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The point was made, you know, that probably an agency in the Department could be abolished, but you cannot abolish the functions so long as the funds are there and must be expended for the purpose for which they are appropriated.
Would you conceive of that as a reasonably sufficient answer to the observation that was heretofore made?
Mr. KLINE. It certainly is a very positive answer. There is no restriction of the power or authority or prerogative of Congress to decide what the programs are going to be and what the funds are going to be spent for. There is a placing of the responsibility for efficient administration with the Department. That is all.
Senator DIRKSEN. Is the federation generally against part of this plan? What about your component units in the various States?
Mr. KLINE. As a matter of fact, we speak for them. We have an annual meeting for the purpose of deciding what the resolutions of the American Farm Bureau Federation are. So far as I know, no State has. We have an agreement whereby a State, if it chooses, has enough authority left after the annual meeting, so that it may, by writing, tell us that it is going to oppose the position of the American Farm Bureau Federation. No State has done so in this instance.
Senator DIRKSEN. The reason for the question is that I believe in 1950 there were some State units that came to appear against plan No. 4, but no such matter has come to my attention now. I know of no State organizations that have appeared in opposition to the plan unless that has happened in my absence.
Mr. KLINE. We all opposed plan No. 4 vigorously.
Mr. KLINE. Yes, indeed. There were some grave deficiencies in that plan. We have pointed them out in this evidence. This matter of unexpended balances is one of them. Complete discretion was given to the Secretary of Agriculture with regard to unexpended balances.
Senator DIRKSEN. That is well nailed down in here. Those purposes, of course, cannot be abolished and sidetracked or circumvented by the Secretary. I think the language is pretty explicit on that point.
Mr. KLINE. That is right.
Senator Smith. You believe that the safeguards are adequate in comparison to the 1950 plan?
Mr. KLINE. Yes, this is our position.
Mr. KLINE. Thank you for this opportunity to present our views.
Senator Smith. We will next hear from Mr. J. H. Meek, director of the division of markets, the Department of Agriculture and Immigration of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
You are from Richmond, Mr. Meek?
STATEMENT OF J. H. MEEK, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF MARKETS,
VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND IMMIGRATION,
Senator Smith. Do you have a statement that you wish to read or would you like to summarize it?
Mr. MEEK. I believe the statement has been distributed.
Senator Smith. Yes, that is right, but would you like to read your statement?
Mr. MEEK. I would like to read it, yes, Madam Chairman.
Mr. MEEK. My name is J. H. Meek, director, division of markets, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Immigration, 1200 East Main Street, Richmond, Va. I was secretary-treasurer of the National Association of Marketing Officials, 1941 to 1944, inclusive, and president in 1951. I am now secretary-treasurer of that association.
While I speak with experience gained from my association of nearly 33 years with representatives in charge of State market work in other States, United States officials and others, and believe my statement has the enthusiastic approval of practically all of the representatives in other States, my remarks are not binding upon any representative of any other State, since the National Association of Marketing Officials does not pass resolutions or take votes of its members on such matters.
The broad field in which we are interested is the improvements in the distribution of foods and farm products from producers to consumers. I shall not burden you with details.
In the early years of our activities, representatives of the States and the United States Department of Agriculture were doing pioneering work, principally the establishment of standards and providing official inspection based on those standards on wholesale lots, market news, and so forth. We did not have much money but we collected fees on a voluntary basis to help finance these services, although the States over the years have put considerable money in these services to pro mote and supervise them. We harmoniously joined our forces in teamwork and developed services that have been indispensable for years, many of which are practically self-supporting.
Most of these services were joint Federal-State services, which is proper. When preparations for World War II were being made, some of us thought that the Federal services should have been coordinated with the State agricultural colleges or the State departments of agriculture, where reasonable cooperation could be secured. Some of us even offered office space for these activities. However, Federal officials seemed to have money they wanted to spend. They went out and established independent offices. In this development there were new persons paid high salaries. Many of them had little background, experience or knowledge in the field for which they were employed. These offices grew rapidly and some activities coordinated with the colleges and State departments of agriculture were brought into them for direction and control. A glaring illustration of this situation is the book entitled, “Food Crisis” published in 1943, by Mr. Roy F. Hendrickson, Director, United States Food Distribution Administration. Please note a quotation from page 239 of that book:
Moreover, it was still difficult to face up to the possibilities and implications of the "newer” knowledge of production efficiency. Few people would openly and fully espouse a program for any reduction of hog and poultry numbers and urge in their place more cereals, potatoes, vegetables, and oilseeds. We were being pushed in that direction by the force of events, but we were not boldly and quickly going in that direction.
This urge was to get rid of all livestock and force the people to live on cereals, soybeans if you please.
Then, permit me to quote from page 261 of the same publication, as follows:
In war we have to hold back the increases in livestock production in order to increase the production of crops that can be consumed directly. That is the only way to get quick increases in production and maximum nutrients for human consumption. For peacetime we can concern ourselves more directly with what people want. We know they want more livestock products, so the all-out production will be a conversion to increase livestock production, particularly at the expense of cereals and other direct-consumption crops. These changes will not have to be made at once-in fact, could not be—but they will have to be the new goal for agriculture.
Please note from this, he predicted that the big job after the war would be to bring back livestock. There was much ridiculous thinking and many ridiculous policies in the United States Department of Agriculture at that time. Large sums of Government money were being spent, and, in the words of one of the most practical and experienced men there, the most these people seemed to think about was to purchase something for which they seemed to think they had unlimited funds. This sentiment prevailed to the extent that some of us felt that there were people in important positions in the Department who thought that the Government should handle foods from producers to consumers.
However, I am happy to say that the thoughts in some minds at that time for the Government to take over the food and farm products did not prevail
, yet we all knew that considerable activity had been going on in that field, and large sums of money have been spent, which many of us believed could have been saved.
During the years following the war, a sentiment for Federal domination instead of teamwork with the States has existed, although many cooperative agreements have been continued and are still in effect.
For the last few years State representatives have considered the matter of taking this situation up with proper committees of Congress, but due to the instability of Congress this was not done, and it was left to see what would happen to increase the possibilities of getting the United States Department of Agriculture reorganized. Plans have been made to go along on some activities in some States independently.
Immediately upon the appointment of Mr. Ezra T. Benson as Secretary of Agriculture, the executive committee of the National Association of Marketing Officials approved a brief statement relating to the reorganization of the United States Department of Agriculture. Please permit me to read that statement, which I submit as exhibit 1.
Many men engaged in State marketing activities, some of which are joint Federal-State activities, particularly those relating to marketing services, believe that marketing activities should be separated from crop controls and price supports. Since these items have been handled under the same heading, where training, time, and thought are on crop controls and price supports, various marketing services appear to have been neglected. Therefore, Mr. E. T. Benson, newly appointed Secretary of Agriculture, is urgently requested to give serious consideration to separating marketing activities of the United States Department from crop controls and price supports. It is also important the Federal services be coordinated more closely with State services.
Men in charge of State marketing services will cooperate enthusiastically with Mr. Benson to bring about these changes.
Subsequent to that, I submitted a chart proposing a reorganization plan for the Department of Agriculture, and a chart proposing a plan for an Agricultural Marketing Administration, with a tabulation of the services suggested to be handled by the proposed Agricultural Marketing Administration and showing agencies presently responsible for these activities. It is our feeling that there should be a dynamic marketing program direct from the Secretary.
Some of the big problems that this marketing program has to solve is worldwide distribution and exchange, identification of quality from producers to consumers, and consumer education. These each might be discussed in detail, but I will leave this off unless you have questions relating to them.
The important problem, as some of us see it, is not so much to get rid of deadwood in the Department, as many of those who have been there for years are more capable and deserving than many who were brought into the Department during the war hysteria and put over those who have rendered faithful and efficient services in their respective fields for years, but it is a matter of reassignment or getting rid of much of the new growth that is not fruitful. In recent years when a problem is taken up it may be discussed by a whole group, none of whom know much about it. They have their differences, and usually nothing is done about it. I was much impressed with a recent radio comment stating that Senator Richard B. Russell of Georgia stated something to this effect: that the people in the United States Department of Agriculture held too many conferences; that when he calls up to talk to the technical men they are often in conference. That is exactly what we find: that they will sit around in conference with one another, have their differences on problems, and do nothing about it. Frankly, in some cases they have 5 men that do that while 1 man with an assistant could actually take the problem, decide on what to do about it, and often have it practically solved before the group arrives at any conclusion. We are getting tired of this kind of treatment and kind of domination, and we hope that a reorganization of the Department will bring about action based on facts, and that services based on teamwork will be developed in cooperation with the States.
I thank you.
Senator Smith. Mr. Meek, do I understand that you are for the plan as presented to Congress?
Mr. MEEK. We are for a reorganization plan, and we have not objection to the proposed plan.
Senator Smith. Thank you very much. Senator Dirksen, do you have any questions to ask Mr. Meek?
Senator DIRKSEN. I just wanted to ask Mr. Meek about his jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I see you are in charge of markets.
Mr. MEEK. In charge of the market division of the State department of agriculture which has to do with all of the improvements in the handling of foods and farm products.
Senator DIRKSEN. Does your statement then represent the official view of the Department of Agriculture of the State of Virginia?
Mr. MEEK. It does. The Commissioner read the statement and approved it.
Senator DIRKSEN. So that really this is official approval on the part of the State department of agriculture in the State of Virginia ?
Mr. MEEK. Yes.
Senator DIRKSEN. I have only one comment to make. I can readily understand your statement as it relates to the necessity for integration and coordination of those things that apply to some particular subject matter and that you can get action and bring it down to the State level. I suppose that is what you are primarily interested in?
Mr. MEEK. Yes, sir.
Senator DIRKSEN. Have you any theory as to how that can be contrived unless some one person is vested with authority so that he can reasonably and sensibly try to bring that about?
Mr. MEEK. I do not see how Congress can act on details of that sort. Certainly it has to be centralized authority in the Department.
Senator DIRKSEN. That is right. I have no further questions.
Mr. MEEK. I might use illustration after illustration of details, but I do not want to take up the time of the committee unless you are interested in certain illustrations.
Senator DIRKSEN. We are familiar with a good many illustrations over a period of years in that field.
Senator Smith. Thank you very much, Mr. Meek.
The Chair would like to make an observation concerning the fear as expressed by a number of witnesses and people from the outside that this plan would permit the Secretary to abolish functions. As the Chair has studied the plan and the Reorganization Act, it would appear to her that the Reorganization Act would provide for abolition of functions only if specifically stated in the reorganization plan itself. And I cannot find anywhere in plan No. 2 where there is any reference to the abolition of functions.
And along this direction I should like to include in the record in bold type at this point section 3 of Public Law 109, 81st Congress (which has previously been inserted in the record) under "Reorganization Plans”': The President, in his message transmitting a reorganization plan, shall specify with respect to each abolition of a function included in the plan the statutory authority for the exercise of such function * * *
Senator DIRKSEN. In that connection, I wonder if we could not put in the record at this point the action taken by Congress in 1950 with respect to plans No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, which were almost identical with the plan that is before us at the present time, the information on which appears on page 107, appendix B of Senate Report No. 4, 83d Congress, 1st session, showing the Senate action on the Hoover Commission reports.
Senator Smith. It is so ordered, and it will be printed in the record at this point.
(Appendix B, p. 107, Rept. No. 4, 83d Cong., 1st sess., is as follows:)