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spent on preventive work, promotion of positive health, and doing the job that we would like to do. If we did a better job along these lines it would require more immediate expenditures. I think in the long run certainly we would save money.
Mr. MITTELMAN. If you receive more money either from Federal, State, or local sources, would you spend it primarily on more remedial care, or do you think that you could make a more substantial effort in the preventive care area?
Dr. BRUMBACK. I think we can make a substantial effort in preventive services and promotion of positive health. We certainly would set this up as an objective, to expend quite a bit more effort in these directions; that is, toward prevention and promotion of positive health, better nutrition, better general health, better sanitation, and so forth. Mr. MITTELMAN. Have you made any studies or estimates of the effectiveness of the money spent on preventive care, whether it really produces any significant results at all?
Dr. BRUMBACK. Yes, we have, and we can demonstrate that there has been a marked reduction in illness, particularly certain types, the diarrheal diseases, illness due to poor environmental health. There has been a reduction in preventable disease, and actually we are just beginning now, we feel, to receive the full benefit of programs that have been in effect now for over 11 years.
Mr. MITTELMAN. Thank you.
Mr. BLACKWELL. Doctor, just one final question in the same category. Do you have any findings on reduction of loss of time from work? Dr. BRUMBACK. Yes. I think Mr. White will speak to this specifically from his point of view; that is, the farmer's point of view, Mr. Blackwell.
Senator WILLIAMS. Fine. Would you stand by while we hear from Mr. Leonard White, vice president of Flavor-Pict Co-Op., Inc., Delray Beach. Mr. White?
STATEMENT OF LEONARD WHITE, VICE PRESIDENT, FLAVORPICT CO-OP., INC., DELRAY BEACH, FLA.
Mr. WHITE. Yes, sir, it is Flavor Pict Co-Op. It is actually a family cooperative, but we are still farming as a family, incorporated, in order to market our products in volume.
Senator WILLIAMS. Do you grow mostly citrus?
Mr. WHITE. No, sir; our main item is tomatoes. We shipped about 27 million pounds out of Palm Beach and Martin Counties last year, of the one item. We produce some other vegetables, but our main crop is tomatoes.
Senator WILLIAMS. So it is not citrus at all? Your operation is vegetables?
Mr. WHITE. That is correct.
Senator WILLIAMS. How about strawberries? Do you have any fruits?
Mr. WHITE. We were in the strawberry business several years ago, but due to a few problems we finally decided to get out of it.
Senator WILLIAMS. I think you were wise. We have spent a little time down in strawberry country. I think you made the wise decision. That is rough business, isn't it?
Mr. WHITE. Yes, it is.
Senator WILLIAMS. We have some city boys up here sitting at this committee table, but we have spent a lot of time in the field, and Fred Blackwell and I particularly spent a lot of time in strawberries in Florida, and we concluded that if people can afford to lose that amount of money in strawberries, they would be well advised to get out.
Mr. WHITE. I think if they could afford to lose it, they wouldn't be farming.
It is a pleasure to be here.
Senator WILLIAMS. You mentioned you do a big business in tomatoes. What is the name of the tomato that you grow?
Mr. WHITE. We have the Flavor-Pict registered trademark which you probably have seen on tomatoes.
Senator WILLIAMS. What breed of tomato do you grow?
Mr. WHITE. We grow a trellis or a stake crop, a trellis-grown tomato, which is pruned by hand and only a crown fruit is harvested. It is not the bruised type tomato, that you see a lot of, grown for processing or green harvest. This is a vine-ripened fresh tomato shipped in cardboard cartons, in one- or two-layer cartons, to keep the quality standards where they need to be for fresh consumption.
Senator WILLIAMS. A Florida-developed tomato?
Mr. WHITE. Yes, the varieties that we use were developed by the experiment stations and the university in Florida, and I have worked very closely with experiment stations and these varieties were tried on our farms before they were released.
In the last 10 years we have upgraded our quality and varieties by, I would say, a change of varieties about three times in the last 10 years, and it has added a lot to the quality I think that you receive in the northern markets in the wintertime.
Senator WILLIAMS. Tomatoes are an annual planting. You have a planting each year, don't you?
Mr. WHITE. We plant each year, that is correct.
Senator WILLIAMS. I get a little provincial here. I come from New Jersey, and we have an extension service, and we have Rutgers University. Have you ever heard of the Rutgers tomato?
Mr. WHITE. Yes, I have heard of it, but it doesn't grow well in Florida.
Senator WILLIAMS. It is a good tomato for some parts of the country. Mr. WHITE. That is why it was grown in New Jersey.
Senator WILLIAMS. Forgive the interruption. We are honored to have you come all the way here to aid us in our deliberations.
Mr. WHITE. I have an outline here of some few remarks. I may deviate from them just a little.
For the background, I am a farmer and I spend most of my time on the farm, about 12, 14 hours a day. The Migrant Health Act needs to be extended from my point of view, if we are to make any progress for the underpriviliged migrant agricultural worker and because of his residential requirement for one thing and the transient nature of his occupation, it sometimes doesn't let him stay in one county maybe more than 2 or 3 months or sometimes even a few weeks. The migrant usually lives in a rural labor camp, or in our case, most of our migrants on the farm have housing furnished by the farmer.
Due to this, he does not have access to the programs designed to meet the needs of the local residents. And in addition to the labor that is housed on the farms, we have our day-haul crews which we are all familiar with, and I believe this is where most of our problem arises.
A day-haul crew is usually recognized by either the name of the crew leader or its locality where it stays, but the individuals within the crew are seldom recognized or most people don't even know they exist. His education is usually neglected and he doesn't realize what medical attention he requires. The community in which he lives is often not aware of his existence or his needs until an epidemic or disaster brings some kind of attention to the general public.
The hospitals and county governments do not usually provide for migrant care in their budgets. The whole community does not usually feel that the migrant is a problem because of nonresidence and therefore excludes him from local assistance from some degree.
Most clinics and doctors are located in cities or in highly populated areas that are usually foreign to the migrant laborer. Due to his rural residence and the nature of his work, it is usually not possible for him to get to town or to a doctor or a hospital during the working hours because he doesn't want to lose the time or the pay that it takes, a sacrifice on his part, in order to get himself to the medical services that he needs.
The family clinics that we have available in the camps now I think have been the best thing that has happened. With the immunization of small children a lot of times other diseases are discovered, enough ahead of time to save great losses both to the farmer in the loss of the use of his labor, loss of time to the hospitals, and to the general public as a whole.
Senator WILLIAMS. Do you have a clinic on your farm?
Mr. WHITE. We have a clinic in the proximity of the farm. It is not on the farm. At times we have had clinics set up where the county health department would conduct clinics in the camp. Now we have it more or less in a permanent location. Since the laborer has learned what it is and that it is there to help him, he can go to it.
I think much time is saved by this, to keep from moving a clinic all the time. The laborer finally has learned to go to it and to trust the people, and we have seen a difference.
Senator WILLIAMS. I imagine you have several farms. As an average, how far would your migrant employees have to go to this clinic? Mr. WHITE. The location of this clinic from the largest farm we have is approximately 4 to 5 miles.
Senator WILLIAMS. Do these migrants all have transportation? Mr. WHITE. No, sir. The people that live on the farm or the family units usually have transportation. The singles do not. We have bus transportation for them to the fields. However, for the singles we conduct an inspection of the labor camp each morning. I have kept absentee records on labor for the past 12 years, and I maintain this record for 5 years on each employee. If the employee doesn't move his timecard in the morning, we check it to see what was the cause of his absence. If he was sick, we usually put a "S" on the card. If he was just plain absent, we mark it that.
This helped in a number of ways. It was designed to keep track of a large number of laborers, at the same time find out which ones had a habit of missing weekends and missing certain days of the week, but at the same time it was useful in finding out where the laborer was that had a health problem. The chronic illness is discovered very quickly by this method.
Senator WILLIAMS. You have a timecard on each employee?
Mr. WHITE. We have a timecard system on all the employees that live on the farms.
On the day-haul crews we don't have this service, and this is where the problem still remains, in identifying the particular workers and getting the service to these crews. This is still the major problem.
Senator WILLIAMS. That complicates the social security withholding, doesn't it?
Mr. WHITE. We have tried to help the social security situation with the crew leaders on a contract basis where they have the responsibility to see that social security is deducted, and we usually follow it up to see that it is done. It is pretty well worked out now, at least on our farm.
Senator WILLIAMS. How are your crew leaders now? Would you consider them reliable and responsible leaders of their group of workers?
Mr. WHITE. I would like to answer it this way. Crew leaders in general are one thing. Crew leaders on our farm are something else. We have had several years to develop a record whereby our crew leaders are reliable. We run a man-hour estimate every Friday of the total number of man-hours that will be used on the farm in the next 7 days, and I divide that figure by the number of hours for each worker, and the laborer knows this and we have pretty well steady employment the whole time that they are with us.
Due to this crew leaders are not looking for work part of the time. So, over a period of time there is some competition by crew leaders trying to work for us. I have a list and this is one reason I don't have a shortage of labor, and if I get a crew leader that gets lax in his job, let's say, and doesn't perform satisfactorily, I might dismiss him for a year and let him work in the community and find out what it is like, and he finds out how well he had it. It straightens him out.
All farmers might not be able to do this, but it works very well for
Another thing, the total amount of migrant labor in south Florida has not really changed in the last 10 years. We have approximately the same number of migrant laborers in the county that we had 10 years ago, and it is asking too much to tax a local community to pay the bills for people that move into the county overnight, with problems that we have no part of, we don't know anything about, and it reflects back on our local taxes and we have an influx that is tremendous in our county. A few counties in the country provide most of the fresh vegetables for the Nation in the middle of the winter.
I think this is one of the things that needs to be brought out. We have a nation to feed, and because of the climate and other conditions there are certain areas of the United States where these people will congregate in the winter months.
I think this creates a greater problem as far as epidemics or diseases and things that can be carried from other sections of the country are concerned, where a community may not be as strong as it would be if they stayed in the same place all the time.
Another thing that I think ought to be said here from the farmers' point of view is we hear a lot of talk about mechanics taking over agriculture. In the fresh produce or vegetable production we have a long way to go. The processors in the United States have finally developed machinery that will harvest tomatoes that are completely
ripe for processing, for instance, because processed fruit will be preserved, canned, dried, or frozen by some other means immediately after it is taken from the field, and in order to use these same methods for fresh produce, it would require development of new varieties.
For instance, on a tomato it would take one probably with a little tougher skin that would stand more bruising and handling by machinery.
Not only that, in the business I am in, of vine-ripened tomatoes, we pick the field maybe 60 or 70 times in the course of a winter. We don't have a machine yet, and I know of no one being developed, that would be able to separate the color from the immature fruit and the ripe fruit on the vine. These things are going to take several years to develop.
We are in the process now with the university of developing varieties that will lend themselves to mechanical harvesting. We have trials on the farm now. But this will take longer even than the 5-year extension that we hope will be provided here before we can see a difference.
I see no reduction in the need for the total amount of migrant labor in the next 5 years or it is not visible to me from where I sit as a farmer. That may begin to appear, but I think in a county like I live in, where we produce such a mass of vegetables for the Nation's winter consumption and there are so many varieties, so many machines would have to be developed that the engineering staffs at the present time through the universities and private concerns are not available to complete this program.
Senator WILLIAMS. How about the citrus crop? There you have a situation where you don't have to worry as much about bruising, but you still have to worry about the selection of the ripe from the unripe.
Mr. WHITE. Citrus usually matures at a more uniform rate on the tree. If the tree blooms uniformly, you have a uniform ripeness. They go by the test on a solid within the fruit to determine whether the tree is ready to harvest, and they harvest the whole tree at one time. The problem with citrus is that a lot of the older groves were not planted in such a fashion that machines would get in to harvest these rows.
The new ones are being laid out in sort of a hedge type or in rows where the new type machinery will adapt themselves to mechanical harvesting, and I think mechanical harvesting in citrus will take place at a much more rapid rate than it will in vegetables because you are dealing with a particular kind of fruit and citrus is almost the same whether it is in California or Florida or wherever it is. The problem is about the same.
This is about all I have on my report. I will be glad to answer any more questions.
Senator WILLIAMS. You have said a lot of things that have been most helpful to us, and you did indicate your support for the 5-year extension of the migrant health program that the subcommittee is now considering.
Mr. WHITE. That is correct. I think that 5 years we may find will not even be long enough.
Mr. BLACKWELL. Mr. White, did your records in fact show a decline in absenteeism from the fields after the Project Health Care was initiated with your work force?