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WHEAT ACREAGE ALLOTMENTS/PRICE SUPPORT

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 1958

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMODITY SUBCOMMITTEE ON WHEAT
OF THE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE,

Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a. m., in room 1310, New House Office Building, Honorable Carl Albert (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Representatives Albert, Watts, Jennings, Hill, Belcher, Smith, and Krueger.

Also present: Representative Dixon. John Heimburger, counsel. Mr. ALBERT (presiding). The committee will please be in order. This meeting was called at the request of our colleague from Kansas, Mr. Breeding, who is the author of H. R. 9814. Mr. Breeding, of course, as everyone knows, comes from one of the greatest wheatproducing districts of the country. He is a wheat farmer, thoroughly familiar with the problems of wheat farmers. I can testify personally that he has diligently pursued this problem with the chairman of the Subcommittee on Wheat ever since he has been here, and I commend him upon the diligence with which he has insisted upon help for the district which he represents.

We have, also, bills by our colleague, Mr. Chenoweth of Colorado, and our colleague on the committee, Mr. Hill of Colorado, which bills I understand are identical or similar bills to the bill introduced by Congressman Breeding.

H. R. 9814, by Congressman Breeding, and H. R. 9819 by Mr. Chenoweth, and H. R. 10011 by Mr. Hill. (The bills referred to are as follows:)

(H. R. 9814, 85th Cong., 2d sess.) A BILL To amend the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 to allow acreage planted to

the 1958 crop of winter wheat in excess of wheat acreage allotments to be considered in establishing such allotments for the future

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the first sentence of subsection (h) of section 334 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 is amended by inserting after “1958" the following: “(other than acreage seeded to wheat in 1957 for harvest in 1958)".

[H. R. 9819, 85th Cong., 2d sess.) A BILL To amend the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 to allow acreage planted to

the 1958 crop of winter wheat in excess of wheat acreage allotments to be considered in establishing such allotments for the future Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the first sentence of subsection (h) of Section 334 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 is amended by inserting after "1958" the following: “(other than acreage seeded to wheat in 1957 for harvest in 1958)”.

(H. R. 10011, 85th Cong., 2d sess.) A BILL To amend the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 to allow acreage planted to

the 1958 crop of winter wheat in excess of wheat acreage allotments to be considered in establishing such allotments for the future

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the first sentence of subsection (h) of section 334 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 is amended by inserting after "1958" the following: “(other than acreage seeded to wheat in 1957 for harvest in 1958)".

Mr. ALBERT. The problem with which these bills deal is one in which there is widespread interest throughout the wheat belt. My own colleague on the committee, Congressman Belcher from Oklahoma, and I discussed this matter in early December, with Oklahomans who were of the opinion that the Department had probably construed the law too strictly against the interests of those who seeded their wheat in 1957, for the next year's crop.

Congressman Belcher and I took the matter up with the Department who have furnished us a letter justifying the departmental position or, at least, purporting to justify the departmental position, not only under the law but on the merits of this matter.

Congressman Belcher and I have told our people in Oklahoma that we would sponsor or join in sponsoring legislation if we thought it wise to do so to change the law.

With that background, I would like to ask whether our colleague who is the author of the first bill introduced on this subject, would like to be heard at this time.

Congressman Breeding.
Mr. BREEDING. Yes, I would.

Mr. ALBERT. We are delighted to have you and we would like to have your statement and the benefit of your views on this matter.

STATEMENT OF HON. J. FLOYD BREEDING, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS OF THE FIFTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT OF THE STATE OF KANSAS

Mr. BREEDING. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the remarks. I do come from the wheat country and I would like to read my statement to you.

Mr. ALBERT. Very well.

Mr. BREEDING. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, first I should like to express my appreciation for this opportunity to be heard on the bill, H. R. 9814, which I introduced on January 8, 1958.

The bill simply provides for an amendment to the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 to allow acreage planted to the 1958 crop of winter wheat in excess of wheat acreage allotments to be considered in establishing future wheat acreage allotments.

I should like to make clear, Mr. Chairman, that neither this bill, H. R. 9814, nor I, at the present time, contemplate any material revision of the wheat program as it is constituted presently.

What I am attempting to do, in simple justice and fairness, is to exempt from that penalty the wheat producer who planted in 1957 for harvest in 1958 without knowledge or notice of the penalty—until after he had completed seeding.

I am merely proposing that the 1957 winter-wheat planter, who planted in excess of allotment for harvest in 1958, without knowledge of additional possible penalties to be suffered under Secretary of Agriculture Benson's interpertation of section 2 of Public Law 85-203, the so-called feed-wheat legislation be freed from that penalty; namely, losing a portion of his base acreage allotment in punishment for overseeding.

Subsection (h) of section 334 of Public Law 85-203 states that: Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no acreage in the commercial wheat-producing area seeded to wheat for harvest as grain in 1958 or thereafter in excess of acreage allotments shall be considered in establishing future State, county, and farm acreage allotments.

It has been determined, that either by law or by United States Department of Agriculture ruling--and apparently there is some controversy over this point—that the operation of the above-cited section would cause the wheat farmer who plants in excess of allotment to suffer the loss of a portion of his base acreage allotment. At the moment, Mr. Chairman, I am not disputing the law, the ruling, or the penalty.

Mr. Earl W. Chapman, acting state administrative officer for the Kansas State ASC Committee, in a letter, dated October 29, 1957, to Mr. Raymond J. Pollock, Director of the Grain Division of the United States Department of Agriculture sets forth the time-date sequence of USDA notification to the Kansas State ASC Committee, relative to Public Law 85-203:

We are aware of the fact that the act was passed on August 28, 1957. On September 3, 1957, we received a telegram dated in Washington, D. C., August 30, 1957, signed by H. L. Manwaring, Deputy Administrator for Production Adjustment, relating to the Feed Wheat Law signed by the President on August 28. The information typed at the top of the telegram indicates that it left Washington at 4 p. m., on August 30. Included as the last statement in this telegram was the following: “Law also provides that for 1958 and thereafter any wheat acreage in excess of the farm allotment will not be considered in establishing future State, county, and farm allotments.” On September 3, 1957, in a memorandum to all county ASC offices we quoted the above-referred to telegram in its entirety

On or about September 4, 1957, we also received a United States Department of Agriculture release dated August 30, 1957, on the subject “USDA Outlines 30Acre Farm-Use Wheat Production Provisions.” Included in this 2-page release as the second paragraph was the following: "Another provision contained in this law provides that no acreage seeded to wheat for harvest as grain in 1958 or thereafter in excess of the wheat acreage allotment on any farm regardless of the size of the wheat allotment shall be considered in establishing future State, county, or farm acreage allotments.” In a memorandum dated September 4, 1957, to all county ASC offices we quoted this press release in its entirety

On or after September 14, 1957, we received notice GR-400 containing instructions and forms to be used in operating the feed-wheat program. An advance draft of section 24 to be inserted in Wheat Marketing Quota Handbook 3-Wheat was attached to notice GR-400 and in paragraph 115 therein quoted the provisions of Public Law 85–203. These instructions were issued to all county ASC offices on September 17, 1957, in a memorandum on the subject "Instructions and forms to be used in operating feed-wheat programs” *

Notice GR-404 dated September 26, 1957, on the subject "Information with respect to 1958 excess wheat farms" was received in this office on October 3, 1957, and a copy of this memorandum was issued to all county ASC offices in a letter from this office dated October 4, 1957 * * *

Notice, Mr. Chairman, that not until October 3, 1957, did the Kansas State ASC Committee receive USDA information which spelled out specifically the operation of Public Law 85–203 as it applied to excess

wheat farms—particularly, the penalties involved for planting wheat
in excess of allotment. USDA notification prior to notice GR_404,
dated September 26, 1957, and received at the Kansas State ASC Com-
mittee on October 3, 1957, from my observation simply restate subsec-
tion (h) of the law:
"* * * that no acreage seeded to wheat for havest as grain in 1958 or thereafter
in excess of the wheat-acreage allotment on any farm regardless of the size of
the wheat allotment shall be considered in establishing future State, county, or
farm acreage allotments.

Although, information received by the Kansas State ASC Committee, prior to October 3, 1957, was made public by the committee, presumably that information was not sufficient for a clear interpretation of the law and its consequences, for none was made. That is, prior to Kansas State ASC Committee receipt of notice GR-404 on October 3, 1957.

Mr. Chairman, I have been a wheat farmer all my life, and for almost 30 years in the district which I represent; and I know that winter wheat operators in my area begin planting as early as August 15. Under the revised law, there just was not sufficient time for the farmer to be on notice that he could be penalized for overseeding through the loss of some of his base acreage allotment. In fact, many of the people in my immediate area were finished seeding before October 4, 1957. I am proposing that the 1957 winter wheat farmer be excused for 1958 from the penalties of the game because he was not made aware of the rules of the game before he started to play.

I have been informed that my bill, as written, would also free from the base-acreage-loss penalty for 1958 the so-called 30-acre wheat farmer, thereby causing a considerable amount of wheat acreage allotment to be shifted from western commercial wheat producing areas. In order to avoid that eventuality, I have prepared an amendment to H. R. 9814 to exclude the 30-acre farmer from the provisions of the bill. I submit that amendment for your consideration.

The amendment referred to is as follows: Proposed amendment to H. R. 9814 :

That the first sentence of subsection (h) of section 334 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 is amended by inserting after “1958" the following: “(other than acreage seeded to wheat in 1957 for harvest in 1958 except acreage exempt from marketing quota provisions pursuant to subsection (f) above)".

Mr. Chairman, with your permission, I would also like to submit for inclusion in the record several typical letters I have received pertaining to this subject from wheat farmers in my area of Kansas. Thank

you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, for this opportunity to be heard.

Mr. ALBERT. How many letters are there?

Mr. BREEDING. There are 10 or 12 of them, and I would like to read
1 or 2 of them.
Mr. ALBERT. Without objection, it is so ordered.
(The letters referred to are as follows:)

SYRACUSE, KANS., October 18, 1957.
Hon. J. FLOYD BREEDING,
United States Congressman from Fifth District,

Rolla, Kans.
DEAR REPRESENTATIVE BREEDING : At wheat planting time this fall, the Agri-
culture Department had certain regulations to impose on those who overseeded

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