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a territory of free thinking, direct thinking, and I certainly welcome you and your committee to this great part of the Nation. I hope this afternoon that I shall have the opportunity of showing you personally some of our agricultural land, because we produce here some $250 million worth of agricultural products each year. While we may be termed an industrial State, yet on the other hand, Massachusetts is a great agricultural State. In a recent survey that the Department of Agriculture made attempting to find the first 100 counties of agricultural production in this country, 34 of them were in New England.
So you can understand how proud we are, how proud we must be, of agricultural products in this great section of the country. Getting down to the program which you have here before you today, I wish we had more time to present a unified program of thinking here. I am sure that we would have, had we more time to study this program which we have here as it affects New England.
I feel, as one of the commissioners of New England, that we should have a unified meeting of agriculture in New England so that before your next session of Congress we may present to you a complete brief of the agricultural program as it affects New England and as that program affects the thinking in our country.
The United States program of agriculture as it is in operation at the present time has done much for New England. We have some Federal surveys in our State, Federal crop surveys and marketing surveys, which to my way of thinking are of prime importance in the sale and disposal of our agricultural crops. I hope that those marketing surveys, Mr. Chairman, can continue because they have done a tremendous amount of good and will do a tremendous amount of good.
We are producing tremendous supplies of material, and we must, through a sound promotion program, be in a position like every other industry in this great Nation of ours, to be able to sell them and to be able to provide an adequate return to our farmers in this entire area.
Our school-lunch program, which has been cooperated in by the Federal Government, has done tremendous work in fostering and producing better citizenry for the future of our land. Our soil-conservation program-while people may think that in New England soil conservation does not mean much, that it is in the Western States where soil conservation is of tremendous importance-right here in New England has gone forward by leaps and bounds. You know, they say that soil conservation deals with a few who are living, many who are deceased, and most of whom are yet unborn. I am sure that is true, because with the realization that we have of producing, as we have been told, 38 or 40 percent more food when our population reaches 190 million,
agriculture will mean more then than it does now. There are some Federal programs which have been controversial. One of those, as far as New England thinking is concerned, is your 90-percent parity program which has been in force and effect.' I think pretty generally the people of New England are opposed to a 90percent parity program, that we are in favor more of a flexible program based upon à disaster base which will give to our people in agriculture the opportunity of continuing in business when and if conditions are such that they cannot survive.
I think pretty generally, as far as New England is concerned, with grain prices as they are, fixed with a floor, with the great freight
rates that we have to contend with in New England, New England is not on a basis with the rest of the country. A preferential basis has been given to the rest of the country which I feel very detrimentally affects our poultry industry and our dairy industry.
I do hope that in the discussion of this subject matter which is of prime importance to the entire Nation, New England can be the basis upon which a new program exists.
There is another controversial matter, the PMA payments. I think that as far as Massachusetts is concerned, of course some good has been done. But I do not personally believe that piles of lime resting on farmers' land, unspread and unused, is of benefit to the agricultural people of the State. There are many, many farmers who buy fertilizers, who have done it anyway without AČP payments. There are many farmers who have been benefited by these payments.
That in my opinion at the present time is controversial. You will probably hear more of that today. We have here in Massachusetts some seven or eight thousand members of the State Farm Bureau. It is unfortunate at the moment that their program of determining the thinking in Massachusetts is not ready for distribution. I understand they have seven or eight thousand flyers out asking questions of their farmers. That is one of the reasons why I say that as far as this committee report is concerned, it would be better if we had a New Englandwide meeting, could prepare a definite brief so that we would present a unified report to your committee, say in late November or December before the meeting of your Congress in January:
There are many programs in which we combine with the Federal Government that, to my way of thinking, are of tremendous importance. Of course one area of the country in and of itself cannot necessarily be the thinking which is exercised beneficially throughout the entire Nation. Therefore I feel that as far as New England is concerned, this committee which appeared here I think some 6 or 7 years ago, and did such an able job at that hearing, should give full consideration to the speakers who are going to appear here today on some of the programs. They will go into them more technically than I will, but I do feel that a committee of this kind, coming to Massachusetts--ordinarily we have to go to Washington and speak to you down there—but your coming and sampling the opinion of our farmers in Massachusetts, our grassroots farmers, is beneficial.
As commissioner, I regret that an article appeared in one of our Massachusetts papers stating that this was to be a closed hearing. We in New England do not want closed hearings, Mr. Chairman, on anything. Our minds are open. Our hearts are open. And may I say to you today that we welcome you and we will give you the full extent of our ability and our thinking. I am pretty sure that after you listen to us and hear our program, you will go back to Washington, I hope, imbued with some of the thinking in New England which in your legislation you will put into force and effect, which will become the law of the Nation.
The CHAIRMAN. We thank you, Mr. Broderick. There may be some members of the committee who would desire to ask you a question or two. I do not think we can take too much time in questioning. I believe all the members of the committee will agree with me that we want to hear what you have to say, rather than to have the committee take too much time in questioning, since the time is limited.
However, a few questions sometimes bring out points that cannot be developed in any other way. So I am just going to propose this to the committee and see if the committee is agreeable, because we have not had an opportunity to discuss it. Suppose we limit the questioning by the committee members not to exceed 10 minutes for each witness. Does that seem agreeable to members of the committee? I understand we have 22 witnesses so far and there may be some others. Let us try 10 minutes and see how that works. We may have to cut that down a little bit later.
The Chair will try to recognize the members of the committee so all of them will have a chance to ask questions if we will just start in at the center and move out.
I will ask if there are any questions that the committee members desire to ask of Mr. Broderick at this time.
Mr. Andresen has a question, Mr. Broderick.
Mr. ANDRESEN. Just one question, Mr. Broderick. Will you give the committee some idea of the importance of each segment of your agricultural economy? Which is No. 1?
Mr. BRODERICK. I say that on the records that we have at the present time, our poultry industry leads in the agricultural production in this Commonwealth. That involves about some $90 million a year. Next involved would be our dairy industry, with some $50 million. I might say that our hog industry is of tremendous importance. We have had some difficulty within the last year by reason of vesicular emphysema traveling across the country from California into New England. I might point out to you that Middlesex County, a small county we have, sir, in comparison with some of your great States, produces more hogs than any other county in the United States, which is of importance.
Our floriculture is extremely important, some ten or fifteen million dollars. Our fruit is of great importance in this State. We produce some $8 or $9 or $10 million worth of fruit. And overall, sir, from the records of the United States Government which you represent, I understand we come about the 17th State in production in the entire United States. So that is the story of Massachusetts and New England. The other States can speak for themselves, but it is over a billion dollars of actual production from the soil each year—tremendous, in my opinion.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any other questions?
Mr. JONES. Did you mean to infer that these ACP payments were made for lime that was never applied or spread!
Mr. BRODERICK. I think you will probably hear more about that today.
Mr. JONES. I said did you imply that in your statement?
Mr. BRODERICK. That is right. There have been distributions made which have never been used. That is one of the criticisms which I think will be presented here today. I desire to be fair. I want an impartial presentation of the facts as far as agriculture is concerned. That is what I am trying to do. After all, I represent all the segments of agriculture in this State.
Mr. Jones. That would not be a proper administration of the law where that was done, though?
Mr. BRODERICK. I would not go so far as to say that. I would go so far as to say it would not be a proper interpretation of the farmers' viewpoint of the distribution under ACP.
Mr. ABERNETHY. I do not like to leave it at that. I think we ought to lay it on the table. That would not be a proper administration of the law if they left the lime lying out on the ground without proper distribution; would it?
Mr. BRODERICK. I will not go so far as to directly say that.
Mr. ABERNETHY. Let us put it another way. Would you say, then, in your judgment that that would be good judgment on the part of those who administered the law to permit such a thing?
Mr. BRODERICK. I would say that in my opinion it was not good farming.
Mr. Poage. Do you consider that good and honest administration?
Mr. BRODERICK. I would not directly answer it that way, as good honest administration. I think I would say that a farmer who leaves his products or his lime out in the open, who takes it from the Govern. ment under such circumstances, there is something wrong with the program.
Mr. Poage. What would you say of the committee that approves giving that farmer lime that he does not use?
Mr. BRODERICK. I think in many instances the committee have no knowledge how that farmer's mind operates.
Mr. PoAGE. I can remember that my father used to tell me if a man cheated me one time, that was his fault. That if he cheated me a second time, that was my fault. These committees have had a good many years to see those farmers.
Mr. BRODERICK. I didn't say that.
Mr. Poage. No; but I said it. These committees have had a good many years to see those farmers. What are you going to say about the committee that lets a farmer get lime several times without using it? What are you going to say about the second and third time?
Mr. BRODERICK. I do not think it is so much the committee as it is the program that allows the committee to do such a thing.
Mr. PoAGE. Is there anything in the program that authorizes the giving of lime or any other aid to a farmer who will not use it?
Mr. BRODERICK. That I cannot say, sir, but I do say this Mr. POAGE. You are familiar with the law ? Mr. BRODERICK. I certainly am, but there are many interpretations of the same law I am beginning to find.
Mr. POAGE. Do you interpret the law as being so broad as to intend that a committee should approve the request of a farmer when they, by experience, know that he is not going to use the product?
Mr. BRODERICK. If they know by experience that he is not going to use it, I think they should not approve that application on that basis.
Mr. PoAGE. But I understand you to say it is common practice in this community that it is not being done?
Mr. BRODERICK. No; I did not say it is a common practice. I think my record will bear that up. Mr. Poate. But you did say it is not an unusual practice?
Mr. BRODERICK. It is matters which have come to my attention, and in my presentation here today of the programs that exist in this country of ours so far as they affect Massachusetts, I wanted to bring that to your attention. There are hundreds of farmers, Mr. Representative, that are getting benefits from these programs.
Mr. Poage. Is it or is it not a common practice that you have told us about?
Mr. BRODERICK. I wouldn't go so far as to say it was a common practice. I do not like the use of your "common practice.” It has not come to my attention as a common practice, but I do know that it is being done, and I bring it to your attention for what it is worth.
The CHAIRMAN. We thank you very much, Mr. Broderick. Perhaps this discussion will develop a little farther as we go along on that point. We will be glad to hear other witnesses on that matter. The next witness is Mr. Perley I. Fitts, commissioner of agriculture for the State of New Hampshire. We will be happy to hear from you, sir. We remember you from 6 years ago and we are happy to have you with us again.
STATEMENT OF HON. PERLEY I. FITTS, COMMISSIONER OF AGRI
CULTURE OF THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
Mr. Firms. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, we are very proud to have you here. The farmers of this northern region appreciate the interest that this committee is showing in coming here to Amherst to listen to and obtain the views and opinions of our area farm people. As you know, all farmers face certain problems, some of which are beyond their control and some are man-made problems which we understand you are concerned with today.
I wanted to remind you of that New England story that perhaps you have forgotten since you were here about 6 years ago, about the farmer who was filling out this insurance blank and one of the questions appeared to be if he had ever had any accidents in his life. He allowed as he hadn't, but the man who was helping him make out the papers said "Well, didn't you ever get injured in any way?” “Oh, yes, sure, I have been injured a good many times."
"Tell me about one of them ?
“Why,” he says, "There was that time when I was in the hospital for 3 weeks after the bull threw me over the fence."
“Well, wasn't that an accident?”
You know, as a matter of fact, I think that is one of the things that highlights my introduction, that most of these problems we are discussing are man-made. They are something that we have built up within ourselves.
We know that your committee as a whole in recent years has not held the same opinion on several national agricultural matters, as have our farmers in New Hampshire, New England, and the Northeast. This courtesy extended of allowing us to present our view today is certainly appreciated, and let me thank you now for that privilege.
I expect one of the most talked about subjects that your committee will hear about is this matter of mandatory high-support prices as opposed to a more flexible base with prices varying to the pattern of production. Our farmers in New Hampshire have vigorously opposed mandatory support prices, and the Congressmen from our area have opposed them as indicated by their record.