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Mr. BELCHER. I am wondering if in the end they will keep those acres, if they will not be better off than having those acres go to Mississippi or some other place.
Mr. CHENOWETH. Under this legislation, I again contend that nobody is going to lose anything. Mr. BELCHER. Well
, if you can prove to me that it won't do it, I will be certainly interested.
Mr. CHENOWETH. We do not, certainly, intend it that way.
Mr. CHENOWETII. We want to leave it as it is. We are not trying to change any acreage allotment.
Mr. BELCHER. It has been done for 20 years, and the shifting of acres, has been going on.
Mr. CHENOWETH. This will not shift acres.
Mr. BELCHER. Without this law it would make a shift. They have been shifting. We put the bill up to stop the shift.
Mr. CHENOWETII. The present law will stay in full force and effect. We are not repealing it or any section of it. All we are seeking to do is protect those who overplanted last year without knowledge of the additional penalty. That is as far as we go.
Mr. BELCHER. The farmer in Mississippi, while you plant 50, he plants 500—he gets the 500 and you get the 50.
Mr. CHENOWETH. That may be possible, and if those conditions are true, perhaps some limitation should be put in-some geographical limitation. I do not know. I haven't gone into that. I am not familiar with conditions in these other States.
Mr. BELCHER. All you have to do is to check the increase in the acreage in these other sections and see how many acres are going to go out from Colorado under the bill.
Mr. CHENOWETH. All we are dealing with is section 2. We are not referring in way to the first section which deals with the 15and 30-acre farm.
Mr. ALBERT. Did I understand you to say it does not deal with the 15-acre farm?
Mr. CHENOWETH. Not at all.
Mr. ALBERT. Under the law as we wrote it last year, if the 15-acre man has a 4-acre allotment, 4 acres of credit is all he will get and not the 15. If we change the law here he will get the full 15-acre credit?
Mr. CHENOWETH. I do not think under this bill that is true.
Mr. BELCHER. If you increase acreages in some of these States 10 or 12 times, you will see what it will do to Kansas and to Colorado and Oklahoma.
Mr. ALBERT. But I think you are wrong, Mr. Belcher, about Mississippi, because it is a noncommercial wheat area. Those that planted a thousand acres down there will not come under this bill.
Mr. CHENOWETH. I want to say Mr. Breeding and I have no intention in any way of affecting the 15-acre or 30-acre limitation law. Mr. ALBERT. Mr. Breeding has an amendment which will take care of the 30 acres, but not beyond.
Mr. CHENOWETH. I understand that.
Mr. ALBERT. It won't take it beyond the 15- or 30-acre man, Mr. Breeding's amendment of his own bill. And there would be no way that you could do that and take care of the people in Colorado and Kansas and Oklahoma. We could not say that this applies only to those States?
Mr. CHENOWETH. No. I feel that the man who planted wheat last year for harvest this year, whether he lives in Kansas, Oklahoma or Texas
, is entitled to the same protection. I do not think we should change the rules in the middle of the game on him.
Mr. BELCHER. I think that is right. But, I, also, think that your bill would kill the wheat program.
Mr. Hill. It gives the fellow the advantage when you change it. Mr. BELCHER. I do not think you are being fair to the wheat complier
Mr. CHENOWETH. I do not share that fear or apprehension.
Mr. BELCHER. Maybe we have been confronted with this situation
Mr. CHENOWETH. I am not as well informed on the wheat picture as you are. I know that you are a very valued member of this very important committee and you are dealing with this problem all of the time. I am trying to present the situation as it exists in my district.
I think our people are entitled to this consideration. I do not know how to do it any other way except by this bill.
Mr. BELCHER. I will say that I am just as interested in trying to accomplish the same thing that you are.
Mr. CHENOWETH. I appreciate that.
Mr. BELCHER. The only thing is I do not want to do something wrong.
Mr. CHENOWETH. I do not either; and I am sure Mr. Breeding feels Mr. BELCHER. You have a problem. Mr. CHENOWETH. I think we see eye to eye on it. Mr. BELCHER. It is just a questionMr. CHENOWETH. Maybe the language should be changed. Mr. BELCHER. It is not a lack of desire on the part of every member of this committee.
Mr. CHENOWETH. I appreciate your attitude.
Mr. SMITH. In other words, we have here 55 million acres in wheat which we can't do anything about. But if we increase the number of acres to exceed 55 million then you would have a case. But as long as that is there, somebody has to divide it up the way they are doing it now. These boys down South are going to get the benefit and we are going to get the short end.
Mr. CHENOWETH. This only applies to the 1958 harvest, where the wheat was planted in 1957.
Mr. SMITH. We will have to change the 55 million acre figure in order to make it work fairly.
Mr. ALBERT. I think we ought to hear from the Department on that because that is technical.
the same way.
We do appreciate your statement. And it is certainly true that we must consider it seriously and quickly and correctly for the best interests of everybody. I assure you that this Committee has no intention of unduly injuring anybody, nor did it have such intention when we recommended a bill to the House last year.
Mr. CHENOWETH. I am sure of that.
Mr. ALBERT. We had only two purposes in the Anfuso bill: one was to let feeders plant up to 30 acres; two, to stop this eternal shifting out of that part of the country where wheat is commercially and traditionally grown and where the program if it is to work at all has to work.
Mr. CHENOWETH. I think the oversight last year, Mr. Chairman, was this, that we overlooked the fact that much of this wheat was being planted, perhaps, at the time we were considering the bill. We didn't take that into consideration. We should have included a provision protecting those who planted wheat in 1957.
Mr. ALBERT. We have it retroactive. We changed it from 1956 to 1957. I thought we had gone far enough. Maybe we should have gone to 1958.
Mr. CHENOWETII. I think except for that one oversight it was good legislation. I was very much for it and was happy to support it.
Mr. ALBERT. Is Mr. Thomson here? We have one more Member of Congress present.
Are there other Members of Congress that want to be heard? Our colleague from Wyoming has been interested in this subject. He spoke to me about it as long ago as last summer when we were considering this bill in the committee and on the floor. He spoke to me, if I recall correctly, while the bill was being debated on the floor. We are glad to have you here.
STATEMENT OF HON. E. KEITH THOMSON, UNITED STATES REPRE
SENTATIVE AT LARGE FROM THE STATE OF WYOMING Mr. THOMSON. I am sure that my interest does not come up to that of the chairman and gentlemen of the committee. It is a difficult and perplexing problem, one that I lived with as a lawyer in a wheatproducing area before coming back here. And I am sure that I cannot enlighten this committee to the extent of solving it today.
I come without a prepared statement, and will try to keep it short.
I come in opposition to H. R. 9819 for the reasons that have been cited by Mr. Belcher and other members of this committee.
I introduced a bill, H. R. 9869, which I will necessarily speak on in connection with the statements that I am about to make. And I will ask to have that made a part of the record at this point.
Mr. ALBERT. Without objection that will be done. (H. R. 9869 is as follows:)
(H. R. 9869, 85th Cong., 2d sess.) A BILL To compute wheat acreage allotments on the basis of allotted acres Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section 334 (h) of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, as amended, is amended and reenacted to read as follows:
“(h) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no acreage in 1958 or thereafter in excess of acreage allotments shall be considered in establishing future
State, county, and farm acreage allotments. The planting on a farm in the commercial wheat-producing area of wheat of the 1958 or any subsequent crop for which no farm wheat acreage allotment was established shall not make the farm eligible for an allotment as an old farm pursuant to the first sentence of subsection (c) of this section nor shall such farm by reason of such planting be considered ineligible for an allotment as a new farm under the second sentence of such subsection."
Mr. Thomson. It was a matter of concern to me last year and the year before to notice the shift of wheat acreage. So about last May, I went into a detailed study to try to find out the causes for that. I am sorry to report to this committee that in my efforts on that study it seemed to meet with continued opposition from the Deparment to give me the true facts on it. I do not know whether that was caused by the fact that we had such a complicated procedure that no three people would agree, or not, but I did get three different statements as to how they determined wheat acreage allotments. So, finally, I said to them, "Let's knock heads and get together on this so at least we will find out what you are doing."
They finally agreed upon a statement from Mr. Earl Miller of the Department. We at least know now how it was determined.
I could notice there were two particular reasons that wheat acreage was being shifted. Under the 15-acre provision, wheat allotments were being permitted to be taken from the commercial historic wheatproducing areas of this Nation and sent to the humid areas where they were able to have a guaranteed yield of, say, 70 bushels to the acre. understand that the University of Indiana has developed a variety that will produce that. Gradually on the basis of the 15 acres there were additions to the 10-year history building up an allotment that was not doing them good but was robbing the people in the historic wheat-producing area of their acreage allotment that they had historically had.
I do not think that the Congressman from Kentucky, for whom I have a great deal of admiration knew it was doing us harm, because it had the offect of lowering the acreage we could plant without having to market in the face of penalty which the 15-acre farmer was never faced with.
The other place that they were taking away this wheat acreage allotment was by the man who was principally in the Great Plains area, like the State of Montana, with big tractors and breaking up great big areas, just overplanting high, wide and handsome on the basis of the $2 guarantee.
Before I came back to Washington I had one of my clients come to me. You may be familiar with the Red Desert area northwest of Rawlins. He was actually planning to buy himself a bunch of equipment and just rip up the soil and plant a lot of wheat.
And I said, "My gosh, if you get an ordinary year you will not raise a crop.”
He said, “But if I get a good year I will sure have it made." He did not do it and to my knowledge it has not been done in Wyoming.
There has been too much of that going on to take advantage of this provision of the program. And, particularly as I mentioned, in the State of Montana it was my experience and my personal observation that there they were breaking up huge acreages.
The effect of the old law was to permit them to buy wheat allotment acreage by overplanting to such great excesses and thereby buying history which over a 10-year period would build them up to where they had an allotment and were taking it away from the fellows who had competed in a free agriculture and had competed for many years in a free agriculture in the historic areas.
When this bill came along I, frankly, had not studied it. It started out to be a seed wheat bisl. As the chairman pointed out it had meritorious purposes there and I agree. But when I got over to the floor I found out it had this section 2 in it, which purported to take care of the undesirable acreage shifts.
I took a quick look at the House committee report, and the Department report. The Department report said that the purpose of this section 2, that they recommended was to stop undesirable practices which are prevalent under the existing provisions, the shifting of wheat acreage allotments to other parts of the country, and is a matter of grave concern to complying producers.
That is what they told this committee as nearly as I have been able to find out was the purpose.
But as I pointed out, that day on the floor of the House, this was going to have another effect that I didn't think any of us wanted, that was, instead of minimizing and stopping the shifting of acreage it was going to have the effect on the man who had to overplant in the commercial area, in order to make a living for himself and family, of continually reducing his acreage allotment to the point where he no longer was in the business and was forced off the farm and destroyed.
Why would it have that effect ?
It said that any acreage in excess of the acreage allotment planted to wheat would not be counted in determining acreage allotments and not be counted in the history. Yet the man who stayed in compliance got credit for the deferred acreage or, in other words 40 percent approximately cut off of his base, in determining his alllotment.
Well the reason that I was concerned about that was very simple. The west was developed on the 160 acre-homestead law. We are a dry land wheat-producing area. We cannot change to any other crop. That has been the history. Let us say a man has put 160 acres together and he had used 120.
In 1939, at that time, they said that is what that provision in section 334—land taken out of programs by conservation—the little clause in the bracket-referred to. In order to keep it from blowing and things like that, they come out to teach him to be good farmers. So they would strip-farm their lands. So already they took 50 percent of that 120 acres out of production. They summer fallowed it. For many years under the 1939 act they got credit for that which was taken out of production for determining history, but suddenly some place along the line the Department shuts that off. So already they are cut in half on their acreage before allotments.
Now then the next thing that happened is we apply an acreage control under the provisions of the act as the surplus required it under the provisions of the original act. They take a 40-percent cut on what they have left--the half they do not summer fallow. Sixty percent of 160, is 96 acres that the man has got left to plant, and to raise a crop on and to take care of the family with.