Page images
PDF
EPUB

whether organized or unorganized. For that reason provision should be made to give adequate representation to small- and medium-size growers and to agricultural labor. In a number of States this is seemingly not important, but in others, like California, or where corporation farming has taken hold, the entrusting of land policy to grower-dominated councils would be equivalent to giving them undue power over smaller farmers and farm labor. So, while advocating the agricultural council plan in principle, I would suggest that the concept be extended to secure broader representation and to safeguard national policies laid down by Congress.

SUMMARY

In conclusion, may I sum up our position. The National Catholic Rural Life Conference favors enactment of long-term agricultural policy in the near future. It wants to see this policy so formulated as to insure the greatest social good, and to assist, rather than hinder, sound family living upon the land. It wants an efficient and prosperous agriculture and hence realizes the need for a constructive economic program such as is sought for in title III of S. 2318. Without endorsing every detail of this economic program, it recognizes that farm prices cannot be left unprotected in the uncertain months ahead.

Regarding the national soil-conservation program, however, the conference has already gone on record as favoring retention of the soil-conservation districts and their participation in a unified national conservation program. Stewardship, not only of the land, but of forest and water resources is its guiding norm in judging conservation policy.

I do not feel that subordination of the existing Soil Conservation Service to already overburdened agencies is in line with a constructive policy regarding use and development of our resources. Rather, we need an expanded conservation program which would unify and coordinate existing efforts. The objectives set forth in the Jensen bill and the land-policy bill introduced on March 30 by Congressman Clifford R. Hope, are in line with National Catholic Life Conference thinking.

In any economic program adopted it will be necessary to give due attention to international commodity agreements. Restrictions on agricultural exports and imports should be held to a minimum.

The agricultural council plan, integrating agricultural policy on county, State, and national levels, is in itself desirable. However, the authority of these councils must be clearly limited so they will not be in a position to obstruct or ignore needed national programs. The small farmer, and the farm worker need representation if domination of agricultural policy by large growers and exploitation of farm workers is not to ensue. Such broad representation on the councils should be mandatory. Also, there seems no reason why agricultural councils cannot exist side by side with the established and prospering soil-conservation districts.

The CHAIRMAN. Is Mr. Fawcett here.
Mr. FAWCETT. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. Would you mind if we had your statement printed in the record in its entirety?

Mr. FAWCETT. Would there be time at a future date to appear before the committee?

The CHAIRMAN. We have a full schedule in the morning. Could you summarize your statement ?

Mr. FAWCETT. I do not have it summarized, but I would be glad to do whatever you say.

The CHAIRMAN. It will be necessary for us to adjourn the hearing this morning as we have to go over to the Senate chamber.

Mr. FAWCETT. Could I take my chances tomorrow morning!
The CHAIRMAN. You might have to wait a while tomorrow

morning but I think we can get to you then.

Mr. FAWCETT. If it is possible, I should like to present my statement because I think there might be some questions which might amplify it a little bit.

The CHAIRMAN. Come in tomorrow and we will find some time, I think, for your presentation. Mr. FAWCETT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. We will now adjourn until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.

(Whereupon, at 12 noon, the committee adjourned to reconvene at 10 à. m., Thursday, April 22, 1948.)

AGRICULTURAL ACT OF 1948

THURSDAY, APRIL 22, 1948

UNITED STATES SENATE,
COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY,

Washington, D.C. The committee met pursuant to adjournment at 10 a. m., in room 324, Senate Office Building, Senator Arthur Capper (chairman), presiding.

Present: Senators Capper, Aiken, Bushfield, Thye, Hoey, and Pepper.

Senator AIKEN (presiding). It appears that if we are going to hear all the witnesses scheduled this morning we shall have to be getting under way. I am sure that the chairman will not mind our going ahead and hearing the witnesses that we have here.

The first witness scheduled for this morning on S. 2318 and one who was carried over from yesterday because there was not time to hear him, is C. J. Fawcett, general manager, National Wool Marketing Corp., Boston, Mass. STATEMENT OF C. J. FAWCETT, GENERAL MANAGER, NATIONAL

WOOL MARKETING CORP., BOSTON, MASS. Mr. FAWCETT. My name is C. J. Fawcett. I represent the National Wool Marketing Corp., 281 Summer Street, Boston, Mass. The National Wool Marketing Corp. is a cooperative wool-selling agency serving 22 State cooperative wool-marketing associations who have a membership of over 50,000 wool growers.

This organization, which I serve as general manager, is the largest handler of domestic wool in the United States. We keep in direct contact with our members for whom we sell through our various State units. It is on behalf of these 50,000 domestic wool growers that I appear before this committee in support of legislation as outlined in S. 2318.

I wish to commend this Committee on Agriculture for undertaking the creation of a long-term agricultural program. Our national economy will not stand a collapse of our agricultural industry such as occurred after World War İ. The catastrophe that occurred in 1921 wiped out a large number of our substantial livestock outfits of the West. Now is the time to prepare programs that will prevent another such occurrence.

Up to this time the domestic wool growers have no assurance that such a situation will not be repeated. This lack of assurance has been a contributing factor to the most rapid decline in the sheep population in the United States that has ever occurred. The number

of sheep in the United States has declined about 14,000,000 since 1940. That means that our domestic wool clip has also declined about 125,000,000 pounds in the same length of time.

The over-all percentage is 3842 percent in about 6 years. This alarming decline should constitute a stop-look-and-listen signal for all the departmental agencies of our Government who have to do with international trade policies involving wool and wool duties.

Senator BUSHFIELD. May I ask a question?
Mr. FAWCETT. Yes.

Senator BUSHFIELD. What is your explanation for the decline in the sheep population ?

Mr. FAWCETT. The labor shortage is a contributing, factor. The wool prices are the major contributing factor. As will be shown in this brief, the price of wool all through the war years and since has been held'down to about the level of December 15, 1941, or an increase of 13 percent, where other agricultural commodities were allowed to increase an average of 93 percent.

Senator BUSHFIELD. Have not the Australian wool people been underselling us !

Mr. FAWCETT. To be sure. The Commodity Credit Corporation program has been in effect since 1943, but the joint organization, which is the organization established by England and her Dominions to hold and market her stocks of wool, have constantly undersold our market until recently. The picture has changed, Senator, in the last 6 months.

On two different occasions the Commodity Credit Corporation lowered the selling price of the domestic stock pile only to be undermined by the joint organization, in one instance, within 48 hours after the announcement by the Commodity Credit Corporation.

This decline means that we will have approximately 9,000,000 fewer lambs in 1948 with which to augment our altogether inadequate meat supply. The number of breeding ewes in the United States is now the smallest since the Civil War.

While our domestic wool production has declined 381/2 percent, our population has increased approximately 14 percent and our consumption has risen from 21/2 pounds of clean wool to about 434 pounds per capita at the present time. This deficit of raw wool has been supplied by foreign countries at the rate of about 2 pounds of foreign wool to 1 pound of domestic. In other words, we are now producing only about one-third of our annual consumption.

The extent to which our domestic wool market, admittedly the richest market in the world, has been monopolized by foreign countries may be illustrated by a comparison of wool imports. In 1936 we imported 110,710,000 pounds of apparel wool, while in 1946 we imported 819,252,000 pounds.

It is true that the domestic wool market has been supported since 1943 by purchase programs but the values at which the wool was purchased were approximately those that prevailed on December 15, 1941.

Senator BUSHFIELD. Will you state those figures again, please?

Mr. FAWCETT. In 1936 we imported 110,710,000 pounds of apparel wool while in 1946 we imported 819,252,000 pounds. That is some increase.

« PreviousContinue »