Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]

the temptation to break a rule, the breaking of which would not hurt our tobacco program in any way.

Those three changes we would prefer to have, though as I say, we would accept it as Senator Cooper's bill is.

Now, in addition to that we have a little now right now I am not speaking for the board of directors, I would like to speak for myself, because the board of directors did not discuss this point. We are a little bit afraid in our area at least where 70 percent or more of our members have allotments protected by the minimum provisions of the present law, that we would not have time to explain to them well enough before this next referendum how it is to their advantage to accept the new program. Some might be antagonized, and some might not vote to continue the program.

Now, I would also like to point out that our association's historic position has been in defense of the grower of the minimum allotment and still is; and we feel that if he knew what his alternatives were, as members of this committee do, that he would vote for this new program, and these new principles, embodied in the bills before this committee. But we are not sure that he knows that.

Now, our board of directors, I guess approximately half of them have minimum allotments, they understand. They unanimously support the principles in Senator Cooper's bill, and I think that certainly 90-some percent of the others growers, if they understood the alternative that we are faced with, would support it. But I am a little bit uneasy that between now and or at least between a time a bill could come out of the Congress and the time we would have to have the referendum that we would not be able to get our educational program across sufficiently for all of these people to understand exactly what they were voting for, and personally I would sleep much better if these bills were changed so that the first 3 years would require only a simple majority to pass. Then after we had a chance to try it for 3 years, we can go back to our 6623 percent. That is all I have to say.

Mr. ÁBBITT. Thank you very much, Mr. Gilmer. As I understand it, you suggest in the sale or the leasing of allotments that they be allowed to cross county lines within a State?

Mr. GILMER. Yes, sir.
Mr. ABBITT. Are there any questions?

Mr. GILMER. We think it would make a better market for the minimum allotments that might want to be leased.

Mr. ABBITT. Thank you.

Mr. GILMER. Also, it would make it possible perhaps to produce tobacco in a more economical way.

Mr. WAMPLER. Mr. Gilmer, I gathered in your response to the question from Mr. Abbitt that you favor the sale as well as the leasing of burley allotments, is that correct?

Mr. GILMER. vould say that our board at this time, we are conservative people, and we take one step at a time. We are not quite ready to favor the sale part. Part of us are, I guess, and most of us realize maybe that is the logical next step, but we think it is a little too big of a move for we conservative growers to accept, possibly along with all of these other changes at the same time..

Mr. WAMPLER. There is no question about the association supporting the principle of leasing allotments.

Mr. GILMER. No question.


Mr. WAMPLER. And leasing across county lines, is that correct?

Mr. GILMER. Now, when I say the association-I said the association's board of directors who were supposed to represent the farmers there, but now they have a much better understanding of what we are faced with than the average grower across the best. That is the reason I suggested this 66 be made for a simple majority for the first referendum we have on the new program.

Mr. WAMPLER. Mr. Chairman, I have a letter here that was written to me, under the date of February 16, from Mr. Gilmer as president of the Virginia Burley Tobacco Growers Association, Inc. I ask unanimous consent that this be included in the record.

Mr. ABBITT. Without objection, so ordered.
(The letter referred to follows:)

Abingdon, Va., February 16, 1971.
Hon. W. M. ABBITT,
Jember of House of Representatives,
U.S. Congress, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. ABBITT : You are familiar with the provisions contained in Senate Bill 4613 to amend the Agricultural Act dealing with Farm Poundage Quotas for Burley tobacco.

This Bill was introduced by Senator John Sherman Cooper, of Kentucky, in the previous session of Congress, and we understand it will be reintroduced by Senator Cooper in the current session.

The Board of Directors of the Virginia Burley Tobacco Growers Association, realizing the survival of the tobacco program is being threatened, called a meeting on February 10, 1971, to consider the proposed legislation by Senator Cooper. The Directors voted unanimously to approve the general principles of Senator Cooper's Bill. The Board felt some of the provisions relating to the lease and transfer of tobacco allotments should be changed. These changes are as follows:

That leasing of allotments be permitted across county lines within the State; That leasing of allotments be permitted at anytime during the crop year;

And that the provision restricting the amount of tobacco leased to any one farm to 5000 pounds be removed.

The Board of Directors of this Association respectfully solicits your careful consideration of the proposed legislation, as we know your support will be of inestimable value in the passage of any tobacco measure. Sincerely yours,

TURNER A. GILMER, Jr., President. Mr. ABBITT. Are there any other questions? If not, we thank you very much, Mr. Gilmer.

I will just take the witnesses as I get to them on this list, unless somebody else is in more of a hurry to get to a plane or something.

Mr. John M. Berry, Sr., president, Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association, New Castle, Ky.

Mr. Berry is very familiar with this committee, and we are pleased indeed to have him.

Mr. STUBBLEFIELD. We welcome you, Mr. Berry, from the great Commonwealth of Kentucky, and a longtime member of the Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association. We are happy to have you again with us, Mr. Berry. STATEMENT OF JOHN M. BERRY, SR., BURLEY TOBACCO GROWERS

COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION, NEW CASTLE, KY. Mr. BERRY. Well, Mr. Chairman, and gentlemen of the committee, I am, as has been announced, Jo!ın M. Berry of New Castle, Ky., and

[ocr errors]

I am president of the Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Associar tion, 620 South Broadway, Lexington, Ky., an organization of approximately 400,000 tobacco farmers.

I want to say on behalf of the membership of this organization that we are mindful of and grateful for the attention that the Congress has given to tobacco problems over the years since the early 1930's, and specifically since the act of 1938 was passed, and which act we have been operating under since.

Before I go further, I want to refer specifically to some of the members who are present here today. Those of you who are members of the committee, Mr. Chairman, we have a very fine impression and estimate of you, and your service over the years, and Congressman Stubblefield who has been a very faithful member of this committee and faithful to the interest of the tobacco growers of Kentucky. There are others, one who is no longer a member of this committee, but who was at one time, and that is a Member of Congress from our Sixth Congressional District in Kentucky where I reside also, John C. Watts, who has been providing eloquent and able leadership in the effort to solve the problems that have plagued the producing industry. ..

And then we cannot fail to recall Congressman Natcher, who is not a member of the committee, but whose interests have always been quickly exhibited whenever any problem concerning tobacco has.arisen. And then we recall also Dr. Carter's work when the charge of a causal relationship between the use of tobacco products and health was being aired before the committee and before the Congress.

We are mindful of all of these people and we are grateful for them, and I did not want to pass this opportunity of taking or giving expression to that sentiment on our part.

This organization I speak for, since January 1941, has had a contract with the Commodity Credit Corporation for the administration of the price support program for burley tobacco in the five States of Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Missouri.

Under the combination of the production control and the price support programs the burley tobacco farmers in these States have had increasingly satisfactory prices.

Out of the 31 crops produced and sold since January 1941 this organization has received more than 1.5 billion pounds of tobacco for which it has advanced to its members $805 million, paid Commodity Credit Corporation more than $70 million interest, and more than $3 million for insurance; and in addition, has expended for research and promotion $1.25 million and shows a net gross earnings, if sales of inventory should be made at current quotations of more than $15 million.

This association's inventory of 445 million pounds of tobacco consists of receipts from the 1962 through the 1970 crops.

While it is hoped, it is not anticipated that this inventory will produce a gain because of the excessive total supply about 3.5 years versus the advisable statutory requirement of 2.8 years.

No one with the most profound preception could evaluate the benefits of the combination of these two programs to the farmers and to the governments of this country. As a result of these programs, burley tobacco farmers? ,incomes have been maintained at near parity.

[blocks in formation]

It can be safely asserted that from tobacco money income taxes paid aggregate many billions of dollars. Prior to 1941 an income-tax-paying tobacco farmer was a rare individual.

In addition, the economy in the burley tobacco country has been sustained at a level that'has provided country people a standard of living unprecedented in the history of tobacco culture.

Such economic condition is desirable but its continuation is in jeopardy because the price support program is contingent upon production control which we do not have.

Excessive supplies of burley tobacco haye occurred due to annually increasing yields per acre and the ineffective control of production by acreage allotments.

In 1938 when the present law was enacted the average yield of burley tobacco per acre was 833 pounds. In 1969, the average yield per acre was 2,488 pounds; and for 1970, it is estimated that the average yield will be 2,585 pounds per acre, which I regard to be a conservative estimate.

An examination of the record reveals, surprisingly, that since 1940 of the 31 crops produced only four (1947, 1955, 1958, and 1960) were smaller than the quotas proclaimed by the Secretary of Agriculture, while 27 exceeded the quotas. Glaring excesses of up to 210 million pounds occurred in 1947, 1945, 1946, 1948, 1954, 1962, 1963, and 1966. The following tabulation showing the year and quota and the production demonstrates conclusively the ineffectiveness of acreage allotments as a control measure.

(The table referred to follows:)

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

It is only by the grace of good fortune that the supply situation and the prices support program are not in worse condition.

We have not had effective production control, but it is imperative that we have better control if the burley tobacco economy is to remain strong as by good fortune it has been for the past 31 years.

The situation is critical, hence the Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association strongly approves and urges the enactment of Congressman Watts' House bill No. 4462, providing for poundage quotas for burley tobacco beginning with the 1971 crop.

Respectfully submitted.
Mr. ABBITT. Thank you very much, Mr. Berry.
Any questions?

Mr. STUBBLEFIELD. I might have a couple. Here on the next to the last page in your figures from 1940 to 1970, could you not well have added another column here on disappearance?

Mr. BERRY: Could I not have added another column for what?
Mr. STUBBLEFIELD. Another column for disappearance.
Mr. BERRY. Disappearance of tobacco or used tobacco ?

Mr. STUBBLEFIELD. You have here national quota and production, and well, they have no relationship to disappearance per se, do they?

Mr. BERRY. Not necessarily. I only undertook to demonstrate by those figures that while we may have thought we were controlling tobacco production effectively in the burley counties that, as a matter of fact,

we have not done it effectively, Mr. STUBBLEFIELD. I mean, it could have been a little more informative if you had another column?

Mr. BERRY. Indeed it would have been, and if I had had your suggestion earlier, Congressman, I would have included another column.

Mr. ABBITT. Thank you very much.

Next on the list is Mr. William Balden, vice president, Kentucky Farm Bureau and chairman of the Council for Burley Tobacco.



Mr. BALDEN. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ABBITT. We are glad to have you, Mr. Balden.

Mr. BALDEN. Members of the Congress, my statement here today is for the Council for Burley Tobacco. I am William Balden, chairman of the Council for Burley Tobacco and a full-time farmer.

Our council is composed of the following organizations and, incidentally, there was a new organization that was formed this past year, and the organization represents the Burley Tobacco Cooperative Association, Burley Auction Warehouse Association, Burley Tobacco Leaf Dealers Association, Burley Farmers Advisory Council, Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Organization, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

These organizations are here today to speak for themselves and will give their own testimony. I think it important, however, that I inform you of the actions of this group during the past year.

We were first called together on January 31, 1970, by the College of Agriculture, University of Kentucky. This followed an announcement by Secretary of Agriculture Hardin that he was cutting the 1970 tobacco acreage by 10 percent and that if a program was not developed to control production, there would be future cuts of a more substantial nature.

Our organization has met at least once each month during the past year and sometimes two and three times and has thoroughly studied the burley tobacco situation. We have met with farmers throughout Kentucky, and have had discussions with representatives of all burl.v

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »