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Eighth, an appropriation of $250 million is only a little over threehundredths of 1 percent of $72 billion budget. Statistics available indicate that the entire Department of Agriculture budget is only 6 percent of the total. This appears to be a very low figure for agriculture when we consider the importance of agriculture to the well being of the Nation. It appears that the conservation of our national agricultural resources, as attained through the operation of the ACP, should easily be worth three-hundredths of 1 percent of the national budget. We bring it into all these other Federal and State agencies and then they have an advisory committee, that some of the bankers sit in on, some of the other groups, and they go over the practices and send them into the national office, and it has the greatest approval of most people than any other program in our State. I noticed in this last one they recommended an appropriation for the 1959 ACP of $500 million. That is in my last paragraph. And it is a program I would say that has more general application and general appreciation than any other program that I know, with more groups of people than I know. I certainly appreciate this opportunity to file this statement. If you have any questions. I will be glad toMr. WHITTEN. Mr. Floyd, I will be very glad indeed to have your statement. (The statement is as follows:)
STATEMENT OF E. Y. FLOYD ON BE HALF OF AGRICULTURAL CoNSERVATION PROGRAM
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, it is a distinct privilege for me to appear before you. It is my desire to testify in behalf of the agricultural conservation program and to request that the appropriation for ACP be maintained at its present level, as a bare minimum. I am sure you know the original legislation, which authorized the ACP, also authorized an annual appropriation of not over $500 million with which to operate the program. For the last few years the appropriation has been approximately $250 million, which means that the program is operating at about 50 percent of its potential. I strongly recommend that practices now approved under the 1958 ACP be continued for the 1959 ACP. 1. Conservation is a matter of concern to all segments of our population.—The rise and fall of nations depends on the productivity of their soils. An underfed nation can never be a leader of nations. The bankers, the lawyers, and all other segments of our population should be just as interested as the farmer in assuring that there will be an adequate supply of food and fiber for all times. In North Carolina, and other States with a high rainfall, of approximately 50-inches annually, the conservation program is most essential. There is not much more good farm land that can be cleared from the forests. This means that if the people do not begin conserving, and we are now late, we can dissipate our natural resources by erosion. When the soil becomes eroded, the farmers fall by the wayside first, business, churches, and the standard of living of people goes down rapidly. This I hope will not happen to us in America, and it will not, as long as we place proper emphasis on conservation of the soil, our most important natural resource. Our North Carolina State Handbook for ACP carries a “foreword” by Mr Benson which states in part, “All the people of this Nation, not the famers and ranchers alone, have a stake in and a part of the responsibility for protecting and conserving our farm and ranch lands.” 2. Performance of conservation practices does not always result in an immediate increase of income to the farmer.—The preparation of a conservation plan for a farm may include the return of some of the cropland to trees. In Southern States, particularly North Carolina, about one-half of the land is still in woods, but this land is eroded, hilly, rough, wet, and not too much till
able land, but the conservation of this woodland is very vital. In the past we have had plenty of timber and timber products, but this too has reached the point that it requires conservation as never before. The entire sum appropriated for conservation could be properly spent in the conservation of forests and planting trees back on tillable land that is so badly eroded that it would not be profitable to bring it back into cultivation.
The present financial condition of farmers in cash crop areas is causing them to think more kindly toward conserving the forest than ever before. The educational program and the amount of forestry work carried on under the conservation program is ready to bear fruit now, as never before, but farmers still need assistance from the conservation funds in order to develop this program that is beneficial to the entire industry.
In considering these programs and appropriations, you may be thinking that the help is only for the farmers. Please take into account that farmers only get a small percent of the consumer's dollar, and others are helped as much or more than the farmers. In producing highly specialized cash crops; such as cotton, the farmer only gets 13 percent of the consumer's dollar. Flue-cured tobacco farmers get 16 percent, where in most of the livestock or food crop producing areas, the farmers get 40 percent or better.
3. The farmer's economic status does not permit him to bear the entire cost of conservation.—The agricultural parity ratio has declined from 107 in 1951 to 82 for 1956 and 1957. The net farm income has declined from approximately $17 billion in 1951 to about $1112 billion in 1956.
Many of the needed conservation practices require years of work before they return dividends to the farmers. Since these ACP programs have been designed so that farmers could put in 50 percent or more in the practice, this lends some encouragement, especially with the rapid decline in the net income for farmers. In many areas it has been necessary to dispense with some of the really needed practices because they did not have their 50 percent of the cost of the practice in cash. This may be hard to understand by some people, who have had no difficulty in finances and operations and have a quick turnover of cash returns. Many farmers who have cash crops; such as, tobacco, cotton, and corn, only have one payday a year, and then unless seasons are right and prices reasonable they have very little income then. This explains why it is so important for the Federal Government to assist with the conservation of the soil for the good of all the people in the United States, as well as those we may want to help through the export channels.
Various statistical sources will show that income of the average worker will run about one-half the income of the average industrial worker (Progressive Farmer, June 1956).
4. History shows that farmers do not carry out needed conservation practices just because they are recognized as being good.-I can remember from the time that I was a lad that land-grant colleges and farm magazines highly recommended the use of legumes and other cover crops for soil building purposes. They also recommended the use of limestone for correcting soil acidity and terraces for the prevention of erosion on sloping lands. It is a recognized fact, however, that these recommended practices were never adapted by farmers to any large extent until Federal cost-sharing became available under the agricultural conservation program. It is a matter of history that since Federal cost-sharing became available the volume of conservation practices carried out varied as the total amount of funds available varied. The following figures illustrate what happened between 1947 and 1949 when funds were reduced in 1948 and then increased again in 1949 :
5. System of farming in North Carolina and Southeast requires annual conservation measures.-Since we are in the high rainfal and humid area, and in view of the fact that we have small farms growing principally row crops, it
is necessary that our farmers do a lot of their conservation work on an annual basis by use of recommended vegetative cover practices which require use of limestone also. On our small farms where row crops are grown annually, it is necessary that the soil be protected from erosion and leaching. This protection requires the use of both winter cover crops and summer legumes. In North Carolina alone, I find that better than 50 percent of ACP funds have been used in establishing or improving stands of vegetative cover crops. I also find that better than 25 percent of the funds have been used in making land-use adjustments—that is, converting some of our poor lands to vegetative cover or trees. We are making considerable progress through the ACP in retiring many of our eroded hillsides to tree cover. I might add here that we did not get these land-use adjustments made, nor were we able to get vegetative cover and trees on our severely eroded land until assistance was made available by the Government through the ACP. 6. Participation is increasing to the eatent that $250 million does not corer nearly all the requests for cost sharing.—It appears that as the economic position of farmers deteriorates, they feel more keenly the need for Federal cost sharing in carrying out needed conservation practices. The participation in ACP in North Carolina has increased considerably in 1957 as compared with the participation in 1956. Final figures on 1957 participation are not yet available. Some counties, I understand, have received requests for cost sharing equivalent to 2 or 3 times the county allocation. In some of the most valuable crop-producing areas, for instance take fluecured tobacco, on all tobacco produced in 1957, it paid to the Federal Government in taxes $1,674,100,000. The Federal cigarette tax has increased practically every year since 1920. In 1920 the Federal tax collected on tobacco products was $295,800,000, the largest of any year prior to that time. This tax has grown until in 1957, as quoted above, was $1,674,100,000. The soil on which this tobacco was grown pays to the Federal Government more money in the form of taxes, than it pays to the farmers in the way of income. This soil needs conservation measures to help eliminate disease and insects, that feed on the tobacco and destroys the possibilities of income for the farmers and the Government. When the Government is able to create incentives that will cause the farmers to spend their own money for more assured possibilities of income for the farmers, and more for the Government, it certainly looks as if it is good business. There are no doubt many more striking illustrations than the one I have given on tobacco. They may be of a longtime nature. What I am trying to impress on you distinguished gentlemen is that conservation of natural resources is not just the farmer's problem. I am told that some of the foreign countries had rather have the know-how for producing ample supplies of food and fiber, than to have all of the techniques of the defense measures we have today. I think this is proven beyond any question when foreign countries are willing to contract and pay the expenses of our technical men, to come over and help them, and when they send their most intelligent students to this country by the thousands to study our means. 7. Personal ea perience on my own individual farm.—My own farm is poor, coarse, sandy loam soil, in Brassfield Township, Granville County, N. C., and consists of 412 acres, with 200 acres cleared. I have used some phase of the conservation program every year since it has been in operation. I could have used much more, but in Granville County, we believe in sharing the good things with our neighbors, and you will find a high percentage of participation in the county. In fact, every year, approximately all the funds are used that are allocated to the county, and additional funds are brought in if they can be secured anywhere else. It would have been impossible for me to have carried out some of the practices without the help of the Conservation Service and funds from the ACP. We have followed terracing, liming, forestry management, winter cover crops, and close growing of summer crops. Due to the conservation program, we have been able to add pastures each year to the point that we now have a small beef herd which supplements the tobacco income. This has been principally a tobacco farm, beginning back in 1880 and 1890, and in a small way in earlier years. Since we have followed the conservation practices our yields have increased, our quality has increased, and even the onehalf-share tenants are interested in the conservation program. When share tenants, who are not too interested in working, can see the advantage in conservo ‘ion, it has really played an important part in any farming operation.
I consider the ACP program one of the most important and vital programs that Congress had made possible and I hope it can be continued, certainly for $250 million, and, if possible, be increased to the maximum of $500 million. This money is well spent and the program is being administered in a fair and equitable manner and is of general interest to farmers everywhere. It is also of great concern to allied interests and good business people who are not directly connected, but can readily see the value. I respectfully request your consideration of this matter and by all means I hope that $250 million is placed in the agricultural fund so that the 1959 program, will be at least as strong as the 1958, in this phase of the work. 8. An appropriation of $250 million is only a little over three-huudredths of 1 percent of $72 billion budget.—Statistics available indicate that the entire Department of Agriculture budget is only 6 percent of the total. This appears to be a very low figure for agriculture when we consider the importance of agriculture to the well-being of the Nation. It appears that the conservation of our national agricultural resources, as attained through the operation of the ACP, should easily be worth three-hundredths of 1 percent of the national budget. 9. Recommend that 1959 ACP practices be same as approved for the 1958 ACP.-That practices now included in the 1958 ACP be included in the 1959 ACP. The program is operating fine in our State and the number of farmers carrying out needed conservation practices has increased from 61,306 in 1954 to over 80,000 under the 1957 ACP. From reports I have heard, there will be about 100,000 farmers participating in the ACP in North Carolina under the 1958 ACP. This increase is due to some extent to farmers establishing a vegetative cover on land designated under the acreage reserve program of the soil bank. 10. Request that the appropriations for the 1959 ACP be at least $250 million.—We should not at this time go backward in our efforts to conserve soil and water resources that are so essential to the national well-being. Any time that progress is slowed down in conservation work, it will take renewed effort and considerable time to even get back to the point that we were before the reduction. I respectfully request, therefore, that the committee do everything possible to maintain our present conservation efforts by recommending an appropriation of at least $250 million. I might add here, that I was privileged to attend a meeting of the ACP development group in North Carolina this year, when they were reviewing the recommendations made by county groups, and the State group, consisting of representatives of all the agricultural agencies and farm organizations, went on record by a unanimous vote, to concur in the recommendations made by a majority of the county groups, that the Department ask for an annual appropriation of $500 million for ACP. In a budget which carries billions and billions of dollars for national defense, for creating weapons of destruction, can we afford in the name of economy to seize on only 17-thousandths of 1 percent of a $72 billion budget dedicated to the constructive purpose of conserving the soils of the Nation?
Mr. WHITTEN. I think that the record shows through the years that you are speaking to a friendly court.
There are many of us who have felt that this program could well have been larger for the benefit of the country generally. I think this subcommittee has always attempted to carry this program at about as high a level as possible. In fact, with the help of the Legislative Committee on Agriculture, we have had to fight nearly ever year to save this program from the attacks of people who I don't
nk are sound at all and who recommend expenditure of public moneys to a far greater extent on the programs which have a lot less value.
While we on this committee have a longtime record of supporting this program, it is helpful to us to have statements from people like Yourself in the record to support our views.
So we wish to thank you.
We also would welcome any statement from our friend and colleague who has rendered such outstanding service to agriculture, Mr. Poage.
STATEMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE. W. R. POAGE
Mr. Poage. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am here, not so much to tell you about the problem because I know you are just as familiar with that as any of us, I am here not so much to tell you how much money you should appropriate, because we do realize that this subcommittee has over the years tried to do as generously by the farmers as seemed practicable. Rather, I am here, primarily, simply to try to give you the assurance that the chairman has just pointed out you sometimes need, and that is that certainly those of us on the Agriculture Committee and not only those from the eastern belt, but those of us from further west, where we do not have the problem of leaching which has been discussed, feel that this conservation program is of vital importance to the whole country. We are not going to lose fertilizer by putting it on our lands in the Southwest when we only get 14 inches of rain as we did year before last. We do not have that problem, but we can readily understand that a large part of the United States does have that problem, and that you cannot establish a program that fits every section of the country without giving the flexibility that this program has. One of the fine things about this program, as we see it, is that it does give a choice to the different areas of the country. I don't see that up in the Niagara district that you are building any stock tanks, but it is an extremely important thing in the western area of Texas. It is vital to us. We can't operate without it. This program has enabled us to provide water to thousands and thousands of farms that otherwise wouldn't operate. In other areas, of course, the program has helped you take water off. We have never had that problem except in years of floods. We then have it for a few days but we do not have a permanent problem of standing water. So we think this program comes nearer fitting the whole of the United States than any program we have yet been able to devise. We think it comes nearer fitting all classes of farmers than any of the programs we have been able to offer the farmers. We are continually criticized for offering programs which support price but without allowing adequate production to enable the price factor to be meaningful to the small farmer; and it is true. But we have felt that we shouldn't deny that support to the great number of farmers to whom it is helpful. But this conservation program enables each county to select the practices that are most important in that county and we believe that that has been of tremendous value to the United States; that it is the most practical way of spending our money; that we get a good deal more out of it than we do out of some comparable programs that may be good and that I expect to supOrt. p I expect to support many programs, and I expect you will bring out many that will not give us as much benefit per dollar as this program, but we need them too, and that leads me to say that at least in my section of the United States we feel that there is a related program that I know that you are considering in relation to this that is of extreme importance, and that is the upstream conservation work. We feel that in an area where shortage of water is a limiting factor