網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

according to the outlook of supply. There is no question in my mind but what we should have a marketing agreement to stabilize the quality and size of potatoes that we can ship to the consuming market. The surplus and offgrades that are removed as a result of such a program should be utilized for byproducts such as starch, feed programs, and whatever other programs are feasible. I would like to see further experimentation in the field of processing of byproducts so that future surpluses could be utilized to best advantage.

I do feel that if a program could be worked out along these lines with the farmer participating in the cost, he would concentrate more on the quality of the product rather than quantity and exert every effort to produce a potato as good as is humanly possible.

It is conceivable that the public would look with favor upon such a program because of its effect of placing a better quality and more uniform product before our Nation's consumers. I would like to see such an insurance program operate on the same basis as a marketing agreement whereby each individual producing area would have the opportunity of voting for its enactment.

In my opinion Maine and national potato producers should be afforded some type of protection in view of the fact that the majority of major farm crops are now benefiting from Government assistance of one type or another. We are currently exerting every effort to expedite a more effective marketing program from the State level. It is hoped that a State marketing agreement will become effective to assist us in the marketing of the current crop.

Even with what we are doing here and in other districts of the Nation, we cannot be expected to carry the entire load and to cooperate throughout the Nation by virtue of adjusting supply with demand. Without some other assistance our farm economy will continue to decline.

Mr. MCINTIRE. Thank you very kindly, Mr. Wathen. We appreciate this statement on behalf of yourself as a farmer here in the county. The next witness is Mr. Earl Pierson, who is a starch manufacturer. Mr. Pierson, will you state whether or not by chance you are speaking only for your own operations, or in behalf of the starch industry in order that the record may so show.

STATEMENT OF EARL PIERSON, STARCH MANUFACTURER,

HOULTON, MAINE Mr. PIERSON. Mr. Chairman, members of the congressional committee assembled here today, first I would like in behalf of the starch industry to extend our appreciation of your presence here today. Secondly, speaking about the starch industry, but not on their behalf, and entirely my own opinion, I would like to make the following statement:

My name is Earl Pierson from Houlton, Maine. I am a manager of a starch manufacturing concern. We operate five factories with a maximum capacity of approximately 8,000 tons per annum, which is approximately-according to the figures given heretofore of 40,000 or 45,000 tons about one-fifth.

The starch industry relies entirely upon the potato producers for their supply of raw material. A consistent supply is highly and economically essential in these times of high operating costs and marginal profits. A consistent volume production of starch to secure and maintain

stable and profitable outlets is essential. Therefore I believe that the starch industry as a whole should consider it imperative to cooperative thinking along the lines with the potato industry in any constructive program and offer their facilities to utilize at the best financial return possible to the producers any and such unmarketable potatoes determined by marketing agreement restrictions or any adopted programs.

I believe also that the passage and possible enactment of H. R. 3895 will tend to effectuate the marketing of potatoes and at the same time assure the starch industry of a more nearly stabilized supply of raw material. Thank you.

Mr. McINTIRE. Thank you very kindly, Mr. Pierson. We appreci. ate this statement of our industry-manufacturing segment, you might say. If you will stand by, there may be a question later if time permits.

The next witness will be Mr. Ray Carter, of Washburn, Maine, a farmer and seed grower.

STATEMENT OF RAY CARTER, WASHBURN, MAINE

Mr. CARTER. Chairman McIntire, Chairman Hope, members of the congressional committee, and fellow Aroostookians: I deem it a great honor to have a chance to speak to this committee, and it is with some fear and trepidation that I come before you. I am a potato grower, growing seed potatoes, around 100 acres, rotating the crop on some 240 acres of land. For benefit of a little background, I might add that we were glad to increase our crop greatly during the war years and do the best we could to help out in the national emergency,

Following the war years we were told that there was a Steagall amendment

which would support prices for some time to come. That was news to us as potato growers here in Maine, because as far as I know we did not have much to do with that at least as a personal grower, I had nothing to do with it.

Following the Steagall amendment, which helped to promote the production of potatoes to some extent, we came to the year 1948 when we found out that we had a considerable crop of potatoes planted, and it looked like prices might be low. After some agitation on the part of potato growers throughout the country, the 90 percent of parity position was presented and passed for a year or two. And that brings us up to the point where that became unsatisfactory from the national standpoint, and in some respects from the potato growers' standpoint. It was thrown out, leaving potatoes to hoe their own row.

I would like to go on record as saying right here that personally, that is the way I like to operate. I like to be on my own. [Applause.]

I do not like to feel that I have to go to the Government or anyone else to help me operate my business. I understand that we should operate in this country, with a democratic form of Government, as a free enterprise. I believe that we have come to a point now where in this year's operation we are faced with about a 20 million surplus in the late stages, according to Mr. Case's remarks the other day in his study. It looks to us here in Maine as though we should be in a position pretty soon to help ourselves. We have been able to pass an enabling act through our State legislature whereby we may be able

to

pass in this State a marketing order this year that might act as some help to us.

I do favor the passage of the McIntire bill as a measure to facilitate the carrying out of this marketing agreement which we propose or hope, as far as I am concerned, to enact in our State. I can see possibilities in this marketing agreement which will have far-reaching effects if it is passed and administered properly. We do need the McIntire bill in order to facilitate the use of some funds to help promote the diversion of our offgrade potatoes into the starch factories. The starch people have assured us that if they can have a steady supply of starch potatoes, they can build up their business and at the same time help us build up ours. I feel we should cooperate with them.

I would like to go on record here as opposing any price support in any manner, any quota system in any manner as applied to potato growing. Potato growing is a specialized business, and in that few extra bushels that you grow and market is where you get your profit. That is what we do not want to get away from. Besides that, we like the idea of farming on our own. We do not like to be told what we should do or should not do. We do not mind regulating ourselves or trying to regulate ourselves, and we believe we can do this. At least that is my personal opinion.

I have been growing potatoes since 1925, and I like to grow potatoes. I like to grow seed potatoes. The price of seed potatoes is directly correlated with the price of table stock potatoes. Understand that. Probably_25 percent of the potatoes I grow go into table stock channels, so I am naturally interested in the success of the table stock business. I am also interested in potato growers in other States, and I have a healthy concept and great respect for the potato growers in Pennsylvania, especially for the attitude that they have taken relative to the use of Government money.

We have not been quite so careful as that in Maine, to my sorrow. However, you have heard my remarks as respect to potatoes. As regards the ACP program, I believe the educational effect of that program has been very great and it has served its purpose. I do not desire to have lime given to me or fertilizer given to me. If I cannot stand on my own and make a living growing potatoes, I will do it some other way. Thank you very much. [Applause.]

Mr. McINTIRE. Thank you very much, Mr. Carter. We certainly appreciate the statement that you have made and appreciate your taking the time to be here to appear before this committee today. Our next witness is Mr. Frank Hussey, potato grower of Presque Isle, and I might add, outside of Presque Isle, too, in other parts of the county and in the State.

For the information of the committee, I would like to state that Mr. Hussey is currently serving as president of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, 1 of the 4 major farm organizations of the country. I make that statement for members of the committee for their information because our contacts in Washington, of course, bring us into contact with the major farm organizations. We certainly appreciate the services which the farm organizations render in assisting this committee in many of the farm problems, and one of those, as I stated, is the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, of which Mr. Hussey is president.

STATEMENT OF FRANK HUSSEY, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL COUNCIL

OF FARMER COOPERATIVES, PRESQUE ISLE, MAINE Mr. HUSSEY. Acting Chairman McIntire, Chairman Hope, members of the congressional committee, I would like to make it plain that I am appearing here as a farmer. I am not authorized or delegated in any way to appear for any organization. I have been much interested in the testimony that has been given here today. We have heard an equal amount of applause for a program of controls, and the same amount of applause for rugged independence. So we can see that there is a division of opinion here among the people present and their attitudes toward farm programs.

I realize the time is passing on rapidly, that time does not permit going into a great deal of detail. There are some things, however, Mr. Chairman, that I would like to emphasize for your consideration. Many of them have been brought out already. I will not elaborate very much, but I do want to emphasize particularly some things that seem to me to be of importance in considering the agricultural problems of Maine. And of course, as a potato farmer in Aroostook County, I am more particularly concerned with the problems here that we face.

There are some things that we can do for ourselves, and those deserve first consideration, both by ourselves and by this committee. Some of these things have been stressed, but I would like to repeat them. We can take steps, more effective steps, than we have done so far to ship the better part of our crop, our better quality, through a State marketing agreement or some similar method. That action has yet to be taken. We can still further improve the farm practices that we use as individual growers.

Much progress has been made in the last 20 years, particularly in soil conservation; and in the application of materials a great deal of progress has been made. But still there is a great deal more to be made yet. Those are some of the things that we can do.

We can also encourage other enterprises. You have already been told of the development of the poultry industry here. I would like to make this comment to the committee in further explanation of a statement that Mr. Clements made, that one of the reasons the poultry industry has increased so that it is in the first order of importance now in the increase in the poultry industry interests here in Aroostook County. I think we have helped the poultry industry to assume first place.

We can also do some more things with the livestock industry. There has been a marked increase in both dairy and beef herds in the past 10 years, and the prospects ahead are for still further increases. We can do a great deal more effectively than we have done thus far in advertising and promoting the distribution and marketing of our crop. We have done a great deal, as you have seen this morning, and as you will see this afternoon, in the production. We have not done anywhere near enough yet inthe marketing and proper promotion and sale and distribution of our crop. While we take pride in the fact that we were about the first industry in the country, I believe, to tax ourselves for promotion of our product, nevertheless we have not made as much progress in that respect as we should.

Those are some of the things, gentlemen, that I personally believe we can be doing and have been doing ourselves. Much more remains to be done and will be done. I believe, as we become more conscious of the need for doing some of these things to effectively help ourselves. However, we are dependent today as farmers and as an industry upon many other factors than those that we can control. I would like to point out some of the things that affect us and over which we have little control. First of all, I would like to emphasize the importance of research. The gentlemen of the Congress in 1936, I believe it was, passed a Research and Marketing Act. It is obviously impossible for farmers, no matter how large they may be, no matter how well financed they may be, to do their own research on their own farms, both in production and marketing. So it is the common accepted practice on the part of the Federal Government and the State governments to encourage research work for agriculture.

You passed the Research and Marketing Act in 1936, I believe, to encourage further research and marketing, and also further production research. But the Congress has not seen fit to appropriate the full amount of the moneys available under that act. I would call your attention particularly to the need for doing that. I am told on good authority that the cost of one battleship today exceeds the total amount appropriated by the Federal Government since the beginning of this Nation for agricultural research.

We know that big business organizations like General Electric, DuPont, and General Motors are individually spending more money for research than is the total appropriation by the States and by the Federal Government for agricultural research. We could not have fed this country, nor could we have fed the world ard won the two World Wars, if it had not been for our ability to feed ourselves and to feed our allies. That has been made possible by research work in agriculture and by extension. It was my privilege recently to have a trip to visit some of the agricultural areas of Europe. I was very much impressed by this fact-it was outstanding—that in those countries where extension work and research work are carried on more effectively, where public funds are devoted to those purposes, we find the best agricultural production in those countries. There seems to be a very definite and direct correlation.

So I would urge upon this committee further attention to the need for increasing appropriations for research in both production and marketing. I would also stress, as have others testifying here, the importance of seeing that the McIntire bill, H. R. 3895, be carried through. It has been reported favorably, as we have been told; and we hope it will be passed by the next session. We want to see as potato producers fair and equal treatment and consideration of our commodity in relation to other producers.

There are some factors that we cannot control. We have little control over the cost of oil, over the cost of power, over the cost of fertilizer, over the cost of labor. We have little control over those elements that go into the production of our crop. But a slight excess of production means a drastic curtailment in our income. Those are

« 上一頁繼續 »