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Wheat is just as much a cash crop as cotton and tobacco. That is not answering your question, Senator, I know, but I cannot answer the question because a man would have to run 20 or 30 or 50 acres in wheat whereas he could run a smaller number in cotton.
Senator POPE. I appreciate that but I wanted to get your idea on the subject. Now, in reference to the limit in the amount that would be loaned or advanced to a prospective purchaser of land, what would you say?
Mr. RANKIN. I don't think that is covered at all in the bill, is it, Senator ?
Senator BANKHEAD. No.
Mr. RANKIN. My own idea would be something like $3,500. That may be a little low, but this thing is not going to be a success if you put these people on poor lands.
Senator POPE. My thought was that it should be limited to smaller loans as much as posisble. In other words, you would not want to go out and make large loans to comparatively few who might want to buy a lot of land.
Mr. RANKIN. Certainly not.
Senator BANKHEAD. As I see the matter, the trouble about fixing a limit on the loans is the difference in values of lands in different sections of the country.
Mr. RANKIN. That is the main point.
Senator BANKHEAD. For example, in the South you may be able to buy good farm lands for $20 or $25 an acre. Possibly in the Corn Belt or other sections of the country, it would require more than a hundred dollars an acre. It seems to me that you have got to allow certain latitude to fit the different areas and different conditions.
Senator POPE. I have been wanting to ask some witness this question, Mr. Rankin, and I will ask you: Has the idea of diversified farming been stressed in your locality?
Mr. RANKIN. It has been stressed very much. One of the defects of the A. A. A. is a slight discouragement of diversification. In other words, when you take land out of cotton, you are required not to put it in crops for sale. That can be interpreted a good many ways. The theory behind this thing we are talking about is that the families who move on these farms will first of all make their living on the land and that involves and necessitates diversification, that the cash crops would be used to take care of interest and amortization,
Senator BANKHEAD. Senator, I think one of the best results from the cotton-reduction program has been the development of diversified farming. The extension service has urged it over a period of years, but when they took this main cash crop out of the acreage, they then had the acreage there available, so it was easier to persuade them to go ahead and diversify it. In my State they have done so. We have had remarkable developments this year in diversification. Through the operations of the volunteer plan and the Bankhead acreage-reduction plan we have had a demonstration of the great value of diversification. We raised more food and feed crops this last year than we have raised in my recollection. : Senator POPE. What is your observation as to farmers who diversify and as to those who don't, as to how they get along?
Mr. RANKIN. The ones who diversify are the ones that get along. I sent a man down through the South who made a long trip last year and he made an analysis of some hundreds of farms, going away down in Louisiana and eastern Texas, and found that they were canning more vegetables and fruits and were keeping a few hogs and chickens in addition to running a garden plot. There has not been enough gardening and there has not been enough of that class of farming among the class of people we are talking about for the simple reason that they lead a gypsy life. They move too much. A man has to be on the land and be on it through a period of rotation in order to get the best results from the kind of farming you are talking about. I think that is one of the things that will naturally flow from this plan.
Senator POPE. Will not the whole idea of diversification harmonize with the program of the Department of Agriculture now, the Agricultural Adjustment Act, and the rest ?
Mr. RANKIN. Yes; with the one exception that I noted, that they do not want you to grow crops for sale.
Senator BANKHEAD. For food and feed purposes at home it is absolutely harmless.
Mr. RANKIN. Yes; and it is the most valuable thing that can be taught to people. As I said a while ago, I don't see where opposition to this measure would come from because by the very nature of it it will create a market for land which is now a drug all over this country and particularly in the Southern States. Some of our very best people, some of our very best citizens are land-poor. They have got more land than they can operate comfortably and those places can be cut up into smaller places.
A similar thing has been done in England, Denmark, and Ireland. It is an investment in citizenship as much as an economic problem. That is the feature of the matter that interests me most. I can't conceive of taking a million or two million people and making them home owners and tying them to the soil without a resultant uplift of their character and their whole value to the country.
I believe, Senator, that you have produced one bill that has done more for the farmers of this country than any other has. I believe if you push this bill to successful conclusion, which I am sure you will, that your name will be attached to one that will exceed in success the one that has already gone ahead.
Senator BANKHEAD. Thank you, Mr. Rankin.
Dr. Hamilton, will you come around, please, sir? STATEMENT OF DR. C. H. HAMILTON, ASSOCIATE IN RURAL
SOCIOLOGY IN THE AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION, RALEIGH, N. C.
Dr. HAMILTON. My name is C. H. Hamilton. I am an associate in rural sociology in the Agricultural Experiment Station at Raleigh. I make investigations and surveys for these experiment stations.
I have a statement here from Dr. I. O. Schaub, dean of the School of Agriculture, North Carolina State College. He is also a member of the committee on tenancy of the Southern Agricultural Work
ers Association. Dean Schaub asked me to present this statement on his behalf, as he was ill, and to supplement it with some data which we have collected in recent studies of farm tenancy in North Carolina,
I shall now read Dean Schaub's statement : The problem of tenancy is of vital importance from a social and economic standpoint. As a general rule the family living on owned land is more interested in the civic and social welfare of the community than is the case with the share cropper and tenant. Likewise, the man who owns the soil he cultivates has greater incentive to maintain and improve the land that does the worker who may be there one year and gone the next.
Any movement, therefore, having for its purpose the transfer of share croppers and tenants into the home-owning class, is worthy of careful consideration. It is true that many tenants have lost all desire and incentive to become landowners. Apparently, they prefer to continue to remain itinerant without social and civic responsibility. For such, Senate bill 1800 would be of no value and in my opinion people with no greater ambition should not be extended loans from the Corporation proposed in this bill.
Senator POPE. What percentage do you suppose of the tenant farmers are of that sort?
Dr. HAMILTON. It would be merely an estimate on my part.
Dr. HAMILTON. I would say, though, not over 15 percent at the most. There might be 15 percent there who, if they were put on land, would have to be managed rather closely by agricultural, educational, and relief agencies, from the standpoint of production.
Senator BANKHEAD. They couldn't be left to their own initiative? Dr. HAMILTON. No.
Senator Pope. Probably it would correspond to the percentage on the relief rolls that want to stay on there and wont work if they had a good chance.
Dr. HAMILTON. Probably so. However, personally I feel that the ownership of land is one of the greatest means of rehabilitation there is, and if the young people coming along could realize that they could become home owners, they would perhaps develop more initiative and responsibility. [Reading :]
Perhaps the greater number of tenants, however, do have an inherent desire and an ambition to acquire their own farm, but because of their economic situation are not in a position to get the necessary start. Each year our agricultural colleges graduate hundreds of young men who really prefer to return to the land and engage in farming, but due to lack of finances they are compelled to take salaried positions, and before they have accumulated sufficient capital with which to start they have reached an age where it is very difficult for them to cut loose from a regular monthly or weekly income and engage in a business of their own. Perhaps the present bill does not encompass the young college graduate, but his case may well be considered in connection with this problem.
The desire of many tenants to acquire farms of their own is well demonstrated in North Carolina at the present time. Because of improved economic conditions of cotton and tobacco tenants, hundreds have been able to save sufficiently to make a first payment, and accordingly have bought farms of their own during the past few months.
Senator BANKHEAD. Don't you think this is as good a time as you have ever known in your recollection for tenants to go into land ownership?
Dr. HAMILTON. Absolutely. I would agree with that 100 percent.
Senator BANKHEAD. In the first place they have accumulated something. They have reserve stocks of food to take on to a farm they own, without going into debt for it. Is that a correct statement?
Dr. HAMILTON. Yes, şir; I agree with that absolutely. [Reading:) Perhaps, in the majority of instances, however, the system of tenancy prevailing will not permit the tenant family to acquire more than living necessities, and unless some Government agency is provided through which he may secure a farm on a long-time paying basis he will never have the satisfaction or the opportunity of owning and managing his own land.
I might say here that that bears out my personal experience in contacting several hundred tenant families in North Carolina, just seeing them and talking to them about their own farming. I judge that å large majority could own and operate their own little farms.
Senator BANKHEAD. That applies to the Negro tenant farmers as well as the others ?
Dr. HAMILTON. Yes, sir, absolutely. [Reading:] Because of the vital necessity of finding a solution to the tenacy problem, I am intensely interested in this bill under consideration. Naturally, there needs to be many safeguards such as the selection of tenants, the avoidance of land speculation, the control of production credit extended to purchaser by other than Government agencies, provision for the production of cash crops, guidance in the adoption of improved production practices, and so forth. Perhaps these could be handled by the regulations of the Corporation.
Naturally, there are many difficulties to overcome, but the objective is right and highly desirable from a civic, social, and economic standpoint.
That concludes Dean Shaub's statement.
This supplementary statement which Dean Shaub asked me to prepare is based on a recent survey of approximately 1,000 rural families in tenant areas in North Carolina. The important results of this survey may be summarized as follows:
1. Approximately 72 percent of all farmers not on relief began farming in their present tenure status. It is a striking fact that this percentage varies little from class to class. For instance, 72.4 percent of all owners not on relief began their careers as owners.
That indicates a relatively high degree of stratification and crystallization of social class.
Seventy-two and one-half percent of the tenants began farming as tenants; and 73.6 percent of the share croppers began as croppers.
2. Approximately 60 percent of all farm laborers studied may be classed as displaced farmers.
Senator Pope. This 72.5 percent of tenants who began as tenantsDr. HAMILTON. Yes.
Senator POPE. Just remained as tenants. That doesn't have any particular reference to the relief rolls?
Dr. HAMILTON. No; I have separate statistics on the relief group, and will refer to them in a few minutes.
2. Approximately 60 percent of all farm laborers studied may be classed as displaced farmers. That is, they have previously been farm owners, tenants, or share croppers.
The farm laborer just works for wages by the day.
The displacement of these farmers began in 1929 and has continued through the 1934 crop year.
It is roughly I think proportionate to the acreage in cash crops in any given area.
Senator BANKHEAD. Any further figures, however, to supplement that statement?
Dr. HAMILTON. The replacement of these farmers has very probably not equalled the displacement.
There is a continual process of replacement and displacement going on.
Senator POPE. Did you have any figures on this point: Suppose there are a certain number on the relief rolls who are farmers, what percentage of those farmers were tenant farmers and what percentage owners!
Dr. HAMILTON. I don't happen to have that table with me here, but as you go down the scale the percentage on relief becomes greater and greater. For instance, among the farm laborers, you have your highest percentage on relief. Among your share croppers who rent land, but do not have livestock, you have a little less on relief; and then among your tenants having livestock, a smaller percentage; and practically no owners on relief. If you do find one, it is usually just a man who owns an acre or two of land and cultivates it part time and works out as a laborer. [Reading:]
3. Evidence of a tremendous change in the tenant situation is shown by the fact, only 12 percent of the owners studied in 1934 had previously been croppers; whereas a comparable study made in 1921–
I might say this study was made under the direction of Dr. Carl C. Taylor, who is here today— showed that 33 percent of all farm owners had previously been croppers.
This means that very few of the present owners have come up the agricultural ladder from tenants, whereas 12 or 13 years ago about one-third of them climbed the agricultural ladder into ownership.
The 1934 survey showed further that 20 percent of the tenants, who had livestock, had previously been croppers; whereas in the 1921 study 62 percent of the tenants studied had previously been croppers.
This indicates I think that there has been some dropping down the scale during the depression. [Reading:]
4. Farmers on relief were found to be less stable in their tenure status than farmers not on relief.
For instance, let us take a group of white farm laborers on relief. One out of every ten of these white farm laborers on relief began farming as an owner; 1 out of 8 began as a tenant and 1 out of 4 began as a cropper. 5. Tenants move oftener than owners but within a smaller area.
I think that is a very significant point, but particularly in relation to the question of the migratory characteristics of tenants, they move quite frequently but they do not move great distances. With any number of tenants whom we have studied, we find that here is a tenant who maybe has moved 10 or 12 times, and all within the same county, whereas an owner or group of owners, if you study their movements, they do not move very often, but when they do they move longer distances. Of course, that is quite logical, but it means this, that after all tenants, for one reason or another, do stay within a small area, and they are going to live somewhere, so they might as well, it seems to me, live in the same place from the standpoint of the social cost involved. They are going to be a cost on the landlord even if they are a worthless tenant in one way