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Any limitation on the period of the program tends to detract from the incentive price as an incentive for increased production just like at the present time. There will be some uncertainty on the part of growers as to whether to retain more of their ewe lambs for breeding stock until they know definitely whether the incentive program on shorn wool is to be continued beyond March 31, 1959.
In order to maintain the gains toward increased wool production already under way, an incentive price for the 1959 marketing year which begins next April must be announced this summer. Otherwise, our domestic wool growers will figure that they cannot count upon more than the free market price for their wool after March 31, 1959, when the authority for incentive payments under the present act expires. Without assurance of continuance of an incentive level, they will not have the confidence to retain ewe lambs for breeding stock.
Increases in sheep and wool production due to the very nature of the enterprise can be only gradual even under the most favorable conditions. Considering the time it takes to hold back more ewe lambs for breeding and getting those lambs into production, a 3- or 4-percent increase annually is about all that can be expected in practical operations. Raising more sheep is not like raising more wheat where the seeding of 1 more bushel of wheat can result in 30 or 40 more bushels within a few months.
Due to the longtime nature of the sheep and wool enterprise, a continuing program is essential to give growers the confidence needed for them to make plans for increasing wool production. The incentive price must be announced at the time they are deciding whether or not to hold back their ewe lambs for future breeding purposes and thus long before the increased production from those lambs will reach the market.
I respectfully, therefore, urge this committee assist the sheepmen of the United States by providing as early an extension of the National Wool Act as is possible.
In closing, I would like to direct my remarks to some considerable comment made yesterday at the hearing as to whether or not the Wool Act was working toward the goal of increased production.
According to latest estimates, domestic production of shorn wool last year totaled 235 million pounds compared to the goal for an annual production of 300 million pounds as the declared policy of Congress under the National Wool Act of 1954.
With regard to the accomplishments of the incentive-payment program toward increasing wool production, growers did not get their first payments under the program until the summer of 1956. Furthermore, severe drought conditions prevailed in Texas and other important sheep producing areas during the first years of the program.
According to the release by the Department of Agriculture February 14, stock sheep and lambs on ranches January 1 were estimated at 27,390,000 head, or 3 percent more than a year earlier and the largest inventory number since January 1, 1953. Ewe lamb numbers increased sharply to 4,347,000 head, a gain of 16 percent from a year earlier, and reached the highest level since January 1, 1952.
The retention of more ewe lambs indicates that the incentive-payment program is encouraging growers to expand their sheep and wool production operations as range and forage conditions permit in accordance with the intent of the act. There were increases in stock sheep numbers last year in 8 of the 13 western sheep States and in 21 of the 35 native States.
Current reports on the prices being paid for ewe lambs and breeding stock, both in the western and in the native sheep States, show that the greater interest in sheep raising is continuing. The increase in sheep production contributes to a grassland agriculture in areas that have been producing cash crops in surplus, and is of benefit from that standpoint.
Mr. Poage. Thank you very much, Mr. Fisher.
Does anyone have a statement they want to file or make?
Mr. HAGEN. I wish to ask a questionMr. Poage. We can hardly take the time, Mr. Hagen. Mr. Fisher is leaving for his own committee meeting, and the Dairy Subcommittee has to meet here. We have to adjourn.
Mr. HAGEN. Mr. Jennings raised a point the other day about whether there was any collusion
Mr. PoAGE. There is no witness before us of whom to ask a question. Mr. HAGEN. Mr. Franklin is in the audience.
Mr. Poage. Mr. Franklin is not a witness, and the Dairy Subcommittee is due to meet here. We have imposed on them too long. We simply have to let them meet. The subcommittee will now adjourn to room 1308. You may come there and ask any question you wish to, but we have to give this room to the committee to whom it belongs.
The committee will move into executive session in room 1308.
(Whereupon, at 10:05 a. m., the subcommittee went into executive session.)
EXTENSION OF RESTRICTIONS ON IMPORTED
CITRUS FRUITS, DATES, AND FIGS
H. R. 7760, H. R. 7832, H. R. 7937, H. R. 8845,
H. R. 9056, and H. R. 11056
FEBRUARY 25 AND MARCH 6, 1958
Printed for the use of the Committee on Agriculture
WASHINGTON : 1958
COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
HAROLD D, COOLEY, North Carolina, Chairman WILLIAM S. HILL, Colorado, ex officio member of all subcommittees W. R. POAGE, Texas
CHARLES B. HOEVEN, Iowa GEORGE M. GRANT, Alabama
SID SIMPSON, Illinois E. C. GATHINGS, Arkansas
PAUL B. DAGUE, Pennsylvania JOHN L. MCMILLAN, South Carolina
RALPH HARVEY, Indiana THOMAS G. ABERNETHY, Mississippi PAGE BELCHER, Oklahoma CARL ALBERT, Oklahoma
CLIFFORD G. MCINTIRE, Maine WATKINS M. ABBITT,. Virginia
WILLIAM R. WILLIAMS, New York JAMES G. POLK, Ohio
ROBERT D. HARRISON, Nebraska CLARK W. THOMPSON, Texas
HENRY ALDOUS DIXON, Utah PAUL C. JONES, Missouri
WINT SMITH, Kansas JOHN C. WATTS, Kentucky
OTTO KRUEGER, North Dakota HARLAN HAGEN, California
CHARLES M. TEAGUE, California LESTER R. JOHNSON, Wisconsin
DONALD E. TEWES, Wisconsin VICTOR L. ANFUSO, New York
ALBERT H. QUIE, Minnesota ROSS BASS, Tennessee
DELEGATE COYA KNUTSON, Minnesota
L. BARTLETT, Alaska W. PAT JENNINGS, Virginia
JOHN A. BURNS, Hawaii D. R. (BILLY) MATTHEWS, Florida
A. FERNÓS-ISERN, Puerto Rico
SUBCOMMITTEE ON DOMESTIC MARKETING
GEORGE M. GRANT, Alabama, Chairman HARLAN HAGEN, California
PAGE BELCHER, Oklahoma VICTOR L. ANFUSO, New York
WILLIAM R. WILLIAMS, New York COYA KNI'TSON, Minnesota
CHARLES M. TEAGUE, California
Baldwin, Hon. John F., a Representative in Congress of the Sixth
District of the State of California.
James A., a Representative in Congress from the Seventh