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The hardy northern vegetables and cereals, including wheat, can be and are profitably raised, as are also cattle, sheep, and hogs, but the Agricultural development of Alaska is dependent upon a local market that can only be assured with the utilization of the mineral and other resources.
Reindeer were introduced by the Government in 1892 to save the Esquimaux from starvation. To the year 1902, 1,280 head had been imported. The herds have grown to a total of about 140,000 head, while about 90,000 head have been killed for food. This industry will be a commercial asset of large proportions.
During the years 1914 to 1918, inclusive, Alaska exported products of the value of $335,577,700, of which gold and silver represent only $71,175,381. The total commerce of Alaska during this period was $502,098,467. Since the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867 for $7,200,000 the value of Alaska's exported products has been $847,719,000, while the total commerce has exceeded $1,295,000,000.
That an Alaskan railroad is an essential facility for the proper development and utilization of Alaska's resources, and the United States Government having undertaken to build the railroad it should continue the enterprise to completion.
PRODUCTION OF POTATO FLOUR AND POTATO STARCH.
August 19, 1919.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of
the Union and ordered to be printed.
Mr. FORDNEY, from the Committee on Ways and Means, submitted
[To accompany H. R. 6814.)
The Committee on Ways and Means, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 6814) to provide revenue for the Government and promote the production of potato flour and potato starch in the United States, having had the same under consideration, report it back to the House with the following amendment, with the recommendation that the amendment be agreed to and that the bill as amended do
Line 9, after the word 'potato" and the word "flour, strike out "3 cents'' and insert "1} cents.'
The bill as amended will read as follows: Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That on and after the day following the passage of this act there shall be levied, collected, and paid upon the articles named herein, when imported from any foreign country into the United States or any of its possessions, except the Philippine Is'ands and the Islands of Guam and Tutuila, the rates of duties which are herein prescribed, namely, starch made from potatoes, 14 cents per pound; natural potato four, 14 cents per pound.
The tariff act of August 5, 1909, carried a duty of 14 cents per pound on potato starch. This rate was reduced by the act of October 3, 1913, to 1 cent per pound. Under Treasury Decision 16955 potato flour is admitted under the same rate of duty as potato starch.
During 1914 and 1915 practically all potato flour and starch came from Europe, principally from Germany, the Netherlands, and England. During 1916 about one-fourth came from Japan and the balance from the Netherlands and England. Commencing with 1917 practically all of these imports have been received from Japan.
Imports entered for consumption in the United States of potato starch from July 1, 1919,
to Dec. 31, 1918, including potato flour dutiable as potato starch.
Representatives of potato growers and manufacturers of potato starch and potato flour testified before the committee in support of the bill herein recommended. The following is an extract from the statement of Mr. Carl Feldhausen, representing the Potato Products Co. and the Farmers' Cooperative Union of Nebraska:
In support of H. R. 6814, by Mr. Morin, a bill to provide revenue for the Government and promote the production of potato flour and potato starch in the United States. The two articles on which a tariff is asked by the introduction of this bill are products of industries that were created by the war and are of vital importance to the agricultural and economic life of our country.
The manufacture of potato flour, made from the whole cooked potato, is entirely new in the United States, the product having been imported from Germany and Holland before the war. The other industry, the manufacture of potato starch, is one that had been killed by foreign importations of the product before the war and has been revived through the war.
The potato-starch factories in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan were idle for eight years previous to two years ago. Other States had quit the business before. Only in the State of Maine some factories were kept running at a loss in order to help the potato growers realize some money for their unmarketable potatoes.
When the Nation called two years ago for greater food production and conservation the usefulness of those of the closed starch factories that were still fit to be put in order was proven, when they helped conserve a considerable part of the greatest potato crop ever raised in this country, and were a great help in overcoming a serious food situation. If more factories had been in existence, the immense loss of potatoes that year would have been reduced very much. The potato growers did their share of helping win the war at great financial losses to themselves. These losses would have been minimized if we had not allowed foreign competition to kill an industry whose function.it was to utilize the surplus and inferior grade potatoes.
The development of industries that will make use of the vast amounts of potatoes that are left behind in the potato-producing districts of our country every year, because they do not come up to the standard of quality established by the United States Department of Agriculture, is of vital importance to the potato grower as well as to the consumer, for the reason that in absence of a market for this part of the crop (which by many is estimated to be on an average of one-fourth of the total amount of potatoes raised) increases the cost of production and the cost of living.
No nation can afford to permit such a waste of food, that amounts to more than 50,000,000 bushels of potatoes annually, without at least giving protection to those who are trying to stop the waste. It is only this class of potatoes that can profitably be used in the manufacture of the articles named in this bill, and these products are practically the only ones into which those potatoes can be converted.
The first factory in the United States manufacturing the potato flour called natural potato flour, containing all the component parts of the whole cooked potato in a highly digestible and concentrated form, was built at Idaho Falls, Idaho, by people of that State for the purpose of food conservation and in order to demonstrate that we can manufacture in this country from our own abundance of superior raw material a potato flour fully as good as that imported from Europe before the war.
We succeeded in establishing this fact, and in order to be of greater help to the potato grower have doubled the capacity of our Idaho factory, which represents an investment of about $50,000, not counting the money tied up in flour. Four other factories of this kind were built since in other States and ore factories are Deeded by the potato growers. These will be erected as th is developed, provided foreign competition is not allowed to kill the business.
Extract from statement of Mr. Lew D. Sweet, potato grower, Greeley, Colo.:
The natural potato flour industry in the United States is in its infancy. During the war when the supply of wheat was short and the people of the United States were doing everything they could to send as much across as possible, potatoes loomed up as a great possibility from a conservation stand point. The crop of potatoes in the fiscal year of 1917 and 1918 was 443,000,000 bushels, an increase of 75,000,000 bushels above the average crop.
Because all available cars were being used to move war materials to the seaboard, it was impossible to secure enough cars for an equitable distribution of this crop during the months of December, January, February, and March. It was not until after the 1st of April, 1918 (when the weather permitted the use of box cars for handling potatoes), that a campaign could be put on urging the people to eat potatoes and save wheat. More potatoes were consumed in the United States during this period than ever before.
In order to give to the consuming public high quality potatoes, the United States potato grades were established. Great difficulty was experienced in disposing of the No. 2 grade, as the quantity of No. 1's was sufficient to supply the demand and the car situation was such that it was not advisable to attempt to move the great quantity of No. 2's in the hands of the farmers.
In order to dispose of this stock of No. 2's, and prevent them from going to waste, the natural potato flour industry was started. Natural potato flour is made as follows: The potatoes are washed, cooked, ground, dried, and bolted, the bolting process taking out the skins. As will be noted, nothing is removed from the potato but the water content and skins, the entire food value remains.
During the past fiscal year there were at work five natural potato flour plants. These plants produced approximately 2,500,000 pounds of natural potato flour, which has been consumed largely by the bakers and some being used by the housewives in their home baking. There are now under construction in the United States five more natural potato flour plants with a capacity of 5,000,000 pounds for the coming year. This, together with the capacity of the existing plants, will give us about 12,000,000 pounds of flour for the year next fiscal. The addition of 5 per cent of natural potato flour to the wheat flour in the making of bread, either at home or in the bakeries, gives a bread with a nutty flavor and a bread which will stay fresh longer.
A well-established potato-starch and potato-flour industry would be an economic asset to the country:
These industries will assure a satisfactory market at a reasonable price to the farmer for his No. 2 and cull potatoes and will stabilize the potato industry which stands sixth in value in our agricultural crops. It will encourage the growth of potatoes and thus increase the supply of an important food product.