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My name is Robert M. Koch and I appear before you today in behalf of the 584 members of the National Limestone Institute to support the agricultural conservation program. Mr. Chairman,
while you and other members of this committee have long shown a full understanding and appreciation for the ACP, I would like to make a few points for the record.
Next week I start my 30th year of association with this program. As some of you know, it was my privilege to start work in 1936 in my home county of Franklin, Mass., as county office manager under the then recently passed Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act. Because of the Supreme Court's ruling certain phases of the original AAA were held invalid and a new conservation approach was taken. This was the beginning of a gigantic partnership between the Nation's farmers—3 million of them in 1936—and their Government to stem the profligate depletion of our soil our greatest natural resource.
In the humid area of the Nation the land-grant colleges, since the turn of the century, and the county agricultural agents since 1914, had advocated, among other things, the expanded use of agricultural limestone. The depleted and acid soils of many areas could no longer grow legumes which would improve the humus and tilth of the soil and supply calcium for the health of the consumer. under the ACP, the farmers used more agricultural limestone with the Government paying part of the cost than they had in the previous 10 years. Consequently, it can easily be seen why the limestone industry is interested in this program. However, may I restate as I have so many times when appearing before you individually and formally at committee hearings, we in this industry are not asking for one dollar on the basis that it increases our business. If this committee and the Congress cannot justify this expenditure on the basis that it it is in the national interest then the Budget Bureau cut should not only be followed but the program should be eliminated altogether. Critics of the ACP have been quick to point out this monetary, interest and to make the point that this industry should sell its own product. I would like to submit that all the educational efforts of the land-grant colleges, the county extension agents and the best efforts of this industry could not prevail upon the farmers of this Nation to use one-tenth as much a year as they do under the ACP. Furthermore, the colleges say we should be using 80 million tons a year, or three times what we are currently using on the Nation's soils in the humid area. Obviously they are not doing this because it is advantageous to limestone producers.
Rather they are anxious to produce better soil tilth, stop erosion, and provide calcium and magnesium for plants, animals, and ultimately humans. Without this partnership arrangement under ACP, where the farmer now pays half the cost and the Federal Government pays the other half, many of the great gains of the past three decades could not have been made.
What are these gains? 720,605,000 acres of vegetative cover established; 95,358,000 acres of established cover improved; 3,833,771 acres of trees planted; 1,478,005,000 miles of terraces constructed; to list but a few of the many ACP practices.
These are solid conservation accomplishments which are of benefit to the soil, the farmer, the consumer and in the long run, future generations. If India and China had had similar programs through the years they would not be having the difficulties they now find confronting them of inadequate food supplies for their people or inadequate fibers for their mills.
Should this afuent society of ours follow the Budget Bureau recommendation of a $100 million reduction for this program? It seems to me, Mr. Chairman, that this would be extreme false economy. As you know the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act authorizes $500 million. While the full amount was available in the early forties, in the name of economy this program has been cut to $250 million a year. Again thanks to the effectiveness of members of this committee, numerous attempts by both the Budget Bureau and certain Senators to further reduce this program during the past two decades have been prevented.
On several occasions I have appeared before this committee to urge larger appropriations, and while I realize the futility at this time of consideration of a higher figure, I would like to submit the following material.
Even as it was true when I was in the county office from 1936 to 1941, it is true today that farmers are willing to carry out more conservation practices in partnership with their Government. Unfortunately, I have been unable to get the figures for all States so I don't have a complete national figure. Below are the funds for certain States available for distribution to the farmers by the elected county committees. The next column is the amount of requests for assistance which the farmers submitted to the county committees. The difference between the two sets of annual figures doubled is the amount of conservation practices not carried out on the Nation's soils because the Federal Government could not match the farmer's requests. I should add that many farmer's requests are never tabulated because they either hear that there are no more funds or they tailor their requests to what assistance they know they can receive. ACP funds available for practices and farmers' requests
[In thousands of dollars)
8,098 14,386 5,989
29, 478 6,043 9,175
1 State allocation used as amount available not given,
With floods ravaging the Far West last fall and now with the Middle West being laid waste, it seems to me we have ample evidence that soil-conserving measures should be increased rather than decreased.
Certainly these measures will not stop all floods but anyone who has seen rampant waters knows that protected fields withstand the onslaught of rushing waters whereas unprotected fields gully many feet deep and sometimes disappear altogether.
And so, much as I would like to appeal to this committee to go back to the original intent of the Congress, as expressed in the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act, I instead respectfully request that you do all in your power to maintain the ACP authorization for the 1966 program at $250 million. Thank you very much for this opportunity to appear before you and present this statement.
AGRICULTURAL CONSERVATION PROGRAM Mr. Koch. As you know, I appear regularly before you each year
Senator HOLLAND. Supporting the budget request on this amount?
Mr. Koch. Hardly.
We are also supporting the position that Congress has taken, which is the $250 million, for a number of years now.
Senator HOLLAND. Congress hasn't taken any position this year.
Mr. Koch. That is correct. And this, of course, is our position again this year. We would like very much to have you people restore
. the program to the $250 million. Of course, we personally believe that the Congress was right in 1936 when they authorized this legislation at $5 million a year, and the cuts through the years, as you know, have been made in the name of economy, and now for the last few years, the Budget Bureau has recommended a further cut, but both the House and the Senate have restored this.
If you will look on page 4, Mr. Chairman, I have determined some figures from the various States. Unfortunately, they are not complete, but you will notice in the State of Florida, the farmers requested from their county committees over $7 million each year in 1963 and 1964, for assistance, when just a little over $3 million was available. This proves what we have testified here, I guess, in the last decade, that the farmers themselves approve this program.
If you recall my testimony last year, we surveyed a group of farmers, over 50,000, all across the country, and they voted about 70 percent to have the $500 million provided, and about 85 to 88 percent to have the $250 million continued each year, and here again, the farmers have demonstrated that they would match these funds with 50 percent of their own money if more funds were available, and, therefore, of course, we would
Senator HOLLAND. You think Congress ought to supply everything that the farmers ask for. Is that it?
Mr. Koch. Not necessarily, sir, but we do believe, for example, in our own field, of using agricultural'limestone; the colleges say we ought to be using 80 million tons to maintain the soil conservation work. That needs to be done to maintain the soil in this country, and, somehow or other we think some of us ought to be clever enough to get this done.
We in the industry and the extension service tried very hard from 1914 to 1936, before we had the ACP, to get farmers to use aglime, and they just didn't do it. They were using about a million and a half tons a year.
SUPPORT OF 1965 APPROPRIATION LEVEL
Senator HOLLAND. You are supporting the continuance of the $250-million level which Congress has supplied heretofore. Is that it?
Mr. Koch. Well, we would like to support the $500 million, of course, but we realize that the practical facts of life are that $250 million is approximately the best figure we could arrive at. We definitely believe that is the minimum. That is correct.
Senator HOLLAND. Thank you, sir.
LETTER FROM THOMAS L. KIMBALL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL WILDLIFE
Senator HOLLAND. The National Wildlife Federation has submitted a statement by Mr. Thomas L. Kimball, executive director of the federation.
Mr. Kimball's letter calls attention with particular emphasis to the wetlands provision. We will place his letter in the record at this time. (The letter of Mr. Kimball follows:)
National WildLIFE FEDERATION,
Washington, D.C., April 21, 1965. MR. RAYMOND L. SCHAFER, Clerk, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. SCHAFER: Thank you for your telephone call this date notifying me of hearings on appropriations for the Department of Agriculture for fiscal 1966, scheduled for 10:30 a.m., on Monday, April 26.
After again reviewing the budget proposals, there is only one feature upon which I should like to comment and this probably can be done as well by mail as by a personal appearance. Therefore, I should like to relinquish my time before the subcommittee.
The one comment I want to make relates to wetlands drainage. We hope and trust that, as in previous years, the bill will contain this language as relating to the agricultural conservation program (ACP):
“No portion of the funds for the current year's program may be utilized to provide financial or technical assistance for drainage on wetlands now designated as wetland types 3 (III), 4 (IV), and 5 (V) in the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service Circular 39, ‘Wetlands of the United States, 1956.'” Sincerely,
Thomas L. KIMBALL, Executive Director.
AMERICAN MEAT INSTITUTE
STATEMENT OF ALED P. DAVIES, VICE PRESIDENT
Senator Holland. The next organization is the American Meat Institute. I understand that Mr. Aled P. Davies, vice president of the American Meat Institute, will represent that organization. I have the prepared statement of Mr. Davies.
Are you expecting him shortly?
Mr. Davies. Good morning, Mr. Chairman. My apologies for being late. You will have to blame the B. &0. Railway. The train was late this morning.
I will try to summarize very briefly my statement.
Senator HOLLAND. Do you wish to have your full statement placed in the record ?
Mr. Davies. Yes, sir.
My name is Aled P. Davies. I am vice president of the American Meat Institute, national trade association of the meatpacking industry. Our organization appreciates the opportunity again to present its views concerning the Federal meat inspection program, with particular reference to the funds needed to support this important public health service.
The budget request for Federal meat inspection during fiscal 1966 is $35,705,000, an increase of $2,440,000 over costs for the current fiscal year. We support this request and urge that it be approved. Figures of the Department show that in January of this year Federal meat inspection was being conducted at 1,740 meatpacking and processing establishments located in 721 cities and towns throughout the country. During the past year there has been an increase of approximately 100 in the number of federally inspected establishments. In fact, there has been a steady increase ever since 1948, when legislation was enacted to reestablish the principle that meat inspection should be paid for out of public funds. During the 1 year (1947) when costs were assessed against the industry there was some decline in the number of establishments under Federal inspection.
While it is true that the costs of meat inspection have increased steadily over the years, in our opinion the increase has not been out of line with the greatly expanded public need. Moreover, to a large degree increased appropriations have been made necessary by the steady inflationary trend that has affected the cost of virtually every commodity and service. Congress repeatedly has found it necessary to provide more adequate compensation for Government workers in all categories, including meat inspectors, and even now it is difficult to recruit veterinarians for the Meat Inspection Division because of the prospect of greater financial rewards in other lines of endeavor, such as ministering to the medical needs of the ever-growing pet population.
There are many reasons, if one wished to examine them in great detail, why meat inspection appropriations are up, but in general it can be said that the public need for inspection services has greatly expanded and at the same time the costs of providing that service has soared. Nevertheless, even if the expense were much larger than it is Federal meat inspection would continue to be essential and would still be one of the best buys the American taxpayer gets. We feel very strongly about this, and consequently were shocked by the statement this year in the budget message that "since Federal inspection of meat and poultry adds to the market value of these commodities, the cost of the inspection should he treated as an element in the cost of processing them rather than a general charge on taxpayers.". One might just as logically argue that since police protection makes use of the public highways safer all those who use those highways should be assessed a toll charge to pay the expenses of providing a police force.
Actually the only essential difference between the meat inspection service and many other public health services of the Federal Government is that in the case of meat inspection there is a relatively small identifiable group-meatpackers and processors--on which the cost could be assessed in order to make a showing of budget reduction. But this doesn't alter the basic nature of the service. Nor would such a procedure actually save any money, for the meatpacking industry operates on a margin of about 1 cent per dollar of sales, and the inspection costs would have to be passed on to the consumer of meat or the producer of livestock or both. In periods of ample livestock supplies, it undoubtedly would be the producer that would bear the burden of inspection costs. At this very moment, the National Commission on Food Marketing, established by act of Congress, is engaged in a series of hearings and studies to determine, among other things, reasons for the widening gap between what the consumer pays for meat and what the producer receives for his livestock. We don't believe that anyone who has had the opportunity of hearing testimony before the Food Commission would be eager to go forward with any proposal that would have the effect of adding to the margin.
Going back to the year 1906, when the Federal Meat Inspection Act was passed, the record is filled with references to the essential public character of the service rendered. At the appropriate time, we will be prepared to present these in some detail. However, it seems unnecessary to do so at this hearing where the question before the committee is on providing funds. I would like, however, to put in the record several recent statements that express what we believe to be the majority opinion on this question. In a recent editorial appearing in the Washington Post, the following observations were made: "Meat inspection is required for the protection of people against disease. It is said that 30 diseases which afflict human beings may be derived from animals. Rigid and independent inspection of all meat put on the market is imperative to protect the public from