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Annually, between 1950 and 1958, more than 1,400,000 persons left farms for nonfarm areas, or changed their classification from farm to non farm.
This loss was partly offset by an average of about 550,000 persons who moved from nonfarm to farm classifications in each of these years.
Each year during this 8-year period, approximately 560,000 babies were born to women living on farms, and approximately 192,000 farm people died-each year.
Thus, the change in farm population, between 1950 and 1958, was the result of a net of 375,000 births over deaths each year, and the net annual loss by movement to and from the farms, of 900,000 persons.
This information, Mr. Chairman, comes from a publication of the Department of Agriculture Farm Population Estimates for 1958 from which I would like to quote in way of summary:
The farm population decreased 4,231,000 between 1950 and 1958. Of this decline, a majority, if not virtually all, occurred between 1950 and 1954.
I would like to have time to talk about the reasons for some of this migration, Mr. Chairman, but I will not take it at this late hour.
The point is that the migration is taking place and it does create a terrific problem for small cities and communities.
I think the least that those of us who represent farm families can do is to come down before this distinguished committee and support the action that you are trying to take to help these communities that are having their population increased by this outmigration from farms, to provide the facilities that they need to care for the additional residents.
This migration to communities and cities has placed additional pressure on them, both in terms of unemployment and in terms of need for additional community facilities.
Farmers and their families, moreover, rely on hospital and nursing facilities in cities, and with consolidation of school districts, on schools, and on many other facilities that are now provided within cities and towns. And in recent years, the demands made on all of these facilities have been increasing tremendously.
This has created the need for additional community facilities and for modernization of existing such facilities for which credit is provided under H.R. 5944.
I would just like to say one other word, because I feel the reference to sewage disposal facilities has a very pertinent application to the interests of farm families. Upgrading of health standards of this nature, in small and large towns, will accrue to the welfare of the Nation in general, and all the citizens of the Nation.
I was reared in a small rural town in Georgia. I used to fish about 15 miles down on the Chattahoochee River from where the city of Atlanta emptied sewage.
I was glad to hear Mr. Knox say that they have the money these days to have adequate sewage disposal facilities, because in those days the city of Atlanta was dumping a lot of sewage in the Chattahoochee River. And when I was very young, we used to catch fish in the Chattahoochee, but as I grew older the occasions when we would catch
fish in that river became quite infrequent. I hope this problem, at least, has been solved.
But this is a problem in rural areas all over the United States. Polluted streams running through rural areas. These polluted streams are not only a health hazard to these communities, but as I have just pointed out, they make it wholly unfit for recreational purposes or for potential recreational use that might be developed
Mr. Chairman, there have been a number of good points made in support of this legislation. I shall not belabor the committee with any further comments, except to say one other thing that has not been said. It would seem to me that it does provide a yardstick for measuring the cost of credit, that will give communities some bargaining power with the private lenders, bond houses, and other sources of such credit in establishing just what a fair rate of interest ought to be.
With only private sources available with which to negotiate sale of bonds, small communities are at a disadvantage. Moreover, I don't think anybody thinks that a billion dollars is going to come anywhere near providing the assistance that the cities of this Nation need for the type of facilities covered in your bill. So you are going to continue to have municipalities negotiating sale of bonds to private sources of credit.
The point is, this bill will help to keep these interest rates somewhat in line with what they really ought to be. I would just like to point out further that in 1952, high grade municipal bonds were carrying an interest rate of 2.19 percent.
On March 14, they were up to 3.76 percent.
I am not an expert in monetary policy. I have some general ideas about the discount rate and the effect it has had on increasing interest rates. But it looks to me as though a program of this type would have a beneficial effect in terms of the interests of the citizens of the Nation, in keeping interest rates low-putting pressure on holding them down from this high level they are reaching under this administration.
I would just like to quote one sentence from the Economic Indicators, March 1959—this is prepared for the Joint Economic Committee by the Council of Economic Advisers. They say thatYields on corporate, municipal, and U.S. Government bonds have recently increased after declining in February and the first of Marchthe figures in the column I am looking at would indicate there has been a very general increase since 1952 in the rate on high grade municipal bonds, and these figures, according to this table, are from Standard & Poor's.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my remarks.
Let me say again, I appreciate the opportunity of being allowed to appear before the committee, and I hope the committee will act favorably on this legislation at the earliest opportunity.
Mr. SPENCE. Thank you, Mr. Johnson.
I think this bill will have a great effect upon the comfort and happiness of rural people. There are many small towns that need water supply and an adequate sewage system that don't have them now..
I remember when I first came to Congress almost 30 years ago, I went through my congressional district—and most of my district is
à country district_I was impressed by the fact that the people didn't have an adequate water supply. I was so interested that I went to the district with some engineers and we made a survey, and made plans for water reservoirs and the distribution of water in many of those small towns, and I got some investment brokers in Louisville interested in it.
At that time, the depression came along and we couldn't put it through. But since that time almost all of those towns have some water facilities, reservoirs, and water distribution.
Many of these facilities probably are not adequate, but it has added much to the comfort and happiness of those people. And I was impressed by how much trouble and anguish it must have given to the people, particularly the housewives, not to have any water, and now in most of those little towns they have an adequate supply of potable water.
I think this bill will help carry on that kind of program, and will be of much interest to the small towns and the rural areas where natural catchment basins can be used for water reservoirs. I am sure it will be of great interest to the people you represent, as it will to the city people.
Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. Chairman, you are absolutely right in your statement.
We feel that, for the reasons that I have given, farm people have a big interest.
I would like to say that many of our members live in more arid parts of the country than Washington, or even your State of Kentucky or Mr. Brown's State of Georgia, where water is more of a problem, and where polluted water is more of a problem than in some of the eastern areas where runoff is faster.
This is an additional reason why people in our organization have an interest in your legislation.
Mr. SPENCE. Thank you, Mr. Johnson.
Mr. WIDNALL. I don't have any questions for the witness, Mr. Chairman. But it just occurred to me that we have had a great many witnesses who have been talking about debt service, interest rates, and what
would pay one way or the other under this bill by current financing in the private market.
I think we owe it to the committee to have somebody who is a specialist in bonds to come up and testify before the committee, who knows what the market is with respect to Government securities and also municipal bonds.
I would like to suggest that we call someone as a witness on this subject before we close the hearings. I would like to recommend Mr. Aubrey Lanston.
Mr. SPENCE. I know him very well.
Mr. SPENCE. Thank you very much, Mr. Johnson, for your fine statement. We hope this bill will furnish the relief to your people that you anticipate it will, and certainly will consider your views when we go into executive session.
Mr. JOHNSON. We think it will, Mr. Chairman, and it has been a real pleasure to appear before the committee.
Mr. SPENCE. The committee will recess, to reconvene tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock.
(Whereupon, at 12:30 p.m., the committee recessed, to reconvene at 10 a.m., Thursday, April 23, 1959.)
COMMUNITY FACILITIES ACT OF 1959
THURSDAY, APRIL 23, 1959
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE No. 1,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 10 a.m., in room 1301, New House Office Building, Hon. Brent Spence (chairman) presiding
Present: Messrs. Spence (presiding), Brown, Ashley, Widnall, and
Mr. SPENCE. The committee will be in order.
Mr. Callison, please take the stand and identify yourself. You may present your statement without interruption, and then subject yourself to interrogation.
STATEMENT OF CHARLES H. CALLISON, CONSERVATION DIRECTOR,
NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION
Mr. CALLISON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
. My name is Charles H. Callison, and I am conservation director of the National Wildlife Federation.
The National Wildlife Federation is a non-Government, nonprofit organization composed of State wildlife federations, conservation associations, and sportsmen's leagues in 50 States and the District of Columbia.
These affiliate State organizations, through their own local chapters and member groups, represent a total of some 2 million conservation-minded citizens, making our federation the Nation's largest organization devoted exclusively to the wise use of natural resources.
I do not need to point out to the distinguished members of this committee the fact that of our natural resources, water is the most vital to human life and the national welfare.
Not only are all God's creatures dependent upon water for life itself, our industries cannot operate, our cities cannot grow, and agriculture cannot meet the food and fiber needs of the Nation without adequate supplies of clean water.
Many of the amenities of life—various forms of recreation important to public health such as hunting, fishing, swimming, boating, and the enjoyment of natural scenery-also are dependent upon clean streams, lakes, and beaches.