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TABLE XIII.--Production on the 180-acre balanced rotation farm using sheep for
the soil-improving program Receipts : Wool: 270 ewes X 9 pounds=2,430 x 55 cents per pound..
$1, 336. 50 45 yearlings X7 pounds=315 X 55 cents per pound.
173. 25 7 rams X13 pounds=91x50 cents per pound
45. 50 Lambs :
98 percent L. C.-6 percent D. L.=84.6 percent X 270=228
2, 882. 25
238. 50 7,560 pounds certified alfalfa seed at 51 cents per pound.
3, 855. 60 36 acres row crops at $120.
12, 807. 23
Total gross income..
STATEMENT OF MONTE E. ROBERTSON, CHAIRMAN OF THE WATER
COMMITTEE OF THE WYOMING NATURAL RESOURCE BOARD
Mr. ROBERTSOX. I am Monte Robertson, from Casper, Wyo., a member of the Wyoming Natural Resource Board and chairman of its irrigation committee. Our board has requested that I attend this hearing and enter the following statement in support of the bill and urge its passage into law.
If we are to consider land limitation laws applicable to the entire West, it would be most difficult to determine a weighted average that could be applied throughout the area.
We would be dealing with lands varying in altitude from sea level to 9,000 feet, in climate from a 40-day growing season to 300 days, and in produce from citrus fruits to barley and hay.
It therefore becomes necessary to devise a method of determination readily adaptable to these varying conditions and flexible enough to establish a fair farm subsistence unit in each of the varying locations.
It is evident that such a determination should be made by those residing in the area and those who are familiar with the facts necessary to establish such a weighted average.
Senator Barrett's bill, S. 2541, sets up such a plan and would correct the injustices and hardships that result from the present 160-acre limitation and also prevent the acquisition of great areas of reclaimed land by those seeking to build huge estates.
The induced inflation brought on by buying ourselves out of the 1929 depression which was greatly increased by the Second World War, the Korean war, and our foreign aid and defense programs has worked a great hardship on the settlers on many of our western reclamation projects.
While their operating expenses have doubled and tripled, they were still pinned down with the same size plant and a somewhat depleted soil for the production of their marketable produce from which they must maintain and replace their buildings and worn out machinery, pay ever-increasing taxes and educate their children.
To keep him going we have had price supports which he did not like but had to accept, Farm Home Administration loans which he is not too sure he can repay but which he needed desperately.
His 160-acre farm is now tilled and harvested with approximately $20,000 worth of machinery which is also sufficient to care for twice as many acres with a very small increase in manpower and operating expense.
Our Federal and State agencies dealing with the farmers problems are unanimous in their analysis of his needs. Studies they have made always indicate the need for increasing the size of his farm if he is to be put on a self-sustaining basis.
Our State's basic industry is stockraising which includes cattle and sheep. A recent study made of the Kendrick project sets up a farm subsistence unit as 240 acres of irrigated land and 400 acres of contiguous dry land for pasture sufficient to run 125 head of cows or sheep on a 5 to 1 basis.
Senator ANDERSON. What shape is the Kendrick project in? How do you go about getting 400 contiguous acres of dry land? Do you not have to keep the irrigated land in the valley?
Mr. ROBERTSON. No, we do not have a valley in our Kendrick project where the irrigation is. It is out of the valley. It is on benchland.
Mr. DOMINY. May I interject there a moment, Senator. The Kendrick project is an area of extremely varied soils. We had to carefully analyze large acreage in order to find about 22,000 acres that are irrigable.' So far the most part it is not too difficult to have an irrigated tract with adjoining dryland holdings.
Senator ANDERSON. It would be pretty hard down in the area of Arizona, would it not?
Mr. DOMINY. Indeed it would. But the Kendrick project is spread along a wide area and it is interspersed with nonirrigable lands that can be used for dryland grazing.
Mr. ROBERTSON. I might say in addition that when the Kendrick project was formed, a great deal of the area where the land was to be irrigated was in 610-acre homestead allotments or additional homesteads.
Many of the farmers who were placed under the project only were able to get water on anywhere from 100 to 200 or 300 acres, which left them in possession of lands on the outside of their unit.
About 3 years ago Senator Barrett aided in bringing relief to some settlers on marginal lands on the Riverton project. Their accumulated indebtedness finally got them down and they were given the opportunity to acquire new lands on other unsettled projects in exchange for their farms.
Their adjoining neighbors were permitted to acquire their old farms at an appraised price and were financed by the Farm Home Administration.
They have been able to keep up their payments and to also enjoy an increased income which indicates the benefits of the increase in acreage.
A survey conducted by the agriculturalist of the Casper office of the Bureau of Reclamation gave me the following figures pertaining to farm sizes in Wyoming. There are three classifications of farms and they are as follows:
These figures reflect the increased net return due to increased acreage and show that a farmer can operate on twice as many acres with a very small increase in his operating expenses.
The reclamation projects that have already been constructed were built in river valleys and on lands where our class I lands were located.
We should anticipate a greater number of acres class 2 and 3 lands in future projects which would make it essential to increase the acreage allowable in each sustaining unit under such projects.
In our State there has been very little speculation on tillable lands. Even today our livestock industry which necessarily must acquire large tracts of dry lands and large leases of Taylor grazing lands and forest lands on which to run their bands of sheep and herds of cattle prefer to purchase their hay, grain, and cake rather than to own and operate cultivated farms.
They buy the farmers' hay and grain and frequently his fall and winter pasture and feed their stock on the farmers' land. The farmers also sometimes buy sheep and cattle from the stockman to feed out his crops and finish them off for the markets.
This arrangement is a most satisfactory one and disposes of our farm produce at home instead of shipping it out to competitive markets.
Because of our geographic location, we do not raise such high yield crops as other areas producing fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc. The net returns from cultivated acres in Wyoming will probably always remain below the level of excess profits return and it will not likely encourage the investments by those seeking large and profitable returns.
Much can and should be done to increase the income of settlers on western reclamation projects He is one of our principal sources of food and clothing and with forecasts of great increases in population he is destined to become our most important economic asset.
We should strive to raise his net income to the same level enjoyed by our best industrial and professional enterprises. This bill which would allow him the opportunity for plant expansion is a step in that direction. Our State is endowed with a multitude of valuable natural resources
a and water is the most valuable of them all. We are greatly indebted to the National Congress for their assistance in putting it to bene
We sincerely thank this committee for their deliberation and study of this land limitation bill and for the opportunity afforded us to be heard on the subject.
Senator ANDERSON. Thank you, Mr. Robertson.
Senator BARRETT. Mr. Robertson, there is one question I had. The net income per farm according to the different classes with increased acreage is on the same class of land ?
Mr. ROBERTSON. Presumably it is. I am not able to determine from what farms this information was obtained. It was a survey prepared by Mr. Art Hayes in the department in cooperation with regional agricultural corporation credit setups and the Farmers' Home Administration and Soil Conservation.
Senator BARRETT. How has the Kendrick project worked out since they increased the acreage?
Nr. ROBERTSON. The Kendrick project is showing a gradual improvement all the time. It is building up very nicely. A survey conducted by the University of Wyoming, I think shows that the farmers are in a prosperous condition and doing a very nice job.
Senator BARRETT. Do you know of your personal knowledge if the same is not true as to that portion of the Riverton project where increased acreages were allowed and also to the Eden Valley project.
Mr. ROBERTSON. I do. The Riverton project information I gave here came from Mr. Christenson who is the head man in our district of the Farm Home Administration, and I am sure it is reliable.
Senator BARRETT. I have some figures here which indicate that on the Heart Mountain project in Park County there were 218 farm units made available for settlement and none of them exceeded 160 acres, but that the Bureau had received requests from 146 of the settlers on that project to amend their applications for the purpose of getting increased acreage on the project or to exchange for other units. So that indicates that the same situation prevails on other projects in Wyoming.
Mr. ROBERTSON. That is true, Senator. There are many of the older projects, especially in our State, where we have had some seepage or alkali show up and the farm units had to lose certain acreage. Because of farm conditions and farm support and all of these different things, they are in need of an increased acreage to be able to earn more money. Senator B.ARRETT. There is just one other question I would like to
In order to throw another safeguard around this method or formula for reviewing the necessity of additional acreage and thereafter leaving that decision to the Secretary of the Interior, do you think there would be any objection from people in our State requiring that the Secretary submit his final decision to the Interior Committee of the Senate and the Interior Committee of the House for their consideration for a period of, say, 60 days after it is arrived at?
Mr. ROBERTSON. I do not see why there should be any objection, Senator Barrett. I think most of them would be very glad to have this bill. The main thing they hope for out there is that it is not delayed too long.
Senator BARRETT. Thank you very much, Mr. Robertson for a fine statement.
Senator ANDERSON. Our next witness is Father Vizzard.
STATEMENT OF REV. JAMES L. VIZZARD, S. J., REPRESENTING THE
NATIONAL CATHOLIC RURAL LIFE CONFERENCE
Father VIZZARD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My name is Father James L. Vizzard, S. J., vice president of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference and director of the conference's Washington office at 1719 Rhode Island Avenue.
As the gentlemen of this subcommittee know very well, this is not the first time that a representative of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference has appeared here in defense of the excess land provision of reclamation law. So often, in fact, have we found it necessary to repeat our position and urgent recommendations on this matter that it is difficult to find anything new to say.
To paraphrase a remark made recently by Adlai Stevenson in another context, “What we seem to need here are some new cliches." I shall, therefore, start my remarks here by suggesting that the standard characterization of the excess lands provision, namely the 160acre limitation, be changed to the 320-acre limitation. We all know that that is what it is in effect wherever there is a community property law.
Senator BARRETT. Father, do you mind being interrupted ? Father VIZZARD. Not at all, Senator. Senator BARRETT. You heard me remind previous witnesses that all of the homesteads made available by the Bureau of Reclamation are 160 acres or less at the present time, as far as the public lands are concerned?
Father VIZZARD. Yes, Senator.
Senator BARRETT. It is impossible to get 320 acres at the present time, although the Bureau of Reclamation would not object if additional acreage were acquired by purchase. As far as the new settlers coming on the project are concerned, they have no opportunity of getting anything in excess of 160 acres. They most generally get 100 acres.
Father VIZZARD. Yes, Senator. As we all know, that is a rather exceptional condition in the overall operation of the reclamation and irrigation law rather than the standard condition.
Senator BARRETT. I beg your pardon, Father. I think that is the rule. Is that not right?
Mr. DOMINY. On public land opening, certainly.
Senator BARRETT. It is less than 160 acres generally speaking. So your suggestion would probably cure this whole situation if it could be done the way you suggest. "I would have no objection to that at all. But that is not possible at the present time.
Father VIZZARD. I might take this occasion, Senator, if I may, to interject this comment: