« PreviousContinue »
markets have been cut off, so it has further curtailed the consumption of our types of tobacco.
I appear before you representing the following six organizations:
Eastern Dark Fired Tobacco Growers Association, Springfield, Tenn., membership, 30,000 tobacco growers.
Western Dark-Fired Tobacco Growers Association, Murray, Ky., membership, 20,000 tobacco growers.
Stemming District Tobacco Association, Henderson, Ky., membership, 20,000 tobacco growers.
Virginia Dark-Fired Tobacco Growers Marketing Association, Farmville, Va., membership, 8,000 tobacco growers.
Virginia Dark Tobacco Warehousemen Association, Lynchburg, Va., membership, 7,000 tobacco growers.
Virginia Sun Cured Cooperative Association, Richmond, Va., membership, 1,500 tobacco growers.
The CHAIRMAN. You mentioned about four States.
Mr. RUDOLPH. Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and Indiana are the four States.
The CHAIRMAN. Kentucky is the leading State?
Mr. RUDOLPH. Kentucky and Tennessee, I believe, are about equal. I have forgotten the exact figures on production, but they are about the same.
The above associations represent 86,500 producers of fire-cured and dark air-cured tobacco in the States of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and Indiana in the handling, processing, and marketing of
These associations, with one exception, have served producers continuously since 1932 and are now actively engaged in these operations. These organizations represent more than 90 percent of all farmers who produce fire-cured and dark air-cured tobacco in the United States.
The CHAIRMAN. Generally speaking, is the industry in a more successful or more prosperous position now than at any other time? What is the general condition of the industry?
Mr. RUDOLPH. Due to the support price and the market, our farmers for the past 2 years have received satisfactory prices for their tobacco.
We appreciate this committee's realization of the need for a longterm agricultural program and commend their efforts to obtain this purpose. It is our wholehearted desire to cooperate and assist in the formulation of this legislation.
We feel, however, that certain provisions of S. 2318 would not operate to the best interests of fire-cured and dark air-cured tobacco growers. We make this statement after careful consideration, and for the following reasons:
1. The proposed amendment to section 301 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 would result in national marketing quotas for fire-cured and dark air-cured tobacco in excess of domestic and export requirements.
2. S. 2318 provides for support prices to cooperators and noncooperators alike, which is equivalent to the limination of quotas.
3. We are not in agreement with the determination of parity as provided in section 402 of S. 2318.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you going to tell us in what respect you are not in agreement !
Mr. RUDOLPH. We concur with the gentlemen who have appeared before me, Senator, and I believe Senator Aiken quizzed them rather closely on that, and I am perfectly willing to abide by his and their agreement on those points.
4. S. 2318 provides, in section 403, for the repeal of Public Law 163. We, on behalf of the producers of fire-cured and dark air-cured tobacco, strongly protest against such action.
5. The repeal of Public Law 163 would result in support prices below the cost of production for these types of tobacco. The Congress passed Public Law 163 to provide equitable support prices to protect producers of these types.
We, in consultation with producers of other types of tobacco, submit the following recommendation; and, Mr. Chairman, this recommendation I would like to have read by the man who represents the Virginia types of tobacco. He is going to present it.
I have it attached to my report which I will file, if that is agreeable with you. Mr. Hall, from Farmville, Va., represents the type of tobacco which is principally affected by this recommendation that we all make.
Senator AIKEN. Is the wide difference of a few years ago between the parity values of dark-fired and burley due to the price or the cost of growing?
Mr. RUDOLPH. Will you restate your question, please.
Senator AIKEN. I notice that since you have been tied to burley or, rather, since dark-fired tobacco has been tied to burley tobacco, that the difference between them seems to have been lessening.
Mr. RUDOLPH. That is right.
Senator AIKEN. Is that because the buyers were squeezing the darkfired people before?
Mr. RUDOLPH. Yes, sir.
Senator AIKEN. And they were not well enough organized and did not have legislation to protect them?
Mr. RUDOLPH. That is right, and we had no parity formula.
Senator AIKEN. What is the difference in the yield between darkfired and burley?
Mr. RUDOLPH. I do not know that. Maybe some of these fellows have the State figures on that and can tell the difference between the yield of dark-fired and burley.
Senator AIKEN. The cost of production is not so far different as to warrant a wide spread in the price which was received by the producers?
Mr. RUDOLPH. According to Public Law 163, the cost of production, the basis of the loan rates, as compiled by the University of Kentucky and the University of Tennessee, was 75 percent of burley for firecured and 6623 of burley for the air-cured types. That was the basis for the loan as compiled by those two States.
Senator AIKEN. But they never did get, up until then, two-thirds the price of burley, did they?
Mr. RUDOLPH. No, sir.
Senator AIKEN. That was simply manipulation of the market by the buyers ?
Mr. RUDOLPH. That is right.
Mr. RUDOLPH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. We have Representative Chapman, of Kentucky, who, I think, has some witnesses from that State that he would like to present. We would also be glad to hear from the Congressman.
STATEMENT OF HON. VIRGIL CHAPMAN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF KENTUCKY
Representative CHAPMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee.
I shall not make any statement or attempt to elaborate on the state. ments that have already been heard by the committee except to say that I endorse those statements by Mr. Berry, Mr. Hicks, Mr. Royster, Mr. Clay, and Mr. Rudolph.
First, I should like to introduce some representatives of numerous other tobacco associations and the Farm Bureau, the Grange, and other farm organizations from the States of Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and North Carolina, after which I will ask the indulgence of the committee to read into the record of this hearing a brief summary of the five points on which the representatives of flue-cured, firecured, dark air-cured, burley, and Virginia sun-cured tobaccos are in agreement. They are points that have already been discussed ably by these gentlemen to whom you have listened.
First, I would like to introduce Mr. J. Frank Porter, of Columbia, Tenn., president of the Tennessee Burley Tobacco Growers Association.
STATEMENT OF J. FRANK PORTER, PRESIDENT, TENNESSEE
BURLEY TOBACCO GROWERS ASSOCIATION, COLUMBIA, TENN.
Mr. PORTER. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I will not sit down because I will take only a few minutes.
First, I want to express our appreciation for the interest that the committee has taken.
I do not think I have ever seen a committee that has watched the witnesses any more closely than you gentlemen have this morning, indicating your determination to get us a good bill.
I agree with all that has been said by the various witnesses, and I would like to emphasize one thing, particularly, Senator Aiken, in the bill, and that is, in order to get a price for tobacco we must watch the trend if we are going to use the 10-year average. However, as Mr. Clay and others have indicated, we like the old plan better than we do the 10-year moving average.
There is one other point that I would like to indicate to those gentlemen from the Middle West whom I have the honor to know and whom I have worked with some in the past-Senator Capper, Dr. Wolf-who do not think too much of the quota system on wheat and things of that sort. We raise some wheat in Tennessee. We do not particularly like the quota system as it affects wheat and some other crops, but
tobacco is a crop that quotas particularly and peculiarly suit, and I think we will be very happy to continue it.
One other point, and I am through. In the beginning, only the farmers favored this sort of legislation. Now, as you have seen here this morning, we have had witnesses from the warehouse association, from the dealers, processors, and all those working in tobacco. That is a pretty good indication that the tobacco program has succeeded.
I want to say, too, that our president of the Farm Bureau in Tennessee would have been here today had it been possible. He is supporting our position, and the Tennessee Burley Tobacco Growers Association is supporting the position of the gentlemen who have spoken.
The CHAIRMAN. You say the farm organizations are opposing action along those lines?
Mr. PORTER. No; they are in favor of it. The CHAIRMAN. But there are other interests? Mr. PORTER. I thought probably the Middle West people, some of whom I do not know, had not thought too much of the quota system on wheat, but in tobacco it peculiarly suits the situation.
Senator AIKEN. It is significant that the quota system for tobacco is nothing new in the world.
Other countries have had it since tobacco has been grown. At one time France issued licenses for producing not only so many plants of tobacco but so many leaves per plant. "An old priest who lives in Vermont told me that in his boyhood he recalls inspectors coming around to the little farms counting the leaves on the tobacco plant, and the Lord help anyone who was found with 18 leaves when he was not supposed to have but 17.
Representative CHAPMAN. Mr. Chairman, the next witness is Mr. R. Flake Shaw, of Greensboro, N. C., a member of the national board of the American Farm Bureau Federation, and a large grower of flue-cured tobacco, who will speak for the North Carolina State Farm Bureau.
STATEMENT OF R. FLAKE SHAW, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT,
NORTH CAROLINA STATE FARM BUREAU, GREENSBORO, N. C.
Mr. Shaw. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I would like to say I concur most heartily with all the statements that have been made with reference to the tobacco program. I also express my very deep and grateful appreciation to you fine gentlemen for the way you are working with us.
I need about 2 minutes to mention one or two things that I think maybe have not been covered completely.
One thing I might mention with regard to flue-cured tobacco is the large amount of hand labor that is involved. Approximately 400 man-hours per acre go into it, also tremendous amounts of fertilizers and other things. That is made necessary by reason of the fact that we harvest differently from other people. I think that justifies within itself a somewhat higher loan rate than some commodities might deem necessary in order to bring equal treatment even on a comparable basis.
Now, I think there is another matter that might be worthy of mention in connection with the national aspect of the tobacco program as
such. Understand, we have about 375,000,000 acres of cropland. We have about 2,000,000 acres of tobacco of all varieties. That is about one-half of 1 percent of our total cropland in this country that is in tobacco. What we do with those acres if and when we adjust up and down, Senator, does not amount to much in the aggregate as we look at production in this country.
The CHAIRMAN. Just for our information, I wonder if you know which State has the largest acreage of tobacco?
Mr. Shaw. North Carolina. We grow about 68 percent of all the flue-cured tobacco grown in the world.
I should like to mention the export thing in connection with the processing and handling of tobacco through the marketing system. There have been many suggestions made-and all of them quite fitting—as to the need of this program, and we folks in flue-cured, while we are subjected to violent actions by export conditions and conditions in this country, have felt the sting and the need of a high support level to a much greater extent than most people that produce in the United States.
For instance, in 1939, we had a big crop of tobacco. Our markets folded up. We had to compete completely. I mention this in order to say to you that in most instances the support level will be the price of flue-cured tobacco. It has already been pointed out why that happens.
I would like to observe that other factors connected with the tobacco industry have been more or less constant all down through the years the finished product, the cost of manufacturing, Senators, and other things and nobody has benefited when the farmer has suffered. We only help three or four of our great industries when we take this great licking
In order to share equally with other people, we may have to have a little different treatment from a legislative standpoint, not special legislation but special treatment under general legislation.
I think, gentlemen, that is sufficient and I certainly am grateful for the 70,000 people that I represent in North Carolina for this privilege of presenting this brief statement.
The CHAIRMAN. Summing up your statement, you say that the program proposed in this pending bill would be helpful to the tobacco industry?
Mr. SHAW. No. I said I endorsed what had been said. We would like to stay where we are under the present law. We think it is absolutely sufficient.
The CHAIRMAN. Then you are not favoring the program outlined here?
Mr. Shaw. We have no objection to the broad provisions of Senator Aiken's bill in a long-range program, but we simply ask that we people in tobacco be allowed to operate under the present law. You see, Senator, we have worked for 15 years under the provision that deals with tobacco and we have overcome a lot of the things that many other commodities would have to deal with and our law has been improved from time to time to meet the conditions as they have developed and we have brought about such changes as have been necessary.
Out of our experience we have found a fair way to determine a normal supply, for instance. We have found a fair way to adjust acreage, and we are just satisfied, like the people in the church. When