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Mr. MEEKER. For 15 years I was in the Agricultural Extension Service in Missouri; for 10 years as a county agent working with farmers. I served 3 years as a district agent or county agent supervisor, and for 2 years I was the Extension Service representative on the State agricultural conservation committee. I have been in the Department of Agriculture and War Food Administration for 5, years in various positions. For a year I was in the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. Subsequently I was an assistant to the Secretary. I served as Assistant Director of the Office of Agricultural Defense Relations which later because the Office of Agricultural War Relations. For approximately 2 years, I was Chief of the Farm Machinery and Supplies Branch of the Office of Materials and Facilities.
Since October 1944 I have been Director of the Office of Surplus Property and Reconversion.
Mr. ŤABER. Since October, you have had charge of moving what surplus property had been moved?
Mr. MEEKER. No, sir; not exactly. The Department of Agriculture and the War Food Administration have several functions under the Surplus Property Act. Because these functions closely parallel other programs being administered by the Department and War Food Administration it appeared to the Secretary and to the Administrator desirable to use the facilities of the existing agencies rather than to create completely new offices to handle work which will be similar in nature to that already being performed.
Accordingly, a small staff office, the Office of Surplus Property and Reconversion, was created to supervise and coordinate the new functions.
The actual operations, whether it be disposal of surplus land procurement of property from surpluses, disposal of surplus food or development of programs under section 17 of the act, the actual operations are performed in the various agencies.
Mr. Cannon. Mr. Garman, what is your background?
Mr. GARMAN. I was born in Niagara County, N. Y., and was raised there. I studied agriculture at Cornell University and graduated from there. Following that I was employed at the Ala hams Polytechnic Institute in agricultural economics work and was there for 4 years. Following that I was employed again at Cornell University, doing extension work in farm business management. During that time I was also doing graduate work in finance and marketing farm management and economics.
I studied some at Columbia University in graduate work.
Following that, I came to the Farm Credit Administration in the fall of 1933 and helped to organize the production credit corporations and associations. Following that in the Farm Credit Administration I was assistant chief of credits and operations in the Production Credit Division.
Later I became an Assistant Deputy Commissioner of the Production Credit Division.
I left the Farm Credit Administration in the first part of 1942 and became assistant to the Secretary of Agriculture, Hon. Claude Wick ard. I was with him for a few months, and then I became Assistant Director of Finance of the Department of Agriculture, one of Mr. Jump's assistants.
I stayed with him until April 1 of this year, when I became assistant treasurer of the Commodity Credit Corporation. During my period with him I worked closely with the Commodity Credit Corporation on financial matters, and on May 1 of this year I was made treasurer of the Commodity Credit Corporation.
Mr. CANNON. Mr. Pittman, what is your background?
Mr. W. R. PITTMAN. Mr. Chairman, I am a native of Alabama and came into the Federal service in 1937 in the office of the Secretary.
Later I was transferred to budget and finance work, in Mr. Jump's office. In 1941 I transferred to the Office of Distribution as a budget analyst, and served for a short time as Acting Chief of that Division and later on was associated with the Office of Supply, which was transferred to the Commodity Credit Corporation, in charge of budget work for that office.
Mr. Case. Where is this food coming from that is supposed to be handled?
Mr. CANNON. We have been through that, Mr. Case, and that is in the record. If you do not desire to repeat, we will proceed with this witness.
NEED FOR REPACKING OF GOODS TO BE SOLD
Mr. Case. Why must the goods be repacked in order to be sold? Mr. BRENNER. In some instances the products we get must be relabeled. Then in some instances they are labeled for Government use; the prior labeling cannot be used in commercial trade.
In some instances-
Mr. BRENNER. In setting up our organization we have attempted to sell to the trade and put ourselves in the same position as any sales group selling such products, which are warranted to be good, and behind which we can stand.
Mr. Case. The general statement says that the present market is highly receptive, and in a highly receptive market it should be possible to sell these goods "as is."
Mr. BRENNER. Our experience is that we cannot rely so much on that, generally, and in distribution to the trade, generally, when the product is sold on an “as is” basis, it is included as a product competitive with others going into markets under conditions which are not subject to a normal record.
Mr. MEEKER. I doubt whether we are authorized to sell "as is," because of the requirements of the food and drug acts.
Mr. GARMAN. That is considered not with reference to a certain label, but with reference to a commodity in which there is a question as to its quality.
Mr. Case. There are a great many other things that the Surplus Property Administrator proposes to sell "as is," and I see no reason why that cannot be done.
Mr. GARMAN. That is not true as to food for human consumption.
Mr. Ludlow. The testimony here today, so far, has been entirely with reference to food.
Mr. MEEKER. Yes.
Mr. Ludlow. I understood you to say that you are the vehicle through which this land is sold.
Mr. MEEKER. That is correct.
Mr. MEEKER. I cannot give you a statement, offband, in respect to that, but I can give you a statement about it in the record.
Mr. Cannon. You may insert a statement about that in the record.
DISPOSAL OF SURPLUS AGRICULTURAL AND FOREST LANDS
Mr. MEEKER. Section 23 of the Surplus Property Act establishes requirements for the disposal of surplus land.
Mr. Ludlow. What kind of land, and where?
Mr. MEEKER. It is all kinds of land. So far as the Department of Agriculture is concerned, it is agricultural and forest land. Mr. LUDLOW. How do you dispose of that land?
Mr. MEEKER. The requirements of the act are such that there are eight different levels of priority, the most important of which is the former owner's.
I would like to ask Dr. Warburton to explain in detail.
Mr. CANNON. In view of the present situation, will you put a state ment about that in the record? Will you include a statement abou that in the record, Dr. Warburton?
Dr. WARBURTON. Yes.
DISPOSAL OF SURPLUS AGRICULTURAL AND FOREST LANDS Since December 31, 1939, military agencies have acquired approximately 63 million acres of land from private owners, by far the greater part of which was rural land. In addition, military agencies have utilized approximately 15 million acres of land already in Government ownership, usually under agreement with the former managing agency to return it to that agency when no longer needed for military purposes. The lands which will be declared surplus when no longer needed for military use will come principally out of the 672 million acres purchased from private owners. These lands have been used for a wide variety of military purposes, such as training camps, bombing and artillery ranges, and munition plants. Lands not utilized for industrial purposes or for housing developments will, when declared surplus, be classified by the Surplus Property Board according to their most appropriate use as (1) agricultural, (2) forest, (3) grazing, ar-c (4) mineral lands. The Board has designated the Department of Agriculture & the disposal agency for surplus agricultural and forest lands and the Departmer: of the Interior as disposal agency for grazing and mineral lands. The Secretary of Agriculture has delegated the responsibility for disposal of agricultural and fores: lands to the Governor of the Farm Credit Administration, who will utilize the facilities of the Federal Farm Mortgage Corporation and of the 12 Federal lana banks in conducting the disposal operations. In appropriate instances the Gosernor of the Farm Credit Administration will call on other agencies of the Depariment, such as the Forest Service, Bureau of Agricultural Economics, Soil Consersstion Service, and Farm Security Administration for advice and assistance.
The selection of the Farm Credit Administration, and particularly of te Federal Farm Mortgage Corporation and the Federal land banks within this: organization, as the disposal agency for agricultural and forest lands, is based the extensive experience of the Farm Credit Administration in appraising agn cultural lands, including farm woodlands, in the making of Federal land bac and Land Bank Commissioner loans, and of the Federal land banks for them. selves and the Federal Farm Mortgage Corporation in the sale of acquired fart In the 3 years 1940, 1941, and 1942, the Federal land banks sold for themselv and for the Federal Farm Mortgage Corporation approximately 47,500 farms . materially greater acreage and number of parcels than will be involved in th. disposal of surplus agricultural and forest lands.
The Surplus Property Act establishes certain priorities to be observed in the disposal of surplus nonindustrial real estate. These are:
(1) Federal governmental agencies; (2) State and local governmental agencies; (3) Former owners, or in the event the former owner is deceased, his widow or children; and
(4) In the case of agricultural lands, tenants who occupied the land at the time of purchase by the Government if the former owner does not exercise
his priority. The act then provides that after these four priorities are exercised what remains of the agricultural land is to be divided, so far as practicable, into economic familysized units and disposed of under the following additional series of priorities:
(8) The general public. Former owners, under the provisions of the Surplus Property Act, may repurchase the tracts sold by them at the current market vaule of the land or at the price at which they sold it to the Government (less damage or plus the value of improvements during the period of military occupancy), whichever is the lower. Damage may be from the removal or deterioration of buildings and fences, the removal of top soil from portions of the farm in leveling operations, or many other changes which may have occurred. Benefits may result from such actions as the installation of a drainage system or the construction of a hard-surfaced road where no such road was previously near the farm but which will be taken over and continued in the local road system. In the sale to former owners it will be necessary to reestablish boundaries, which may require considerable expense in surveys, particularly in the Eastern States where land descriptions were by metes and bounds and original monuments have been obliterated. In any event, in practically every case there will have to be negotiation with the former owner who desires to repurchase the property to arrive at agreement on damages and benefits. As current sales prices of agricultural land are now well above those prevailing at the time these lands were purchased by the Government, it is expected that former owners will desire to repurchase a large portion of the land they sold unless it has been severely damaged during the period of military occupancy. If the former owner does not exercise his purchase privilege and the land was operated by a tenant at the time of sale to the Government, the tenant has the right to purchase on the same terms as the former owner.
After it has been determined what agricultural lands are to be purchased by governmental agencies, former owners, and tenants, the Surplus Property Act provides that the remaining agricultural lands are to be divided into economic family-sized units, with veterans of the present war having first preference in the purchase of such units. In the establishment of economic family-sized units, the Farm Credit Administration intends to consult farm management specialists of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and of appropriate State land-grant colleges, both in determining the acreage to be included in such units under varying soil, climatic, and other conditions, and the price at which these units are to be offered to veterans.
The expenses which will be incurred in the disposal of agricultural and forest lands are primarily:
(1) Care and guarding of the land pending sale, particularly if there are improvements on it;
(2) Surveys, especially to establish boundaries where the former owner desires to repurchase the land;
(3) Appraisal to determine appropriate selling price, or, in the event of sale to the former owner, to determine adjustments to be made for damage or improvement;
(4) Cost of advertising, including, as required by the act, sending notice to each former owner at his last known address;
(5) Sales costs; and
(6) Costs of accounting and disposal of proceeds of sales. The major items of expense will be for personnel, travel, and advertising. It is expected that, so far as they are available, experienced personnel of the Land Bank Division of the Farm Credit Administration, land-bank appraisers, and employees of the Federal land banks will be utilized in this work.
When any considerable volume of land is made available for sale, it will be necessary to employ project managers, surveyors, salesmen, and, in appropriate instances, a guard force.
In addition to the sale of surplus agricultural and forest lands, it now appears that the Farm Credit Administration will in certain instances be the dispss! agency for buildings erected on these lands during the period of military occupancy, particularly temporary buildings for training camps. On one such training camp which has been declared surplus to the Surplus Property Board it is our understanding there are 3,000 or more buildings, including 1,600 barracks, 20 by 100 feet, and nearly 200 mess halls. Disposal and removal of these buildings will greatly increase cost of the land-disposal operation. While every effort will be made to salvage as much of the material as possible and to make return to the Treasury over and above the cost of salvage, there may be little or no net return from such salvage operations, especially where the camps are located in thinly populated sections.
In most cases the military agencies have not yet determined what tracts will be declared surplus or when such declaration will be made. Frequently these decisions must be based on factors which are as yet unknown, such as the need for training additional personnel for the war in the Pacific and the size of the military establishment to be maintained after the war. It is our understanding that less than 100,000 acres have so far been declared surplus, and no adequate estimate can be made of the acreage of agricultural and forest lands which wil become available for sale during the fiscal year 1946. Because of these and other uncertainties it is not possible to make any accurate estimate at this time of the disposal cost during the fiscal year 1946 nor of the personnel required. Our view is that the Farm Credit Administration should have a tentative allotment $2,000,000 to $2,500,000, with the understanding that this allocation might be increased or decreased as the work develops and experience is acquired. It must be remembered that no land has as yet been turned over to the Farm Credit Administration for disposal, and we have no experience in operating under the Surplus Property Act and practically no information on which to base estimated costs.
SERVICE OF DR. D. C. WARBURTON Mr. CANNON. Dr. Warburton, you and I have sat across the table in hearings on the Agricultural Department appropriation bill for many years, and it is a pleasure to see you here again.
How long have you been in the Department of Agriculture?
Dr. WARBURTON. I came into the Department of Agriculture 42 years ago.
Mr. CANNON. You have had a long and distinguished service. Will vou give us a brief résumé of your service since coming to Washington in 1903?
Dr. WARBURTON. Yes, sir. I have been continuously with the Department of Agriculture since that time, except for about a year and a half when I was assistant editor of an agriculture paper. ifter about 20 years in research work in the Bureau of Plant Industry I was 16% years Director of Extension Work for the Department, and for a little over 5 years have served as Deputy Governor of the Farm Credit Administration. For the last 3 years I bave been in charge of the liaison office in Washington since that organization moved to Kansss City.
My present job is to try to keep the Farm Credit Administration informed as to what is happening in Washington of interest to them, and to keep the Department of Agriculture informed on what the Farm Credit Administration is doing.
Mr. Cannon. I am not in a position to testify as to the first 22 years of your work, but for the last 20 years I can testify from personal observation that you have rendered a distinguished and invaluable service to the Department, the Government, and to the Nation.
Dr. WARBURTON. I thank you.