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APPARENT EXEMPTIONS FOR FARMERS AND RETAILERS FROM LICENSES
While section 4 of the bill definitely provides that no producer or retailer shall be licensed, your attention is invited to the fact that the moment this producer or retailer attempts to sell commercially any farm product, he immediately becomes subject to all licensing provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 of said section.
Paragraph 1 of section 4 relates to imposed licenses so as to eliminate unfair practices or charges. It is pointed out that if the Secretary of Agriculture should come to the determination that a few farmers or retail dealers in agricultural commodities were engaging in unfair practices or charges, this bill gives the Secretary the authority to license all farmer producers who deal commercially (and score of thousands of farmers do so now), as well as all retailers, in farm commodities. If Mr. Farmer or Mr. Retailer would refuse to conduct his business under rules and regulations issued by the Secretary in a license, he would be guilty of a Federal crime and subject to a fine of not less than $50 or more than $500 per day for each violation.
Paragraph 2 of section 4, provides for the issuance of a license to make any marketing plan effective provided the marketing agreement is signed by persons handling not less than 50 percent of the volume of the business done in the respective classes of industrial or commercial activity specified in such agreement.
Paragraph 3, of section 4, gives the Secretary the arbitrary right with the approval of the President, in order to carry out proposed marketing agreements to impose licenses upon processors, distributors, and wholesale handlers of milk and its products, tobacco, sugarcane, sugar beets, and all other nonbasic commodities. Section 17, of the Agricultural Adjustment Act defines "basic agricultural commodity" to mean: Wheat, rye, flax, barley, cotton, field corn, grain sorghums. hogs, cattle, rice, tobacco, sugar beets, sugarcane, peanuts, and milk and 'its products. It was agreed in the committee and with the Department of Agriculture that the basic commodity referred to in section 11, was intended to mean any finished or processed product of any such basic commodity. Section 4, on page 6, line 6, of H. R. 7713, providesexcept in the case of milk and its products, tobacco, and sugar beets, and sugaro cane, no license issued under such clause (3) shall be effective with respect to any commodity which on April 1, 1935, is defined, under section 11, as a basic agricultural commodity.
With the exemptions noted as to basic commodities, the Secretary is given the power to impose licenses upon handlers, processors, and distributors of potatoes, canned and fresh vegetables, all fruits, sheep and lambs, milk and its products, tobacco, sugarcane and sugar beets, and other nonbasic farm products.
Cooperative creameries, cheese factories, fruit and vegetable associations, livestock associations, poultry associations, and other cooperatives and individuals and concerns dealing in farm commodities, processed or otherwise, will be compelled, if the Secretary of Agriculture so decrees, to conduct their business under a license issued at his pleasure and according to rules and regulations promulgated by some Government clerk, who may know nothing about the operation of any great basic industry, and simply issue orders or regulations to satisfy some whim or pet theory.
The authority granted to the Secretary of Agriculture is absolute and goes far beyond any authority heretofore conferred upon him by Congress. We do not say that the Secretary will abuse this additional authority, but we feel that Congress is stepping on dangerous ground should the additional delegation be made.
The Secretary is given the authority to establish marketing areas in order to make effective marketing agreements. We are opposed to the grant of this power particularly as to nationally produced agricultural products, as we feel that it is contrary to any American policy to arbitrarily establish trade barriers between regions and States in this country. No legislative barrier should be erected so as to interrupt the free flow of commerce between the citizens of various States. In other words, the powers conferred here will authorize the establishment of restrictive trade areas within the United States between various sections within a State and between States. Instead of having 48 United States, this legislation will establish 48 small countries fighting an economic warfare. We are opposed to this policy.
The Secretary is granted the authority to issue rules and regulations in connection with marketing agreements and licenses. Subdivision B, of paragraph 3, of section 4, provides that producers of two-thirds of the volume of
any commodity may propose a marketing agreement, whereupon the Secretary shall dictate the terms and issue licenses to make same effective. The terms of the marketing agreement and license could absolutely stop one-third of the producers from having any market whatsoever for their products if they refused to sign the marketing agreements. A license might provide that the distributor or processor could only buy from producers who signed the marketing agreement. If a handler or processor would refuse to be licensed, he would be put out of business.
QUOTAS AND ALLOTMENTS
The provisions relating to the establishment of quotas and allotments by two-thirds of the producers of any one commodity was stricken from the bill. We do not know the reason for the elimination of this important section as it was a limitation upon the authority of the Secretary. The removal of this limitation gives the Secretary unlimited authority to fix quotas and allotments as to production and marketing.
DEVELOPMENT OF DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN MARKETS
In addition to these provisions, H. R. 7713, contains a separate and new subject matter which deals with the disposal of surplus farm products in foreign and domestic markets under an arrangement whereby the American producer will receive a domestic price for that part of his product which is used in domestic consumption, and making possible the disposal of surplus farm commodities at world price levels in foreign markets by the payment to exporters of the difference between the world price and the domestic price. The principles embodied in this part of the bill are taken from the Jones export debenture plan, as proposed by our distinguished chairman, and the McNary-Haugen farm relief bill, both of which have been considered by recent Congresses and we believe are thoroughly understood and desired by the farmers of this country (see secs. 12, 13, 14, and 15, of H. R. 7713).
A large majority of the membership of the Committee on Agriculture favor this plan, and the undersigned minority feel that this proposal should be considered by the present Congress in a separate bill wholly divorced from the many complicated sections relating to marketing agreements and licenses to which provisions we are unalterably opposed. We also favor the provisions of the bill relating to the payment in kind and the grain-storage loan section of the legislation Respectfully submitted.
L. T. MARSHALL.
HARRY P. BEAM.
INVESTIGATE LOSSES RESULTING FROM CAMPAIGN FOR THE ERADICATION OF THE MEDITERRANEAN FRUIT FLY
APRIL 30, 1935.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the
state of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. JONES, from the Committee on Agriculture, submitted the
(To accompany H. R. 1419]
The Committee on Agriculture, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 1419) to provide for an investigation and report of losses resulting from the campaign for the eradication of the Mediterranean fruit fly by the Department of Agriculture, having considered the same, report thereon with a recommendation that it do pass with the following amendment:
On page 2, line 16, strike out “1935” and insert in lieu thereof “1936”.
The report of the Secretary of Agriculture on this bill is quoted below:
In response to your request for a report on the legislation, you are advised that the Department has no objection to the conduct of an investigation and survey to determine what losses, if any, were sustained in the eradication of the Mediterranean fruit fly in Florida with the distinct understanding that the survey is to provide information only and that the report of such information shall not be construed as imposing any legal or moral obligation upon the Government of the United States.
Upon reference of this matter to the Budget Bureau, as required by Budget Circular 49, the Department was advised by the Acting Director thereof under date of March 4, 1935, as follows:
“You are advised that, insofar as the financial program of the President is concerned, there would be no objection to this proposed legislation, provided it be amended to authorize an appropriation of not to exceed $10,000.' It will also be noted that a similar bill passed the Senate during the last session of Congress.