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systems of cotton and tobacco. Twenty years later I was in a position to try to evolve such a plan. At that time Dr. Mead was working in Australia, There was no chart to follow. I tried first to get western farmers to come to our section and introduce animal husbandry. An agent was sent through the most promising territory of the West to get people to come and see the opportunities. The expenses of these people were paid. They came, saw the desolate look of the country, and were told by everybody they met that they could not do anything, that everything was wrong. They took an early train back to the West. That particular experiment was expensive and was charged to experience. We then tried different nationalities, the idea being to get skilled farmers, men who could teach us. The overhead expense was great, because these new people had to be given expert advice so they could adapt their experience to local conditions. After making many mistakes, we finally developed two or three communities which were considered complete successes. The picture of one of these was shown to you yesterday.
It was found that the native farmers could copy proven methods. Some of them have done very well.
“ The main benefit came from having the farmers associated in groups. If one farmer made a success, it was multiplied a hundredfold. If he made a failure, it was avoided by 99 of his nei rs. The farmers in the Castle Haynes communities, with some initial advice, gradually evolved what we term
'foolproof' system of agriculture. They use their lands every day in the year. They are busy at all seasons. The result is that they have money in the bank in considerable amounts; they have investments in railroads and other securities. They live in good homes—some of them with hardwood floors, bathrooms, electric lights, and electric power. The county has built good, hard-surfaced roads throughout the community, the people are contented and happy, and their children are following in their footsteps. The great benefit has been inspiration to the surrounding country,
In this particular colony, Castle Haynes, there are about 700 acres. That is too small. It should have been about 10,000 acres. Every farmer now owns his own farm outright, owes no one anything, pays cash for all purchases.
“ The unit is 10 acres. It was found that if a man was going to succeed he would succeed on 10 acres. He could then, with earned money, buy 10 acres more. We advise a farmer in that community, not to have over 30 acres.
May I refer to the Castle Haynes method of growing corn? The merits of the soybeans were known in the northeastern part of North Carolina but not the Castle Haynes section. Local farmers said, 'The old cowpea is good enough for us.' Under advice of the late Dr. C. V. Piper, of the Department of Agriculture, I experimented with soybeans and finally the farmers of Castle Haynes became convinced that they were the best legume to grow with corn. The present practice is to follow the early spring crop with corn, planting Biloxi soybeans in the rows with the corn, After the corn has matured the soybeans make their greatest growth, the two crops in combination thus fully utilizing the summer season until it is time to plant fall crops. The farmers gather only the ears of corn for feeding their stock. The cornstalks and soybeans are plowed under to increase the humus and the productivity of the soil. This practice has been found to be so good that it is becoming usual over that section of the State.
“ My idea of a demonstration is that the process must be carried through the family and back into the bank account. It is customary not to think beyond acres, crops, bales of cotton. A demonstration must complete the circle. The colonies as proposed by Dr. Mead would develop families with bank accounts. If not, the plan would not pass the test.
“I am a strong advocate of showing people how to farm and not telling them how to farm. There has been more harm done in the South by swivelchair farmers who didn't know the game telling the other people what they (ought to do than any other way that I know of.”
Mr. J. M. Patterson, of Albany, Ga., in summing up the case for organized rural communities in the South said, in part:
“ We have a unique problem in the South. It is a national problem, because the South has almost one-third of the agricultural area of the United States. They are interested in a successful agriculture in the South. Every manufacturer is interested in it. Everybody is interested in it from a financial point of view. It is a national problem, but it is also a unique problem, for the reasons I have just stated. There is no other section in the country that has
the long, long trail leading up, logically and necessarily, to the condition which we have in the South today.
“ Now we believe all the members of this committee and we have a committee in each of those States, about 20 representative men, I think, in each State_they are unanimous in the belief that of all the plans and programs that have been suggested for meeting this unique situation in the South, this is the one that holds out the greatest hope.
“ It introduces no problem of increasing the existing surplus of farm crops. The set-up for each State will be distinct from the others, being governed by the crops and purposes to which the soils and location of each tract is best adapted.
“ The lands will be acquired at low prices and can be sold to settlers at a mere fraction of what it costs to reclaim land under many western irrigation projects.
“The value of the plan has been proven in foreign countries and also in our own country. The settlements established by Hugh MacRae at Wilmington, N. C., at his own expense, have demonstrated the success of properly planned farm colonies. The experimental period is passed, and the errors made and lessons learned will all be available in the establishment and conduct of the proposed settlement.
“ It is an effort to create a rural life in the South that will endure and transform a section in which agriculture is sadly decadent into one capable of sustaining a prosperous and happy rural life.
“The Federal Government has spent millions of dollars on special agricultural problems of the West. The South has never before asked for special help in its agricultural problems. We now ask, and feel sure the administration and Congress will give us, the consideration which we must have or see our rural life vanish.
" The agriculture of the South presents a unique national problem. It is national because the Nation cannot prosper when one-third of the national area is in distress.
It is a unique problem because the agricultural set-up of the South was upset by the Civil War, and the one-crop credit systems have effectually forestalled agricultural prosperity. Ordinary farm-relief measures will not bring substantial relief to the South. The Farm Board's relief program is based on cooperation, but farm ownership is essential to cooperative effort. The high and rising farm tenancy of the South largely defeats the Farm Board's program. The problem is deeper than merely marketing. It is both an economic and social problem. These twin problems will be solved, if solved at all, simulta. neously. One cannot be solved without solving the other, and the problem for primary consideration is the social problem. Solve the social problem and the economic problem will be automatically solved. The planned and supervised rural communities contemplated in this bill is, in our judgment, the only method of solving this social problem, and therefore, the only way to solve the economic problem involved.”
TENAN OY IN THE SOUTHEAST
Farm tenancy is greater in extent and in rate of increase in the Southeastern and in the West South Central States than in any other section of the United States. Of the 2,664,365 tenant-operated farms in the United States in 1930, these two sections had a total of 1,607,561, or 63.4 percent. In 1930, of the 2,454,804 tenant-operated farms in the country, the Southeastern and West South Central States had 1,407,347, or 57.3 percent. The actual increase was 200,214 out of a total for the United States of 209,561. In other words, the increase in the number of tenant-operated farms in these two sections accounted for 95.5 percent of the total increase in such farms for the decade.
Farm tenancy in these ctions is, for the most part, on the cropper basis, generally regarded as the least desirable form of farm operation, both economically and socially.
NOTE.—All figures are from the Census of Agriculture, 1930, volume II, part 2.
Mr. MacRae. The third thing that I would like to bring up, and you can rule that out, Mr. Chairman, if you wish to, is the proof that if you get a movement of this kind 'improperly administered, you are going to waste the public money and not get results.
Senator BANKHEAD. We want to hear all phases of it.
Mr. MacRae. The loss won't be only the money you spend, which will be the smallest loss, but will be the incalculable loss of not meeting this crisis, which has no money price. Then there will be the far greater loss in human suffering which will come from failure. It was not my intention to mention that, but on March 1, to be exact, the Associated Press, sent out a release, which said in the headlines “ Penderlea work to be revised.” That is the work the President authorized me to build. “Project found headed to failure.”
I agree it is headed to failure, but the reason it gives is “since families cannot pay for homes.” Gentlemen, there is no administration that is big enough or strong enough to get away with a misrepresentation of facts. King Canute told his people that he couldn't stop the tide from rising and proved it. There is nobody that can disregard facts and keep them covered up. As a matter of fact, I know that 60 or more families who have been kept waiting past the crop season, for 6 or 8 months, to get homesteads, have not been allowed to get on the farm yet. They have been told they are going to get a farm.
Senator BANKHEAD. That is on the subsistence homestead?
Mr. MACRAE. I call it a rural community. It is under that act. A rural community happens to be a misfit in that clause, but I thought with the President's direct authority—and everybody else thought it, toothe thing could be handled. This is a map of the project, and while we can't publish it, I want you gentlemen to see it. There is the best-laid-out rural community in America. Those different colors show the progress of the work. I will show the amount of work accomplished in the first 12 months. That land is as productive land as you can get in the United States; soil, climate, rainfall, and quality of soil. If the small farmer can't pay for one of those farms, then your bill needn't be passed because he couldn't pay for it anyway. It is a statement that the farmer can't pay for his farm even under the best conditions. The reason I say
those are the best conditions is that I can show where farmers, doing exactly what an ordinary farmer would, have paid for their farms. All you have to do is show them by demonstration; it is like lighting one fire from another.
We are faced with a positive statement that a farmer can't pay for his farm under the most favorably known conditions. The reason I speak so positively is that the people of the South know that Castle Haynes has been a success, and they are perfectly willing to accept the fact that under similar conditions the thing will work. I, personally, would be willing to underwrite the success of every farm in that colony and see that the Government got back every dollar. I don't say every farmer; I say every farm, because I would expect 25 percent of the people, even as carefully selected as we have selected them, perhaps to fail; but we would build the farms in such a way that if one failed and moved off we would have 10 families waiting for that farm, and we would put them right in there, and the Government would never have a single dollar in jeopardy, and every farm would be self-liquidating. I would be willing to underwrite that.
What happened in this case was that a rural-life project was misplaced. Two or three rural-life projects have been bungled and headed for failure.
If you don't have sympathetic management—and I believe in the South this should be groups of local people in close contact that know the conditions—I don't think you can succeed in building rural communities.
There are four great channels for solving this problem. I think the best of them is the Bankhead bill, because that is a great piece of machinery that can move effectively.
Senator POPE. You mean the present bill?
Mr. MacRae. Yes; the present bill. The other great machinery is the one that Mr. Westbrook testified about, and that is the relief. I believe that they are handling that and shaping it so that the man on the border needing relief can come out all right; but my interest is in revolutionizing rural life and making it permanent.
We promised our people six things: Abundance of food—and that is so easy in the South that it is simply a joke; shelter-of course, you give them shelter, you start out with that; warmth—it is there in the forest, there for the cutting; satisfying social conditions, which they would have with a group of their own class brought together; education, which the State would give them; and present freedom from fear of want as to the future. That would get a great many in the United States, even in the cities, if you could promise them that; and we can promise them that. But we only select families that have a farming background, and that have brains, and a family organization. The main part of it is the wife. We select the family more on the wife than we do on the man. There is no question, if you do this, the Government would have a self-liquidating project. If you start at the bottom, from the relief standpoint, which is all right, we have got to relieve those people and I think Mr. Hopkins has the right idea—and twist that as far toward permanent relief as we can, you will find a great percentage of failures, but still it will be an economic and humane thing to do. The entire problem has got to be worked out from the humane standpoint.
I will tell you some of my experiences that succeeded. First, we brought in some of the most skilled people in the world and put them in the community. When I spoke to the President about that, I told him that would have to be done. It is like inoculating the soil. You can't raise legumes without bacteria of a certain type. You can't make a success of a community without somebody having the necessary skill and brains. The minute you do that, you lift the whole group as you would with the work of a hydraulic pump. That was one thing.
Another was that you absolutely must not put people on poor land. There have been more mistakes made in trying to farm on poor land than in any other way. They look at the land and try to improve the land instead of looking at the human side of it. The Government should use the most productive land it has. I would be in favor of condemnation rather than using poor land. I think you can buy all the productive land you want at a low price. But get over the idea of low-priced land. Perhaps the highest-priced land you can get would be the best, but I wouldn't take land cheap
just because it was there to get. If you can get it cheap and good, all right, but that should be safeguarded against. Then the people, themselves, by watching each other, will work out naturally a splendid system of agriculture.
The reason I am in favor of group settlement, which is a little different from the Bankhead bill, is this
Senator BANKHEAD. That is permissible under the Bankhead bill.
Mr. MacRae. It is. I think in each State there should be not less than 1 and possibly as many as 10 communities which would be pilot plants and which would have in them shock troops, people selected, the man and wife, for their farming background and brains and skill to solve the myriad of problems the farmer has to solve. The average man doesn't conceive of the number he has to solve. He is the biggest gambler in the world. The stock-market gambler or horse-race gambler doesn't compare with him. He has to take evèry kind of a chance. Have them solve the problems, and then the whole region for miles around will be lifted, you can see it for a hundred miles around, but it will be lifted remarkably for a radius of 50 miles. A few of those communities will do more than anything else, because farming has to be taught by sight and not instruction. It will do more to make your whole scheme a success than anything else.
Take the four methods of solving this thing. I mentioned, of course, the Bankhead bill, which is the central one and the big one. Then there is the Emergency Relief; but the subsistence homestead would have to be changed. You would have to divide your industrial homesteads from your agricultural homesteads and put them under different kinds of management. The present division can perfectly successfully build industrial subsistence homesteads. The present division cannot build rural communities, and if you want to use that instrumentality, you have got to divide it and put a ruralminded director over the rural communities.
The third method is under the Public Works Act. I think you could easily build these pilot plants. That would leave the administration of Mr. Hopkins free to go ahead and do what it is doing, benefiting more and more by experience. It would leave the Bankhead bill to do all that it proposes, and if they pass the public works bill, this plan of asking each State for a certain sum to be used for building these pilot plants as public works would cover the whole situation. I can assure you gentlemen that the four of them would not be too much.
I am going to file with the record a copy of a telegram which I sent to all the Governors of the Southeastern States, suggesting that they apply for not less than $20,000,000 out of the public works allotment for this purpose, as being the most important public work for their States. It ends with this clause, which is the meat of the thing: “It is further recommended that the funds be utilized under budgets and plans submitted to the Administration for approval, but that the management be under commission, appointed by each State, the members of which understand and are sympathetic with local conditions."
For instance, in South Carolina, Mr. David R. Coker should be connected with it. He is one of the two best farmers in the South.