Page images
PDF
EPUB

I think we have made great strides in the last year in helping farmers and ranchers with some of the problems that relate to feedlot wastes. We have developed standards and specifications with them that will permit them to more nearly dispose of water safely from some of these areas without creating pollution problems.

Mr. ANDREWS. This not only benefits the farmer but everyone on that watershed ?

Mr. GRANT. That is true. If I could single out one single item it would be that there is a greater recognition that conservation is really everybody's business, not just that of farmers and ranchers. In this country, while they control the bulk of the land, the things that they do there affect the man in the city streets, and he just has not recognized it in the past. I think we have made significant advancements in our field of water resource studies in our river basins, to better and more nearly identify some of the problems which projects like PL-566 or of a similar nature can help solve. The job opportunities, created and the serving as a sort of focal point to bring together the resources from many other agencies in USDA and other departments of the Federal Government in R.C. & D. projects is a significant contribution that has been made in the last year.

CONSERVATION WORK BENEFITS EVERYONE

Mr. ANDREWS. You mentioned briefly the interests of everyone in conservation just now. A moment ago you said that you thought probably 80 percent of your budget was definitely applicable to the farmer and the rancher. Yet, in your total budget of $272 million, when you go down the budget piece by piece you find watershed construction, $74 million ; flood prevention, $21 million; river basin surveys. $9 million; watershed planning, $5.5 million. Certainly this does not constitute a benefit solely for farmers, does it?

Mr. Grant. No, sir; when I was speaking primarily about the contribution on the farm and ranch, I was talking about conservation operations, the individual 3,017 soil conservation districts where the bulk of our assistance still goes. Obviously, when you get to a watershed project, you treat the problems that you find in a complete watershed area. All the farmers and ranchers in that area, all of the city people, all of the small towns and communities that are involved in that watershed are all intimately bound together. As you affect one you impact all the others, even though the bulk of your work may be specifically on the private land of farmers and ranchers.

The flow of benefits is certainly far broader than the individual people that you work with. This is true for all our activities.

Mr. ANDREW. Of your overall budget, what percentage would you say was solely for the benefit of the man on the land, farmer and rancher?

Mr. Grunt. Well, that is a difficult thing to answer, because so many things are so interrelated. If you contribute to solution of an antipollution problem on a farm, that directly impacts that farmer or rancher.

It also has an extension in terms of its impact on all the water users down that stream. Separating out an action on one as being in isolation from an action on another, I think is a quite difficult thing to do.

Mr. ANDREWS. I know what your interest is. When we go on the floor and we are your advocate there, we have to defend this budget against those who say that more money should be spent for urban needs. They say this is solely a rural budget. I don't think it is. I don't think that you think it is.

Mr. GRANT. That is correct.

ENTIRE COUNTY BENEFITS FROM CONSERVATION

Mr. ANDREWS. What I would like is a figure that we can justify to state what part of this $272 million, for instance, is due to programs that affect our entire country, programs that we have just talked about, the watershed programs or antipollution programs.

We had our Appropriations Committee out voted not too long ago on the floor by Members who wanted to add $400 million to appropriation for pollution control. This is of course a very necessary and popular program. Here in the Soil Conservation Service you are already effectively doing a great job of pollution control. This is the story that we have got to tell. This is the story that we need to have your help on in estimating just how much percentage of this gross $272 million is actually attributable to pollution control and the other programs that catch one's fancy and imagination, because Americans in the cities are recognizing the need for these programs and demanding support for them.

POLLUTION CONTROLLED BY CONSERVATION WORK

Mr. Grant. Of the total activity that we have in a program such as our conservation operations program, we have estimated the percentage which would have a direct relationship to pollution control efforts.

Mr. ANDREWS. Can you give me an estimate or supply for the record, an estimate with some explanatory language at this point of what percentage of your gross budget is for the benefit of the urban section of our Nation?

Mr. GRANT. We will try to do this narratively and to the extent that we can we will make a real definitive breakdown that can show percentages. We will be happy to try. I do not know whether we can come to a precise split but we can certainly show the impact of certain aspects of our budget that cover a whole range of interest, non farm as well as farm.

Mr. ANDREWS. I am sure what we will be dealing with is a kind of rounded-out figure, but I hope you will give us some specific examples.

Mr. BERG. It may be of interest in the 68 R.C. & D. projects we estimate a population about 10 million people so it is more than just acres and numbers of farms. These are the people working at the things to make successful for their benefit. This is a very modest program in terms of what we are doing here as an example.

Mr. ANDREWS. That is the information I would like to get into the record.

Mr. Grant. We will certainly supply all we have available and that we can develop for you. Mr. ANDREWS. Thank you.

. That is all, Mr. Chairman.

42-533 0 - 70 - pt. 3 -- 49

(The information follows:) The SCS does not have figures nor a basis for apportioning how its programs benefits farmers, ranchers, and other land users in contrast to cities, towns, and the public generally.

The SCS assists landowners and communities in the planning and carrying out of conservation programs. We assist in building structures for erosion control and water management. Conservation practices and land use changes on individual farms and ranches reduce soil loss and water runoff. All of these conservation measures contribute to reducing sediment, preventing floods, and the conservation of water.

More than three-fifths of the land in this county is privately owned. The owners of these lands produce the food, fiber, and raw materials for industry that are the foundation for our high living standard. The watersheds that provide urban America its water supply are largely in farms and forests. Farms and ranches help keep the Nation's soils productive and in place. At the same time they contribute significantly to improve water quality by reducing pollution from excess sediment, plant nutrients, and undesirable solids. The open countryside is the place where man finds space to live and grow, his outdoor recreation, and esthetic satisfaction. By meeting these needs our conservation programs benefit all the people.

Most of the conservation operations program funds are dedicated to working with more than 2 million cooperators of soil conservation districts in helping them plan and apply conservation practices. While direct benfits accrue to these cooperators and land users, equally important conservation benefits accrue to society. In addition, basic soil surveys and other resource data is made available not only to farmers and ranchers but also to engineers, developers, community planners, and others who need resource data for selecting homesities, industrial sites, pipelines, roads, schools, and parks. Plant materials, tested by the Service and made available to district cooperators, have a wide range of conservation uses and values including fire resistant plants for watershed pro tection, and plants for wildlife and enviromental enhancement as well as erosion control on rural and urbs areas. Snow survey data made available to the public-at-large is used in determining the availability of water in the western part of the United States for irrigation, power generation, municipal water sup ply, and recreation.

The bulk of conservation operations moneys for technical assistance and great plains program funds are spent on private lands. The conservation work under these programs reduces sediment from water and wind erosion, controls water runoff, and conserves water and provides benefits far beyond the farm boundaries. In recent years, more groups and communities are securing technical assistance in conservation planning and applications.

Many SCS activities directly benefit the public as a whole.

The watershed program provides for flood prevention in both rural and urban areas and agricultural and nonagricultural water management to groups of beneficiaries or communities. Structures for public recreation, fish and wildlife, and municipal water supply are component parts of many watershed activities.

River basin surveys are made in cooperation with other Federal, State, and local agencies and are used as a basis for development of coordinated water and related land resource programs.

The resource conservation and development program is a multicounty program that assists communities to conserve and develop their resources to improve the economy of the area. Residents of rural and urban communities working together combine their resources to achieve a goal of a viable economy and a better environment.

As Secretary Hardin said in a recent speech, “Our resources must serve every economic and social need of mankind. The challenge is to maximize the productivity of the environment for both necessities and amenities and assure continued use into the very long future."

Mr. NATCHER. Dr. Cowden, we want to thank you and Mr. Grant for an excellent presentation of the Soil Conservation Service request for the fiscal year 1971.

Loss OF GOOD LAND

Mr. NATCHER. Mr. Grant, as you well know, down through the years we used to talk with Mr. Don Williams about the loss of good land

in this country each year as a result of subdivisions, airports, highways, and the different public works development that thakes place throughout the country.

As I recall, when we discussed this with Mr. Williams, he would inform the committee that we had some 685 million acres of tillable land or something along that line, and each year we were losing thousands upon thousands of acres of good land. This is a right serious matter and I recall before he retired, he informed the committee that certain studies were underway from the standpoint of trying to formulate some plan to protect as much of this good land as possible.

A lot of people in this country believe that in the 50 States we have all the land necessary to feed 204 million people today in this country, and that we can continue our food for peace program and our other programs on into the future with no trouble. But you and I know, Mr. Grant, that is not the situation.

CONSERVATION NEEDS INVENTORY

Mr. Grant, what consideration are you giving to protecting as much of our good land as possible?

Mr. GRANT. We have, as I mentioned in my statement, a conservation needs inventory which we are just completing. It will give us one of the best assessments of what the land picture in this country actually is that we have ever had.

Dr. Cowden may wish to say something on this, but the Department in its programs considers what the land needs are for appropriate agricultural uses, as well as other needs, and tries to develop programs which will help make for a rational use of that land and also protect the resource base so that we do have on a continuing basis the amount of land necessary to meet all of the competing needs we have in the country.

I think a lot of this is based upon the need for considering all of the alternative land uses; long-term projected needs not only for agricultural production, but all other types of development, and then arriving at the kind of programs which will enable us to make the right decision.

WATER SUPPLY CONSERVED BY WATERSHED WORK

Mr. NATCHER. You know, Mr. Grant, much better than I do that in order to conserve our water supply, which is all essential in this country at this time, we have down through the years built a number of real important multipurpose projects, navigation projects, and food control projects throughout the 50 States. Each time we build a large multipurpose project or a large flood control project, we take several thousand acres of good land.

You know as a general rule it is always good land and it has reached the point that we have to conserve our water supply. We have to conserve the good land that we have and bring back into production enough land to take care of the 204 million people that we have today and probably 300 million before too long.

You have many achievements to your credit.

CONSERVATION INVENTORY ASSESSES FUTURE NEEDS

Mr. GRANT. Let me thank you for your most generous remarks.

. I think, to repeat just a little bit, this conservation needs inventory will give us a very good assessment of what the land picture is. Then the Federal and State agencies and those in planning commissions and local people will have the basic information needed to make some rational decisions about how we do allocate our land resources.

You are right, we have made in some cases poor choices of land. Fortunately, we think with greater use of soil and water resources information and other information from the research agencies, that we can begin to impact that on a favorable basis and that most of the choices will be ones that properly consider all of the alternatives and then select the right one.

Mr. NATCHER. If there are no further questions, Mr. Grant, we want to thank you for an excellent statement. Dr. Cowden, it has been a pleasure to have the Soil Conservation Service appear before our committee.

Gentlemen, thank you very much.
Mr. GRANT. Thank you very much.
Mr. NATCHER. The committee will adjourn until 1:30 tomorrow.

THURSDAY, MARCH 5, 1970. FARMER COOPERATIVE SERVICE

WITNESSES

T. K. COWDEN, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE
ERIC THOR, ADMINISTRATOR, FARMER COOPERATIVE SERVICE
MARTIN A. ABRAHAMSEN, DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR, FARMER

COOPERATIVE SERVICE
RICHARD E. BALLARD, CHIEF, DIVISION OF BUDGET AND FINANCE,

OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT SERVICES CHARLES L. GRANT, DIRECTOR OF FINANCE, DEPARTMENT OF

AGRICULTURE

Mr. WHITTEN. The committee will please come to order.
We have with us today the Farmer Cooperative Service.

We will be glad to have pages 143 and 147 of volume I of the justifications included in the record at this point.

(The pages follow :)

« PreviousContinue »