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Mr. ABBITT. Would you say the bill favors one particular area? Mr. RAWLINGS. I very sincerely and conscientiously say that I believe everything we have previously discussed which might possibly be interpreted as being favorable to one area against another has been removed from this bill. We certainly welcome the opportunity to sit down and talk with anybody about any provision he thinks will give our people or anybody else an advantage over any other area which has not already existed.
Mr. ABBITT. In this bill, is the cost or the burden of the program to be carried by areas, or is the whole program all in one?
Mr. RAWLINGS. All in one. That is the difference between this bill and the bill introduced by Congressman Burleson.
Mr. ABBITT. In other words, you let all the deductions go into one pool, and that pool would carry the burden of the operation of the entire program.
Mr. RAWLINGS. Frankly, from a particular area standpoint, we would like the other provision better. That is an example of our leaning over backwards in order to remove a point of contention. Our growers are ready to go with it, although we concede there is a lot of merit in a slightly different proposal contained in the Burleson bill.
Mr. ABBITT. You would personally prefer an area program, but this bill consolidates it for the whole country.
Mr. RAWLINGS. That is right.
Mr. ALBERT. Did I understand you to say, Mr. Rawlings, that the Virginia growers would be interested in this bill being pushed at this session only as a part of an omnibus farm bill?
Mr. RAWLINGS. Yes, sir. We do not think it would be well advised to put a peanut bill out by itself. We would be fearful of that, sir. Mr. ALBERT. Is this the only peanut legislation which your growers recommend that the Congress act upon during the present session? Mr. RAWLINGS. Yes, sir; although we look with favor on a bill which is now pending, introduced by Congressman Matthews. We think it has a lot to commend it.
Mr. MATTHEWS. Would the gentleman yield at that point?
Mr. ALBERT. Yes.
Mr. MATTHEWS. It would be my purpose, if we could not get this legislation on the Consent Calendar and I think the chairman agrees we will not consider it. It is a minor corrective bill which the gentleman has approved, and I believe the Georgia producers and all the areas have approved it. I want to make it clear it would not be my purpose to push it unless we could get it on the Consent Calendar, after committee approval.
Mr. ALBERT. This bill would be your idea of the peanut title to a general farm bill?
Mr. RAWLINGS. Yes, sir.
Mr. ALBERT. Do you feel that the need for peanut legislation of this kind is pressing enough to jeopardize the chances of the cotton section or the wheat section of that bill, cotton and wheat being in more trouble than peanuts at the present time?
Mr. RAWLINGS. Frankly, I am not familiar enough with those particular commodities.
Mr. ALBERT. If cotton does not get a bill, they are out of business.
Mr. RAWLINGS. We certainly do not want to put anybody out of business. What worries us is that we have been all but put out of business once or twice. Members of this committee and other friends in Congress have gone right down to the wire with us on it. We feel it is much better to mend our fences and get our program in a more defensible position before that crowd hops on us again. We feel very strongly about that.
Mr. ÅLBERT. Thank you. I just wanted to get your position.
Mr. SMITH. Do I understand your position to be that the peanut growers are in favor of reducing acreage and increasing the price rather than increasing the acreage and lowering the price?
Mr. RAWLINGS. I do not think the peanut growers, certainly in my area, have ever been in favor of increasing the acreage and lowering the price.
Mr. SMITH. You know a lot of grain producers got in trouble by thinking they could cut down the acreage and increase the price. Now we seem to see a tendency to want to lower the price and increase the
Mr. RAWLINGS. We have taken a very severe reduction in price in addition to the cutdown from the 90-percent level. We were affected more severely on the shift from the old parity formula to the modernized parity formula than any of the other basic commodities.
We already have had a lot taken out of our hide, pricewise, in addition to what happened to us in going from 90 to 81.4 or 82, sir.
Mr. SMITH. I have heard this phrase "under attack," both from you and from the other gentlemen who testified. Am I to understand that to mean under attack of the manufacturers of peanut products? Is that what you mean by "under attack"?
Mr. RAWLINGS. Primarily from a segment or group of manufacturers of peanut products. All the manufacturers of peanut products have not been associated with the group which pulls the string on us every now and then, but that is where the hub of it comes from, sir.
Mr. SMITH. That is all, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCMILLAN. You have made an excellent witness, Mr. Rawlings. Thank you very much.
Mr. RAWLINGS. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Randolph, president, Alabama Farm Bureau Federation.
Mr. Randolph has to appear before the Senate tomorrow, and will not be with us if we continue tomorrow.
The committee will be glad to hear any statement you care to make, Mr. Randolph.
STATEMENT OF WALTER L. RANDOLPH, PRESIDENT, ALABAMA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION
Mr. RANDOLPH. Mr. Chairman and gentleman of the committee, my name is Walter L. Randolph, and I am president of the Alabama Farm Bureau Federation. I am testifying for that organization, which has a substantial membership of peanut farmers in the peanut growing area of Alabama.
I called a meeting on March 27, 1958, at Ozark, Ala., of the peanut growers in the peanut-growing counties of Alabama. We have about
14 counties which grow considerable acreages of peanuts. I want to read to the committee part of a resolution which was adopted at that meeting after studying a previous draft of the bill by Congressman Abbitt.
Whereas the peanut producers of Alabama, in a meeting at Ozark, Ala., March 27, called by the Alabama Farm Bureau Federation, believe, after thorough discussion and study, that the proposed legislation on peanuts by the Virginia and North Carolina peanut associations appears to be most untimely; and Whereas the peanut problems of all areas are more or less the same and these problems should be thoroughly studied and discussed before any changes are made in the now existing law and in this proposed legislation we find many areas of disagreement and because of the many uncertainties involved: Therefore be it
Resolved, That it is the opinion of this group of producers, representing the growers of Alabama, that no legislation of any kind should be introduced in the Congress at this time; and be it further
Resolved, That attempts be made to work out differences and if any effort is made to present any bill to the Congress on peanuts at this time the Southeast area would be compelled to vigorously oppose such legislation.
That is very similar to a resolution adopted previous to that time by a similar meeting in Georgia.
Mr. MCMILLAN. Mr. Randolph, was that resolution drawn up after the provisions of the Abbitt bill were removed as mentioned by Mr. Rawlings?
Mr. RANDOLPH. No, sir. This was adopted on March 27, 1958. I don't know just when the bill was revised. I think it was after that. The bill is dated May 20. I wanted to explain that the revision of the bill does not remove the objections which were voiced by this resolution. I want to go into those in just a few minutes in detail. The resolution states the general position of the peanut growers in Alabama on peanut legislation. We had at that meeting also the board of directors of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association. Mr. H. H. Knowles, the president of that association, is in the room, and also Mr. Grady Dunn, a member of the board of directors of that association, is here. They were present also at that meeting. I shall be as brief as I can, Mr. Chairman.
We have about three principal objections to the legislation, although we have really more than that. No. 1, as we state in the resolution, we do not think this is the time to pass peanut legislation. Second, we do not see any need for any additional peanut legislation at this time. If we did see need for it, we consider this bill objectionable and discriminatory to Alabama producers.
The principal objection is section 2. I will take it the way Mr. Rawlings explained it. Mr. Rawlings said this provided for a 10 percent reduction in the allotment one year. It could be a total of 10 percent, but it doesn't read that way, Bill. Is that right?
Mr. RAWLINGS. That is what it is intended to mean. We may have made a mistake. I don't know.
Mr. RANDOLPH. Be that as it may, it is either 5 or 10 percent reduction in the national allotment. As is well known, there is a provision in the act now which has been referred to here previously, under which if any type of peanuts is found to be in short supply under certain rules in the bill, the allotment can be increased for that type of peanuts. Mr. Chairman, we have the feeling that, whatever the intention of the sponsors of this bill was-and I have no doubt of their sincerity,
and so on-the effect of this would be to move acreage from Alabama and Georgia and Florida to North Carolina and Virginia, and we object to that, naturally, because you would cut the national allotment and then, if you found the Virginia-North Carolina type of peanuts in short supply, you would simply add on there.
Cutting the national allotment would tend to cut the supply and create a shortage. Consequently, we consider the principal purpose of this bill is to provide simply a device to move acreage from one area of the belt to another area; that is, out of our area into the area commonly known as the Virginia peanut type. That is our No. 1 objection.
No. 2, we object to the promotional portions of this bill. We believe in promotion and advertising peanuts, but in Alabama we have organized an association, the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, and under that association this last year $1 per ton was deducted from farmer's stock peanuts and we created a fund under which we are now carrying on, as Mr. Knowles will tell you in more detail when he testifies, I am sure, what we think will be a very effective program in public relations and promotion for peanuts. We would prefer to do that ourselves rather than have it under the Government, with all the redtape and supervision we would have to be under if we had a Government program.
John Duncan I am sure will say a movement similar to that is on in Georgia. One of the Congressmen from Georgia mentioned that. We hope we shall be able to join with them. They produce a lot more peanuts than we do, and carry on a very fine program of that kind under the control of the peanut growers themselves. Therefore, we do not see any need for that part of this bill from our standpoint. I think Florida would join with us in that.
A similar thing could be done in other peanut areas.
The point was made that producers would pay the fees collected under this act. I do not believe that is quite true. I think actually the support price would be raised and the consumers in general would pay this amount. I think in the first year they would pay half of it, and thereafter all of it. There is a 10 percent deduction in the first year, and 5 percent thereafter. Then it provides for raising the support level on peanuts 5 percent.
However, that is not too serious a point. I did not mean to make a big mountain out of that. If somebody is going to pay it, I suspect our growers would just as soon the consumers would pay it. However, that does raise a question on just what effect price has on the consumption of peanuts.
Mr. Chairman, I have not had an opportunity to study the bill as presented by Mr. Burleson of Texas, because I received a copy only this morning. There are 2 or 3 things about it which I have noticed, however, and on which I should like to comment.
It contains something new to me in farm legislation, which I have been watching for quite a long time. I refer to the provision in here that because you underplant your allotment you get an increase in your allotment. I do not see any justice or sense or equality in that provision. We do have a provision in the Peanut Act now which is a very fine one, I think, under which allotments are not lost by States because of underplanting. I think that goes far enough.
The point is that because you underplant peanuts in a certain area, you will get an increase which presumably would come off the other States as far as I can tell. It might not. It might be added on. Either way, it would be undesirable.
I am critical of that particular part of the Burleson bill. I have not had time to study the remainder of the bill sufficient to make further comment, except that the latter part of the bill by Congressman Burleson, title V, of course is somewhat similar to the provision of the Abbitt bill.
Mr. MCMILLAN. Mr. Randolph, I notice we have Mr. Dunn and Mr. Knowles from Alabama also scheduled to testify. Do they represent you in their statements?
Mr. RANDOLPH. I am sure there will be no disagreement between Mr. Knowles and Mr. Dunn and me. We are all representing the same program.
Mr. MCMILLAN. Thank you very much.
Mr. RANDOLPH. I have not been able to study the differences in title V, which is in both bills. They seem to be similar.
The main point I want to make is that we oppose this legislation as strongly as we know how to do. We hope it will not be enacted into law.
Mr. MCMILLAN. Mr. Randolph, we are always delighted to have you appear before our committee. I know the other members of this subcommittee join with me in that statement. Thank you very much. Without objection by the chairman I should like to insert at this point the statement of the South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation, Inc.
(The statement referred to is as follows:)
SOUTH CAROLINA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION, INC.,
Hon. JOHN L. MOMILLAN,
Washington, D. C.
DEAR MR. MCMILLAN : Please insert in the record this statement as the position of policy of the South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation with respect to H. R. 12545 and H. R. 12566.
We oppose both these bills for the reason that we do not believe that the national allotment for peanuts should be reduced in order to permit producers to petition for an increase by type.
We produce both the Virginia and Spanish type peanuts in South Carolina and we do not believe that producers of either type should be privileged to have an increase in allotments at the expense of producers of the other type. We urge that you oppose both these bills.
(Off the record.)
E. H. AGNEW, President.
Mr. MCMILLAN. The committee stands adjourned until 4:30 p. m. this afternoon.
(Whereupon, at 12 noon, the subcommittee adjourned, to reconvene at 4:30 p. m., of the same day.)