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country; and I think on the whole we have a very able corps of people gathering the cotton statistics for the Government.
Mr. FULMER. I appreciate that, but how do you propose to have this appeals board set up?
Mr. Cовв. The appeals board itself-the farmers who sit on the appeals board have been chosen, because of their outstanding ability, from the several sections from which they come. It has not been the case up to the present time that we have had farmers generally on these boards
Mr. FULMER (interposing). Right at that point, that will not be satisfactory for this reason: I notice the last selection of farmers, in many sections, worked out this way, that some of them had been out electioneering, doing everything possible to be reappointed to that position and practically every one of them have been reappointed. They intimidated quite a lot of the little farmers, some of them stating if they did not vote for certain men they would not get a further loan, seed loan, or various things like that, or in the making of allotments the asis on which the acreage was made the making of allotments the basis on which the acreage was made might be changed; perhaps a number of these threats were taken a just the same, according to information I have.
Now, if the appeals boards are properly selected according to my bill that would be satisfactory to everybody. That is what I am talking about.
Mr. COBB. I do not know whether we have exactly the same group in mind or not, Mr. Fulmer. The appeals board is not the county. board.
Mr. FULMER. It is a State board.
Mr. COBB. It is a temporary State board.
Mr. FULMER. Yes.
Mr. Cовв. The appeal goes from the community committee to the county committee. Attempts will be made by the community committee to iron out the difficulties arising in the community and if they cannot be ironed out there then the farmer who is interested will take his case up with the county board, and if it cannot be settled to his satisfaction there then the appeal will go to the State board of appeals.
Mr. FULMER. Yes.
Mr. COBB. It will go straight on first to the county committee, and the county committee is responsible to see to it that the appeal is provided for and that the appeal is properly presented to the State appeals board for such adjustment as may seem necessary. If they, the county officials, are right and their figures indicate that they are right, then the county board will be asked not to grant the changes sought. If there has been a misunderstanding and the figures are not wrong in toto but in part an adjustment will be made to that
Mr. FULMER. It has been my impression that the trouble last year was brought about because local committees had the last word.
Mr. COBB. Well, we had no appeals board as such last year, and I think a great deal of the present misunderstanding grows out of the fact that we did not have an appeals board; did not have time to set them up. If we had had appeals boards I do not believe we
would ever have gotten out the certificates in time to prevent a complete break-down. We did, however, pass upon many appeals.
I do not know about this situation that you brought up. Certainly, it is a reprehensible thing, to go out and electioneer for this job. I would like to have all the information on that point that you have because you, as well as I, know the conditions that exist in South Carolina and I would be glad to have whatever information you have, or the information any other members of the committee have, on this particular thing. We cannot have that sort of practice in this set-up.
Mr. FULMER. I am simply pointing that out to say that I think you will get along all right if you have an appropriate appeals board that will be absolutely fair to the farmer.
Mr. COBB. The appeals board members were not elected so it could not have been done on the part of members of that board. Mr. FULMER. How do you go about making your appointment to the appeals board?
Mr. COBB. We try to find the man that will be acceptable to the people that have got to put the program into operation.
Mr. FULMER. Who advises you on that?
Mr. Cовв. The Extension Service; the Extension Service and the farmers of the States, themselves. I was just about to say this about the farmer members on the board: That they could not handle statistics, but they can handle effectively many of the very practical problems which are presented and we have had practical people on these boards.
An outstanding case of that was in your own State last year, Mr. Kleberg; the farmers on that board have a lot of common sense, and they are able to arrive at an understanding and answers that mere statisticians and economists could not appreciate. Now the other men that we have put on these boards are the different types of people who can handle the statistical end and can handle the detail office management problems, while the farmers handle the human_problems involved.
Mr. KLEBERG. May I ask you a question?
Mr. COBB. Yes.
Mr. KLEEBERG. Right at that point, there is one thought that I am afraid you do not quite understand with reference to the discussion we had on the appeals board the other day. It was my understanding that it was proposed to constitute as the appeals board the allotment board.
Mr. CоBв. The State allotment board.
Mr. KLEBERG. In that connection it may be that questions will arise in many cases which are going to be whether or not the allotment was correct.
Mr. COBB. That is correct.
Mr. KLEBERG. Now, I have not had an opportunity to go into the legal aspect of it but I feel reasonably convinced that in any case where the appeals board might render a judgment that would be contrary, in toto, to the farmer, producer's side of the case, that that farmer-producer would immediately be strengthened in his case before the courts of the land by claiming that the appeals board was disqualified to sit in judgment on a question which involves
that appeals board while as an allotment body, having made the original judgment from which the farmer is appealing. That is the question I had in mind.
Mr. Cовв. The farmer would not appeal from the judgment, Mr. Kleberg, because there is no judgment made. With the allotment board it is merely a matter of mechanics and no judgment is involved. The only point at which the question of judgment would arise would be in the case of an appeal that comes back to the board where they simply had no figures or basis for the calculation.
Mr. KLEBERG. That would be different. The point I am trying to keep in mind, and to clear up in my mind, is if this appeals board would not be disqualified, if an action were to be taken into the courts by the farmer by the very fact that the appeals board, while acting as the allotment board, had made certain decisions from which appeal is made to the same body.
Mr. COBB. The lawyers say no; they have approved that plan.
Mr. COBB. They have gone into it very thoroughly and they say. there is no legal difficulty involved there.
Mr. KLEBERG. I see.
Mr. COBB. Inasmuch as the first act is merely that of a mechanical operation it does not relate to the question of judgment at all, and in considering an appeal they would not be sitting in judgment upon their former acts.
Mr. KLEBERG. That is the point that I had in mind.
The CHAIRMAN. I would like to ask you a question. I do not understand that it is purely a matter of mechanics, Mr. Cobb.
Mr. CоBB. I think it is.
The CHAIRMAN. It may be a mechanical operation as between the States, but the board makes the allotments to the individuals.
Mr. COBB. To the individuals on the basis
The CHAIRMAN. So that it has pretty broad discretion.
Mr. COBB. That is done in this way, Mr. Chairman: The board makes an allotment based on an application; the board's allotment is made upon an application which comes from the community and it is not worked out in the county. When it gets up to the State allotment
The CHAIRMAN. There is 10 percent held back, however?
The CHAIRMAN. That may be allotted in various ways. But on the original 90 percent the Secretary of Agriculture is given discretion to take into consideration a man's previous reduction, voluntary reduction, in determining the allotment.
Mr. COBB. Not as to the 90 percent.
The CHAIRMAN. That is the way I understand it.
Mr. COBB. That is the 10 percent.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand it applies to the 90 percent. I know that he has almost complete discretion in the 70 percent. I understand that in individual allotments he has some discretion in 90 percent, and I think you will find that he has.
Mr. COBB. There is no discretion at that point. It is purely based upon an application of what comes to the State, and they simply take the figures that are furnished the State and base their calculations on them, and there is no judgment involved at all..
The CHAIRMAN. Here is the provision of section 7:
The amount of cotton allotted to any county pursuant to section 5 (b) shall be apportioned by the Secretary of Agriculture to farms on which cotton has been grown within such county. Such allotments to any farm shall be made upon application therefor and may be made by the Secretary based upon—
(1) A percentage of the average annual cotton production of the farm for a fair representative period; or
(2) By ascertaining the amount of cotton the farm would have produced during a fair representative period if all the cultivated land had been planted to cotton, and then reducing such amount by such percentage (which shall be applied uniformly within the county to all farms to which the allotment is made under this paragraph) as will be sufficient to bring the total of the farm allotments within the county's allotment; or
(3) Upon such basis as the Secretary of Agriculture deems fair and just
It is just as broad as the earth.
Mr. ČOBB. I am going to ask Mr. Hiss to answer you.
And will apply to all farms to which the allotment is made under this paragraph uniformly within the county on the basis or classification adopted. The Secretary of Agriculture, in determining the manner of allotment to individual farmers, shall provide that the farmers who have voluntarily reduced their cotton acreage shall not be penalized in favor of those farmers who have not done so.
Now, that antedates the allotment, and this whole program of giving discretion to the Secretary was to take care of that farmer who has been trying and cooperating with the volunteer program to adjust production on that basis.
Now, that would defeat the whole question, if there is not more than 10 percent. The 10 percent is set out in section 8. This refers to the 90 percent, and I think there is broad discretion in this allot
Mr. CоBB. I am going to ask Mr. Hiss if he will say something on that.
STATEMENT OF ALGER HISS, ATTORNEY, SOLICITOR'S OFFICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Mr. Hiss. Mr. Chairman, I think it would make it a little clearer if I give you the gradual steps that are used in making up an allotment under this act.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mr. Hiss. Section 7, the section you have just read, states the duty and specifies what the Secretary shall do, and lays down standards for the classification he makes
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. Hiss. And in this he has broad discretion, but the allotment board has no discretion; that is determined under the act and regulations, permitted under the act. The result of the allotment plan is this: The community committee applies the standards to concrete cases and has the responsibility of determining the facts. You have that action on the part of the community committee. In turn the county committee reviews the acts of the community committee and the conclusions of the county committee, in last year's program and in this year's program, so far as the mere mechanics and the determination of the facts are concerned in the uncontested cases, are final, and the State allotment board merely takes the figures from the
county and adds them, totals them up in order to make an allotment on the basis of the rules laid down by the Secretary. It has no discretion. In contested cases, where the farmer says, "You did not find the facts correctly under the standards which the Secretary has made, because I grew five more acres of cotton than you have allowed me and I have got witnesses that can prove it ", and goes to the appeals board on that question, it so happens that the appeals board is formed of persons who also act as the State allotment board but it has a totally different function to perform than the State allotment board, which has a purely mechanical operation in the contested and uncontested cases. They merely add They merely add up the figures.
The CHAIRMAN. And according to the analysis you here present you have had an allotment board that has no responsibility
Mr. Hiss. Purely mechanical.
The CHAIRMAN. And wholly useless so far as the farmer was concerned.
Mr. Hiss. It was not useless.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, nothing was left to them.
Mr. Hiss. But the committee had to stay within the maximum limit for the county.
The CHAIRMAN. You did not need them if they were not to make the allotments-
Mr. Hiss (interposing). But we had to have someone do the paper work.
The CHAIRMAN. That may be the way it has been handled but the way the law reads the allotment board certainly had broad discretion; it had to see that the policy announced by the Secretary was carried out and there is no question in my mind at all about that. If a man were in a county, under this authority that is put on the Secretary, if he was not given fair and just treatment it was the allotment board's business to see that he was.
Mr. Hiss. They did a great deal of paper work
The CHAIRMAN. You say that they did only mechanical work. Mr. Hiss. They did the mechanical work, a great deal of paper work; they did all they should under the procedure set-up.
The CHAIRMAN. Insofar as the paper, clerical work was concerned. Mr. Hiss. They did that. Now, whether or not they had further duties in the kind of case involving facts suggested by one of the members of the committee-
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). It seems to me that under the terms of this law they have pretty broad discretion. I think the language that I read is clear-that this was intended to and does cover the 90 percent.
Mr. HISS. That is correct. I think they were to see that the allotments for last year were made according to the regulations laid down by the Secretary. The difficulty, of course, was the lack of time.
The CHAIRMAN. I realize you had a lot to do in a short time.
The CHAIRMAN. But I think these duties were imposed upon the allotment board.
Mr. Hiss. There is no specific provision that there is to be a State allotment board.