Page images
PDF
EPUB

own organizations and institutions to secure the adoption of an equitable national farm program.

To this movement we all pledge our indissoluble allegiance. We shall take every care to let no difference hinder us nor sinister undermovements divide us or undermine our confidence in each other. Toward one another we shall at all times in this work assume the attitude of “giving and taking" so that agriculture may have the best that our composite efforts can give it and never shall we surrender any part of this agricultural "platform" to which we believe we are entitled.

The make-up, history, and proceedings of this conference are reported separately.

Primarily, this is a farm problem. Steps toward its solution are mportant in working out a national policy for agricultural protection. The executive committee of 22 stands on its instructions laid down at the Des Moines meeting. In line with those instructions, the views of the leaders of the farm organizations have been presented to the committees of the Senate and House upon whom the responsibility of shaping and advancing farm legislation rests.

It is the duty of Congress to conduct the legislative part of the program. The responsibility of representing the interests of the respective States is theirs. It is not out of place, however, to recall that the legislative assemblies of 12 Western States last winter memorialized Congress to enact legislation to give agriculture equality with labor and industry in the American protective system. These States were: Oregon, Utah, Montana, Idaho, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri

, Arkansas, and Illinois. This subject is economic rather than partisan. Every effort has been made since the first big meeting held in St. Paul in July, 1924, to keep it out of partisan politics. We warn, however, that new alliances will arise out of a common economic interest in the event Congress fails to enact effective legislation now, after the plain promises of all three parties in their platforms and campaign utterances in 1924 to enact legislation to give agriculture economic equality with industry and labor in this country.

I present several tables which I desire to have considered by the committee and which I believe will be found to be largely selfexplanatory.

(The tables are as follows:)

TABLE 1.-National Industrial Conference Board

(Chart No. 88, May, 1924)

The purchasing power of crops is measured in terms of farm value per acre rather than price per bushel.

The purchasing power of livestock is measured in terms of farm price per pound.

Prices of articles bought by the farmer represent the average price of 88 items of clothing, supplies and equipment.

The year 1914 taken as base 100.

Purchasing power of specified crop shown for years 1920 to 1923. (Have written for similar data for 1924 and 1925.)

Beef cattle.
Swine..
Wheat.
Corn...
Oats.
Barley-
Rye..

51. 75
62. 00
45. 00
57. 00
48. 50
49, 25
40. 25

TABLE 2.- Per cent of total current income in each State of All-Agricultural Area

Conference received by farm population, 1919, 1920, and 1921 (Taken from Table XLIX, pages 282–3; "Income in the Various States." National Bureau of Economic

Research]

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]
[graphic]

1 Figures from table prepared by Dr. W. I. King, National Bureau of Economic Research,

2 Reduced to 1913 dollar as common denominator of exchange value by applying Bureau of Labor Statistics indices. 3 United States Department of Agriculture. Crops and Markets Supplment, July 100-31 TABLE 4.-Wealth in the United States (Bureau of Census estimates) [February Bulletin National City Bank, New York]

(000's omitted)

[blocks in formation]

1912 1922

$12, 846,000
13, 878,000

108

$20, 785, 000
44, 206, 000

$12, 846,000

9, 244, 604

$20,785, 000
29, 447, 109

212.7

71.97

141. 67

1 Figures corrected to common denominator of dollar of 1912 purchasing power by use of Bureau of Labor Statistics all-commodity index, in which 1922 equals 150.12 on basis of 1912 as 100.

? Includes farm implements and machinery, livestock, and agricultural products.
• Includes manufacturing macinery, tools, impelments, and manufactured products.

[blocks in formation]

1 Figures for 1910 and 1920 from United States Census of those years; figures for 1925 are from the United States Farm Census for 1925.

2 Reduced to 1910 dollar as common denominator of exchange value by applying Bureau of Labor Statistics all-commodity indices for 1920 and 1925 (1920 index, 224, and 1925 index, 156; basis 1910-100).

3 Not ready.

Mr. PEEK. You have listened to the spokesmen of the farmers of this country. They have told you what they want to be enabled to do for their own rehabilitation.

Men representing the industries, the business and financial institutions so directly concerned with agricultural prosperity, indorse their representations and support their requests.

The executive committee of the North Central States Agricultural Conference, which met at Des Moines, Iowa, on January 28, 1926, at the call of Governor Hammill, is composed of the appointees of the Governors of the States of Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

Its object is to add its support to the efforts of organized farmers to put agriculture on a business parity with other business enterprises.

At the Des Moines conference resolutions were adopted which I have read, indorsing the principles of the Dickinson bill, recognizing the right of leadership of farm organizations and pledging support to them.

Primarily this is a farm problem, but upon its solution depends the very life of the Nation. We are here in the interest of a sound national program for agriculture. We rely upon the cooperation and support of your committee in this movement for the emancipation of agriculture.

There may be opposition to this legislation. I think we know where it has been, who it has been, and why. I want to say, however, that the executive committee of the North Central States Agricultural Conference stands squarely behind the program of the farmers, as the resolutions quoted above show, and we will support no measure that compromises in principle.

In the discussion with Sir Josiah Stamp of England (who Lloyd George says is the greatest living practical economist), extending over a period of nearly a year, conducted through General Dawes, which was made public a short time ago, it is interesting to observe that the economic soundness of a mechanism to dispose of the surplus is not questioned. On the contrary he says: "The ultimate test of the scheme is whether the return on the capital and labor of the farmer is fair and reasonable in comparison with that secured by capital and labor in other economic spheres." And, in speaking of the activities of the export corporation plan favorably reported by your committee last

spring,

he

says: “There seems to be no reason why this process should not be carried on until the domestic price is pushed to the point at which the return to the farmer will bring his economic position into favorable comparison with that of other producers.

Opponents of the movement have made much of the use of adjectives and epithets to condemn it. "Economically unsound,"

Price-fixing nostrums," "Socialistic," " Class legislation” and other inspired phrases have found receptive places in the minds of many well-meaning people. They are not intellectual arguments and appeal only to prejudice. The people who utter them will do well to stop and reflect. A decaying agriculture is a sure sign of a decadent nation.

I received last night a telegram from Governor McMullen, of Nebraska, which I would like to read to the committee.

LINCOLN, NEBR., April 5, 1926. GEORGE N. PEEK,

Lee House, Washington, D. C. After hearing report of Mr. Mark Woods on the faithful work your committee has been doing I can not forego the opportunity of sending best wishes and congratulations. The farmers of the West hope the cotton and tobacco growers of the South will join them in standing firmly for legislation that will mean permanent relief for agriculture as a whole. It would be better to leave Washington emptyhanded than to accept emergency measures based on re, stricted equalization provisions. All things considered temporary help would be worse than no help.

ADAM 'McMULLEN, Governor. Senator SACKETT. What does he mean by "temporary help”? The CHAIRMAN. He means an emergency bill; for instance, the McNary-Haugen bill, by its terms, expired.

Mr. ÞEEK. This has been explained repeatedly. The bill which is before this committee, Senator, which drafted the bill, is the beginning of a long-time constructive program,

The CHAIRMAN. It is, on its face, permanent.
Mr. PEEK. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. Of course, it could be repealed at any time, but there is no limit to it. It is supposed to be a permanent policy that it sets up:

Mr. PEEK. I have another telegram which I am going to take the liberty of putting into the record, from Governor Lowden. Some days ago I sent to him the House draft of legislation and asked his impressions. This telegram is dated April 1, 1926, from Chandler, Ariz.: GEORGE N. PEEK,

Lee House, Washington, D. C.: Your letter with inclosures received. Of course I heartily indorse the princi-ples of your bill, including assessment of equalization fee. Am inclined, however, to agree with cotton people, who think the gin and not the mill should be the point to which fee should be paid. This on account of so large proportion of cotton which goes into export. Am awaiting with interest further advices as to result of conference with cotton cooperatives. Also am not quite clear as to how you propose to handle corn surplus. Best regards.

FRANK O. LOWDEN. That completes my statement, Mr. Chairman.

Senator SACKETT. Mr. Peek, there is one question I would like to get an idea on. Take the articles that are comprised in this bill. Can you give me some idea of the world price on the surplus of these articles, say, from 1920 up to date? Has it been a declining price?

Mr. PEEK. I am very glad you brought that question up, Senator. During these years of our greatest agricultural depression we have had the largest exports and the highest dollar price we have had in the history of American agriculture, with the exception of the war years, or, at least, going back as far as the Civil War, so the farmer has lost no business. He has had plenty of exports and he has had a high dollar price compared with the pre-war period. The trouble is not in the price he has been receiving, but it is in the price that he has been paying, because the exchange value of his product is only about half what it was before.

Senator SACKETT. In other words, the price of the surplus has not kept up with the advancing prices of commodities.

Mr. PEEK. The price of the farmer's product has not kept up, whether it is a surplus, or whether it is the whole crop.

Senator SACKETT. I understood you to state that the price received for the surplus abroad really made the price at home.

Mr. PEEK. On some commodities.
Senator SACKETT. On these four commodities we are treating?

Mr. PEEK. No. I would say you must differentiate between those commodities. On wheat I would say the price received on the surplus determined the price at home. On cotton, on the other hand, I think we largely determine the world price.

Senator SACKETT. That is a different kind of surplus.
Mr. PEEK. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. There the surplus is very large.
Senator SACKETT. Yes; because that is an exportable crop.

Mr. PEEK. Yes. But I want to go back just a minute if I may. This is an internal situation. It is not an external situation. There are no analogies to be drawn from the history of other countries in this particular picture. We have thrown up around industry and labor legislative enactments behind which their organizations could work to sustain a high level of returns to them, while agriculture, without organization, and being subject to the world price on some of these surplus crops, has had to take the full force of deflation.

Senator SACKETT. I get your argument on that. What I had in mind was this. Take wheat, for example. Take 1920, 1921, and 1922. Has the amount of wheat that we have to sell in Europe been affected by lower prices of wheat in other countries, progressively?

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »