Page images
PDF
EPUB

answer any question about the marketing of grain. I think I know as much about it as the next man.

Senator FRAZIER. What is the price of oats?
Mr. JENSEN. There is no price if you have to ship.

Senator FRAZIER. It couldn't get much worse, could it, even if this bill passed?

Mr. JENSEN. No.

Senator FRAZIER. The price of wheat couldn't get very much worse? It has been down to 30 cents?

Mr. JENSEN. Yes. Let me call to your attention, gentlemen, if you will permit me to do it, a curious situation about the wheat market. For example, I haven't seen the market quotations in the last few days but you will find the price at. Minneapolis on contract grades is 2 to 3 cents higher than Liverpool. If you add the cost of freight and handling from Minneapolis to Liverpool, 21/4 cents, that would make the Minneapolis market 24 cents higher than the Liverpool market. You can see the terrible situation in regard to exports.

Senator FRAZIER. And yet some of the foreign countries, Italy and Germany and France, are paying a dollar bonus for their wheat.

Mr. JENSEN. That is a bonus.

Senator FRAZIER. Don't you think their farmers are more prosperous than we are here?

Mr. JENSEN. I do not propose to become involved in world politics, but I am an omnivorous reader, and the reason France does that is for war purposes. She wants to raise her own stuff.

Senator FRAZIER. We are spending more for war purposes than any nation on earth.

Mr. JENSEN. Will you permit me to read a program adopted by our board of directors, a couple of sections?

While we question the soundness of the principle of our Federal Government loaning tax funds to any business institution, we insist that if such loans are made that there be no discrimination or discrimination on account of the form of organization or membership affiliation.

It is claimed that there has been discrimination, a policy of wanting to bludgeon us into something that we don't want. We have found it hard to make a place for ourselves in the terminal field and the primary market and we don't want it disturbed.

To demand that reciprocal trade and tariff arrangements be made with those countries from whom we derive our necessary imports

The argument that went on, gentlemen, was that there could be no point in swapping coal with Newcastle or trading wheat with Canada. It seems to me that it would be the last degree of idiocy. to the end that tariff be used to and aid in disposition of our surplus agricultural products; providing that such plans make no increase in Federal employees; no increase in taxes or use of public funds derived from taxation and no governmental legislation controlling agricultural production. We favor tariff protection for all agricultural products; adjustment of the so-called “war debts” in return for export trade concessions on agricultural products and the elimination of any and all unnecessary trade restrictions tending to curtail or prevent the free and natural movement of agricultural products in all markets.

To secure a prompt reduction in local, State, and national expenditures

Gentlemen, you have heard this until you are blind and I won't read the rest. I thank you very much.

Senator Bulow. Is there anything you see that Congress can do to relieve the farmer?

Mr. JENSEN. There is not, in my opinion.
Senator Bulow. You want to be left alone?
Mr. JENSEN. I want to be left alone.

The CHAIRMAN. If you are through with your testimony, we will call another witness.

Mr. JENSEN. Yes; thank you.

The CHAIRMAN. I have a request here from Senator McKellar and also from the gentleman himself for Mr. Corn to appear here for a few minutes.

Mr. Corn.

STATEMENT OF C. H. CORN, REPRESENTING SOUTHEASTERN

MILLERS ASSOCIATION, PIEDMONT MILLERS ASSOCIATION, SOUTHERN ILLINOIS MILLERS ASSOCIATION, FRANKLIN, TENN.

Mr. Corn. My name is C. H. Corn. I am from Franklin, Tenn. I am here representing some of the wheat millers' associations, Southeastern Millers Association, Piedmont Millers Association, Southern Illinois Millers Association. Gentlemen, there are quite a number of these mills that belong to the Federal. We have no complaint to put in about the federation, in fact, we are for it. We are members of the Federal ourselves.

In order to get some of these points in the milling industry before you, I will say that there is nothing that will help the miller any more than the raise on wheat and cotton. Cotton is the greatest barometer of good times that the southern miller has ever had since I have been in the mill business, which embraces about 40 years. I was raised on the farm, stayed on the farm until I was 22 years old. I know all about the farmer's ills and his ups and downs. He is in a deplorable condition, gentlemen, but he is not by himself by any means.

I want to call your attention to the ills of the milling industry. The reason it hasn't come before you before this, the mills have got no politicians and it takes them to come up here and raise the house. In 1920 we had 7,000 flour mills in operation. In 1929 we had 4,000 mills in operation. In 1932 we had 2,400 mills in operation. You will see that almost two-thirds of the mills have died by suffocation or some other worse cause. So far as the mills are concerned, they have kept their grievances and their problems to themselves and worked that much harder. There has been quite a good deal said here about the enormous profit that the miller must get. Now, for your information, the freight rate as I have got the figures—I went to the Interstate Commerce Commission to get them from Kansas City to Chicago in 1910 was 12 cents. In 1933 it was 2372 cents.

Senator NORRIS. Per hundred?
Mr. CORN. Yes.
Senator NORRIS. That is on flour?

Mr. CORN. That is wheat. Flour is carried at the same rate. From Chicago to Baltimore in 1910 it was 17 cents, and in 1933 it was 35 cents. From Kansas City to Baltimore in 1910 it was 25 cents; in 1933 it was 50 cents. So you see clearly that of this enormous profit that the mills are supposed to be getting, 50 cents of each barrel of flour is going to the railroads. The problem is that I don't see how the railroads can do any better than they are doing

now when the highways are full of trucks and busses. That is all I have got to say about the railroads.

For instance, in 1910-I have got to use a right smart of personality in this thing to give you the viewpoint that you want-we figured on a basis of 50 cents for conversion charges. In 1933 we have to figure on a dollar and then don't hardly come out. There isn't a man in my employ but is getting twice as much today as he got in 1910. There is nothing that goes into the manufacture of a barrel of flour but what has almost doubled in price, if not more than doubled in price.

Senator FRAZIER. What about the price of wheat?

Mr. Corn. We were getting a good price for our wheat until they took charge of nature and put in that Farm Board. Wheat went from about $1.40 down to 40 cents. It made a 300-year low record.

Senator FRAZIER. The wheat prices in Canada and other countries went down where they didn't have any Farm Board?

Mr. CORN. We had wheat pegged in Chicago at $1.23 when it was 72 cents in Liverpool.

Senator FRAZIER. Didn't that help?
Mr. Corn. It broke a lot of us instead of helping us.
Senator FRAZIER. Didn't it help the farmer?

Mr. Corn. It injured him. The wheat market went down from the time they put in this Farm Board up to a few months ago.

Senator FRAZIER. It went down all over the world?

Mr. CORN. I don't blame the Farm Board and I don't blame those that handled the situation. I guess they were about as good as you could have got. What I am talking about, the principle is wrong and this plan that you have got now is a recapitulation of the Farm Board and it won't work. A good deal has been said here about the law of supply and demand, about nature taking its course. I beg for your information that you will just look back, you will find out that nature hasn't had its course since the Farm Board was inaugurated. The market and the exchanges all over the country have been hogchained and tied, they haven't been liberated to do like they had always been able to do, and we consider that one of the greatest things, along with the Farm Board, that we have been afflicted with.

Now we lose money. We made a little money up to 1930. Since then we haven't made any money.

In 1932 we have lost money, and whenever I say “we” I think I represent the majority of millers in my class. Some millers have made money.

What I would like to get before you gentlemen is this, that if there had been such a profit in flour, how did it happen that all these two thirds of the mills died in the last 12 or 13 years?

Senator FRAZIER. Didn't the big mills have something to do with putting the little mills out of business?

Mr. CORN. They may have. I couldn't answer that question. That might have had something to do with it. There were more factors in it than that one. Talk about the production of flour, the mill machinery is a big item. You have to renew your mill with new machinery every 10 or 12 years. It has more than doubled in price since 1910 and you take flour bags, they haven't gone down in proportion with everything else. I am telling you that the mills have had a hard time in the last three or four years in making buckle and tongue meet and if you are going to force this already, in my

over.

opinion, tried out plan over again, I don't believe it would be any more than fair to pay the miller for the losses you made him sustain in this other try-out.

As I see it, it is the same thing we have tried before. We are going to cooperate with whatever plan you gentlemen have to the best of our ability, but I think it is awfully unfair for the Government to ask its subjects to go through with what we went through in the time of the war with these reports that we will be compelled to make; daily reports, weekly reports, and recapitulation in a monthly report. It takes no end of time and money and worry and trouble to put this

You will surely make a little remedy on those lines and pay the miller as he is almost down and out for each report you compel him to make and maybe you won't want him to make so many. [Laughter.]

Now you will say, Don't you think the farmer is in a bad fix? I do, and I believe that your chairman has offered the most feasible help without hurting anybody, to the farmer or anybody else, in the Smith bill.

Senator FRAZIER. That just applies to cotton.

Mr. Corn. Yes; but cotton is all we need. We haven't got any year's supply of wheat or half a year's supply of wheat, and if you put this thing over and the Lord does not come to your relief, we will make a new record as certain as you are sitting there-in low.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Corn, we are much obliged to you for your testimony, and if no one wants to ask any further questions, I will call the next witness.

Senator NORRIS. Your answer to Senator Frazier was that you were interested only in cotton?

Mr. Corn. No, sir, I didn't mean it that way. I have no direct interest in cotton.

Senator NORRIS. Senator Smith's bill applies only to cotton?
Mr. Corn. I think they need help.

Senator NORRIS. I do, too. It is not claimed that that bill would give any relief to the wheat farmer?

Mr. CORN. Oh, yes, certainly it will. Why, it will bring up his prices right straight along. Cotton has never gone up in the world that wheat and flour didn't go up.

Senator NORRIS. That is when cotton went up, according to the law of supply and demand, but Senator Smith's bill proposes to buy the cotton and sell it to the farmer. I am not complaining about it, I voted for it myself, but I don't see where that is going to help the wheat farmer.

Mr. Corn. Whenever he comes along and leases a part of that land, it looks to me that ought to help every farmer.

Senator NORRIS. Yes; that will help the cotton farmer.

Mr. Corn. Since you asked me about that, if this bill goes over like it has gone over in the House, they almost quit raising wheat in my county, there will be 25 farms put in wheat to where there is one got it in now. You never did see such a surplus of wheat as this will pile up. You know that this bill that you have got passed through the House will raise a 24-pound sack of flour 35 cents and there isn't any other way to keep out of it.

Senator NORRIS. I am not trying to criticize you for objecting to the bill. I want to hear those criticisms, but I want to direct your

man

attention to the fact that the Smith bill, as I see it, I supposed that was conceded by everybody, won't help the wheat farmer.

Mr. Corn. It will in the way I told you. If you relieve the cotton

Senator NORRIS (interposing). I suppose in theory he would buy a little more, but the wheat farmer would get no particular benefit. Isn't he suffering as bad as the cotton farmer?

Mr. CORN. I couldn't say about that. In my present locality, they are not. The best class of my farmers don't want anything. They just want to be let alone.

Senator FRAZIER. They are satisfied now and getting along very well?

Mr. CORN. Fairly well, they are making no money but nobody else is making any money.

Senator NORRIS. Then you don't need the Smith bill on cotton?

Mr. CORN. I believe the farmer ought to have something, and I further believe you ought to refinance him in his mortages at a very low rate of interest, as low as you ever let any bank have it.

Senator BANKHEAD. Mr. Corn, you talk about the Smith bill being sufficient for the cotton farmer. I supported the Smith bill but I want to find out from you if you really know anything about it, what effect the Smith bill will have on the price of cotton? Mr. CORN. I don't know nothing about it except just what they

I have been told that by a couple of smart fellows. Senator BANKHEAD. That is what I thought. If you have got a carry-over of 13,000,000 bales and you figure on raising another big crop, you think a reduction of 2,000,000 bales that may be brought about by the Smith bill would do much good?

Mr. ČORN. It would help some.

Senator BANKHEAD. But it is just a cotton catch beside a big cotton field?

Mr. CORN. Yes, in a way it is.

Senator BANKHEAD. Getting rid of 2,000,000 bales when you are already starting in with a 13,000,000 bale carry-over, a 2-year supply for the consumption now in America? You think we ought to start in by getting rid of the 2,000,000 bales? I think we ought to do that, but do you think we ought to stop there?

Mr. CORN. I couldn't say. In answer to the Senator's question about the wheat farmer, if you will free that market and cut out allotment plan, I guarantee-well, I couldn't guarantee because that guarantee wouldn't be any account.

Senator NORRIS. You could hardly pay all the wheat farmers. Mr. Corn. No, but I believe it would go up 30 cents in 30 days.

Senator NORRIS. That would be a terribly big boost if we could get it. What would we have to do to put the market up 30 cents a bushel ?

Mr. Corn. Free these exchanges. They are in a position to put

told me.

it up.

Senator BANKHEAD. Would that put the world price up?
Mr. CORN. It would put the United States price up.
Senator BANKHEAD. Thirty cents above the world price?

Mr. Corn. I have seen it here when it was 30 cents above the world price many a time.

Senator NORRIS. It isn't working that way now.

« PreviousContinue »