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of production and research to improve products from cotton, and a hard hitting promotion program to increase the sale of these improved cotton products."
The Cotton Producers Institute is a voluntarily financed mechanism to channel grower funds solely into these research and promotion efforts. Therefore, the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation reaffirms its endorsement of the Cotton Producers Institute and urges every cotton farmer in Arizona to support this self-help effort.
New Mexico passed a resolution at the farm bureau-passed a very strong resolution endorsing this action which has now been taken by the introduction of this bill 100 percent, and so did the El Paso Valley Cotton Growers.
Since I was reporting for the West, I thought that those things should be in the record.
The CHAIRMAN. We appreciate your appearance and the statement that you have made. We are glad to have the benefit of the information just presented to the committee.
If there are no questions, I will call next Mr. Lon Mann, member of Cotton Producers Institute Steering Committee for Arkansas.
I will recognize Mr. Gathings from Arkansas at this time.
Mr. GATHINGS. Mr. Chairman, it's a pleasure to welcome Mr. Lon Mann here today. He has rendered unselfish service over the years to the people of the State of Arkansas.
The name of Mann in Arkansas means something. I knew his grandfather who was a landowner and operator of an oil mill. I knew his dad mighty well. He was a farmer and a leader from the start in the soil conservation management service as a district supervisor in the first eastern Arkansas organizations. Mr. Mann is an outstanding citizen.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Gathings. I want to join with Mr. Gathings in extending you a very cordial welcome to the committee.
STATEMENT OF LON MANN, MEMBER OF COTTON PRODUCERS
INSTITUTE STEERING COMMITTEE FOR ARKANSAS Mr. Mann. Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate the opportunity to appear here and I appreciate Took's remarks. I will try not to embarrass Took while I am here in Washington.
My name is Lon Mann. I am a cotton farmer and cotton ginner of Marianna, Ark. I am past president of both the Agricultural Council of Arkansas and the Arkansas-Missouri Ginners Association. CPI was initiated in Arkansas in 1962 and I have been serving on the Arkansas steering committee since that time.
My purpose in being here is to testify as a cottongrower and member of the Arkansas CPI steering committee in support of H.R. 12322. I feel my views also represent thousands of other Arkansas cotton farmers who are members of the two largest producer organizations in our State—the Agricultural Council of Arkansas and the Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation. Both of these organizations have strongly endorsed the need for greatly increased funds for cotton research and promotion paid for and controlled by growers and the need for a uniform collection method.
In Arkansas, just as in other Cotton Belt States, we are deeply concerned with the critical situation our economy faces as a result of reduced cotton acreage this year. As our acreage and volume go down,
our unit costs go up. The incomes of all of us as cotton growers and processors, as well as our suppliers, financial institutions, and other businesses, are certain to be seriously affected. Our cotton economy must be geared to expanding markets and acreage if it is to be efficient and prosperous.
We appreciate the assistance the Government is providing growers while we work out from under our burdensome cotton surplus. At the same time, I am fully convinced that growers should and will accept more responsibility for carrying a greater share of the load for market expansion. In the final analysis, stronger programs of product development and promotion as well as research to reduce costs are the only permanent solutions to our problem.
In urging passage of this legislation, all we are really asking is to provide a mechanism that will let growers decide whether they want to put up their own money to help themselves. It is difficult for me to see how anyone can seriously oppose this kind of proposition, especially if they know anything about cotton's critical need for research and promotion and understand that growers can secure a refund if they so desire.
Our experience with CPI in Arkansas to date has convinced me that the vast majority of growers understand the situation facing cotton and are willing and ready to do more to help themselves. Even those growers who have not been participating in the present type of finance plan have indicated they are ready to pay their part if a collection system can be devised whereby all growers are given a positive opportunity to participate. They know, as we know, that with a uniform collection system, the big majority of growers will carry their part of the load.
Mr. GATHINGS. Mr. Chairman, a letter came to me a few days ago from Mr. R. E. L. Wilson III, and I have given it to Mr. Mann. I would like to ask that he read that letter to the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, sir. You may proceed, Mr. Mann.
Mr. Mann. Thank you, sir.
DEAR TOOK: The Cotton Producers Institute was initiated in Arkansas in 1962. It previously had been started in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and the plains area of Texas in 1961. Before we were able to present the program to cotton farmers, it was necessary for the cotton producer organizations in Arkansas to approve this action and appoint appropriate committees to conduct the program. In our State, it was approved by the Agricultural Council of Arkansas and the Arkansas Farm Bureau, and they asked a small group consisting of R. S. Barnett, Jr., Harold Ohlendorf, Nick Rose, Max Miller, Lon Mann, Otis Howe, Vernon W. Scott, and myself to appoint an appropriate committee and empower this committee to initiate and conduct the program.
This was done, and you see by the names on this letterhead the outstanding cross section of cotton producer leaders that originated and continues to guide and support our activities.
Each member of this steering committee secured four or five additional outstanding cotton farmers in their respective counties, and brought them together in a statewide meeting to establish a founders committee of nearly 200 growers. These growers, in turn, established county and community committees in their respective counties, and conducted countywide meetings and community meetings where required. At each of these meetings a 2-hour program was presented in which cotton's competitive situation on price, research, and promotion was thoroughly explained, as well as the needs and opportunities to raise urgently needed funds to finance a self-help program of research and promotion.
I have gone into this detail on our own State as an example of procedure followed for the entire Cotton Belt. This was done in practically all of the cotton-producing States during the years 1961–65. To indicate the scope of producer organizations' acceptance, I am attaching a list of organizations which by official action approved the need for and concept of the Cotton Producers Institute, and authorized its organization in their respective States. During the past 5 years more than 2,000 invitational meetings of key cotton farmers have been conducted in the various cotton-producing States, and attended by more than 100,000 cottongrowers. Because of he backing of practically all of the producer organizations, growers in attendance at these meetings have given practically unanimous acceptance to the Cotton Producers Institute. We are proud that this is the most extensive and successful educational activity ever conducted by any agricultural group.
As you have heard mentioned on many occasions, our only roadblock has been the absence of some mechanism through which a uniform collection procedure can be established. We need a system that will reach every cotton farmer and thereby eliminate the competitive factor between processors where some are collecting and some are not.
We feel that this can be accomplished through the bill designated as H.R. 12322 now being considered by the House Agricultural Committee, and hope you will let us know if we can furnish additional information.
As you know, I am chairman of the CPI Steering Committee in Arkansas, and have been elected by the participating growers to the board of trustees, which is the governing body of the Cotton Producers Institute, and am a member of its executive committee. Sincerely,
R. E. L. WILSON 3d.
FARM ORGANIZATIONS THAT APPROVED COTTON PRODUCERS INSTITUTE
Agricultural Council of Arkansas
California Farm Bureau
Arizona Cotton Growers Association Louisiana Farm Bureau
Tennessee Farm Bureau
reau Artesia Alfalfa Growers Association
Mississippi Federation of Cooperatives
Staple Cotton Cooperative Association
Alabama Farm Bureau
Cotton Producers Association
South Carolina Farm Bureau
South Carolina State Grange
NORTH CAROLINA tion
North Carolina Farm Bureau
North Carolina State Grange
The CHAIRMAN. We thank you very much for your appearance and the information you have given the committee. I am sure it will all be very carefully considered.
Mr. MANN. Mr. Chairman, if I may I would like to make just another comment or two, please, sir.
I have been active with some of the Midsouth organizations, and I feel that I know the sentiment of some of the other organizations in the Midsouth area. I would like to read the resolutions passed by the Arkansas Farm Bureau in November as relates to CPI:
We consider the Cotton Producers Institute a worthwhile and needed organization. We would therefore consider any reasonable proposal that would bring all producers into the organization.
In July of 1965 the Louisiana Farm Bureau at their annual meeting passed this resolution with regard to CPI: We urge the cotton board of the Cotton Producers Institute to formulate plans to enable CPI to be assured of adequate financing through some uniform collection plan.
I would like to also add that the Delta Council of Mississippi has endorsed this program.
Thank you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank you, sir. I want at this time to compliment our distinguished colleague from Arkansas, chairman of the Cotton Subcommittee of this Agriculture Committee. I don't know of anyone in Congress who is more intensely interested in the welfare and happiness of cotton farmers than your own E. C. Gathings. He is faithful, and he is diligent, and he has been a real leader. I am delighted to have you here and to have you see him in action. Mr. Mann. Thank you, sir. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
I ask unanimous consent to put in the record at this point a letter signed by Mr. Jack Gibson, president of the Agriculture Council, Arkansas. (The letter referred to follows:)
AGRICULTURAL COUNCIL OF ARKANSAS,
West Memphis, Ark., February 4, 1966. Hon. HAROLD D. COOLEY, Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, Washington, D.C.:
This statement is submitted on behalf of the Agricultural Council of Arkansas whose members are located in the State's delta counties which produce approximately 800,000 bales annually. The council has been promoting Arkansas agriculture since 1939 and almost all of its members are cotton farmers.
Arkansas, at the latest census, was about half rural and half urban. Cotton is the State's most important crop.
Arkansas farmers earned an average of approximately a quarter of a billion dollars annually from lint and seed during the years 1958–64. The total economy of the State of Arkansas is closely related to cotton's prosperity.
Agricultural Council of Arkansas members are more aware than most of the importance of cotton to the economic potency of Arkansas. As a result of this awareness and because of the critical competitive battle faced by the cotton industry, our council was in the forefront in initiating the Cotton Producers Institute in Arkansas in 1962. Because of problems brought on by the lack of uniform collection procedures under the present method of financing the CPI program, council members at their December 6, 1965, annual meeting, passed the following resolution:
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND PROMOTION
It is our opinion that the future of the cotton industry will be determined by its ability to lower the cost of promotion, improve quality, and expand markets, and that research and promotion are the means of accomplishing these objectives. We feel that the Cotton Producers Institute represents the most effective medium through which cotton farmers can work toward these objectives. In order that the CPI might stabilize its finance plan and raise the necessary funds, we recommend and support the development and enactment into law of appropriate enabling legislation to provide for a grower referendum to determine grower preference on cotton research and promotion assessments and subsequently establish uniform collection procedures.
We favor passage of H.R. 12322 as it allows growers to decide for themselves if they wish to make cotton more competitive with the synthetic fibers in the fields of research and promotion.
We wish to commend the committee chairman for sponsoring this necessary legislation. Our thanks go to the House Committee on Agriculture for its prompt consideration of this bill. We also strongly urge final passage of H.R. 12322 as early as possible so that growers may take proper action to raise research and promotion funds before the 1966 harvest season. Sincerely yours,
JACK GIBSON, President. The CHAIRMAN. That concludes the list of witnesses to be heard today. Since we have about 10 or 12 listed for tomorrow, and we are going to have a busy session in the House tomorrow, I wonder if someone here on the list for tomorrow would not like to come up now and testify. We have Mr. Schuman, Mr. Randolph, Mr. Hays, Mr. Grant, Mr. Stevens, Mr. Munn, Mr. York, Mr. De Vaeny, and also Mr. Reuben Johnson, and Mr. Harry Graham.
Anyone here like to testify right now? We may be pressed for time tomorrow.
If no one wishes to be heard at this time, we will stand adjourned until 10 o'clock tomorrow.
(Whereupon, at 4 p.m., the hearing was recessed until 10 a.m., Wednesday, February 9, 1966.)