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Moreover, I am inclined to think that the setting up of full-time high-paid officials in Commodity Credit Corporation separate from Production and Marketing Administration was both unwise and unnecessary.
My point, Madam Chairman, is that I am inclined to think that the Secretary of Agriculture should have the authority to run that Department commensurate with the responsibility that rests upon his shoulders. But I hasten to add that I want some assurance that he will not use that power to disrupt and weaken the organizational structure of the Department's agencies nor take unwise action that will destroy the effectiveness of the programs that have been built up over the past years.
I notice that several Congressmen and Senators have taken notice in the Congressional Record of the statements of the Under Secretary of Agriculture, Mr. Morse, concerning the need to remove from agriculture a large number of farmers and allow their land to grow up in grass and forests. That attitude, Madam Chairman, is to my mind completely irresponsible and outrageously brutal. I suggest that your committee will want to assure itself and farmers generally in these hearings that this "plow under the farmers" philosophy will not be the determining criterion under which the Secretary will make use of the great grant of powers that will be given him under Reorganization Plan No. 2.
I think that you should find out whether the Secretary means to disperse the functions of Farmers' Home Administration as a means of hastening the process of removing what is the so-called marginal and submarginal farmers. I should think that you would want to be reassured on this point before you allow the reorganization plan to go into full force and effect.
Frankly and honestly, I must say to you that, so far, I am not well impressed by the performance of the Secretary of Agriculture on these points. If my present impressions are a reliable forecast of what additional actions the Secretary might take if given all these new powers, the only tenable position open to me is to urge you to recommend enactment of the resolution before you that will nullify this proposed grant of power. If, on the other hand, the Secretary of Agriculture is prepared to reassure the committee and the farmers of this country that he will not use this great power to weaken and disrupt the programs, I would reserve my position until I could examine the different proposed changes he plans to make.
If the Secretary of Agriculture is at this time unable and unwilling to state frankly and fully how he plans to use this power he has asked for, let us turn down this plan now, and instruct him to come up later with another reorganization plan after he has had enough time to make all the studies that will enable him to be more specific.
That, Madam Chairman, is the thinking of the farmers whom I am privileged to represent at this hearing this morning. We are fearful of delegating vast powers to any individual, and I am saying this in a nonpartisan spirit, because after all, we are dependent upon Congress, the representatives of the people, to make recommendations and policies for our departmental heads to guide their thinking and their functioning in behalf of the people.
We are appreciative, of course, of the fact that the United States Department of Agriculture is a vast setup, and I would say controlling the most important job of any function in government, dealing with folks who produce the all-important needs for our everyday life--food and fiber--and as a representative of that group, I am very much interested that they get a fair break and that they be given an opportunity to help formulate or draft any administrative changes in our present farm programs.
We are very much interested in our farm programs. We do not want to see them weakened, and we do not like to see it come into being that one man shall have the exclusive authority to add or detract, without the consent of Congress and without knowing what is involved.
There apparently is a move on to weaken our present farm programs by cutting appropriations and taking away some of the functions that have been taken care of by the farmers themselves, who this program vitally affects, and the farmers are concerned about it. We feel that the Congress should definitely lay down the policies, especially on things that affect agriculture, and the various agriculture programs that we have experienced for quite some time.
I want to say that I greatly appreciate this privilege on behalf of the people of the organization whom I am here representing to appear before this committee expressing our views in this proposed reorganization plan of the Department of Agriculture.
Senator Smith. Thank you very much, Mr. Opsahl.
Did I understand that you are an official of the Farmers' Union in Huron, S. Dak.?
Mr. Opsahl. Yes. The headquarters of the South Dakota Farmers' Union are at Huron.
Senator Smith. You, as an official of the State organization, are also representing the national organization?
Mr. Opsahl. Yes, madam chairman.
Senator Smith. Thank you very much. I wanted that for the record.
Thank you very much, Mr. Opsahl, for giving us the benefit of your own views and those of the Farmers' Union of South Dakota.
Mr. Opsahl. Thank you very kindly, Madam Chairman.
Mr. Sanders, it has gotten to be later than I had hoped it would be when we got to you. The Chair will leave it with you entirely as to whether you wish to proceed now, or if you prefer to wait and come in tomorrow morning.
Mr. SANDERS. I would prefer to come in tomorrow morning, if it would be all right, Madam Chairman.
Senator Smith. Following Senator Johnston?
Senator Smith. You will be the second witness, unless some other senator expresses a desire to come in tomorrow.
Mr. SANDERS. Thank you. I will be here.
I have one very brief statement which I could file in another committee and be here tomorrow morning. But that need not interfere with your plans, Madam Chairman.
Senator Smith. You would prefer, then, to wait over until tomorrow?
Mr. SANDERS. Yes, I think so, if it would be all right.
Senator Smith. That will be fine. The subcommittee will be very glad to hear you tomorrow.
Mr. SANDERS. Thank you.
Senator Smith. If there is nothing further, the subcommittee will stand adjourned until tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock, and the first witness will be Senator Johnston of South Carolina.
(Whereupon, at 12:20 p. m., the subcommittee recessed, to reconvene at 10 a. m. Wednesday, May 13, 1953.)
REORGANIZATION PLAN NO. 2 OF 1953
(Department of Agriculture)
WEDNESDAY, MAY 13, 1953
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 10 a. m., in room 357, Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C., Senator Margaret Chase Smith (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Senators Margaret Chase Smith (Republican, Maine), Henry C. Dworshak (Republican, Idaho), Everett McKinley Dirksen (Republican, Illinois), and John M. Butler (Republican, Maryland).
Present also: Senator John L. McClellan (Democrat, Arkansas); Walter L. Reynolds, chief clerk and staff director; Ann M. Grickis, assistant chief clerk; and Glenn K. Shriver, professional staff member.
Senator Smith. The subcommittee will come to order.
The Subcommittee on Reorganization will continue its hearings on Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1953. Yesterday we heard from Senator Richard B. Russell, of Georgia, and Mr. Paul Opsahl of the Farmers Union of South Dakota. There was not time to complete the witnesses. Senator Johnston who was here the entire forenoon has come back this morning and will be first to appear.
Mr. Sanders was here yesterday, for the National Grange, and will come back, and we hope to continue on through the day as long as we need to, to finish with the witnesses whom we have promised to hear.
Senator Johnston, we are very glad to have you here this morning, Other members of the subcommittee will be right along. Some had other committee meetings to attend. Senator Dworshak will be here right away. But I think that we can start if you are willing to.
Senator JOHNSTON. Very well.
STATEMENT OF HON. OLIN D. JOHNSTON, A UNITED STATES
SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA Senator Johnston. Madam Chairman and distinguished colleagues, I am appearing before your subcommittee in support of Senate Resolution 100, introduced by Senator Richard B. Russell, of Georgia. The object of this resolution, of course, is to put the Senate on record as not approving Reorganization Plan No. 2, which would otherwise become effective on June 3, 1953, and would bring about the transfer of substantial authority and power from the Congress to the Secretary of Agriculture for the purpose of reorganizing the agencies of the Department.
Let me say, at the outset, that my position today on the proposed grant of authority to the Secretary of Agriculture is the same as the stand I took in 1950 when an almost identical plan was sent to the Congress by President Harry S. Truman. In fact, you may recall that Senate Resolution 263 providing for disapproval of plan No. 4 was introduced on April 24, 1950, by Senators Holland, Schoeppel, Thye, and myself. It was a bipartisan resolution. I bring this out in order to emphasize that the views I express here today are not, in any sense of the word, partisan political views. To the contrary, they represent my earnest convictions, first, as the result of a lifelong experience with farm policies and programs and, second, as the result of a detailed study of manpower utilization and to an extentmanagement in the Department of Agriculture which was completed just last year, 1952, by the Subcommittee on Federal Manpower Policies, of which I served as chairman. With regard to the study by that subcommittee, I should like to say that while it strengthened my original objections to plan No. 4, and to the basic principles of the plan being offered to Congress at this time, it did serve to modify my views in certain respects. Naturally, I want to bring these modifications to the attention of the subcommittee and I shall discuss them at a later point in my remarks.
Before we attempt to weigh the merits of plan No. 2-which actually is a proposal for a grant of general authority to the Secretary of Agriculture - I think it would be helpful if we came to a common understanding as to the character of the Department of Agriculture and, then, consider briefly the setting in which this authority is requested. In other words, what ramifications might plan No. 2 have in our own States? And is this the most favorable time for granting the authority to make broad reorganizations without referral to and approval of the Congress-in the Department of Agriculture?
As we all know, the Department of Agriculture is the central organization of hundreds of State, local, public, cooperative, and private agencies that serve the farmers, and all the people, by means of research, education, credit, resource conservation, marketing services, income stabilization, disease and insect control, regulation, and policy formulation.
The ties between the Department of Agriculture and our own State and county organizations are very close. To illustrate this, we need only to look at a few organizations. For example, the Agricultural Research Administration, composed of 9 bureaus, employs roughly 4,500 professional research workers and aides. These employees, in turn, work hand in hand with about 6,000 research workers and aides employed by the States themselves in 53 agricultural experiment stations.
The Extension Service, composed of only 250 full-time employees, is our Federal leadership service, and advisory unit of the Cooperative Extension Service, operating through the land-grant colleges and universities of the States with about 12,000 cooperating agents.
Of the 3 agricultural credit bureaus-each making different types of loans—Rural Electrification Administration employs 1,120 people and lends to 1,302 REA borrowers and cooperatives. Farmers'