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years. In fact, conservation activities should be accelerated to keep land productivity equal to the needs of the increase in population. Maine farms and Maine farmers are strategically located in this part of the country where population and industry are concentrated. It
may well be, therefore, that our acres require even greater responsibilities and our best management, including sound conservation practices in the future.
One other thing I would like to say, which I feel is quite disturbing to some of us here in the State who feel the need of continuing some of these conservation practices that we have been carrying out. I feel that possibly things are taking place in the Department which seem to be a bit contrary to the reports of the Agricultural Committees, as I have followed the reports that have come out. It seems, as I follow it, that you have had in your mind turning over more of the determination of local practices to the State. In other words, letting the States decide what their most needed practices are and letting them carry them out the best way to that particular State.
As I have received word from the Department, it seems to be more or less of a new version of an old story coming in that we are just not going to be permitted to go along that way. We had a meeting in New
York a few weeks ago, and at that meeting there was a suggested program presented. As we took that program, broke it down for the State of Maine and compared it with our 1952 program, lese than 10 percent of our 1952 program would be carried out. That seems like a very small amount. We are just hoping that maybe this can be clarified, if it is the real feeling--and I believe it is of the Congress that the States have more to say. I hope you will back up some of us here in the Northeast who feel that perhaps we need something that is not being presented in the present program by the Department. Thank you.
Nr. MCINTIRE. We will have to limit the time on questioning until we get pretty well along in this hearing, and perhaps we will have a little more time and some witnesses may be called back by a member of the committee. However, we will have about 5 minutes if you would please stand by, Mr. Pike, for questioning from the committee. Does any member of the committee wish to ask Mr. Pike a question!
Mr. KING. Mr. Pike, how much is this program for Maine costing the taxpayers? How much ACP money has come into the State of Maine?
Mr. PIKE. Over the 17 years or just the last year?
Mr. KING. How much of that $1 million went for lime and chemical fertilizers
Mr. PIKE. I cannot give that exactly. I would say under 70 percent of it.
Mr. King. Do you consider that the application of lime and chemical fertilizers helps to conserve the soil in the sense of holding the soil ?
Mr. Pike. I definitely feel that lime goes a long way that way. I also feel that the others with the type of agriculture that we have over a lot of New England—are also helpful.
Mr. King. How can lime help to hold soil when it really makes it more friable and loose?
Mr. PIKE. I think by bringing on a better cover there; and it goes a step beyond that probably, to really giving a real material there for a livestock base.
Mr. KING. You grow these cover crops, of course, in your regular rotation for the production of cash crops ?
Mr. PIKE. We do not much in the dairy section; primarily grass.
Mr. KING. Do you think the Federal Government should buy lime, and fertilizer for farms?
Mr. Pike. I feel they should help out at least on lime, and I feel to a certain extent on some of the others.
Mr. MCINTIRE. Any other questions of Mr. Pike?
Mr. POAGE. Mr. Pike, we had testimony when we had the hearing at Amherst, Mass., to the effect that in a certain area there was a great deal of líme being shipped in and allowed to stand in the field year after year. That testimony seemed to be questioned, but it was the testimony of one witness. I just wonder if you have any such situation as that in Maine?
Mr. PIKE. I feel that there will always be that thing to a certain extent. We did have that thing back years ago. During the years when lime was given away, there was a lot of it that went out that way.
Mr. PoAGE. It has been a good many years since lime was given away.
Mr. PIKE. That is right. There is very little of that, I think, over the State at the present time.
Mr. Poage. In other words, you feel most of the lime offered by the Government assists the farmer and is put to his beneficial use?
Mr. PIKE. I feel that is very nearly 100 percent.
Mr. Harvey. Mr. Pike, the present form of the PMA program is a sharing of the program with the farmer for these practices, including the application of lime and fertilizer. I think it was the general thinking at the time the plan was inaugurated that it would serve as an incentive system to induce farmers to follow practices that they might not have followed otherwise, and as such it was justified as an educational program. I think it has had several years now in which to demonstrate its usefulness and to acquaint the farmers with the value of these practices.
Without prejudice, because I am only just asking this question to bring out a fact, do you think if the program were to be discontinued, the educational benefit would have achieved its objective and that the farmers would now go ahead and follow these practices without incentive payments ?
Mr. Pike. I think to a certain extent they would; your larger farmers definitely would. On the other hand, I think a lot of them would probably slide back and not continue that.
Mr. HARVEY. Would you want to give just a rough estimate as to how much longer you think a program of that kind should be carried on to achieve the purpose?
Mr. PIKE. I would almost feel that it would be quite some time. I think these figures that I show here-with better than 60 percent of the pH not up to five-sixths at the present time-show that we have a long ways to go.
Mr. Harvey. Do you have any figures to show what percent of the farmers have participated in the ACP program in one form or another?
Mr. PIKE. I would say, as I spoke at the very first of it there, we have about 12,500 who have participated annually. The census for 1950 gave the total number of farms selling farm products valued at over $2,500 as 10,500. So we have quite a bit over that figure; but of course we work with the large farmers down to very small farming operations.
Mr. Harvey. So what you are saying is that the program has had rather wide acceptance.
Mr. PIKE. I would say very wide acceptance.
Mr. ABERNETHY. I would like to pursue the question propounded by Mr. Poage just a litle further. It was also stated in the adjoining State, or indicated, that this lime was piled out on the farm and the practice payment was made to the farmer for it. Do you know whether or not such has been the case up here?
Mr. PIKE. Was piled out? Mr. ABERNETHY. It was not spread. Mr. Pike. It is not the common practice now. In other words, you will always find somebody, due to sickness or something, who does not apply it.
Mr. ABERNETHY. That is not my question. Do you make a practice. payment to one who does not spread his lime?
Mr. PIKE. No; not if we know it.
Mr. ABERNETHY. We have a ceiling of $2,500 per farm. This year the House reduced it to $1,000 and the Senate put it up to $1,500 and the conferees accepted $1,500. Do you not think that is a rather high ceiling?
Mr. PIKE. Personally I would say it was high.
Mr. ABERNETHY. Do you feel you would get more benefit from the program if the ceiling were lower? Would the materials not be spread further, would the practices not be spread further, over more farms: and more acres?
Mr. Pike. In this State we have very few of those real large owners who come anywhere near to that.
Mr. ABERNETHY. The main thing you want is the most conservation and the most practice. Where would you get the most? Would you get the most at a lower ceiling, the present ceiling, or a high ceiling?
Mr. PIKE. Personally I would believe a lower ceiling.
Mr. ALBERT. Mr. Pike, you have mentioned the extensive use of lime, and of course you know there has been a considerable amount of talk about permanent and temporary practices, with lime always being referred to as a temporary practice and as a practice that aids: the farmer more than soil conservation. Do you not think that farm ponds, which are widely used in my district, are also a direct and immediate aid to the farmer?
Mr. PIKE. I am not too strong personally on farm ponds. They are very necessary, I will admit that. But it is one of the things: which I feel is not one of the essentials of the soil conservation program
Mr. ALBERT. Yet the farm pond, I think, is considered a permanent practice and is highly favored, while there has been some exception taken to the use of fertilizers and lime because the farmers thought you ought to spread the fertilizer and lime at your own expense.
Mr. PIKE. In some of our meetings that we have had with the various counties, it has seemed to be that the farm pond was one of the practices that possibly they would discontinue. It has not been so much especially on the lime practices back through your county and community committees.
Mr. MCINTIRE. Mr. Pike, may I just ask one short question which you can answer with a yes or no. But in order that the record may show: Is it correct to state that the PMA organization men are very definitely in favor and strongly urge that, in the administration of this program, while there are differences as to practices in various States depending on the type of agriculture, topography, and so forth, the decision as to what practices are applicable should rest largely with the State committee; and that insofar as possible the administration of this program at the Washington level should be sufficiently flexible in order that the practices best adapted to the State would be the practices incorporated in the current year's program for the State ?
Mr. PIKE. I definitely feel that, yes.
Mr. MCINTIRE. And that would in your opinion be also applicable to other New England States, and that their positions as far as you know might be approximately the same?
Mn. PIKE. I feel that is true.
Mr. McINTIRE. And in this issue which is currently being resolved at the administrative level, and which was set forth somewhat in the conferees' report as between permanent practices or semipermanent practices or recurring practices, in your opinion—and you are speaking for the State PMA-those issues should basically be resolved at the State level rather than be mandatorily resolved at the national level?
Mr. PIKE. Yes.
Mr. MCINTIRE. Thank you very much, Mr. Pike. The next witness is Mr. Norris Clements of Winterport, Maine. Mr. Clements, please state your name and the segment of agriculture that you are in yourself. I can say that Mr. Clements is a working poultryman, having very substantial poultry operations in southern Maine.
STATEMENT OF NORRIS CLEMENTS, WINTERPORT, MAINE
Mr. CLEMENTS. Mr. McIntire, Chairman Hope, members of the committee, and friends: I can admit to the introduction that I am a poultryman. I am proud to be introduced as a poultryman in the State of Maine. I cannot qualify as a speaker. When I was in prep school after my name and picture they put down this notation, that the Sphinx and I had a contest once to see who could go the longest without saying anything. "The result was that Clem won hands down." Ever since then I have found that if I talk little, I kept out of trouble much. So for 25 years I have not been talking much, and this is going to be your headache and my suffering, but I will try to give you a few figures on the poultry industry in the State; and I certainly can answer yes or no to questions if I have an opinion.
The poultry industry in the State of Maine, I am proud to stateand it takes courage to say it here—is the leading cash-income branch of the Maine agricultural enterprise. I figured if I could get by that one, I would be all right.
Mr. McINTIRE. You may not get off so easily in the long run, but continue.
Mr. CLEMENTS. From the figures of the Bureau of Agricultural Economic Reports for 1951, poultry produced a cash income in the State of Maine of $62,543,000. Potatoes produced $49,077,000. Dairy produced $31,751,000. Meat animals produced $11,783,000. We did not have a very large turkey industry that year, but the next year we had $1-million turkey industry that was added to the State.
So you can see from this that poultry accounts for one-third of the total agricultural income and is the No. 1 source of the gross agricultural income. We have a varied poultry industry here in that many branches of it are firmly fixed here. Eggs account for $30,563,000; commercial broilers account for $23,928,000; farm chickens account for $8,052,000. And to that you would have to add our turkey industry of $1 million.
We have had sound and steady growth in the egg and hatching-egg branch of our industry over the last 15 or 20 years, but we have had a phenomenal growth in our broiler industry. We had on January 1, 1953, 3,600,000 layers; and in 1953 we raised 23 million broilers. The layers have increased from the 1935-39 average of 1,616,000 to the 1953 figure of 3,600,000. In other words, it has more than doubled in that period of time.
Our 1935–39 average of broilers was 334,000, and in 1952 we raised 24 million broilers. This accounts for about a 7,900-percent increase from 1940 to 1953. About one-third of the birds that are in egg-producing flocks are producing hatching eggs, and practically 100 percent of these birds are officially tested in Maine. Maine was one of the first States to realize the value of pullorum-clean stock, and we have maintained a very high percentage of clean birds since then. Practically the only time we get a reactor in a poultry flock in this State is when somebody thinks the grass is greener in the Midwest and they send out there for a flock that is not pullorum clean and it spoils our record for us. I am going to get it from both sides here pretty quick.
This last year we only had two infected flocks, and they amounted to 365 birds out of 432 flocks that amounted to 1,344,000 birds. About 25 percent of the birds and about 33 percent of the value of our eggs are accounted for in the hatching-egg bracket, and the market for these eggs is of course in Maine and through New England, the Del-Mar-Va Peninsula, and Georgia. Our hatchery business in this State has not been able to quite keep up with the demand for baby chicks in this State. About 70 percent of Maine broiler chicks are hatched by local hatcheries, and the other 30 percent are shipped in or delivered in from nearby States.
About 75 percent of our broilers are White Rock birds. We had a quick transformation in the last few years from the Barred Rocks to the White Rocks. The table eggs are produced by a Rhode Island Red and Barred Rock cross which we call a sex-linked cross. Rhode Island Reds and Leghorns are increasing at the present time.