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derstand that Mr. Fulmer on yesterday introduced a bill, which has come in. Mr. Doxey's bill is no. 5578, and Mr. Fulmer's is 5922.
I have prepared for the general session two or three amendments in which I am interested. Mr. Doxey's bill seems to cover the question of the exemption for the small farmer and the question of appeals from the action of county committees, and, I believe, the question of some compensation for the ginners who collect these funds. I think in one way or another the other bills cover one or more of those questions; perhaps some of them cover all of the questions.
We have Mr. Cobb here. Mr. Cobb, we would be glad to hear from you as to any suggestions you may have to make, especially as to these three propositions or suggestions, and any explanation you may care to make to the committee as to the operation of this bill, or anything that you may desire to have amended.
STATEMENT OF C. A. COBB, CHIEF OF THE COTTON SECTION OF THE AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT ADMINISTRATION
Mr. COBB. Mr. Chairman, I believe you had particular reference to Mr. Doxey's bill and the provisions embodied in that. I will answer the first proposition there, Mr. Chairman, later, after we have discussed the others.
: The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mr. COBB. Provision no. 2 in H. R. 5578, by Mr. Doxey, makes provision for a minimum allotment of 2 bales. This is in line with the President's commitment earlier in the year, and the cotton section is proceeding to carry that commitment into effect, and it is our feeling that we will not have to have an amendment to the act to make it possible to do that. We are already setting aside the necessary amount of cotton to take care of a 2-bale exemption in accord with the President's announcement. If it is found that legally it is impossible to do that, then we will request an amendment to be made, but in our judgment that will not be necessary, and we are proceeding with that in mind.
The third provision, which would create an allotment board or an adjustment board, is already taken care of in the administrative rules and regulations governing the application of the voluntary program. Those rulings and regulations are now being printed and will be in the field next week. I can give you the details of how that is to be constituted, if you would like to know that. If not, I will simply let
the statement rest.
The CHAIRMAN. You may go ahead and make the statement as you wish to make it, and then the committee members will ask such questions as they desire to ask in connection with any of these topics.
Mr. Cовв. If you would like to know the mechanics of how appeals will be made and how adjustments will be made, we will give you that as fully as you would wish us to make it.
The CHAIRMAN. There has been considerable interest expressed in this matter of provision for an appeal, and it might be well for you, in your main statement, Mr. Cobb, to explain just how that will be arranged, so those who are interested will understand just how you expect to handle that matter.
Mr. COBB. I am going to ask Mr. Gaston to answer that question in detail. He is of our force and has been engaged with other members of the force in working out the details of that particular problem. He has with him the copies of the rules and regulations, which can be read into your record. That will give you in detail exactly the steps that will be taken in making appeals and in settling the appeals.
The CHAIRMAN. I think you might just as well let him do that now, and then you may resume when it suits you.
Mr. COBB. Mr. Gaston, if you will, answer that please.
STATEMENT BY T. L. GASTON, REGIONAL CONSULTANT, COTTON PRODUCTION SECTION, AGRICULTURAL ADJUSMENT ADMINISTRATION
Mr. GASTON. Mr. Jones, in the previsions relating to the appeals for the acreage reduction and the Bankhead programs, the appeals in the main will be handled by the State adjustment boards, consisting of the State boards of review and/or the State allotment boards. Any producer who is not satisfied with the determinations of the county committee has the right to appeal. That appeal goes first to the county committee. They decide what their recommendations will be and give a full written report on the circumstances in the case, and their recommendations go to the State adjustment board, which in the main will consist of the same members composing the State allotment board and/or the State board of review.
In some States it will be necessary, of course, in order to handle the situation, to have more members of the State adjustment board than is provided just for the handling of the duties of the State allotment board or the State board of review alone. For instance, in the State of Texas we have five members of the State board of review at the present time. If appeals come in in 1935 as they did in 1934, it will be necessary to elaborate-I mean, get a large number of members on that State board, and perhaps for those men to be allocated to districts within a State, in order to, within a reasonable time, hear and act upon the appeals.
The written report and recommendations of the county committee will go to the adjustment board, and that board will make their recommendations or make their decision and recommendations, and in case proper authority has been given by rulings, regulations, or instructions, the decision of the board shall be final; if not, the board will submit the complete case to the Division of Cotton of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration for action in case the producer is not satisfied there.
If it is desirable, I can read the section of the tentative draft of the regulations under the Bankhead Act on appeals, which corresponds very much to the rulings which are now being printed on appeals in the cotton-acreage program.
The CHAIRMAN. We would like to have those put into the record, if there is no objection to doing so.
(The section of the tentative draft referred to is as follows:)
The State allotment board will hear appeals by producers. In all cases the county committee shall make a recommendation or determination, and such
recommendation or determination shall be final unless the producer(s) concerned request(s) that the matter be submitted to the board. Any producer who asserts in writing that he can show that he has just ground for being dissatisfied with a recommendation or determination of a county committee shall be accorded the right of appeal. The producer who desires to make appeal shall file with the county agent or the assistant in cotton adjustment written notice of his appeal, and the county agent or the assistant in cotton adjustment shall in turn notify the board in writing, accompanied by all papers bearing on the subject matter of the appeal, except that in cases of alleged bias, discrimination, or fraud on the part of the committee the complainant may submit his case directly to the board if there has been no action on his appeal within 12 days from the date of his filing his notice of appeal.
The board shall notify the producer and the county committee in writing of the date and place the appeal will be heard. The producer who requested the appeal or a representative (preferably a cotton producer) designated by him in writing and a member of the county committee, may appear before the board at the hearing. The producer and the member of the county committee may present whatever evidence they desire through witnesses or otherwise. In case the producer or his designated representative and/or a member of the county committee should fail to appear at the appointed time and place, the board shall nevertheless proceed with the hearing and consideration of the appeal. The board shall so conduct the hearing as to afford reasonable opportunity for orderly presentation of evidence and argument without unduly taking up the time of the board, considering the nature of the appeal.
In any case where proper authority has been given by regulations or instructions the findings of the board shall be final. In any case where specific authority has not been conferred upon it in regulations or instructions, the board will submit its recommendation, together with the entire record in the matter, including also the recommendation of the county committee and whatever evidence was presented at the hearing by the producer(s) and/or county committee concerned, to the Director of the Division of Cotton, who will either make the final decision or submit the appeal to the Secretary of Agriculture.
After the board has determined an appeal in which its findings are final, the county committee and the producer shall be notified of its findings or instruc- tions and the county committee shall follow such decision or instructions. Similar notification will be given in case final decision is made in Washington, and the county committee shall abide by such decision.
The board may find it more economical and practical to hold hearings at several places in the State because of geographic circumstances or the number of cases involved. If it is found necessary in order to expedite the hearing of appeals additional members may be added to the board for temporary service upon the approval of the Director of the Division of Cotton.
The board shall set a date after which no appeals will be heard and each county committee shall be notified of such date in writing. The county committee in each county shall set a date after which no appeal may be filed for consideration by the board.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you wish to finish your statement? Mr. Cobb, would you rather let him make his statement and then let you finish yours and have questions asked you, or shall we go ahead on these regulations with Mr. Gaston? I think we might just as well ask Mr. Gaston the questions here now, unless there is some objection to that procedure.
Mr. COBB. Just go ahead and ask him. If I can be helpful, I shall be only too pleased.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Fulmer wishes to ask a question.
Mr. FULMER. I wanted to ask how you propose to select these boards?
Mr. GASTON. The boards that will hear appeals will be in the main part similar to the State allotment boards of last year, which in most cases consisted of 1 or 2 extension workers and 2 or 3 representative farmers selected from the farmers throughout the State.
Mr. FULMER. Who would do the selecting?
Mr. GASTON. The director of the extension in the respective State. Mr. GILCHRIST. Who is that?
Mr. GASTON. The director of the extension in the respective State, subject to the approval of the Cotton Production Section of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration.
Mr. FULMER. That was the procedure last year?
Mr. GASTON. On the selecting of boards; yes.
Mr. FULMER. And every complaint I had said the county committee had the last word, and it was impossible to get them to consider any complaint.
Mr. GASTON. Mr. Fulmer, I happened to be on the board in the State of Mississippi, and there were a lot of decisions that came up to the board there, which were decisions for the county to make and which we acted upon. If we did not agree with the recommendations of the county committees we so stated, and we had a good many of their recommendations reversed.
Mr. FULMER. Let me ask you this question: Would you be willing to amend these rules so this board could be selected, or at least a part of it, on the recommendation of somebody else except the Extension Service, that the farmers might have somebody on the board that they would understand would be absolutely interested in seeing to it that they would get what they believed to be a square deal? Mr. GASTON. Mr. Cobb, will you answer that, please?
Mr. COBB. We have tried to constitute those boards, Mr. Fulmer, so that there would be no doubt in the minds of the farmers that they would get a square deal. We have tried to place on those boards cotton producers of outstanding integrity and who are known for their integrity and who at the same time are known to be successful cotton producers.
Mr. FULMER. I would like to state, Mr. Cobb, we have a splendid set-up in the Extension Service, and a wonderful agricultural college; but it is very apparent to every farmer and everybody else that has anything to do with this line of work that your administration has given the Extension Service a complete monopoly in the States as well as largely in the Department here in Washington, and I cannot understand why it would not be possible to have the appeals board arranged so that it would be a representative board and not composed of men from the Extension Service or selected by the Extension Service.
Mr. COBB. The manner in which the selection has been made has been merely to suggest to us those particular persons that, in the State, would command the widest respect and would be best able to do justice as between the different types of cotton producers and the different sections of the State, and we have tried to weight each board. with the actual producers of cotton to a degree that would bring into it the farmer influence, and in a manner that would have that influence felt in all work of these boards.
A great deal of the work of these boards is purely of a statistical nature. That has made it necessary for us, and desirable we think, to invite in members of the State crop-reporting service, who have sat in many cases, as members of the board, and in all cases, as advisers, so that we might bring to bear upon all of the problems that had
to do with individual allotments, the best evidence that we have in the States as to yields and production and as to all of the questions that would enter into a decision.
Mr. FULMER. In most of the complaints the claim was made that those who made allotments or who got up the acreage for cotton did not take into consideration sections 7 and 8 and subsections thereunder. For example, here is a farmer with 50 acres of land; he was planting 30 acres, which is ridiculous. Here is another farmer with 50 acres, and he has been planting 25, 20, and 15, and in order to get seed loans in some instances had to reduce to 10 acres. It was understood, or I so understand, under sections 7 and 8, that in acreage and cotton allotments you would take into consideration voluntary reduction and acreage planted. In other words, instead of placing some on equal basis you gave the 30-acre farmer, we will say, 12 bales of cotton and the 10-acre farmer 6 bales of cotton. I still contend that if the bill had been properly administered as intended by the bill and the Congress everything would have been O. K.
Mr. COBB. Our approach to that entire problem will be different this year than what it was last year. You will recall that the Bankhead Act became a law long after the cotton crop was up and growing. It was placed in our section at that particular period of the year which left very little time to put it into effect, and it was a race. against time from the beginning until we got these allotments out. Last year we simply did not have sufficient time in which to consider the problems that you are discussing now. This year we are setting up an appeal board, which was impossible last year. My feeling is, if we had set up an appeal board last year it would have rendered the whole program utterly incapable of administering. I think it would have bogged the thing down to where we could not have moved.
The CHAIRMAN. The fact that there was not one has been one of the chief sources of complaint.
Mr. COBB. Exactly. The fact that there was not one as such has been one of the chief sources of complaint.
The CHAIRMAN. And we had complaints in my section, and the other members indicate the same character of complaint had arisen practically throughout the field.
Mr. COBB. Precisely. That has come up to us from the belt, and we rather anticipated it, Mr. Jones; but the situation was one we could not do anything about last year, because we simply did not have the time. If producers had appealed, they would not have gotten their gin tickets until after the ginning season was over. We realized that and had to do the best we could last year, limited as we were by time.
This year our approach will be wholly different. This is the middle of February, and our Bankhead literature will be ready to get on out to the field within the next few weeks or few days, or a few weeks at the very outside. This year we are providing for this appeal board. That will make it possible for those people back down there in the community to move on, as Mr. Gaston has outlined, from the community up to the State board, with the hearing on the particular problems with which they are confronted, and it may be the ones that