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In addition to the above terminations of highly trained employees, the reduction of funds for the Gilbertsville project would prevent the employment of an average of approximately 510 hourly rated workers during the fiscal year 1939.
Thus the elimination of funds for Gilbertsville will mean the loss of men in whom the Authority may be said to have an investment by reason of their training in its work. Many highly technical and efficiently running organizations, such as survey, planning, design, and construction organizations, will in consequence need to be broken up and scattered. They cannot be replaced later on except at great effort and increased expense, and it may be impossible to build up again the smooth-running organizations that now exist. The probable effect on morale is intangible but very real, and is to be deplored in view of the record made by the Authority in its construction operations to date.
While the $285,000 left in this project will enable planning to proceed, it will not obviate the delay of 1 year in the final completion of this project. There is no way of making up for this lost time by appropriating additional money later, since the work contemplated for the fiscal year 1939 is preparatory work which cannot be materially hastened and which is absolutely essential before the construction program can go ahead full speed. In the 342 years that the development on the lower river has been actively studied, the Authority has obligated $1,380,000 in perfecting plans for this project. Unless the $2,613,000 for construction is restored, the full benefits from navigation and flood control will be postponed for a year or more, and furthermore, there will be a disruption of orderly progress which will necessitate the breaking up of a smooth-running organization of highly trained men with resultant depressing effect on morale and the entire efficiency of the work of the Authority. STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF RESTORING THE ORIGINAL ESTIMATE FOR THE FER
TILIZER AND Soil-CONSERVATION PROGRAM In reducing the estimate for the fertilizer and soil-conservation program by $300,000, the House committee recommended that the estimate for chemical engineering research and experimentation be reduced $100,000; that for controlled soil and fertilizer investigations be reduced $50,000; that for research and development of farm equipment be reduced $75,000; and that for reforestation and erosion control be reduced $75,000.
During the House debate, $150,000, or half of these reductions, was restored to the estimate. It was stated on the floor of the House that the reduction was made because the committee felt that the work provided for under these items duplicated the activities of other agencies and that some curtailment could be made without affecting the progress of the work.
It can be stated without qualification that there is no duplication of the activities of other organizations. All phases of this program are being checked and coordinated continuously with the other agencies engaged in this type of work. These other agencies have been engaged for years in important programs of longtime fundamental research. The result of this long-time research is the cornerstone for the Authority's fertilizer and soil-conservation program. Going on from where these other agencies have left off, the Authority is actually producing new forms of fertilizer and testing these on the extensive scale required by the act.
Each of the items under this program is an integral part of the full program. Much of the work under the items curtailed, although involving small expenditures, provides the backlog of facts, and the guide for the execution of the major activities under this program. Research results in the laboratory development of new products and processes. Pilot plants are then constructed to enable production of the new products on a small scale. These products are then given initial experimental tests to justify the more extensive farm tests on the soil areas of the country. If these tests have satisfactory results, full-scale plants are then built in order to test processes and equipment, obtain adequate operating records, and produce sufficient quantities of the material for economic testing on the various soil areas of the Nation. In order to enable necessary changes in farm-management practices to be made, farm equipment and methods must be improved and developed. Finally, in order to round out the program, land not suited for farming is being reforested in order to prevent its erosion, and forestation is being promoted in other ways.
Curtailment of activity at one point in this sequence necessarily affects the entire program.
A reduction in the funds available for research limits the development of new products and of improvements to present processes. As this
research is the basis of the entire program, slowing it down necessarily interrupts the ensuing steps. A reduction in the funds available for controlled investigations limits study of the pilot plant products, and their consequent development to the large-scale-production stage. A reduction in the funds available for farmequipment studies limits the adjustments which can be made to fit necessary changes in farm-management practice. Finally, curtailment of the funds for reforestation limits the balanced application of the program on lands not suited for crops or pasture. The Authority has attempted to secure a balance between the various phases of this program, which balance is threatened with some amount of disruption by the reductions made.
Moreover, the Authority has, at considerable effort, built up a corps of highly trained, competent employees for the execution of these projects. Although it is a fact that some of these employees will have to be terminated and that the remaining force may suffer a loss of morale, the Authority bases its request for restoration of these funds on the importance of the work to be done, rather than on any personnel considerations.
It is important that Congress should know of the relationship of this program to the development of the western phosphate deposits located on public lands. The research work of the Authority in developing highly concentrated phosphatic fertilizers points to the early use of these western deposits in the Nation's agriculture. Not until processes for the manufacture and use of highly concentrated fertilizer have been perfected can these western deposits be used economically because of the heavy freight and handling cost involved in distribution of present plant foods of low concentration, which has been a barrier to the best practices which are necessary for proper soil conservation.
In addition to these general considerations, the reduction in the estimates for each of the items will have certain specific effects which are listed below:
CHEMICAL ENGINEERING RESEARCH AND EXPERIMENTATION
1. Expenditures under this item frequently result in substantial savings in the later stages of the process of developing new fertilizer products. Unsuccessful trials can be made on a small and inexpensive scale in the laboratory, rather than on a large and costly scale.
2. The present process by which nearly all superphosphate is manufactured by private industry was discovered nearly a hundred years ago and has been used since with almost no modification. The Authority has made the first comprehensive attempt to improve concentrated phosphatic fertilizers.
3. If concentrated fertilizers can be introduced into agriculture, the direct savings to the farmers of the country will amount to millions of dollars annually.
4. These researches and facilities are equally important to the national defense. Thus this reduction will disrupt significant additions to a military asset.
CONTROLLED SOIL AND FERTILIZER INVESTIGATIONS 1. As under the preceding item, research on a small scale under this item obviates the necessity of experimentation in the more costly, large-scale demonstrations.
2. A new product with promise of tremendous significance, calcium metaphosphate, is now in the controlled test stage. Its use would be retarded by the proposed reduction in funds, or it would have to be placed in the large-scale demonstration program without adequate controlled testing.
3. Most of this work is performed under cooperative agreements with the agricultural experiment stations, and the Department of Agriculture, which have readjusted their programs so as to assist in it. Withdrawal of the Authority from this activity to any appreciable extent will, therefore, indirectly occasion further readjustments in the organization and program of the experiment stations.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT OF FARM EQUIPMENT
1. As under the preceding item, this work is carried on in cooperation with existing agencies, particularly the land-grant colleges, utilizing existing facilities. This is a more economical procedure than establishing new engineering laboratories. This procedure affords the schools of engineering of the land-grant colleges a better opportunity to participate in the solution of vital national problems.
2. Curtailment in this item will leave some projects incomplete, with a resultant loss of funds already expended.
3. In addition to its direct connection with the conservation program, these projects result in increased consumption of electricity, in the development of new agricultural industries, and in the creation of new opportunities for development of rural areas and for extension of rural employment.
4. The specific major projects which could not be carried through successful operating demonstrations would include the testing of new processing equipment for the quick freezing and dehydration of fruits and vegetables.
5. Other Federal agencies engaged in related work must select their projects with an eye to Nation-wide appeal, but this work of the Authority is being concentrated on the elimination of barriers which lie in the way of the Nation's getting the benefit of its investment in the soil- and water-control program in the Tennessee Valley.
REFORESTATION AND EROSION CONTROL 1. The reduction in this item was apparently based on the assumption that the Authority would lose a number of the Civilian Conservation Corps camps through which it carries on this work. It must be pointed out that only half of this estimate is for supervision of these camps, and that other activities not related to such supervision, such as fire-prevention work, forestation experiments, nursery operations, and other activities directed to the control of erosion in the area would also have to be curtailed.
2. The reduction would prohibit the Authority from utilizing the cooperation of the Extension Service concerned with farm wood lots, which has shown promise of making great contributions to erosion, farm income, and forest products problems.
The CHAIRMAN. Unless there are further questions, we will adjourn until 2:30.
(Thereupon, after informal discussion, at 12:20 p. m., the subcommittee adjourned until 2:30 p. m. of the same day.)