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some things that we cannot control very well ourselves. It is impossible, as we have witnessed many, many times.
So if other commodities are to receive support of one kind or another, we ask that potatoes and other perishables receive similar consideration.
I am reminded of the comparison between the production of both livestock and crops and the production by industry. Industry, if it finds it is producing too many automobiles, can shut down. If it finds it is producing too many shoes it can shut down and wait until the sales of shoes or automobiles are equal to the production and that they are not burdened by great surpluses.
You cannot stop a cow from calving. It is a 9-month program. You cannot stop the potato crop from growing after it is started. We have a terrific investment here, as has been pointed out. We cannot stop the production of other farm commodities as well. So we have a longtime program here that must be considered in the development of any agricultural program for the Nation as a whole.
So we believe it is the Nation's interest to see that agriculture is maintained fairly prosperous, fairly stable; that we eliminate these great peaks and valleys that have been the ruination of farm families for so many years in various industries. We have heard a great deal about the erosion of soils, the erosion of farms, the loss of
values in the farms; but we also want to consider the erosion of people that occurs when farming areas have a depression, when prices are low and kept low by reason of some surpluses. So we must conserve our people as well as conserve our other resources.
We have not been doing enough ourselves in the matter of research. Our own budget here in the State of Maine for agricultural research has been curtailed drastically over the last few years in comparison with the opportunities and needs, and we hope to correct that, too; to see that we do make adequate appropriations. We cannot do these things for ourselves always. We do need some assistance. So we hope that together, through the steps that we take ourselves and in the aid and assistance in correcting some of the factors over which we have no control, agriculture, both here in Maine and elsewhere, will go on to produce for the needs of this country and the needs of the free world. Thank you, gentlemen, for this opportunity. [Applause.]
Mr. MCINTIRE. Thank you very kindly, Mr. Hussey, for your statement. The committee is most appreciative of the time which you have taken to visit with us both yesterday and today. We are on schedule very well, and I stated in my opening remarks that if time permitted, the opportunity would be presented for anyone in the audience to step forward and make a brief statement that would be a part of the record.
We have, as I say, a few minutes and we could allot 2 or 3 individuals about 3 minutes apiece if anyone in the audience would be interested in stepping forward and making a statement to the committee.
STATEMENT OF MAYNARD LOMBARD, CARIBOU, MAINE Mr. LOMBARD. Mr. Chairman, members of the Agriculture Committee of the House of Representatives, I have been asked by the Farm Bureau to represent them in making this statement to this committee. My name is Maynard Lombard, and I am a farmer from Caribou, Maine, and I am secretary of this organization.
The Aroostook County Farm Bureau Association, representing a membership of 500 farmers, wishes to commend this congressional committee for its interest as indicated by its willingness to make this visit. We also want to express the pride that we feel in having in your group our own Congressman, Clifford G. McIntire.
We in Åroostook are proud of our Nation and State, our county, and of our place in the potato industry. Like the neighbors who went west to produce the corn, wheat, and beef, our grandfathers came to this county and made of it the leading potato county of the world. In our pride we are also cognizant of the fact that this did not just happen. It was the result of imagination, work, and initiative. Ours has not been a rosy history, yet we have fed a lot of people in the past 60 years and we have prospered some and have been broke some. We have, however, maintained a good standard of living and have not destroyed the ability of this land to feed future generations. We hope that our children have this opportunity.
Our industry is not without its problems as befits any progressive area or society. These are of both local and national scope. Some of these are manmade, while others are acts of God, particularly weather. Of the manmade problems, those that are the most difficult are the ones arising out of complicated economics: Our ability to purchase the supplies that we must have from other States and nations with the money that we can get for the potatoes we sell. In recent years we have moved to other enterprises as a partial answer. Livestock, crops for canning and freezing, poultry, and other sources of income have been tapped. These help, but potatoes continue to be the major source of our livelihood.
The potato is normally a low-cost food item that is in direct competition for the food dollar of the Nation's consumers. It is storable for only a short period so its price structure is subject to wide fluctuations. The weather here or in California, the cost of transprtation, changes in potato importations, the cost of other foods, the amount of industrial employment and so on also have their effect. In recent years our industry has faced a growing squeeze due to the steady advance in the costs of the supplies, labor, and machines it must purchase. These advances and others, which have tripled in cost the past decade, are in part an outgrowth of big government and its trend toward security for all.
Farmers in general and New England farmers in particular have long held the conviction that the Government owes no one a living. They have thought that too much government in their business was undesirable. We hope that this may still be true. We are, however, concerned by the fact that other segments of our Nation have successfully championed contrary views.
The freight rates we pay and the electricity we burn, the contractors with whom we compete for labor, are protected by our Government on a cost-plus basis. The producers of the so-called basic commodities which do not include potatoes are looking to the United States Treasury for the money that they cannot get in the market place. This is the situation in which we in Aroostook find ourselves. There is much about it that we, from experience, have come to dislike. However, we are a part of the Nation and we cannot live alone for long.
We believe that having visited us, you will better appreciate that we in the potato industry warrant consideration as new farm legislation is drafted.
We supported the passage of H. R. 3895, the McIntire bill, at your hearing in Washington last May and again we take this position of removing the discrimination against Irish potatoes which I trust was not intended by the 81st Congress. We commend Congressman McIntire for introducing this legislation and support it wholeheartedly.
We would also urge that serious thought be given to measures directed toward softening the price valleys which the potato industry often experiences. Many aspects of these situations are national in scope and their correction is wholly beyond the individual or the State. Such endeavors must involve the minimum of Government financial loss and of regulation. Let us recognize, however, that if the potato is to continue to be available as the major low-cost food, efficient production must be encouraged by fair consideration of our problems along with those of other food producers.
The Farm Bureau wishes also to reaffirm its support for an expansion of agricultural research and extension efforts. We are especially in need of work with respect to the physical handling of this potato crop and with marketing problems. Only recently have these fields received real attention. Except for the agricultural research and extension work of past years, this Nation would have faced serious food shortages. Some of these would have occurred in war when with food we were influencing the world's history. A deficit of knowledge in the future can be avoided only by the research that we undertake now.
During the months of September and October the Farm Bureau here and throughout the entire Nation will be holding community, county, and Statewide meetings to discuss these issues and to develop the position that this organization is to take as the voice for its members. We in Maine would like the opportunity to file with your committee a summary of the membership position at the conclusion of this undertaking.
Mr. MCINTIRE. May I state right there, Mr. Lombard, that the records of this hearing will be open, and you may file additional material by forwarding it to the House Committee on Agriculture in Washington and it will be made a part of this record.
Mr. LOMBARD. Thank you, sir. In conclusion, the Aroostook and Maine Farm Bureau Associations wish to state their support of H. R. 3895. We wish to urge that in future agricultural programs the welfare of all food producers be considered together and given like opportunities for stability. We stress the importance of an expanded agricultural research program. We again express our pride that you have visited with us.
Mr. McINTIRE. Thank you very kindly, Mr. Lombard. For the record, it is true, is it not, that the Aroostook County Farm Bureau Association is associated with the State organization of the Maine
Farm Bureau Association, and also is affiliated with the American Farm Bureau Federation ?
Mr. LOMBARD. Yes, sir; that is right.
Mr. MCINTIRE. Thank you. We are very happy to have this statement on the part of the organization you represent. Is there anyone else who would appreciate the opportunity of addressing this committee and placing in the record his personal views relative to whatever he wishes to speak on, except of course directing it to agriculture in Maine?
Mr. Nutter, the commissioner of agriculture for our State. STATEMENT OF FRED NUTTER, COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE
FOR THE STATE OF MAINE Mr. NUTTER. Mc. McIntire, Mr. Hope, gentlemen of the committee, as commissioner of agriculture in the State, I would just like to tell you people how very happy we are that you were interested enough in our problems here in Maine to come here to Maine and listen to them. I think you have gathered already from the testimony which has gone into your records that there are honest differences of opinion here in our State as to what is best for us all.
However, please be assured that they are at least honest opinions, and that on the whole we work together pretty well. At least we are all interested to do what is best to maintain here a stable economy and a good healthy industry here in Maine agriculture. We thank you very much for coming here to Maine.
Mr. MCINTIRE. Thank you very kindly, Mr. Commissioner. [Applause.] I want to state, and I am certain I express the feeling of members of this committee, our deepest appreciation to the commissioner in his assistance in arranging for the hearing here. I think the record should show also that Ďr. Arthur Hauck, president of our land-grant college, the University of Maine, is present here at this hearing. Dr. Hauck, will you stand and take a bow? [Applause.]
Dean Deering, of our college of agriculture, was with us yesterday. Is the dean in the audience at the moment? [Applause.]
We are most appreciative of having the dean with us, Dr. Hauck, and others associated with the land-grant-college experiment station and various State government services in relation to agriculture. I also want to express thanks for the use of these facilities here at Caribou.
Before I turn back this assignment which the chairman has honored me with, I want to say to you folks that it is a real privilege for me to serve with these gentlemen and the others on this committee who are not here who are equally competent and equally fine men. Our committee is made up of 30 Members of Congress, and we are about equally divided as to the major parties, with of course numerical advantage to the party that is currently in the majority in the Congress.
These men are close to agriculture. Some of them are lawyers, some of them are farmers, some of them come from businesses which are close to agriculture. Many of them, in fact virtually all of them, have lived on farms. They know something of agriculture the length and breadth of the land. It has been my observation that, while of course sometimes matters get resolved a bit in relation to territories and to a minor degree at times in relation to political affiliations, in the short time that I have served on this committee, and as others have stated to me, the work of this committee is a bipartisan job; and this committee looks at agriculture not in a political sense but looks at it from the standpoint of the people who are on the farms and the economy which surrounds those individuals on the farms. The issues which we are called upon to resolve are treated in that light, not in an effort to meet the regional problem but to blend the solution into the whole agricultural economy.
This committee, I should state for your information, is the legislative committee of agriculture in the House of Representatives. We are assigned those bills which deal with the legislative aspects of agriculture. A subcommittee of the standing Appropriations Committee deals with the money side of agricultural appropriations, jurisdiction over appropriations or for the Department of Agriculture or the various aspects of the farm picture.
We work closely with the members of that subcommittee. They too are men who have in some instances a major familiarity with agriculture, and frequently we are in touch with them through the chairman, Mr. Hope; and the chairman of that subcommittee, Mr. Andersen of Minnesota, in order that the whole scope of agriculture, as it is handled through the Congress, be closely coordinated.
Certainly it has been a privilege for me to have these men visit Maine. I am proud to have the opportunity for you to become acquainted with them, even perhaps at a bit of distance, but some perhaps more personally. It is through your efforts that this has been possible.
I return the gavel to the distinguished chairman of our committee who has been serving in the Congress approximately 14 terms. I believe, Mr. Chairman, this is your 14th term !
The CHAIRMAN. That is right.
Mr. MCINTIRE. Which at the close of this session means 28 years? [Applause.]
He has served on the Committee of Agriculture all of those years, and by virtue of his seniority is the chairman of the committee in this Congress. Mr. Hope.
The CHAIRMAN. Just in conclusion I want to thank Mr. McIntire for the able way he has presided. I think we have had a fine hearing. I am sure that all the members of the committee feel that way about it. I do not want to go away, and the committee does not want to go away, without leaving with you this further word, that now we have estahlished some contacts here with you, we will be glad to have your
further suggestions with regard to the matters that we have discussed here today and any other matters that you feel will be of interest to our committee and which are of interest to you.
At our hearing down in Massachusetts day before yesterday we had the understanding with those people who were there that if the agricultural organizations of the State and of all kinds and charactersthat is, the statewide organizations or local organizations—in the course of their meetings should adopt resolutions which express their viewpoint on agricultural matters, we will be happy to have them