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I do not have 1947, but it will be lower in 1947 because there was not the flood of foreign wool importation that we had in 1946.
Mr. WILSON. Answering your question, Senator Capper, this would be higher than the average of the previous 10 years because of the heavy importation of wool due to the defense program and the necessity of clothing our soldiers and so on.
Mr. JONES. We are in agreement with the statement of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives that section 22 of the Agricultural Marketing Agreements Act of 1937 should be included in this bill and that whenever the Secretary of Agriculture determines that importations of foreign commodities or products processed therefrom are interfering with any Government support program, imports should be limited or fees assessed to protect the Government form loss and enable the domestic producer to maintain an equal economic position with
Senator AIKEN. That proviso was what got the first wool bill vetoed
Mr. JONES. Yes, sir.
Senator AIKEN. Do you have any greater reason to believe that the administration has changed its position?
Mr. Jones. No, sir; but we feel that would be sound policy. But that is what happened, all right.
Senator AIKEN. You feel that the administration might be reluctant to destroy the entire farm program in order to veto one provision of it? You need not answer that question; I am sure you do not know. Mr. JONES. Thank
you. Again, permit me to commend the committee for the inclusion of wool in this bill and for making wool a basic commodity as far as support prices and parity are concerned. We urge inclusion of wool, however, as a basic commodity applicable to all laws. The main reason for this request is so that never again will wool come before the Congress in the form of special legislation, but will automatically be considered with other agricultural legislation and thereby receive the same treatment.
We agree with the thought expressed by some members of the committee that if it is found impossible to reach an agreement upon all of the provisions of the bill under consideration, your committee should report and press for the passage of title III of the bill for reasons that are obvious to all of you.
Again, I thank the committee for this opportunity to present the position of domestic wool in the consideration of S. 2318 and we assure the committee our cooperation.
The CHAIRMAN. If there is any opposition to title III, from whence would it come?
Mr. Jones. Well, we have no opposition to it at all. We think that wool, being a deficit commodity as compared with a surplus commodity in field crops, would take a little different formula, but we would expect the same treatment that is given the surplus commodities.
Senator AIKEN. I notice that you desire to have the cost of labor included in the parity formula, the 75-percent parity income coverage. If the cost of farm labor is not included in the formula an 80-percent average would have practically the same effect, would it not?
Mr. JONES. Yes; it would. It would be a little higher.
Mr. JONES. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. We thank you very much for your testimony, gentlemen.
Mr. JONES. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. At this point in the record I will insert the statement of Hugh Munro, president of the National Wool Trade Association and a member of the Boston Wool Trade Association.
(The statement referred to is as follows:)
STATEMENT FILED BY HUGH MUNRO, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL WOOL TRADE ASSOCIA
TION, BOSTON, Mass.
My name is Hugh Munro. I am president of the National Wool Trade Association and a member of the Boston Wool Trade Association. I am representing both trade associations here today. Prior to the war years the members of these associations bought and sold most of the wool consumed in the United States. The views of these associations regarding wool price-support legislation are well known to the members of this committee.
Consistently before this committee and other committees of the Congress in the past it has been the position of these associations that Congress should enact legislation which would adequately protect the wool grower and at the same time remove the Government from the wool business and return it to free enterprise. We believe that wool should receive the same level of support from the Government on a long-range farm program as other basic agricultural commodities, which is provided in Senate bill 2318. This will give the wool grower the protection which he needs and at the same time return the wool business to normal commercial channels.
We appreciate the possibility that in view of the shortness of time it may be impossible for the Congress to enact S. 2318 or similar legislation at this session of the Congress. This year under existing wool legislation with world wool prices high, a large percentage of the domestic clip was sold through normal channels. We see no objection to reenacting existing wool legislation which expires on December 31, 1948, for an additional year during which the Congress will have an opportunity to enact a long-range farm program.
The CHAIRMAN. Our next witness is Mr. Favor R. Smith, president of the Empire State Potato Club and executive secretary of the Long Island Agricultural Council.
STATEMENT OF FAVOR R. SMITH, PRESIDENT, EMPIRE STATE
POTATO CLUB, AND EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, LONG ISLAND AGRICULTURAL COUNCIL, RIVERHEAD, N. Y.
Mr. SMITH. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I appreciate this privilege of appearing before you. I commend the work and detailed report of this committee and I believe your long-range program for agriculture—as presented in your bill S. 2318—deserves the support of agricultural leaders throughout this Nation.
I appear before you in the multiple role of a farmer, president of the Empire State Potato Club, executive secretary of the Long Island Agricultural Council, and I have been asked to speak in behalf of the Long Island Farmers Institute.
The above organizations believe your bill is a definite forward step for agriculture. Farmers are looking only for their fair share of the national income and will always be the first to criticize undue expenditure and duplication of effort on the part of the Government. They are strict in their business dealings and hew closely to the line once a bargain has been made.
We are certain, from the interest shown by this committee, that no one of you want to ever again see potatoes sell for 50 cents per hundredweight. We offer for your consideration the following facts:
The CHAIRMAN. Has that happened in Long Island ?
Approximately 3,000,000 farmers in the United States grew some potatoes. New York State is one of the leaders and Suffolk County, Long Island, is the third largest potato-growing county in the United States. In 1947 Suffolk County grew approximately 17,500,000 bushels.
Senator AIKEN. Do you mind telling us what the second largest potato-growing county in the United States is?
Mr. SMITH. Kern County, Calif., for the record.
Mr. SMITH. Yes, and I believe they are going to raise more if the weather is favorable in 1948.
The CHAIRMAN. Is Suffolk County the third largest county?
Potato production is a highly specialized industry and the prosperity of Long Island as well as of the country as a whole is highly dependent upon the welfare of its farmers.
Potato growing is a hazardous undertaking. In many cases it is the sole income of the farmers. It requires high capital expenditures for land, machinery, and cultural practices. Potato production and final yields are vitally dependent on the weather. I emphasize that statement.
Early frosts in the fall or late frosts in the spring may spell ruin for the potato farmer. Too much rain may cause heavy blight infections and early break-down of potatoes. Lack of water may reduce the crop 50 percent. We have all heard of the large 1946 potato crop. This crop was the largest crop in history, but it was grown on the smallest acreage in 40 years. It was chiefly the result of ideal growing weather, over which farmers have no control.
Your committee heard Mr. Wells, president of the Suffolk County Farm and Home Bureau Association, state in his report on Fridaythat all the agricultural groups in Suffolk County recently met to discuss recommendations for your committee. The Long Island Agricultural Council, the Long Island Farmers Institute, the Long Island Cauliflower Association, and the Suffolk County Farm Bureau were all represented and all agreed on the general provisions of your bill. These groups, The Empire State Potato Club and I personally are urging for your consideration—that potatoes be considered in your bill as a basic commodity.
I have noted with considerable interest the testimony of various leaders on this question. Some speak in favor and some against such action. This difference of opinion adds to your task and I hope that this committee will give consideration to the problem.
I note with pleasure the comments of Albert S. Goss, master of National Grange and the statement of Mr. John H. Davis, executive secretary of the National Council of Farmers Cooperative. Both of
these men state that all agricultural products are entitled to protection, particularly in depressed times, and both men stress the farm hazards of growing perishable commodities. I am certain that our organizations will be very happy to endorse the statements of these two men.
We commend the 1948 support-program provisions which will help keep low grades of potatoes off the
market. The Northeastern Vegetable and Potato Council recently adopted a long-time potato program for the Northeast. This program recommends that:
1. Farmers must help themselves.
(a) Protect cash costs of growers. (No one wants the disastrous failures of the early 1930's—support at 60 to 90 percent of parity is thought to be fair and your plan of support in relation to supply is commended; but we urge one parity formula only.)
(6) Discourage speculative planting.
C) Supply adequate supplies of potatoes at fair prices to the consuming public.
4. Acreage control-if necessary to carry out the above program. (a) Consideration of making potatoes a basic commodity.
5. Continued research on all phases of production and marketing utilization.
6. Improved public relations.
We commend the foresight of this Northeast Council as evidence by the above recommendations.
Their suggestions of utilizing low grades and off-sites by processing is very important and would permit potatoes to be processed and held for periods, or years, of low production and embodies the "ever normal granary” idea. I conclude my statement by saying that this idea should give weight to the consideration of classifying potatoes as a basic commodity.
I again, commend this committee for their work and interest.
Senator AIKEN. Do you believe that the announcement of goals by the Secretary and an intelligent application of the support level ranging from 60 to 90 percent would obviate generally the necessity for acreage controls?
That would be through the elimination of marginal producing areas. Or would the better-producing areas find still further ways of increasing their yield of bushels per acre ?
Mr. SMITH. I think that farmers with a 90-cent parity price guaranteed would overproduce without acreage control. With a parity price level of 60 to 90 percent, many farmers would check their own acreage but some acreage control may need to be taken.
The CHAIRMAN. What would you say is the prevailing market value of your land in Long Island !
Mr. SMITH. The prevailing price per acre of land on Long Island for good potato land is $750 to $1,000 per acre.
The CHAIRMAN. Is the tendency up or down?
Senator YOUNG. Mr. Smith, the House proposal contains a provision to extend supports for a 2-year period—is that not correct?
Mr. SMITH. I do not know. I have not checked it.
Senator Young. For two growing seasons; yes. Under a provision of a pure extension of that kind would there be a sufficient control of production to get away from some of the severe criticism that the price-support program has had in the last year or two?
Mr. SMITH. Does that bill propose the extension of the Steagall amendment?
Senator YOUNG. I understand it does; yes.
Mr. SMITH. The 1946 crop-growing year, as I mentioned, was particularly favorable to farmers. If we had a particularly dry year or a bad growing year throughout the United States, the support program would not be criticized because the potato production would not be so great that it would be expensive for the Government.
The potato industry is so highly dependent on the weather that I think we need to be sure to have enough acreage and we suggest the possibility of processing potatoes, canning them, which they are now doing, potato flour, to carry over for years of low production.
I do think that some potato-acreage control is advisable.
Senator Young. Then if it should be impossible to get this longrange bill through the Congress as proposed here by the Senate committee, would it not be advisable to amend the other bill to give greater authority to the Secretary of Agriculture to control acreages or production at least to a certain extent?
Mr. SMITH. I think that is true. I think that all of us would rather have $2 than $1, and the farmers as a whole would rather have a formula which would protect the cost of growing, the cash cost of growing, rather than to gamble and perhaps lose their farms or to ask the Government for control at 90 percent of parity.
Senator Young. I think I would agree with you that the average farmer is not looking for money out of the United States Treasury. What he is looking for is some guarantee against the disaster which came upon him in the early 1930's and, for that matter, practically all during the 1930's.
Mr. Smith. I have some figures here of Mr. Henry Talmage of Riverhead, Long Island, who has been keeping cost-accounts records on his farm for, I believe, 40 years. He has one farm which has been in the family for a long time and has increased the size of his holdings, I believe, in the last 20 years.
The CHAIRMAN. There is not much farm land on the market up there?
Mr. Smith. Not too much and not too many purchasers at $1,000 per acre.
Mr. Talmage's figures show that the cost of growing potatoes in 1933 was $93 per acre.
Senator THYE. Mr. Smith, did he give any information, as to the yield per acre under those figures?