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I am trying to get at whether you asked for relief under the Crop Insurance Act. In view of the fact that the county is not included, I realize that that would be very difficult.
Mr. GURDA. We did not come in under crop insurance at all, Senator Lehman. However, we sent representatives to the White House conferences. We went to Albany. We covered every possible agency. In fact, at this meeting in Pine Island we had 11 separate agencies present and represented. We had from the Federal Housing Administration the national representative as well as the State director. I might add one other thing, which I know you are going to ask mewhat the success has been under the FHA and the SBA.
We recommended after this was declared a disaster area that these men file under the FHA. The farmers that filed finally were told to go to each one of their creditors, to get waivers that the FHA loan would take precedence over the existing creditors. These farmers tried, and it became impossible. So that in spite of the fact that the applications have been filed, I understand that not one of the FHA emergency loans was granted, nor has one SBA loan been granted.
Senator Ives. Well, it does not look to me as though you could have been covered, because this county does not fall within the program included in the crop-insurance schedule. I want to ask you one question on that. I think maybe we can help you. We will try to see if that can be extended and expanded. It is in an experimental stage. That is why it is only in a few counties and on certain crops. We will endeavor to see what can be done along that line. If something could be done it would go a long way toward straightening out your difficulty. Of course, it is not going to put you on your feet right now. You need some immediate help, because you have been practically wiped out.
Mr. GURDA. That's right.
Mr. GURDA. There are more than that, but that is the number that appeared at the meetings.
Senator Ives. All the farmers in this area are members of your organization?
Mr. GURDA. This thing only came up because of trying to get some help. It is not an organization. They are all independent farmers who came together.
Senator Ives. Don't you call yourselves anything?
Mr. Jones. The reason the meetings of the farmers came about is that the different representatives of the Government were there, and they told what could be done. There wasn't one representative who said, "We have money to loan you if your family is hungry.” Of course, that did not set right with the farmers. They thought maybe we can get together and see if we can get better representation or some help from some source.
The final outcome of it was the only help we could get was through the Soil Conservation Service on the ditching. And even that has bogged down now. After 3 months I think they did about 50 miles of surveying.
Senator Ives. Was the Farmers' Home Administration involved in any of this? Was any question raised with them?
Mr. PAHCKI. I know one fellow that went to them. He wanted to borrow $1,500 to repair his home after flood damage. They said
they would gladly loan him the money, provided he got waivers from all his creditors to state that the FHA would have precedence over the other creditors, that they would be repaid first. Of course, that is almost impossible.
Senator LEHMAN. We are terribly interested in this legislation but that is not going to come into effect immediately. I would like to find out whether we could give you any advice that would be helpful to you in the present situation. What happened to this farmer and the other farmers that had taken loans on their future crop, which is not unusual at all, of course, is that they still have their indebtedness.
Mr. PAHUCKI. That is correct.
Mr. PAHCKI. Yes, sir. And the only help we have there is that Governor Harriman sent letters to the banks, asking them to try to hold up collection until after next year.
Senator LEHMAN. What kind of response have you gotten?
Senator LEHMAN. What is your situation with regard to planting for next year?
Mr. PAHECKI. If these ditches are not cleaned in the next month, when the freezing weather starts, the farmer will not be able to get on his ground in the spring. That is what we would like done now. Somebody along the line is holding us up. The main ditches are all surveyed and that has been sent to Albany, or is being sent to Albany, so that the water-control commission can put their O. K. on it. But if it takes 2 weeks to get them back, by that time we are liable to have freezing weather. And after that is all done, they want all these little private ditches surveyed, so that they can be dug after that, and give their 0. K. on them. If we have to wait for that, it will be spring or this time next year before they can all be surveyed, even with this extra surveying crew.
Mr. Gurda. Senator, our suggestion was that in discussion with the committee, now that the Soil Conservation Service has surveyed the main ditches, 50 miles, they would have 950 miles more, just for the 3-cent-per-foot contribution. Actually, you have the water-control commission maps on file. Instead of making a complete survey, just to pay 3 cents a foot, they could have their representative, together with the representative of the farmers, go down the ditches and measure the feet and how much is to be done and cover 50 miles in 1 day. At the present rate they are doing about 2 miles a day. We estimate it will take until next fall to do it at that rate.
Mr. YINGLING. Is that the only purpose of the survey--to find out how much they will contribute?
Mr. Gurda. That's right. So they can pay 3 cents toward the cleaning. The farmer still has to clean it and he gets 3 cents per foot. This would total about $50,000 for the area.
You understand, the only reason we have tried to get some help on this is because this was the only thing left. There was nothing else we could come under. We had hoped to come under the Soil Erosion Act. In addition to filling these ditches, a lot of trash was brought in, and many of the bridges and also roads were washed out. It cost about $100 an acre to clean. We thought we could come under that particular program, and we still do not see why we do not.
Senator LEIMAN. I have not heard this story before, except I think there was some reference made to it in Governor Harriman's testimony yesterday. It is a dramatic and, to me, a very convincing argument for the passage of flood-insurance legislation and the broadening of the existing statute. I think it is very convincing, about as convincing as anything I have heard. But that is not going to help you immediately.
Senator Ives. What we are trying to do is figure out how we can help you now.
Nr. GURDA. We want both. I think this insurance program would be the greatest thing that ever happened here.
Senator LEHMAN. None of these departments can go beyond the statutes as now written. I would say that the best hope is through the Farmers' Home Administration, which is quite separate from the FHA, or with the Soil Conservation Service, which is under the Department of Agriculture. What their regulations are, and rules, I frankly am not able to tell you at this time.
Senator Ives. I think the Farmers' Home Administration is in a position where it cannot exercise whatever prerogatives they have. You may have to get a waiver from your creditors, and that stops the whole thing there. Whether you could get them to waive in that particular instance, I do not know. That is the problem.
Senator LEHMAN. All I can say to you is I think your plight is a tragic one. I think it is a perfect argument for what we are trying to do in the future. I do not think either Senator Ives or I are going to kid you by telling you we can solve your immediate problem, although I know that we both would like to do it. All I can say on my own account—and I will let Senator Ives speak for himself—is that we will try our best to help you in Washington. Whether we are going to succeed in the immediate future, I do not know.
Senator Ives. That is what I have already indicated. We will do our best to help you. But do not place your expectations too high.
Mr. Panucki. Every little bit will be appreciated.
Senator LEHMAN. I wish you would prepare for the record, for the use of the committee, a few typical cases of what the farmers have had to suffer. I would ask that you include the cost of planting, the loans which have been made and which have to be repaid, and the loss of any equipment or crates and things of that sort. I would like
I it for the record because I think this is a very typical case. I would also ask you, if you will, for the sake of the record, to supply the names of the various Federal or State officials you have met in connection with this.
This gentleman; will you give your name?
STATEMENT OF F. E. LeMON, WARWICK TOWNSHIP, N. Y.
Mr. LeMox. My name is F. E. LeMon. I am not a member of this group, but I think in consideration of the problem of flood control cognizance should be given to the fact that we have four distinct types of farming in this county. We have first of all the dairying, which is the largest. The second one I think in money value or county income, however you want to measure it, is fruit. I think the third is black-dirt products, such as Mr. Gurda has been talking about. And lastly, we have poultry.
This matter of flood control apparently would go by without consideration being given to the damage it does to the dairy farmer. In my own particular case, I estimate merely damage to my fields, not only from flood, but from washoff—and part of the washoff is due to the fact that there is no flood control-runs to about $2,000. I have a rather large farm, but in view of the fact that we are getting about 30 percent less for our milk than the actual cost of production, you heap $2,000 on top of that, and your year's operation is a pretty
I know, as a matter of fact, to substantiate what Mr. Gurda has said, that there are all kinds of flood-control maps around here that have been drawn up. I know in one instance we had some men down from the Soil Conservation Service and went through a lot of fantastic hoop-de-doop. They said they had to make a survey and all that, but everything was already on file.
One of the townships mentioned, in which so much damage was done, was Warwick, in which I reside. The village of Warwick has an open sewer running right through the village.
village. Ten years ago the village was authorized to do something in the way of cleaning up the sewer situation and open it up for a swifter passage of water. We have now a situation where, in my own particular case and in several of the other farms, when we have a flood our ditches do not carry off our water. They merely bring us backwater from the creek. "The south side of my farm is nearly 2 miles from the creek, but it just backs up and takes a detour and comes right on back. And that situation is very widespread.
I know that there are many dairy farmers who have suffered severe losses through the loss of new seedlings and damage to the soil.
Of course, we have had another problem. It is still quite warm. It has not been practical to barn our cows on a full-time basis yet, and the cows getting on the soft sod of the hayfields and pastures have just ruined them. And on top of that we have a compounded problem of getting our heavy machinery onto a wet, undrained field. The tractor tires and everything just ruins it.
Senator LEHMAN. I can assure you that in consideration of this legislation we are certainly going to take into account your problems. May I say that, although I failed to solve many of the problems of the dairy farmers, I can say without any fear of contradiction that I have been very much concerned with them, and in the 10 years I was Governor I think I gave more time and thought to dairy problems than any other activity in the State.
If Mayor Cole is here, we will be glad to hear from him.
STATEMENT OF JAMES E. COLE, MAYOR, PORT JERVIS, N. Y.
Mayor COLE. Well, I came here, of course, through an invitation, and I had not prepared a presentation for you.
Senator Ives. From whom did you get your invitation!
Senator LEHMAN. But they did carry an open notice of the meeting? Mayor COLE. Yes; they did.
Senator Ives. Stating that there was going to be a meeting and suggesting that people who were interested should show up and testify ?
Mayor COLE. Yes. It said that Mayor Cole and Alderman Latini were invited.
Senator Ives. By what process did the newspaper invite them?
Mayor COLE. This was by the open press. How did you get your information, Mr. Dwyer.
Mr. DANIEL DWYER, Port Jervis Gazette. As a matter of fact, my information originated, I believe, with Mr. Stillman, although I believe an invitation was also received at the city hall in Port Jervis for these officials to attend.
Senator Ives. Mr. Chairman, I do not like to revert to what I said earlier, but since I have been around here, I have had a lot of complaints that the instrument by which these invitations were circulated was the county chairman of one of the political parties in the county of Orange, and that invitation was further extended through the medium of the other county chairmen of the same party in the other counties involved here.
I question very much the wisdom or the appropriateness of issuing invitations through the medium of a party chairman of a political party when general governmental affairs are involved. That is what I hunted upon in my earlier statement this morning.
Senator LEHMAN. Well, you did not hint. May I say this—that I, as chairman of the committee, announced a week or io days ago, Í think at least that, that we were going to hold hearings, this committee was going to hold hearings, in Washington, 2 days of hearings; in New York City, in Goshen, in Boston, in Providence, and in Hartford, and possibly other places. But those places were specifically mentioned.
I think we have fine representation here. I do not think it makes any difference as to what paper has done the inviting. I do not know that anybody has ever invited every public official or every resident in a district to appear at a meeting. They have always been welcome. I want to state as strongly as I can-and I do not believe that you, Sena
, tor Ives, will deny it—that nobody has been denied a hearing here; not only not denied, but they have been encouraged to speak.
I have no idea here who is a Democrat and who is not a Democrat. I do not know what you are, Mayor. Are you a Democrat?
Mayor COLE. No; I am a Republican.
Senator Ives. Mr. Chairman, I am not in any way criticizing the witnesses we have heard this morning. I think we have had excellent representation. What I was pointing out was the way in which the notice of this hearing was broadcast. I do not approve of it. That is for you and I to disagree.
Senator LEHMAN. Well, I think at all the hearings we have had very fine representation of public officials and the citizens of the State or local community involved. I do not want to shut you off, Senator. Senator Ives. I do not want to get into any discussion on the subject.