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I could go on and unnecessarily take up more time with many more letters, telegrams, and other forms of communications to me but I honestly feel that those that I have mentioned quite adequately and fairly represent a cross section of the feeling and the sentiment of my people in the Fourth Congressional District in Kentucky which, together with the great Sixth District-that is so ably represented by the Honorable John C. Watts-produces about 75 percent of the entire burley crop of the State of Kentucky.
Mr. Chairman, our program is in serious trouble. This has been brought about, as we know, by overproduction. It is somewhat akin to a man bringing on the gout and dangerous overweight by overeating. When a man overeats his blood pressure goes up and his life becomes endangered. A stroke may follow. The doctor tells him to go on a diet or he may die. The patient may not always like the doctor's advice but rather than to endanger his health he is prone to comply. In our situation we have overproduced to the point where the entire tobacco program is in a very unhealthy state economically. We must either curtail our production or it is entirely possible that we may completely spill our entire economic lifeblood which is in the form of our cash crop. We simply cannot continue to overproduce and have our program. We cannot have our cake and eat it too.
Frankly, I sincerely feel hat when th seriousness of the situation is called to the attention of all our farmers they will be ready and willing to comply. Sometimes I feel that those of us who are fortunate enough to have been chosen leaders in one field or another are prone to underestimate the intelligence of our American farmer. Thank God I have always found him to be fair, honest, straightforward, highly intelligent, and quite eager to live and let live-give and take the good and the bad.
For instance, Mr. Chairman, my good people know that when burley tobacco is in trouble—all of Kentucky is in trouble and that, at the moment, the burley tobacco program throughout Kentucky and her seven sister-producing States is in serious trouble. They will readily understand that what is needed more than anything else is not only to reduce production but to develop within the next few years a series of high quality burley crops. They know that they will make more money in the long run for fewer pounds of a higher quality burley leaf than a larger number of pounds of lower quality burley that is high in nicotine content. They also know that the solution to the problem actually lies in the hands of the burley growers themselves.
A crisis in the entire Tobacco Belt gave birth to the program in the first instance this program has been highly successful, therefore, I know that my growers (large and small) will join with the tobacco growers everywhere in an all-out effort to preserve and protect that which has meant so much to them. Necessity is not only the mother of invention but the father of orderly change for the better. We must change and soon. Again, thank you.
Mr. POLK. Congressman Chelf has also submitted to the committee a petition from tobacco growers in his district with reference to certain parts of the tobacco program. The petition is so long that I do not believe it feasible to make it a part of the record. However, without objection it will be incorporated as an official document of the committee for consideration by the committee when we get into executive session on this tobacco question.
(The petition referred to was filed for the information of the committee.)
Mr. Bass. Mr. Chairman, I should like to say that Mr. Chelf, the Congressman from Kentucky, has spent many long hours with this committee since we have started meeting, and certainly has worked with the committee in every possible way, and has brought documentary evidence of his interest in the tobacco situation before this committee.
Mr. POLK. That is true. Congressman Chelf has attended most of the hearings of this committee, and I regret very much that he was not able to be with us this morning.
The Honorable Tom Murray, a Member of Congress from Tennessee, was present earlier today in the hearings, but was forced to leave the meeting
I should also like to point out that Senator Barkley of Kentucky attended a number of our hearings, and I know he is deeply interested in this problem.
At this time I am going to ask unanimous consent that all members who are interested in the tobacco situation may have the privilege of inserting their statements at this point in the hearings. If there is no objection, that will be done.
(The statements referred to follow :)
STATEMENT OF HON. GEORGE A. SHUFORD, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM
THE 12TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity of appearing before this subcommittee for the purpose of stating my position concerning the present burleytobacco situation. In this connection I would like permission to incorporate in the record as a part hereof two detailed statements. The first entitled “Allocated Acreage to Small Producers of Burley Tobacco Should Not Be Further Reduced,” and “United States Tobacco Exports With Particular Reference to Burley.”
A great majority of the 19,293 North Carolina burley-tobacco growers live in my congressional district. In that State the average 1954 allotment was 0.64 of an acre. Should a cut be made in the year 1955 in the minimum acreage, the allotment average, of course, will be even less. In most cases in the area where I live tobacco is grown by the small farmer and his family—it is a family project and the income derived therefrom constitutes one of the main sources of cash income they receive from their farming operations. Very little burley tobacco is sharecropped or grown by tenants in North Carolina.
The burley-tobacco growers in North Carolina sincerely believe that the four recommendations heretofore made by the Department of Agriculture, and which have been presented for your consideration, will be a solution to the present burley problem. They further feel that the recommendations of the Eight State Burley Tobacco Committee presented to Secretary Benson contains many sound and practical suggestions which would benefit the burley growers. These latter recommendations were presented to the committee by Mr. Higdon and Mr. McCrary of my district, and both of them served on the committee. It is to be noted that the Eight State Burley Tobacco Committee considered the question: of a reduction in acreage and rejected the same as not being in the interest of burley-tobacco growers.
Presently the farmers of this country, and especially the small farmers, are in economic trouble. The December reports from the Department of Agriculture showed that farm prices were lower in proportion to farm costs than at any time in the past 13 years. I feel it is in the national interest to continue in business the 207,100 farms with burley allotments of seven-tenths of an acre or less and that their status in no wise be changed. This group makes up 15 percent of the farms holding burley allotments, yet their allotments constitute only 30 percent of the total barley-producing acres.
I have had the estimate section of the Bureau of the Census make a longrange prediction on the oversupply problem of burley tobacco. This prediction is estimated for a 20-year period. The Bureau's analysis is on the basis of the average production and consumption figures of the Tobacco Division, CSS, Department of Agriculture, for the 9-year period from 1945 to 1953. During that period of time the records show the average burley production to be 574,544,477 pounds. Of this amount, and during the same period of time, the average domestic consumption of burley tobacco was 489 million, and this was for an average population of 149,331,000 people who consumed 3.27 pounds of burley tobacco yearly. During the period aforesaid we exported an average of 34,600,000 pounds of burley tobacco per year.
The Census Bureau predicts that in the year 1965 the population of the United States will be 187,400,000 people, and that in 1975 the population will be 209,800,000 people. This greatly increased growth in our population in the next 20 years will alleviate our present oversupply of burley tobacco, particularly if the restrictive measures as recommended by the Eight State Burley Tobacco Committee are rigidly enforced. I sincerely believe that in our long-range planning to stabilize the burley-tobacco industry that there is no need for making a change in the minimum acreage allotment of secen-tenths percent. I sincerely hope that your committee will not make any change in the acreage allotment for the present.
STATEMENT OF HON. WOODROW W. JONES, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM
THE 11TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
My name is Woodrow W. Jones and I represent the 11th Congressional District of North Carolina in the Congress. My district is made up of the counties of Gaston, Cleveland, Rutherford, McDowell, Yancey, Madison, and Polk.
I am very much interested in burley tobacco acreage allotments as several of these counties participate very actively in the raising of burley tobacco.
In 1954, 19,293 farms planted burley tobacco in North Carolina with a total acreage of 12,329.5 acres. The seven counties in my district had the following farms and acreage devoted to burley tobacco : Madison County, 3,310 farms with 3,325.7 acres ; Yancey County, 2,160 farms with 1,386.7 acres; Rutherford County, 74 farms with 35.2 acres ; McDowell County, 86 farms with 29 acres ; Cleveland County, 9 farms with 2.8 acres, and Gaston County 2 farms with 1.6 acres.
From these figures it will be seen that burley tobacco is grown in every county in my district and that in Madison and Yancey Counties the crop is cultivated intensively. 5,470 farms in these 2 counties planted 4,712.4 acres of burley tobacco as reflected in the 1954 figures of the United States Department of Agriculture. In these two counties the tobacco crop is by far the greatest source of income for the farmers. Due to the mountainous nature of the land, very few other agricultural pursuits can be followed. Therefore, any decrease in the tobacco allotments of these farmers will have a direct effect upon their livelihood and the general economy of their section of North Carolina.
It is my understanding that testimony has been introduced before this committee advocating lowering the present minimum allotment of seven tenths of an acre per farm. I also understand that legislation has been introduced to effect this reduction in minimum acreage allotments. In that connection, I would like to state that I am very much opposed to any reduction in the present minimum allotment as I do not believe this is the just and logical way to approach the problem of overproduction now confronting burley tobacco growers. As will be apparent from an examination of the figures as to the acreage allotments for my district, very few of my growers now exceed the seven tenths minimum acreage and many of them have less than seven tenths of an acre in cultivation. In view of this, it would be an injustice to reduce them further.
I believe the proper way to approach the problem of overproduction is to remove the incentive to overproduce. In that connection, I believe that acreage in excess of an authorized allotment should not be used in computing an allotment for another year's crop. This has the effect of encouraging overproduction. A strict adherence to prescribed allotments by every burley grower will do more, I believe, to reduce overproduction than any general across-the-board reduction in acreage allotments. Certainly, the small grower who plants the minimum acreage, or less, should not be penalized by the action of those who exceed their allotments.
Mr. POLK. So far as I know, this concludes the business of the committee this morning. The committee will stand adjourned, subject to the call of the chairman.
(Whereupon, at 11:20 a. m., the committee adjourned, subject to call.)
(The following material was submitted to the subcommittee for inclusion in the record :)
KNOXVILLE, TENN., March 23, 1955. Hon. HAROLD COOLEY,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.: Monday the board of directors of the Tennessee Burley Tobacco Growers Association adopted resolutions which have appeared in local newspapers. They contain the following recommendations relating to the burley-tobacco program: (1) Change allotment from acreage basis to a strict poundage control basis; (2) strongly oppose any further reduction of acreage allotment in 1955; (3) eliminate all minimums, beginning with 1956 setup poundage allotment on basis average yield, years 1950 to 1954, inclusive.
Hugh J. MOSER, Jr., President, Jefferson County Farm Bureau.
RECOMMENDATIONS OF BURLEY GROWERS FROM EAST AND MIDDLE TENNESSEE,
SUBMITTED BY HON. Ross BASS
Recommendations adopted by tobacco growers at 2 meetings held in Tennessee, 1 at McCord Hall, University of Tennessee, on February 25, for the east Tennessee group; and the other at the Andrew Jackson Hotel, Nashville, on March 11, for the middle Tennessee group.
Approximately 200 growers, representing 45 counties from east and middle Tennessee, participated in the meetings, and the following recommendations were adopted :
1. The law be amended to change the allotments from an acreage basis to a poundage basis; and that the allotment for each farm be based upon the past 5 years' production, with proper adjustments in allotment for situations beyond the farmer's control such as drought, hail, etc., and beginning in 1956, each grower's production be based on a poundage allotment.
2. That 1955 within-quota acreage be used in arriving at the poundage allotments.
3. Beginning with 1956, all minimums be eliminated and poundage allotments be set up on the basis of the average yield for the years 1950–54, inclusive; and uniform adjustments be made on all farms to bring the poundage quotas in line with demand.
4. Each grower be allowed to sell the total poundage allotted to his farm regardless of where produced.
5. New growers be permitted to have allotments when the allotments of present growers are increased; and that no allotments be made to new growers until there is an increase in consumption and an increase in the demand for burley tobacco.
6. No tobacco in excess of the poundage allotted be permitted to be sold.
It was the consensus of the burley producers that failure to adopt sound, long-range, constructive measures would eventually destroy the burley program, and that the adoption of these recommendations would result in the following:
1. Reduction of expense incurred in measuring acreage, elimination of abuses, and providing a simple, effective means for checking compliance.
2. Providing means by which the farmer can market the maximum pounds of choice quality tobacco by properly spacing the plants and holding down highnitrogen fertilizer application in order to produce the maximum pounds of ripe, thin-bodied, light cigarette tobacco.
3. Bringing production in line with demand and eliminating the necessity of further reduction to growers who are now producing burley tobacco, unless there is a further decline in consumption. It would prevent further allotment reductions to established growers, which allotment, under the present program has been given to new growers and has enlarged the burley belt and encouraged production far beyond present demands.
4. Preventing the marketing of excess tobacco, and many other ills which have plagued the present program, including the minimum acreage provision.
Through the above program, the growers would have the assurance that their allotment would not be reduced except in the case of decline in the market demand. The program would assure all growers who are now producing tobacco that the poundage which they can market would not be taken away from them and distributed to farmers who are not presently producing burley tobacco.
l’reparatory to placing the quota program on a poundage basis for the 1956 crop, the group recommended the following:
1. That the penalty on excess tobacco for 1955 be increased to 90 percent of the average market value for the 1954 crop.
2. That no increase in acreage be permitted to new growers or old growers by the production of excess tobacco in 1955 in calculating their poundage quota for the 1956 year.
3. That in the 1955 production year the ASC compliance program be tightened in every way possible for efficient administration and strict compliance.
4. That old growers be advised that 1955 production would not be considered in the calculation of poundage quota for 1956, in order that there would be no incentive. in 1955 for farmers to increase their production beyond their efficient point.
The group went on record opposing any further reduction in acreage allotments in the 1955 crop, and recommending that necessary congressional action be taken on the above program.
ASHEVILLE, N. C., March 16, 1955. Hon. HAROLD D. COOLEY,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.: Our burley tobacco producers are very much opposed to the reduction in the minimum acreage allotment now set at seven-tenths of an acre. Amount of reduction in poundage would be very small; about 10 million pounds. Any reduction below the present seven-tenths would affect the economy of the small burley tobacco producers. Sixty-four percent of burley tobacco farmers have allotments of seven-tenths and under, growing only 30 percent of tobacco; 70 percent of tobacco produced by farmers having more than seven-tenths-acre allotment. The above figures are taken from report published by the United States Department of Agriculture, tobacco division. We urge your support in keeping the present minimum allotment at seven-tenths of an acre.
FARMERS FEDERATION COOPERATIVE,