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The poultry and egg industry of America is too important, its production and distribution power is too efficient, and it plays too vital a part of our national food picture, to run the risk of all of the evil consequences that might result if the industry is to be subjected to price controls, when manifestly none are needed.
The poultry and egg industry is unique and is particularly susceptible to all of the injurious effects which flow from price control.
Poultry and egg production is very widespread. They are produced by over 5,000,000 farmers in every State in the Union. There are no “choke points" in the distribution system. Poultry and eggs are marketed everywhere by hundreds and thousands of persons, including a very high proportion by the farmers themselves. There is no definite geographic distribution pattern. At times poultry and eggs move in all directions and very frequently there is a cross-flow. Under these circumstances price controls cannot be effective or workable. They can only interfere with and discourage production and efficiency in distribution.
Poultry and egg production is highly flexible. The production cycle is very short. A fertile egg can become a 3-pound broiler in 13 to 14 weeks. Thus the already high level or production can be further expanded very rapidly as the need arises. Conversely, production can fall just as rapidly if interfered with by the injection of artificial price controls.
Poultry production is the quickest and most efficient way of augmenting meat supplies. It requires less feed to produce a pound of poultry meat than any other type of meat production.
The high level of poultry and egg production and efficient distribution has enabled poultry meat and eggs to reach consumers at low prices (low in relation to other prices and low in relation to parity), notwithstanding the fact that per capita consumption has greatly increased.
Because of the unique characteristics of the poultry and egg industry, its high productive capacity, its efficiency in processing and distribution, the unworkability of price control and the adverse effect of price controls upon production and efficient distribution, and the absence of any showing of need for price control with respect to this industry, we urge the committee not to extend or grant any price control authority over poultry and eggs.
We urge this action because it is our honest and sincere belief that the extension and application of price controls over this industry will materially reduce production, interfere with efficient distribution and marketing, and be detrimental to our entire economy. We firmly believe that we should not run the risk of disturbing or interfering with this highly efficient industry which is demonstrating so clearly its ability to produce to meet all foreseeable needs at reasonable prices.
U.S. PER CAPITA CONSUMPTION
NO.OF EGGS 400 380 360 340 320 300 280 260 240
1935 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 SOURCE - USDA
35 30 25 20
AVERAGE LIVE PRICE
(CENTS PER POUND)
MODERN, MECHANIZED METHODS HAVE INCREASED POULTRY PROCESSING EFFICIENCY
124% IN 10 YEARS...
• In 1941, processing plants turned out 23.8
birds per man hour. • In 1951 they're turning out 53.5 birds
CONSUMERS BENEFIT FROM HIGH POULTRY FARM LABOR EFFICIENCY
ONE MAN CAN PRODUCE
(4 CROPS OF 30,000 BIRDS EACH)
(FROM 5000 LAYERS ) OR 200,000 LBS. TURKEYS A YEAR
( 1 CROP - 11,000 BIRDS)
POULTRY AND EGG PRODUCTION
CAN BE STEPPED UP RAPIDLY
A FERTILE EGG BECOMES
• A 3 POUND CHICKEN IN 13 WEEKS
• A LAYING PULLET IN 6 MONTHS
AMOUNT OF LABOR REQUIRED
(AVERAGE FACTORY WORKER)
Senator BENTON. Our next witness is Mr. Chester Franz, president of the Associated Poultry and Egg Industries. STATEMENT BY CHESTER B. FRANZ, PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATED
POULTRY AND EGG INDUSTRIES; ACCOMPANIED BY J. H. SNOW. GREN, PRESIDENT, NORTH CENTRAL STATES INSTITUTE; AND ALFRED VAN WAGENEN, SECRETARY, NORTHEASTERN POULTRY PRODUCERS' COUNCIL
Senator BENTON. Mr. Franz, do you wish to read your statement or do you wish to comment on it? It will be incorporated in the record in full.
Mr. FRANZ. Thank you. I would just like to cover a few of the points with more or less a side reference to the statement.
Senator Benton. Are you a full-time trade association employee!
Mr. FRANZ. No, sir; I am not. And I will cover that in my side record.
My name is Chester B. Franz, from St. Louis, Mo., and I appear before you representing the Associated Poultry and Egg Industries, covering the 11 organizations as shown.
Senator CAPEHART. Including the one that just testified ?
Mr. Franz. Yes, sir; including the one that just testified; and having a gross total membership of probably close to three-quarters of a million producers, processors, and all the way down through the retailing element of the trade.
Senator BENTON. All dues paying? Mr. FRANZ. I think so, sir. Personally, I am a commercial producer of poultry and a processor of poultry. Our company personally produces both commercial chickens and turkeys, and in addition we finance the production of chickens and turkeys on a number of farms in southern Missouri and Arkansas, and at some point I would like to explain a little bit what the financing of this commercial chicken crop has meant to farmers in those areas where there is very little cash income up to that time.
As a producer and processor I have engaged personally in every phase of the business from the killing room on through to the sale of poultry to the United States Armed Forces, and am rather familiar with the actual operation of a farm and in the killing plant and in the trucking of the live poultry between areas.
I think after the statement that we have just heard from Dr. Carpenter there is little left for me to do except occupy the clean-up position, which I would like to do. I would like to refer you to the second page of our brief which covers four basic points.
The first is an academic statement, gentlemen, that I am not prepared nor qualified to debate, and yet it does represent the unanimous feeling of our group. That is the theory that price control treats only the symptoms of inflation, not the basic cause which is, in fact, the relationship between the supply of money and the supply of goods.
We are looking at it, of course, and make that statement as it regards the poultry and egg industry because that is what we are familiar with and we believe it applies in our industry.
Item II, the inability of price controls to combat inflation is nowhere more clearly demonstrated than in the poultry industry.