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Senator NORBECK. Yes; of the United States.
Mr. STONE. This record shows that our largest production was in 1915, which was 1,025,801,000 bushels.
Senator KENDRICK. Pardon me, Mr. Stone. Will you speak a little bit louder, please? There is so much noise outside it is difficult to
Senator NORBECK. And in one of the years near that year the production was only about half that, was it not?
Mr. STONE. I will repeat what I said, Senator Norbeck, for Senator Kendrick's benefit.
Senator KENDRICK. Yes, if you will, please.
Mr. STONE. Our largest production of wheat in this country was in the year 1915, when we produced 1,025,801,000 bushels. The net exports that year were 239,591,000 bushels. In 1916 the production dropped to 636,318,000 bushels, and the exports were 181,067,000 bushels.
Senator NORBECK. Was there any particular difference in acreage in those two years?
Mr. STONE. The acreage in 1915 was 60,469,000, and it dropped from that figure in 1915 to 52,316,000 acres in 1916.
Senator NORBECK. There was about a 12 per cent drop in acreage and about a 40 per cent or 50 per cent drop in production?
Mr. STONE. No; about 35 to 40 per cent.
Mr. STONE. 1,025,000,000. Then in 1917 the acreage dropped to 45,089,000 acres, and the production remains the same as in 1916.
În 1918 our production went back to 59,181,000 acres, and we produced 921,438,000 bushels.
In 1919'the acreage was 75,694,000, and we produced 967,979,000 bushels.
Senator NORBECK. Yes. I think that answers my question, Mr. Stone. I will appreciate it if you will place that table in the record so that it may speak for itself. That is prepared from official sources, is it not?
Mr. STONE. Yes. From 1900 to 1931, inclusive.
(The table presented by Mr. Stone is here printed in the record in full, as follows:)
Wheat, all: Acreage, production, and net esports, United States, 1900-1932
1900. 1901 1902. 1903. 1904. 1905. 1906 1907 1908. 1909. 1910. 1911 1912 1913 1914. 1915.
1,000 acres 1,000 acres
51, 387 602, 708
596, 911 49, 389 726, 819 47, 800 756, 775 45, 116 637, 981 45, 970 644, 656 44, 262 700, 434 45, 681
635, 121 49, 543
621, 338 45, 814 730, 267 50, 184 763, 380 53, 541 891, 017 60, 469 1,025, 801
1916. 1917 1918. 1919. 1920. 1921 1922 1923 1924. 1925. 1926. 1927 1928 1929 1930. 1931.
52, 316 45, 089 59, 181 75, 694 61, 143 63, 696 62, 317 59, 659 52, 535 52, 367 56, 359 58, 784 58, 266 62, 671 61, 138 54, 949
636, 318 636, 655 921, 438 967, 979 833, 027 814, 905 867, 598 797, 394 864, 428 676, 765 831, 381 878, 374 914, 876 812, 573 858, 160 892, 271
181,067 102, 775 276,615 216, 671 312, 625 265, 590 205, 079 131, 892 254, 695 92, 669 205, 994 190, 578 142, 301 140, 437 112, 602
Senator NORBECK. And is it not a fact, Mr. Stone, that the great variations are due mainly to weather conditions ? That is, the great variations in total production
Mr. STONE. In production, that is true.
Senator NORBECK. You also said yesterday that you would place in the record the exports for different years.
Mr. STONE. Those figures are contained in this table.
Senator NORBECK. Very well. And is it a fact that the export of wheat has not increased of recent years?
Mr. STONE. It decreased.
Senator NORBECK. It decreased, yes. I wanted that in the record as an answer to the statement that our wheat market condition was due to increased production. I wanted that in order to show that the cause of our wheat condition was not due to an increased production. I think at a previous time, Mr. Stone, you gave some very important testimony here that I wish we could get into this hearing also, and that was the relative value of the grain crop and of our meat products. Have you that handy?
Mr. STONE. I do not know whether I have that or not.
(A statement showing the relative value of the grain crop and meat products will be furnished by Mr. Stone and placed in the record at this point.)
Senator NORBECK. My reason for speaking of that is that the thought has been that it does not help us any to reduce our wheat acreage if we are going to put our meat products on the American price basis. Our conclusion has been that we must maintain our wheat production if for no other purpose than to protect our beef and mutton market. Would you care to make any comments on that view of it?
Mr. STONE. No; I have nothing to say on that right now. I have not been thinking along that line.
Senator NORBECK. I thank you very much.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any other members of the committee who desires to ask Mr. Stone any questions at this point ? Senator Brookhart desires to have Mr. Ewing take the stand before he is required to go to another committee. If you will just step aside for the present, Mr. Stone.
Senator BROOKHART. I will ask Mr. Ewing to take the place at the head of the table.
STATEMENT OF CHARLES A. EWING, DECATUR, ILL., PRESIDENT
OF THE NATIONAL LIVESTOCK MARKETING ASSOCIATION, CHICAGO
The CHAIRMAN. Will you give the committee your name, address, and occupation?
Mr. EWING. Charles A. Ewing, Decatur, Ill. President of the National Livestock Marketing Association, located at Chicago.
Senator BROOKHART. Mr. Ewing, you presented in a conversation yesterday some ideas that I thought ought to be presented to the committee at this time. Will you proceed in your own way,
Mr. Ewing. I did not anticipate, Mr. Chairman, being called as a witness. I feel it is rather rash to try and testify extemporaneously. I do have the honor of being connected with the National Livestock Marketing Association. I feel a little hesitancy, too, in testifying because my desire is to work in accord with these farm organizations, and I am not fully apprised of just what their plans are.
Agriculture is endeavoring to work more in harmony with itself, as I think is should. But livestock is a very important part of agriculture. Two-thirds of the area of this country are devoted to grass and hay and forage crops, all of which must be transmuted into market values through livestock. And about 85 per cent of all the tilled land goes to raise crops that are fed to livestock. I suppose you hear three times as much about wheat and cotton, when the fact is that livestock and livestock products are about three times as valuable as wheat and cotton.
You heard yesterday that wheat and cotton required, respectively, 25 to 50 per cent or more of an o’tlet for their production in this country, while livestock requires but 7 or 8 per cent of an outlet. There is no crops so national as livestock. Wheat and cotton are regional crops comparatively.
Another point that is worth keeping in mind is that it takes 7 to 10 pounds of grain to make a pound of livestock. So it is furnishing a very important market domestically here for grain, and in considering an outlet for surplus it certainly is extremely important that livestock be kept in mind.
Fortunately there is no great surplus of livestock. Its variation has ranged from 45,000,000 to 55,000,000 hogs annually, or a couple of million cattle annually, and seven or eight or ten million sheep.
Senator THOMAS of Oklahoma. If there is no surplus to interfere with the market, how do you account for the extremely low prices at which livestock now is quoted upon the market?
Mr. EWING. Due largely to an extremely low demand.
Mr. EWING. Two reasons. In the first place, the lack of employment. In the second place, there has been a good deal of propaganda that has had considerable effect in reducing the per capita consumption of meat.
Senator THOMAS of Oklahoma. What kind of propaganda do you have reference to?
Mr. Ewing. Well, Sunkist oranges and Sunmaid prunes, and lettuce and spinach and carrots and vegetable diet. There have been advocates of those things, and wide advertising of it, which have increased the proportionate consumption of it very markedly in the last decade.
Senator KENDRICK. Is not this true, Mr. Ewing, that the most material effect on the price of livestock is the absence of purchasing power on the part of the people who consume it? The absence of purchasing power?
Mr. EWING. That is what I said; the lack of employment and the lowered ability to buy has a very decided effect.
The CHAIRMAN. I think former Chairman Legge of the Farm Board stated here to the committee two or three years ago that the mechanical age, the displacement of men by machinery, had a lot to do with the change of diet and the displacement of beef by fruits and vegetables.
Mr. EWING. Doubtless that had its effect.
Senator KENDRICK. But the most material effect is found in the unemployment in the country to-day?
Mr. EWING. Yes.
Senator KENDRICK. When our factories are running and our mills are busy, why, they want meat food products and they buy them.
Mr. EWING. I will point out to you also that since the war Ger. many, which was one of our largest customers for animal products, has increased her output of hogs about 500 or 600 per cent. The same is true in Denmark. Canada is seeking to supply the English market. And all of those things build a cumulative effect. While our own demand has gone down our foreign demand has gone down and fallen almost to the vanishing point compared to what it was.
Senator KENDRICK. Can you tell the committee what the exports of beef cattle are now?
Mr. EWING. No, I can not, Senator. As I said before, I had practi. cally no notice in appearing before you. But I can tell the committee this. For more than 30 years I have been engaged in the handling of stock and grain farms. And my own people have been engaged in it for more than a century. I feel I know something about the conditions out there on the farm. I need not tell you that we are in a crisis. That any slow procedure is going to be in time just to be too late to avert it.
Senator THOMAS of Oklahoma.' What do you recommend that the Congress do?
Mr. Ewing. I do not believe any stroke of the pen on any one piece of paper is going to bring into proper adjustment the relationships that are needing adjustment today. We went through solving a physical slavery question in this country, and we freed 3,000,000 negro slaves from physical slavery. But there is just as real a slavery, an economic slavery, that can just as truly filch out the rewards of the toil of the laborer, and it is in that condition that agriculture finds itself to-day.
We had the renaissance in agricultural education in the beginning of this century, and we have spent through Federal and State appropriations some billions of dollars trying to make agriculture prosperous by prosecuting the science of agriculture. And we have increased that efficiency 47 per cent, according to statistics. And yet we find it in a more deplorable condition because of the failure and oversight in understanding that we had to have a proper market at a reasonable price for the product or all the rest of our work in agriculture is in vain. That is where we are to-day.
Now I heard with interest yesterday the proposal to increase the open market operations of the Federal reserve bank in the purchase of bonds. And that would lead to a gradual recovery, and I believe that is a sound procedure. But I question if it is fast enough to save a situation that is full of portent for us all.
Senator Thomas of Oklahoma. Do you think it could be operated fast enough to save the situation?
Mr. Ewing. I hope so, but I hardly can believe so. If a man's house is on fire or he is bleeding to death you do not proceed to say that you will gradually put out the fire or stop the flow of blood. We need some outlet and we need it promptly. You have seen a jump in the defaults of taxes in the last few months that has been alarming. You will see a more rapid jump in the next few months. It can not go on the way it is. And when you stop and consider that there are 30,000,000 people, or approximately that, on the farms, and nearly that many more in the rural towns utterly dependent on the farms and increase those defaults some 15 per cent more, you can visualize what the situation will be like. And that too is going to occur in the best part of your farming country. That is the condition in Illinois, in Iowa, in Indiana, where land is the best developed and the best land, where they are seeking to struggle with this high rate of debt and the high rate of taxes.
Senator Thomas of Oklahoma. Mr. Ewing, I think the condition which you portray so vividly is the impulse that brought this meeting together, and what we are trying to do now is to find what can be done, if anything, to bring relief exactly in line with what you are saying, and we will be very glad, I am sure, speaking for myself personally, to have your suggestions as to what we should do and do it now.
Mr. Ewing. I think we are all convinced, Mr. Senator, that there is need for an outlet. That we can not go on just buying and holding surpluses. That there is need for a better adjustment in the disparity of production that has always been accorded by the Government to industry as compared to what it has accorded to agriculture. That it might be possible to open an outlet by way of an exchange.
Senator Thomas of Oklahoma. Would you care to be specific? Mr. Ewing. Would I care to be specific?
Senator THOMAS of Oklahoma. Yes. Just give us your ideas. That is what we are looking for.
Mr. Ewing. An exchange for foreign goods to be admitted duty free or at a reduced rate of duty. To be more specific, we imported in 1930 about $260,000,000 worth of silk from the Orient, bearing a duty of from 30 to 90 per cent. I do not know what the markets are in that section for agricultural products, but I know there are hundreds of millions of people that consume food and are ofttimes hungry, and it might be possible in such a manner to avoid the offense of foreign trade from any plan of dumping on them our wares and surpluses, and at the same time encourage a reciprocity which is bound to be the basis of any trade relation that is going to last.
Senator BROOKHART. Would it not take some time though, Mr. Ewing, to work out some reciprocity like that? That would not be immediate relief, would it?
Mr. EWING. I feel that it would.
Senator BROOKHART. Now, you said there is only 7 or 8 per cent of livestock surplus, which is correct. The farmers of the country are forced to sell that in the domestic market?
Mr. EWING. Yes.
Senator BROOKHART. And it floods the domestic market by that amount all the time, does it not?