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3 cents a pound and increase the price of sheep a little bit. I have not figured that one out yet, but I understand it is really so.
Mr. KLINE. There are no formulas exactly perfect when you apply it to a great many commodities. There is, in the case of hired labor, the difficulty, if you apply it all across the board, that some commodities use a great deal and other commodities use relatively little.
If, on the other hand, one attempts to apply it by commodities, commodity-wise, then he gets into difficulties between different regions in the country and, in addition, gets into the difficulty of having a lot of little formulas, because he takes a single factor and varies it.
I am sure the Farm Bureau's position would be on the inclusion of labor, that we would try to set up an over-all parity formula, not a parity formula which would be one thing for one commodity and something else for others.
Senator BUSHFIELD. You generally agree there was a surplus of potatoes last year, do you not?
Mr. KLINE. Especially the year before.
before. We got into serious difficulties about it, too.
Mr. KLINE. That is right.
Senator BUSHFIELD. The Department had no logical solution of it, did they?
Mr. KLINE. No. I think that the farmers are regretful of what happened with regard to potatoes, especially all the publicity which they got.
On the other hand, there was considerable investment in the proposition. We did try to get all the potatoes we could during some of the war years, and it makes fairly good sense to have some kind of reconversion program.
With the experience we have had, I am sure our people would be greatly disappointed if the potato folks engineered something which could be interpreted as a raid on the Treasury.
Senator BUSHFIELD. I seem to recall the burning of several hundred thousand bushels of potatoes.
Is that not true?
Senator Lucas. The Secretary of Agriculture got all the blame for that. Of course, he was acting purely under a congressional mandate.
Senator BUSHFIELD. I understand that.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, you have made a very helpful statement and we are greatly obliged to you.
Mr. KLINE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. We will adjourn now and resume tomorrow morning, when the executive secretary of the National Council of Farmers Cooperatives will appear before the committee and will make a statement on the pending bill.
(Thereupon, at 11:45 a. m., an adjournment was taken until Wednesday, April 14, 1948, at 10 a. m.)
AGRICULTURAL ACT OF 1948
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 14, 1948
UNITED STATES SENATE,
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, Young, Thye, Thomas, Ellender, Lucas, and Hoey.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.
We are here this morning to resume the hearings on S. 2318, to provide for a coordinated agricultural program.
We have with us today Mr. John H. Davis, executive secretary of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.
STATEMENT OF JOHN H. DAVIS, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, NA
TIONAL COUNCIL OF FARMER COOPERATIVES, WASHINGTON, D. C.
How long has this organization been in existence, Mr. Davis?
The CHAIRMAN. My first experience here in this committee was working with him. He was a great character.
Mr. Davis. Yes, he was. He was a statesman.
My name is John H. Davis, executive secretary of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, an organization of farmer marketing and purchasing cooperatives serving over two and one-half million farms.
The CHAIRMAN. How long did you say it has been organized ?
The CHAIRMAN. How many groups are there in your organization?
Mr. Davis. We have 113 direct members. Most of them are regional cooperatives. Many of them are federated and have affiliated with them and owning them about 5,000 local cooperatives to which these two and one-half million farm families belong.
The CHAIRMAN. I am glad you are making progress. Mr. Davis. Well, we think we are. We have our problems, as have all other groups.
I want to compliment the members of this committee for the constructive work which has been done in the drafting of S. 2318. You are to be commended for thus taking the initiative in formulating farm legislation while we are still far enough away from inevitable emergencies to view our problems with perspective.
We feel that S. 2318 is a forward step toward stabilizing future farm policy. The bill does not attempt to scrap established farm legislation but to improve it, in the light of experience. We believe this is a sound approach.
In my appearance before this committee on November 21, 1947, I explained that we are for an agricultural policy which places minimum emphasis on Government aid to farmers and maximum emphasis on farmer self-help. We believe that the future of American agriculture will be dynamic—more dynamic than during any period of the past. We will see the continuation of rapid mechanization in agriculture, a further decrease in our farm population, and the use of new methods of production, harvesting, processing, and marketing of farm products. The role of Government should, for the most part, be that of
1. Helping to implement and expedite the desired adjustments.
2. Helping farm families to meet changing employment, capital, and technical requirements in agriculture and elsewhere.
3. Preventing ruinous liquidation of agriculture such as was experienced immediately following World War I and in the
1930's. With respect to title I of S. 2318, we favor the objectives of decentralization, the elimination of duplications, and better coordination of the structure and activities of the United States Department of Agriculture.
However, in view of the rapid changes which are ahead of us in agriculture, we question the wisdom of attempting to spell out in law the organization within the United States Department of Agriculture to the degree attempted in S. 2318. We believe that Congress should hold the executive branch of the Government responsible for efficiency and successful operations but leave the details of organization up to those in responsible positions.
The key to this is sufficient administrators and personnel, not rigid legislation. Sound operations cannot be legislated in detail. To be more specific, we question:
One. The placing of the Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations under an Economic and Social Science Administration along with the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and the Office of the Administrator of Research and Marketing, since the Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations is not exclusively a research agency but, to a large degree, an operating agency working closely with foreign and local offices of the State Department.
Senator BUSHFIELD. May I interrupt?
Senator BUSHFIELD. Did I understand you to say that the farm population is decreasing in numbers?
Mr. Davis. Farm population has been decreasing since about 1939. It has come up a little bit since the low period of the war, I believe, but I think the trend will be downward, and certainly it will be downward in relationship to the rest of our population.
Senator BUSHFIELD. Thank you.
Mr. Davis. Two. We question the associations and councils provided for in the bill taking on duties other than the coordination of agricultural programs. These programs will require considerable administration from the Department of Agriculture.
Senator AIKEN. What do you refer to there? The Farmers Home Administration taking over that work?
Mr. Davis. Partly that. I refer to that part a little bit further on in my statement.
Senator AIKEN. You are coming to that. Then I will withhold any further questions until you come to that part of your statement.
Senator BUSHFIELD. That Farmers Home Administration is simply a loaning agency, is it not?
Senator AIKEN. That is right, but it has reached the point where the overhead cost per county has become pretty large in comparison to the amount of work there is to do, and there is a feeling that if some other agency did not take over the work, that it probably would be abolished, and the time might come when we would need it again rather badly and there would not be any organization.
There is a difference of opinion as to where this work should be put. I believe Allan Kline testified that he believed the Farm Credit group should take that work over, but the Farm Credit people have not showed any signs of wanting to take it over, so far as I can learn, and we are simply seeking for a place to put the Farmers Home program where the work which is being done there can be continued at a lower overhead cost.
This may or may not be the right place for it, but it simply is an effort to find some place. Mr. Davis
. Three. We question the policy of giving the proposed national council policy-forming and administrative duties. We believe that such a council, if created, should be limited strictly to advisory functions.
Four. We also question the placing of the Farmers Home Administration under the councils and associations proposed under the bill. We would suggest making it a division within an independent agricultural credit
agency which also included the lending organizations of the Farm Credit Administration.
You will recall that is the plan that the three farm organizations, the Grange, Farm Bureau, and council, had been working on for a number of years. We had a bill 2 years ago that passed the House which would have done that.
Senator AIKEN. However, as I say, the other Farm Credit agencies have not indicated any particular desire to take over the old Farm Security work.
Mr. Davis. No. I do not think, though, that they would object too much to being under the same organization.
Senator AIKEN. That is possible. It is worth exploring.
Mr. Davis. But, of course, the Administration has been opposed to that.