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I Tentative estimates. Preliminary estimates will be published in early March.
Cash receipts from farm marketings, Government payments, value of home-produced
3 Realized gross income minus production expenses.
• This series is total gross farm income minus production expenses. Total gross farm income is realized gross farm income plus value of change in farm inventory.
Total net income of farm operators, plus farm wages of farm workers living on farms. 6 Income to persons on farms from farming plus income to persons on farms from nonfarm sources.
; Value of farm real estate less value of dwellings, crops held for feed, livestock, machinery,
and equipment, less 60 percent of the automobile and demand deposits used for production. Farm debt has been deducted from the value of productive assets.
1 Price Adjustment Act of 1938, $201,000,000; cotton price adjustment, $8,000,000.
Realized net income per farm represents income within year and is the net realized return to farmer's labor, management and capital combined. For an analysis of hourly returns to farm operator and family labor, after allowing for 4.75 percent return on capital investment, see following table, estimated return per hour to all farm labor, 1940 and 1946-57.
2 Productive farm assets less farm debt. 3 Preliminary.
Hourly earnings of factory workers and urban retail food prices, United States,
1 Gross earnings do not include an adjustment for fringe benefits or for tax deductions.
Mr. WHITTEN. I will also insert into the record at this point a table showing significant factors bearing on farm income taken from the above tables.
(The table referred to is as follows:)
Mr. WHITTEN. These tables were prepared by your own ment and were submitted to the committee.
From those tables it is apparent, first, prices paid by farmers during your administration increased from an index figure of 287 to 296.
The ratio of prices received by farmers has gone down from 100 in 1952 to 82 percent of parity in 1957.
INCOME TO THE FARMER
The receipts and income from farming in the years that you have been in charge of the Department, taken from those tables which your own Department has submitted in the record, are as follows:
Cash receipts from farming have gone down from $32.6 billion in 1952 to $30 billion in 1957. That is from the sales of agricultural commodities by farmers.
The net income from farming, including direct payments which your administration is making from the Treasury, has dropped from $14.3 billion in 1952 to $11.5 billion in 1957.
Now, net income from all sources, including the pay that the farmer is making from his work in town, or some other place other than the farm, in 1952 was $23.1 billion and in 1957, $20.2 billion.
His net income from 1956 to 1957, when you count what he made in town and count the direct payments from the Treasury, goes up approximately $100 million, from $20.1 billion in 1956 to $20.2 billion in 1957.
But if you go a little further and look you will see that the farm debt has increased from 1952, when it was $14.6 billion to $19.5 billion in 1957.
Now, net income from farming decreased from 1952, when it was $2,630 to $2,374 in 1957.
Net income from all sources has dropped from $2,789 in 1952 to $2,496 in 1957.
The farmer's investment required per farm has increased. In 1952 the farmer could farm with an average investment in his farm of $23,188. In 1957, that farmer had to have an investment of $27,000.
Now, the farmer's income in 1952, figured on a percentage basis of his return from his capital investment in the farm, was 12.8 percent. In 1957, however, his return was only 10.4 percent.
The return that the farmer got for his labor, according to your own records, in 1952 was 82.7 cents per hour, and that decreased to 68.9 cents per hour in 1957.
I mention that so we may have in the record what has happened in your administration, and while we have been following your theory.
It leads to this point. When we throw in what the farmer has been making in town and come up with the figure that you used-your statement does say "including income from all sources”-it shows that the farmer made $684 on the farm and he made $309 in the city.
Is the $309 that he made in town or off the farm his gross income, or did you subtract any costs that he might have in connection with that income?
Secretary Benson. We used the net income and not gross income. We have the figure here in an official table from the Department showing the per capita income to persons on farms from farming in 1957, from which you quoted the one figure of $684.
Mr. WHITTEN. From farming? If we add the $309 made in town it is $993 per year.
Secretary BENSON. At least the highest since 1952. In 1951 and 1952, per capita income from farming was higher than in 1957. When nonfarm sources are included it makes 1957 a record high.
Mr. WHITTEN. That includes, does it not, the hundreds of millions of dollars in direct payments from the Treasury through the soil bank and other programs?
Secretary Benson. Those are included.
Mr. WHITTEN. With the farmer making only $309 per year in town, it would appear he is paid low rates also for his labor.
Secretary Benson. I am sure, Mr. Chairman, that all of us would like to see farm income higher and farm prices higher, and I am very pleased that we have had some improvement in farm prices in the last 2 years. But on this question of debt, I think more important than total debt is the ratio of debt to total farm assets. We have had a very substantial increase in owner equities. They rose 7 percent during 1957 to an all-time high peak. The ratio of debt to assets is about 11 percent today compared with, say, 19 percent back in 1940. So while debts have increased a little, equities have also increased and real estate values have gone up.
Mr. WHITTEN. Mr. Secretary, you are a hard man to tie down to the full figures. I realize your Department has so many figures that you can usually reach over and get some other one.
Secretary Benson. I am not familiar with all of them, Mr. Chair
Mr. WHITTEN. I notice further on in this speech that you made out in Minneapolis, quoting from the same page at the bottom, you say: The postwar downtrend in prices which started in 1951 has been stopped. Prices received by farmers in February were 8 percent above a year ago and 11 percent above 2 years ago, and at the highest level since May 1954.
I would point out while that price level seems to have stopped, as you say, including all the means that you have taken, they have stopped temporarily, apparently, 10 percent below the 1947–49 average and you stabilized them about 20 percent below 1951.
You go further and say: "The buildup of surpluses has been reversed." That is the Commodity Credit Corporation investment. "Government investment," as you say, "in surplus farm commodities owned and under loan has dropped about 1 percent in the past year and a half."