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day, for nearly three years we have been laboring as best we could, without funds, paying the expenses almost entirely out of our own pockets, to ascertain what agriculture in this country wanted legislatively, and as nearly as it has been possible to do that we come here authorized to speak for organized agriculture in this country.
I said to you the other day that I did not know exactly what would be the attitude of the National Grange, further than that I am authorized to say that they will not oppose this legislation, and my own impression is that if a robust bill comes out of this committee or out of the House committee the grange will support it.
I told you the other day that I was speaking for the American Council of Agriculture, and that you might know the extent to which that council is representative of American agriculture, I will read to you a list of the members of the executive committee:
Mr. William Settle, president of the Indiana Farm Bureau Federation; Mr. H. A. Wallace, publisher, of Des Moines; Mr. H. Thompson, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation; Thomas Cashman, member of the executive board of the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation; John Tromble, of the Kansas Farmers' Union; Ralph Snyder, of the Kansas Farm Bureau; H. G. Keeney, president of the Nebraska Farmers' Union; Charles B. Stewart, president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau; J. A. Simpson, president, Farmers' Union of Oklahoma; Milo Reno, president of the Farmers' Union Bureau; Frank Barton, a member of the executive board of the Illinois Agricultural Association; C. W. Croes, South Dakota, representing the South Dakota wheat growers; A. Sykes, of the National Livestock Producers' Association; George Duis, of the North Dakota Wheat Growers’ Association; C. H. Hyde, of Alva, Olka., vice president of the Oklahoma Farmers' Union; George Lambert, of St. Paul, one of the receivers of the Equity Cooperative Exchange; George Peek, and myself, and William Hirth. Mr. Hirth is connected with the Missouri farmers' organization.
I want to give to you gentlemen a list of the members of the legislative committee created out of the Corn Belt committee, out of the American Council of Agriculture, and out of the farm organizations in the great grain and meat producing sections of the United States. I am here acting as chairman of that committee: John Tromble, of Salina, Kans., president of the Kansas Farmers' Union; Ralph Snyder, of the Kansas Farm Bureau; Milo Reno, president of the Iowa Farmers' Union; H. G. Keeney, president of the Nabraska State Farmers' Union; William Hirth, of the Missouri Farmers' Association; William Settle, president of the Indiana Farm Bureau; Charles E. Hearst, president of the Iowa Farm Bureau; Frank D. Barton, member of the board of the Illinois Agricultural Association; Thomas E. Cashman, of the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation; George Peek, of Moline, Ill., president of the American Council of Agriculture; James Manahan, one of the receivers of the Equity Cooperative Exchange of St. Paul; and myself, as chairman of the executive committee of the American Council of Agriculture.
I understand that the assaults that were made on the McNaryHaugen bill, on the ground that it was price fixing; that it put the Government into business; that it was an indirect subsidy; and that it was economically unsound, are not being urged against this bill. I did not hear two years ago any specific argument leveled against
that bill on account of its equalization-fee basis. There must be a substantially complete abandonment of the attacks that were made upon that bill, and now, if I am to correctly interpret the views of those who say the farmers ought not to have this legislation, they are limited to the claim that the farmers do not want and will not pay this equalization fee. So, it seems to me, gentlemen, it now being conceded that agriculture is in a situation of indefensible inequality; that this bill is not price fixing; that the Government is not going into business; that the Government is not going to lose a cent by the reason of the setting up of this farm board; that the one question that seems to be uppermost now in the minds of those who oppose the bill, the one rock under the harrow, is the matter of the equalization fee.
The farmers of the United States, as I understand them, would rather remain in the situation they are in and strike back with those natural weapons that this situation is putting in their hands, and try in some way, by resorting to those remedies that lie in the hands of every American citizen, to get out in that way rather than to accept a subsidy for the support of their business. They do not want to prostitute the soul of American agriculture by being mendicants at the back door of this Congress on down through the years, and all idea of meeting this situation from that standpoint must be abandoned. I say “must be abandoned.” It must be abandoned unless there is a complete reversal of feeling among these farm people.
Senator SACKETT. Do you refer to the debenture idea ?
Mr. MURPHY. Either the debenture idea, or just coming right out and saying what you mean, paying it out of the Treasury and being done with it. There is no use of beating around the bush and taking it out of one pocket and putting it back into the other. It is a direct subsidy out of the Treasury.
I do not share Mr. Hirth's views on the matter of overproduction, although we are working together, and have been for years, in a wonderfully harmonious way. No one in this country connected with this fight better realizes the splendid intellectual ability and mental honesty and great force of Mr. Hirth than I do, but I do not agree with him on the overproduction idea. But, if that is eliminated, what would you say about the incentive held out to the farm people to overproduce if you should pay the loss that arises out of everything that goes off our farms into export? There would be nothing whatever to check him. There would be nothing in such a plan to develop that fine morale that is necessary in our agriculture, when agriculture gets the job of stabilizing its business into its own hands, as some way, some day, it is going to get it.
While I am on the subject of overproduction, let me throw out a line of thought. As you know, Mr. Hirth, I have expressed this every time I have discussed that subject. The central purpose of this bill is the stabilization of the industry of agriculture. We do not mean to stabilize the wheat business irrespective of the stabilization of the other great staple crops of the country, because that would inevitably result, if left in that way, in a situation that would · be difficult to handle. There would be a tendency, if you stabilized the price of wheat to the height of the tariff wall, and let pork and beef and cotton in their present unequal situation, to the develop
ment of the wheat business. There would be a tremendous tendency
. toward the development of the wheat business. What we have in mind, gentlemen of the committee, is the stabilization of all agriculture, and when you stabilize cotton and corn and hogs and cattle and wheat, you have stabilized the whole industry of agriculture, out of which exportable surpluses come.
In 1914, Mr. Chairman, my wheat dollar, my corn dollar, my hog dollar, my cattle dollar, my oats, barley, and every other dollar, was worth 100 cents, and I could go into the market place with any of my commodities and exchange them, full value, for anything that I used on my farm. We were not overproducing in 1914. There has never been a day in the life of agricultural America when its devoted men and women did not put the last pound of effort into getting out of the ground the last dollar's worth of crop. This Government and the State governments have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the enterprise of getting over to the farm people better methods of farming, diversification, soil conservation, better methods of tilling, all with the fundamental idea of getting out of the ground the last pound the ground would produce, and any reversal of that policy is bad mórals, and it is bad business.
But the point I want to stress, Mr. Chairman, is that these farm people can not get any more out of this ground than they have been getting out of it. In the last six years in the great Northwest, which we represent, the farmer has produced more food per man than ever in the history of the world. He has worked his wife and his children, and they have worked long hours. Why? With the same overhead they wanted to get the maximum results, and they can not get any more out of this ground than they have been getting out of it.
Again I want to stress the fact that if you stabilize all the major crops, nobody is so foolish as to rush into wheat production, because he can not make any more money out of that than if he were raising hogs or cattle. What is the result of this? The central idea in the bill is to let the man with corn land grow corn, and the man with cotton land grow cotton, and the man with oats land grow oats, and the man who can grow cattle best, or produce dairy products best, should stay in his business. That is stabilized agriculture, and as
. surely as this bill becomes a law that is what the American farmer is going to do. You must give him credit for being the smartest and best business man in the country. No other business man would have lived one year, to say nothing of six years, and kept their tempers and their souls wholesome and sweet, as the farmers have done in six years of adversity.
Do you know what the support of America's protective system has meant to the farmers up in the great western grain and meat producing regions of this country? In my State since 1919, for six years, the maintenance of America's protective system has cost every farmer, on every fairly good quarter section of land, at least $400 per year.
The CHAIRMAN. We will adjourn until Monday at 10.30. (Whereupon, at 12 o'clock noon, the committee adjourned until Monday, April 5, 1926, at 10.30 o'clock a. m.)
HEARINGS u.s. Congress COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY
UNITED STATES SENATE
S. 973, S. 2289, S. 2541, S. 2917, S. 2918,
S. 3446, S. 3509, and H. R. 7893
BILLS RELATIVE TO AGRICULTURE RELIEF
APRIL 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, AND 12, 1926
Printed for the use of the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry
COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY
GEORGE W.NORRIS, Nebraska, Chairman CHARLES L. McNARY, Oregon.
ELLISON D. SMITH, South Carolina. ARTHUR CAPPER, Kansas.
JOSEPH E. RANSDELL, Louisiana. EENRY W. KEYES, New Hampshire.
JOHN B. KENDRICK, Wyoming. FRANK R. GOODING, Idaho
J. THOMAS HEFLIN, Alabama. FETER NORBECK, South Dakota.
THADDEUS H. CARAWAY, Arkansas. J. W. HARRELD, Oklahoma
WOODBRIDGE N. FERRIS, Michigan. CHARLES 8. DENEEN, Winois.
EARLE B, MAYFIELD, Texas.
MABELLE J. TALBERT, Clerk