreage in line.
We think that this program would give the most control of the acreage and production with the least amount of regulation. We think it would be the most voluntary. And if all payments mentioned were withheld the most penalizing of any program that has been suggested by potato growers.
Unless the Government wants to play a major role. It would be selfregulating with the cooperation of the ASC organization, which is already set up in each State and county. It would cost the Government the least amount for administration. It would not interfere with any marketing program or practice in any market and would be a valuable adjunct to those areas which have marketing agreements. We feel that it would encourage the development of better marketing and improvement of the industry by the growers themselves, as does the wool program, especially so if ways of collecting funds could be provided and
administered for promotion and advertising of potatoes. I refer to the wool program there because in the transcript here we mention that if a support program is put on we would like that kind of a program so that we can take some of the money to promote our own product.
We think that this kind of a program would fit the ever-changing picture of production trends and consumption needs.
The guides could be changed, for instance, each year. They are changed each year. And, of course, that would be passed down to the various farms. We believe this kind of a program comes the nearest to being self-administering and makes the United States Department of Agriculture a junior partner rather than a major interest.
Thank you. Senator AIKEN. That is very good. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. (The prepared statement of Mr. Harold J. Evans is as follows:) My name is Harold J. Evans, a potato farmer of Georgetown, N. Y. I am also manager of the New York Cooperative Seed Potato Association, Inc., which sells both seed and table potatoes for its 75 members, mostly in New York State.
The following statement is that of the New York Cooperative Seed Potato Association, Inc., and has been thoroughly discussed by its members and directors and I have been delegated to present it to your committee.
We recognize that your committee is considering the agricultural situation as a whole and while this program is concerned with potatoes only, we believe it has certain basic principles which could be applied to other crops.
We believe your committee has had sufficient background and is well versed in the condition of the potato industry as far as growers are concerned and we will not take up your time in trying to convince you that economically growers are in bad shape. We think you will agree with us that this economic condition is due in part at least, to tariff protection and subsidies of certain industries, to guaranteed minimum wages of labor and the operation of union activities with the sanction of Government. Use of released acres from supported crops in certain areas planted to potatoes broke the market during the summer and prices have not recovered since.
By and large, the potato industry is in favor of a self-help, self-administered program with a minimum of Government support and we believe the following briefly outlined program could be made effective along this line.
We believe, basically, one of the big troubles with the potato industry also is a bigger supply of potatoes than the market requires at the present time. This suggested program tends to regulate the supply of potatoes to market require ments to avoid waste of crops, a fair price to the consumer and a living wage to the potato grower.
SUGGESTED PROGRAM The USDA issues, yearly, what are called acreage guides. They indicate what acreage each State should raise of potatoes and other crops for the current season to meet market requirements. As far as potatoes are concerned, the guides are not broken down from State levels. Growers have no idea what the allotment within a State, county, or region might be.
The USDA also has an ASC organization for each State and county. These State and county committees may or may not be potato growers. So, we recommend
1. That a potato committee in each State and county be set up to work with the ASC committees.
2. The acreage guides for the State would be broken down to a county level and from a county level to the farm level by the ASC potato committees. This will give each farmer an acreage allotment which will be his personal guide. His acreage allotment should take in consideration his probable average yield so his marketings would be in line with consumer demands.
In determining the farm allotment, the acreage planted in the years of 1952–54 should be used as a base because if the year 1955 is used it would include acreage in many sections where released acreages from supporting crops were used to increase potato plantings.
Under this program provision should be made so that any grower whose allotment is established on the above plan would have the right to shift his acreage as his crop rotation indicated without losing his basic allotment. By reporting to his county committee before a certain date ahead of planting season that he wanted to plant a few acres more or less, this released acreage could be well distributed because some growers would want a few more acres in any season for the same reason. He should not be penalized for sound agricultural practices.
Provision should also be made for new growers who want to start raising potatoes and to provide for trends in production areas.
If mandatory acreage allotments and marketing quotas should be decided upon by the United States Senate and House Agricultural Committees we would favor a plan similar to S. 3049 which was written and acted upon in 1950.
3. We believe that provision should be made whereby acreages released from potatoes under this plan or on any other crop on any kind of program should not be planted to crops which are not regulated. In this connection we favor the so-called soil-bank plan of planting soil-conserving and land-improving crops.
4. The above plan is the nearest voluntary of anything we can get, but it needs some penalties. If the grower exceeds his allotment no support or financial aid should be given him for any Government program. We would recommend that any grower who exceeds his allotment without the approval of the county committee, not be entitled to any benefits from section 32 funds if they should be applied in surplus years like the current season nor any APC benefits that might apply on other crops on his farm nor any kind of price support program that might be devised.
5. If any support program is devised for the potato industry, we suggest one similar to the so-called wool program which provides, not only for a fair price for the product marketed but the setting aside of a certain percentage of payments for the use of research, sales promotion, etc.
We believe this program would give the most control of acreage and production with the least amount of regulation.
It would be the most voluntary, and if all payments mentioned were withheld, most self-penalizing of any program suggested, unless the Government were to play a major role.
It would be self-regulating with the cooperation of the ASC which is already set up in each State and county and would be the least cost to the Government for administration.
It would not interfere with any marketing program or practices in any market and would be a valuable adjunct to those areas which have marketing agreements.
We feel that it would encourage the development of better marketing and improvement of the industry by growers themselves, as does the wool program, especially so if ways of collecting funds could be provided and administered for promotion and advertising potatoes.
This kind of program could be made to fit the ever-changing picture of production trends and consumption needs. The guides could be changed yearly and farm allotments to comply therewith.
We believe this kind of a program comes the nearest to being self-administered and makes the United States Department of Agriculture a junior partner rather than a major interest.
The CHAIRMAN. Our next witness is Mr. Althouse. Give your name in full for the record. Have you anything new to add to what has been stated today, sir?
STATEMENT OF CLARENCE R. ALTHOUSE, VICE PRESIDENT, EAST
ERN FARMERS UNION, AND COCHAIRMAN, NATIONAL POULTRY FARMERS ASSOCIATION, TRENTON, N. J.
Mr. ALTHOUSE. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, my name is Clarence R. Althouse. I live in Trenton, N. J. Today I represent the Eastern Farmers Union, and I am acting as vice president on behalf of the Eastern Farmers Union and as cochairman of the National Poultry Farmers Association.
As a producer of these major commodities of the Northeast-eggs, poultry, and milk-I certainly welcome this opportunity to appear before your committee and present my views and those of the organizations I represent.
In order that there may be no misunderstanding, we wish to state that we are wholeheartedly in favor of 90-percent parity support for the basics, but we also maintain that (1) eggs and poultry must have the same parity level of support as wheat and corn, and (2) that the farmer should and must receive full parity for all of his commodities up to the family-farm level of production.
There are two ways a full parity program could be put into effect in respect to eggs and poultry. One is through the use of production payments, limited to the family-farm level of production. The other is through the release of grain by the Federal Government at such prices as to bring the egg-feed and poultry-feed ratios in line with full parity, again limited to the family-farm level of production. In return for either one of these two programs, the poultry farmer, by the customary two-thirds vote, would necessarily have to agree to whatever restrictions are necessary to control production.
A full parity program includes also such devices as the school-lunch program, a food-stamp plan, and a conservation acreage reserve plan.
Congress has regularly set aside section 32 funds for price support for farm commodities. We still cannot understand the refusal of Secretary Benson to purchase eggs and poultry for the school-lunch program a year ago when poultry farmers were in the midst of a grave crisis. “Why pork and not eggs and poultry?" is a question that poultry farmers want answered. It is not that we begrudge hog farmers support. We are all for it. But why the discrimination? We have read Secretary Benson's statement that the Egg Industry Advisory Committee was opposed to support for eggs while the Hog Industry Advisory Committee was in favor of support for hogs. We are not here to judge the latter committee, but we do know about the Egg Industry Advisory Committee of the USDA, a list of which we are submitting in order to place on the record the fact that, with rare exception, these are not the representatives of the family farmer.
Poultry farmers have gone through such tough sledding in the past 2 years that a mortgage moratorium law, similar to the Frazier-Lemke law that was allowed to lapse in the 80th Congress, is most necessary. Also Congress should delve into the operations of the commodity exchanges. We have in mind here the New York Mercantile Exchange, which is a major factor in determining the price of eggs to the farmer in New York City, when only a very tiny fraction of the eggs marketed are traded on this exchange. We believe that Congress should provide strict control over the commodity cash markets.
In regard to milk, we believe that, here again, production payments
up to the family-size level of production, is the way to achieve full parity for farmers. The fact that such a program does work is proved by the experience of 1944–47, when milk sold for 15 cents per quart in New York City, and dairy farmers received full parity for their product. However, we believe that the farmer should agree to conduct whatever soil-conservation practices are necessary in order to qualify for production payments on milk. In this way, we would not only keep the family farmer on the land, but also seek to maintain the fertility of our soil.
A farsighted view into our political situation would look beyond the present so-called surpluses into the future when, with the continued growth of our population and the constant displacement of family farmers, there is the prospect not of bountiful agricultural plenty but of severe shortages. Certainly, for us not to prepare a full parity program around family-farm production now, while there is still time, would prove not only derelict to the interest of farmers, but also make us Iacking in our responsibility to consumers.
Let us evolve a full parity program based on the family farmer now, or face the possibility of corporation farming developing its own scarcity program.
(The document entitled "Egg Industry Advisory Committee of the USDA” is as follows:)
EGG INDUSTRY ADVISORY COMMITTEE OF THE USDA
Ahlers, Hendrick, Carl Ahlers, Inc., 168 Duane Street, New York, N. Y. Beernink, Harry J., general manager, Washington Coopertaive Farmers Asso
ciation, 201-217 Elliott Avenue, West Seattle, Wash. Edmonds, Clyde C., secretary and general manager, Utah Poultry and Farmers
Co-op, 1800 Southwest Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah. Farr, Robert H., market analyst, Fairmont Foods Co., Omaha, Nebr. Fuchs, Leo, Ideal Poultry Farms, Cameron, Tex. Grotewold, W. Samuel, president, American Poultry & Hatchery Federation,
Lake Mills, Iowa.
Graham, Leland J., general manager, Southern States Marketing Co-op, 1621
Little Walsh Street, Baltimore, Md. Halstead, Fred J., Sheldon Dairy & Poultry Farm, Waseca, Minn. Hannah, Arthur J., secretary, ROP Association, 2065 Eastern Avenue, SE.,
Grand Rapids, Mich. Dr. John C. Huttar, Cooperative Grange League Federation Exchange, Inc.,
Ithaca, N. Y. Kenneth, R. C., Farmers' Mutual, Inc., Durham, N. C. Lafrenier, Edward, Allentown, R. I. Macy, Thad, Indiana Farm Bureau Cooperative Hatchery, 47 South Pennsyl
vania Street, Indianapolis, Ind. Nickerson, D. A., Armour & Co., Union Stock Yards, Chicago, Ill. Olson, Glenn H., Olson Bros., 3855 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood,
Calif. Parker, George R., Parker Poultry Farm, Rural Free Delivery, Schalka Road,
Plainsboro, N. J. Rohe, H. R., general manager, Oregon Egg Producers, 306 Southeast Ash Street,
Portland, Oreg. Senecal, R. W., manager, egg division, H. P. Hood & Sons, 500 Rutherford Ave
nue, Boston, Mass. Slusher, H. E., 208 East Capital Avenue, Postoffice Box 658, Jefferson City, Mo. Smith, Blanton, Smith Hatchery, 927 Gallatin Road, Postoffice Box 1123, Nash
ville, Tenn. Thompson, L. N., manager, egg department, Poultry Producers of Central Cali
fornia, 840 Battery Street, San Francisco, Calif. Treat, Ralph, Wooster Cooperative Poultry Association, Box 45, Wooster, Ohio. Scollard, A. V., Brentwood Egg Co., 409 13th Street, Oakland 12, Calif. Sturm, Clarence L., A. Sturm & Sons, Manawa, Wis.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, sir. Senator AIKEN. I note your reference to Secretary Benson's Advisory Committee on Eggs. You realize, do you not, that it was not Secretary Benson but Secretary Brannan that threw out the egg program! He had one for a while. Secretary Brannan said that it could not work, it cost half a billion dollars; so he threw it out.
I was wondering what committee he had to advise him. He is counsel for the Farmers Union now; is he not?
Mr. ALTHOUSE. We are not part of the National Farmers Union. Senator AIKEN. That is right. I understand that.
Mr. ALTHOUSE. I would like to make that plain. We are from the Eastern Farmers Union.
About the question which you asked, I believe I do not believe we had quite as much criticism while Secretary Brannan was in the poultry industry-while he was Secretary-as we have had under this administration.
Senator AIKEN. Certainly got a lot of complaints when it was thrown out.
The CHAIRMAN. He means the farmers received more, there was some kind of a purchase made by the Government which took the eggs and the poultry products out of the market, and thereby caused a better price. That is what you have in mind?
Mr. ALTHOUSE. That is right.
Senator AIKEN. I think the price of eggs is higher now than it has been for a long time; is that not correct?
Mr. ALTHOUSE. The situation at the present moment may not be too bad, but we do know that the past year has been a rather severe one, possibly the last two years. They have been rather severe on poultry people.