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In 1912 we established the city market. You gentlemen of the committee would find it hard put to house your offices and staff on the grounds occupied by our market. It is an old retail area. Last year we had better than 8,000 carloads of food move across that market at a value of $15,000,000. One of the members of the committee stated a minute ago that private enterprise should do something about this, and we feel so, too, and have felt so for some time. However, we have some 31 produce dealers who are entrenched in this small space. They feel no compunction to do something for the public benefit, so we all regard it as a proper community problem.
One hundred and twenty people interested in this problem met last Monday night to discuss it. They were made up of farmers, the produce, meat, poultry and egg brokers, our city council
, into whose lap this problem will fall and is now. Twenty-nine of our wholesale fruit and vegetable dealers agreed to go into such a facility as we asked for if it were built; four poultry and egg dealers, and one meat dealer. That is 29 out of 31 who agreed to go into such a proposition.
We are very hopeful that this bill enabling municipalities will pass with the provision in it that does enable municipalities to get guaranteed financing. We are hopeful the bill will go through. We strongly support it because we believe that the consuming area which we represent can if facilities are provided through this particular market easily raise by 30 percent the commodities now handled.
We of course want our consuming public to have the advantage of the lower prices that can result through vastly lowered handling costs. Our present market has no rail connection. Everything has to be carried by hand truck considerable distance from team tracks. Naturally, you gentlemen know what that will mean in handling 8,000 carloads, in spoilage, waste, and the cost of handling.
We would like to form a public body under municipal administration to erect such a market as is provided here with enough space for expansion under the provisions of this bill. You men are more familiar than I am with the strength of city finances generally. To build a market at an estimated cost of $600,000 for a city with the financial structure of Huntington, W. Va., or any other city in our State, would be next to impossible, due to our tax-limitation amendment of our constitution. We are permitted to issue revenue bonds which we feel would be readily acceptable to the lending institutions under this plan.
Frankly, with this bill in our minds, it will remove the necessity for the bill when the bill is passed if it is known that we can get this type of financing. It is quite probable that with that type of financing we can go to private finance.
The CHAIRMAN. We thank you very much for your statement, Mr. Baker. We are glad to have your endorsement of the bill.
Are there any questions? If not, we thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Paul T. Rochford, Indianapolis Produce Terminal, Inc., Indianapolis, Ind.
STATEMENT OF PAUL T. ROCHFORD, INDIANAPOLIS PRODUCE
TERMINAL, INC., INDIANAPOLIS, IND. Mr. Rochford. My name is Paul T. Rochford, and I am representing Indianapolis, Ind., in the marketing facilities hearings here today. I would like to give you a little of the background of our proposition down there. Apparently, it is much different from what I have heard here this morning.
In 1939 a young produce man by the name of John Rosen sensed that we needed a new market down there; and, he being a client of our office, we went forward and we located and succeeded in obtaining 227 acres of ground which is within 2% miles of the crossroads of America, and within 42 miles of the center of population of the United States. Any of you men who are familiar with Indianapolis knows that the hub is around the Soldiers and Sailors' Monument there. There are four avenues that lead off from it, and four segments. Our ground is out at the northeast segment, just 2 miles from the center of Indianapolis. This real estate was acquired, some at premium price, some at bargain price, some at a contrary price. But eventually we got it all into the Producers Realty Co., an Indiana corporation, which is owned by 12 men-11 commission men and myself.
We in turn formed what is known as the Indianapolis Produce Terminal, Inc., an Indiana corporation, and gave over to that corporation 77 acres of ground for the purpose of building the terminal. The figure of 77 acres was arrived at through the cooperation and assistance of the Department of Agriculture, particularly Mr. Crow and Mr. Otten, and it was reduced to a blueprint which indicated that that was the necessary acreage to take care of today's demand and the expansion in the future. I do not believe it is necessary to say anything here about the condition of our market, because you just draw upon your own imagination the word "terrible" and we are worse than that.
Anyway you want to stretch your imagination, you cannot miss traffic hazards, health problems, loss of income, long hours for the men that work under it, and it is just a disorganized operation of one of the largest businesses in Indianapolis.
We have gotten into this corporation in real estate and cash approximately $400,000. All of that money excepting the part contributed by myself was given by men who are in the produce business. We have not made any lock-out for any group of men. They are all welcome to come in, and we want to give them a rock-bottom operation, and the bylaws of the corporation will so provide that.
Today we are having drawn preliminary plans and specifications for the purpose of a firm bid from contractors. The thing that we need to go with that is money. We feel that our men will eventually put in and contribute in money and the equivalent half a million dollars. The real estate that is held over in this 150 acres after the 77 acres are taken out is liquidating at a price greater than that at which it was set into the corporation.
The Producers Realty Co. took stock in the terminal company in payment of the ground, so that there are no liens against the real estate except taxes. We went into the field of finance, and I learned from one of the large insurance companies which our office represents that there has not been any experience upon which they could predicate what is known as a progressive type of loan, it being that type of loan as the demand grows for the building you can add onto your mortgage and go forward; and, therefore, it would be entirely new to them. However, we have been negotiating with five other insurance companies, and I feel reasonably certain, if the United States of American fails to help us down there a little bit by passing this bill, which is flexible enough to take of all if's and and's that may come up, that two or three of these insurance companies will come to our rescue and carry the proposition forward.
The reason why we think that this market is one that should stand out and will stand out is the fact that that serves better than a million and a half people, and we are asking about $10 a person to put in a first-class facility there to take care of everything. We do not mean just produce; we mean meat, eggs, poultry, dry groceries, milk-make it a one-stop package, the same as they have on the super markets. We feel that we are especially fortunate in that we have two railroads, one railroad on two sides of our ground, and the other railroad passes on one side of it. Of course, they are very anxious to serve us as long as it does not cost them anything.
We are also on a main highway down there. That is U S 367, which carries all of the traffic from the northern part of the State through Indianapolis on south. The Western Electric Co. has made a major improvement there of some $15,000,000 less than a mile from this location.
You perhaps wonder why we have not asked the State of Indiana or the city of Indianapolis for help. I will tell you why. The State of Indiana cannot build a new office building down there when it is paying better than $350,000 a year to private enterprise for office space to take care of the governmental units which are in those buildings. Our present Governor down there has tried for two terms to get that through, and it now looks, if they have good luck in 1953, the Legislature will act upon it.
As far as the city is concerned, if we would ask them to finance a market, there is no reason why they should not finance the department store, and we are just down there with growing pains. The retail merchants have outgrown their facilities, and what little organized market there is in Indianapolis is down where the traffic is the heaviest, and where the pedestrian traffic is heaviest; and there are no facilities at all to take care of the health proposition at all, no regulations; everyone works different hours, and they truck their stuff from the railroad cars blocks and miles away to get them to the places. We feel that there is only one thing wrong with the bill under consideration here, and that is the fact that it has not been passed.
And, if it was the law today, we would be here tomorrow asking you for help to go along with us. We are not begging, because we feel that you owe it to us twofold. One is that we are good taxpayers down there in Indiana, and we put considerable money into the tax facilities here in the United States; and the second is the the Department of Agriculture knows what it is all about. If we get three or four insurance companies in there, any man that they could pick out would not have the facilities to serve the public the Department of Agriculture would, who would be our supervisor in this venture. And we sincerely hope and urge that this bill be passed.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much. Any questions?
Mr. CHRISTOPHER. I would like to ask one question. It is your opinion that if you were able to get your credit underwritten there in Indianapolis the results of the work you could then do would give the consumer either more food at the same price that he is paying or the food that he is getting now for less money.
Mr. RochFORD. That is correct, at least that.
Mr. CHRISTOPHER. Do you believe that it would result in the producer receiving more for the food that he produces that comes to your market?
Mr. RochFORD. He will receive more, and he will be more interested in bringing it up because he will be able to cope with the traffic situation.
Mr. CHRISTOPHER. Will it result in less good food deteriorating and going to waste?
Mr. RochFORD. Definitely. The survey which was made by the Department of Agriculture would indicate--and I believe it is a matter of record here in this matter--that it would certainly cut down the spoilage, a high percentage of this produce that is lost by spoilage.
Mr. CHRISTOPHER. Is it in your opinion a fact that if your credit needs were underwritten, as they would be if this bill became law, the Government would not lose money on the proposition unless you fellows went broke? Would you not all be tied up in the same package?
Mr. ROCHFORD. Everyone down there that is in these two corporations, of course, will take space. They are not wealthy men, but I mean they have put up as much as they can possibly put up. The re maining men of
the produce circle are men who will take leases and will pay them. They probably are not a bankable lease, but they are men who deal in thousands of dollars every day on their word and honor and never default, and we do not anticipate any trouble. The fa ct of the matter is that the Farm Bureau down there has approached us to take over the farmers' market. That is included in these plans, and we have no selfish interest. We just want a good job well done for everybody, and get back to Indianapolis what used to be there. There is no diversion point today. We have no Federal inspector there today, only on call out of Chicago, Louisville, and St. Louis or Cincinnati. And I think it would reduce the number of complaints that are being made between the seller and the buyer in the wholesale field, also.
Mr. CHRISTOPHER. Just one other question. Is it your opinion that if it became evident that you men in Indianapolis could secure this money
from the Federal Government, or have your obligations underwritten, which means the same thing—is it your opinion then that you would be much more able to secure private money if they knew that you could get it unless they furnished it? Do you think that would relieve the credit situation in that quarter?
Mr. ROCHFORD. The private money would have to be invested in the surplus of the corporation.
Mr. CHRISTOPHER. I was wondering about your insurance companies, if they would not be more apt to take care of your credit needs if they knew that you were going to get the money anyway.
Mr. ROCHFORD. The thing that they are objecting to is the fact that we put in central controls for expansion, which does not produce any return, any revenue, and it will not until there is addition made
on, and they want to put it in just on the immediate improvements to be made. Well, then, when it becomes necessary to build another unit, we either have to go out and refinance the thing in its entirety or go into a stock-selling scheme of some type which we do not want to do, or we just have to go out here and induce the loaning agency to increase the loan and rewrite the loan themselves.
Our track facilities go in there and the sewerage and the roadway. Dollarwise, that is a pretty high figure. That is just a lost investment for the moment and nonproductive, but they will put in what it takes to operate the thing today. It would not be any good tomorrow.
Another thing we would really like to have: We would like that Government assistance, when it comes to tell us this is what is wrong with the operation, come in with some authority and the men respect it, and it is corrected, and that is it. Mr. CHRISTOPHER. Thank you very much. Mr. RocHFORD. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Troy H. Cribb, of Spartanburg, S. C., will now be heard.
STATEMENT OF TROY H. CRIBB, MANAGER, SOUTH CAROLINA
PEACH GROWERS ASSOCIATION, SPARTANBURG, S. C. Mr. CRIBB. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I am very much interested in this bill. As stated a moment ago, I am manager of the South Carolina Peach Growers Association, which is the largest fresh peach cooperative in the United States, I mean marketing fresh peaches for consumption in fresh form.
At the annual meeting of the association last fall the membership passed a resolution requesting that the Congress do something to relieve and improve the marketing of perishable commodities in the large consuming centers, realizing that in many instances the marketing facilities are inadequate and obsolete.
I have read this bill and I feel that the declaration of policy as stated in the bill is excellent. If I changed anything, I might change the wording a little stronger than is stated in the bill with respect to some of the markets. There have been improvements made in the production, harvesting, packaging, and transportation of perishable commodities, but in many of our large consuming centers the same marketing facilities and methods are being used today as were used 75 to 100 years ago, so that, in my opinion, there must be some improvement if the commodities grown by our farmers are to receive the proper handling, and if consumers are to receive good food at anything like nominal costs.
The general purposes of the bill are excellent because it provides help, to any group or organization that has a legitimate place in the marketing of perishable commodities. I would, I believe, where possible leave out political subdivisions. I would not say to eliminate that from the bill, but I think that in the administration of the bill that the marketing facilities, if possible, should be kept in the hands of business people rather than political subdivisions.
I know it cannot be done, but I think it should be kept as far away from politics as possible.
The CHAIRMAN. In that connection, suppose you had a county that was interested but no local people that were interested enough