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Mrs. BENNETT. Thank you, sir.
Senator ANDERSON. Mr. I. C. Jackson of the National Reclamation Association, John Bliss, Mark Andrews, and Bert L. Smith.
This is a group from the National Reclamation Association. We have had testimony many times from the National Reclamation Association on this and other subjects and we are very happy to have the views of that organization with reference to this question. Mr. Jackson, we will take you
STATEMENT OF GUY C. JACKSON, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RECLAMA
TION ASSOCIATION, ACCOMPANIED BY JOHN H. BLISS, MARK
Mr. Chairman, I have prepared a not particularly voluminous but informative statement. With your permission, I would like to make a few extemporaneous remarks, with the request that the formal statement be incorporated in the record.
Senator ANDERSON. That will be done, Mr. Jackson.
(The prepared statement is as follows:) PREPARED STATEMENT OF GUY C. JACKSON, JR., PRESIDENT NATIONAL RECLAMATION
ASSOCIATION My name is Guy C. Jackson and I reside at Anahuac, Tex. I am president of the National Reclamation Association, an organization which has active membership in each of the 17 Western States, comprising more than 50 percent of the area of the Nation. A very large percentage of our membership is made up of officers and other representatives of irrigation districts, canal companies and other types of water user or irrigation farmer organizations. These people represent a very large percentage of the irrigation acreage of the West. It is on behalf of the members that I am appearing before you today.
The questions involved in the legislation that is before your committee for consideration, S. 2541, S. 1425, and S. 3448, relating to the land limitation provisions of the Federal Reclamation Law, have long been a matter of grave concern to the members of our association. We adopted resolutions as early as 1943 and since that time we have adopted altogether a total of 23 resolutions. These resolutions have called for a liberalization, or perhaps a better term would be a modernization, of the land limitation provisions of the Federal Reclamation Law.
The original Reclamation Act which was adopted in 1902 was intended primarily to apply to the public lands of the West. Since that time the reclamation program has been broadened to meet all of the various conditions and problems calling for reclamation and irrigation development which were beyond the ability of the local organizations, including particularly supplemental water projects and the irrigation of lands that have long been farmed and in private ownership.
In the 56 intervening years since the enactment of the original Reclamation Act we have come from the horse-and-buggy days to an age of mechanization.
At the turn of the century about all that was required of a farmer was a team of horses, a plow, harow, mowing machine, and wagon. These required only a very small and limited investment. Today a farmer must have modern, highpriced tractors with all kinds of attachments and equipment if he is to meet competition and stay in business. The equipment required on an ordinary farm today for general farming would cost a farmer $20,000 or $25,000 and if he engages in diversified farming, including row crops or truck farming, the amount of equipment required is still greater. This kind of equipment cannot be justified on a small or limited acreage. A farmer today cannot be expected to succeed by horse-and-buggy regulations in a mechanical age.
TREND TOWARD LARGER FARMS
It is very interesting, indeed, to note that the trend throughout the Nation for the past 23 years has been a gradual increase in the size of he farm. The following table is taken from a Department of Agriculture publication entitled “Family Farms in a Changing Economy."
TABLE 1.--Farms, land in farms, and population, United States, specified years,
1 Agricultural Marketing Service.
3 Not entirely comparable with earlier censuses because of a change in the census definition of a farm. See appendix for discussion of changes in the census procedure.
Source: Bureau of the Census, except as otherwise stated.
Another tabulation (shown below) taken from the same Department of Agriculture publication (table 4) shows the rapid increase in the large farms with sales of $25,000 and over and also the decrease in the smaller or class 6 farms with sales averaging between $250 and $1,199. TABLE 4.-Number of farms by economic class, United States, specified years,
· Value intervals in early years deflated to 1954 level of prices received by farmers for farm products.
With operator not working off the farm as much as 100 days and farm sales greater than income of family members from off-farm sources.
3 In this and subsequent tables, 4,000 farms classified as abnormal in 1949 and 2,000 so classified in 1954 are included. These farms, public and private, institutional, experiment station, and so on, were not separated in earlier censuses. They are therefore included in census data for earlier years also.
* With operator working off the farm 100 or more days, or other income of family members exceeding sales from the farm.
Farms listed in earlier censuses that would not have met the minimum criteria used in the censuses of 1950 and 1954.
The above tabulation shows beyond any doubt what is happening with respect to the size of farms where there is no restriction such as the restriction on the size of farms on Federal reclamation projects. It definitely shows that the American farmer realizes that he must have the larger farm with the greater sales if he is to succeed today.
In the tabulation from the same publication, which is equally informative, is table 8.
TABLE 8.-Number of farms by size of acreage group, United States, specified
years, 1930-54 NUMBER OF FARMS
Again, this tabulation shows that the small farms are decreasing in number while the number of farms ranging from 180 acres to 259 acres has remained about the same during the 24-year period from 1930 to 1954 while the number of farms with a greater acreage have been increasing.
FOUR DIFFERENT PROBLEMS
There are four different conditions existing throughout the West today, each of which presents a different problem with respect to land limitations.
No. 1: The original development of land taken from the public domain.
No. 2: Privately owned lands not used or usable for agricultural production, which lands may be brought into agricultural production by means of irrigation.
No. 3: Privately owned lands already being irrigated and used for agricultural production, but which now being farmed with an inadequate water supply.
No. 4: Privately owned land already under agricultural production as dryland farming in an area with periodic periods of inadequate rainfall
where irrigation is needed to supplement the rainfall. Now, I would like to discuss the problems as we find them under each of these classifications.
No. 1: Public domain.-As stated before, it was to deal with the lands referred to in No. 1 for which the original Reclamation Act was enacted. We are not urging a basic change in this act as it would relate to the public lands of the West except to say that we believe provision should be made to meet the problem where a larger acreage is required because of a high altitude, short growing season, required crop rotation such as rice farming and other special No. 2: Privately owned, not farmed.-It would seem logical that the comments made regarding class I lands would be equally applicable to the class II lands.
No. 3: Supplemental water for presently irrigated area8.—Where projects are to provide a supplemental water supply to lands that are already in private ownership and under irrigation from other sources, we believe that a liberalization of the law is not only justified but necessary. In many instances these farms have been in operation for a long period of years. The pattern of farming and the size of farm required has already been established. In most cases a water right for the lands in question has already been established under State law. Under this type of project we believe the most satisfactory form of relief can be obtained by legislation provided in section 3 of the bill, S. 2541, requiring the payment of interest on costs allocated to excess lands.
No. 4: Privately owned lands being farmed where rainfall is inadequate and supplemental irrigation water is needed.—This presents an entirely different problem. Here again, most of the land under this heading has been in private ownership and under farming operations for a long period of years. Most of the lands under this heading will be found in the Great Plains States from North Dakota to Texas, although there are a few areas farther West with a similar problem such as the Willamette Valley in Oregon where there is an abundance of rainfall most of the year, but where the rainfall is extremely scarce during the late summer months.
In view of the fact that the pattern of farming has long been established and the size of the farms had been determined and maintained during several generations it would seem entirely inadvisable to enforce a provision which would require reducing the size of the farms at this time. Again, we believe that the provisions to be found in section 3 of the bill, S. 2541, would be a proper solution to the problem on the land found under this group IV.
LEGISLATION FOR CONSIDERATION
It is our understanding that there are three bills before your committee for consideration :
S. 1425, which would amend the Small Reclamation Projects Act so as to make the excess land provisions of the Federal reclamation law applicable to small projects authorized under that act.
S. 2541, which would provide (a) that if, after investigation requested by the governor of the affected State, the Secretary of the Interior determines that more than 160 acres are required for the support of an average-size family, he is authorized to waive the 160-acre limit and to substitute such greater acreage as in his judgment may be necessary; (b) that the requirement of a recordable contract be waived when the contract with the district provides for the payment of interest on the construction charges attributable to lands held in excess of the land limitation provisions of the reclamation law. This latter provision, however, is applicable only to projects providing a supplemental supply of water to lands already under irrigation or to projects which would supply water for the irrigation of lands which have been subjected to cultivation for the production of crops for more than 10 years.
S. 3448, which would provide relief for the Seedskadee project in Wyoming. The first of these bills, S. 1425, is, in the opinion of our association, entirely inadvisable at this time. The enactment of the Small Projects Act was the result of many years of effort on the part of the National Reclamation Association, working in close cooperation with the Congress and interested Government agencies. Our association first adopted a resolution urging small-projects legislation in 1946. A committee of able engineers from the West was appointed in 1950. This committee served continuously to obtain enactment of this legislation. In fact, the National Reclamation Association small-projects committee is still serving in the same capacity.
It was shown in the testimony at the time the small-projects legislation was before the committees of the Congress that these projects would be limited almost entirely to supplemental water. We believe that this act should remain in operation as it is over a period of several years to determine how it is going to work out before any effort is made to amend any of the provisions of the act.
The chairman of our National Reclamation Association small-projects committee, Mr. John Bliss, former State engineer of New Mexico, is here and will testify regarding the proposed legislation to amend the Small Projects Act. Mr. Bliss has served as chairman of our small-projects committee since that committee was first organized in 1950.
We believe that the bill, S. 2541, is the best proposal yet submitted as a means of meeting the problems involved in land limitations. This legislation has been unanimously approved by a special committee of our association on land limitations, by our board of directors, and by the entire membership present at the last annual meeting of our association held in Phoenix, Ariz., November 6–8, 1957.
Although the bill, S. 3448, is designed only to meet the problems of land limitation on the Seedskadee project in Wyoming, we of the National Reclamation Association are very much in sympathy with the objectives of this bill and heartily endorse the same.
NATIONAL RECLAMATION ASSOCIATION POSITION
The position of the National Reclamation Association with respect to land limitations is well set forth by three documents, which I wish to attach to my statement and have them made a part thereof.
First, is the report of the NRA land limitation committee, which was submitted at the last annual meeting of the association in Phoenix, Ariz., November 6-8, 1957. This report is attached to this statement and marked "Exhibit A."
Next is resolution No. 12–land limitations, adopted at the same meeting in Phoenix, which is also attached to this statement and marked “Exhibit B.”
Next is resolution No. 13—redefinition of family unit, which is also attached to my statement and marked "Exhibit C." Also along with resolution No. 13 will be found a suggested bill which is designed and intended to implement and carry into effect the objectives sought by resolution No. 13. We earnestly request that your committee give this specific proposed legislation consideration along with the bills that are now pending before your committee.
EXHIBIT A. REPORT, LAND LIMITATIONS COMMITTEE, NATIONAL RECLAMATION
ASSOCIATION, NOVEMBER 1957 Following the Salt Lake City meeting in November 1956, and pursuant to action taken at that meeting, President Jackson appointed the following land limitations committee: Judge J. E. Sturrock, Austin, Tex. Prof. A. F. Vass, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyo. Mark Andrews, Mapleton, N. Dak. Don Damon, Spokane, Wash. Burnham Enersen, San Francisco, Calif., chairman
The committee has held two meetings, one in Denver on July 25 and the other in Phoenix (with all members present) on November 5. In addition, the members of the committee have been in touch with each other by correspondence and have had a number of informal conferences.
The following are among the significant events which have occurred in regard to the acreage limitation matter since the Salt Lake City meeting of November 1956:
First, the California Supreme Court, in January 1957, held that the Constitution of California forbids a public district in that State from entering into a contract with the Bureau of Reclamation in which the acreage limitation provisions are included, for the reason that such provisions require the district to discriminate between large and small landowners within the district and such discrimination is forbidden by the California Constitution. In October of 1957 the Supreme Court of the United States granted petitions for review of the California decision. Thus the conflict between these provisions of Federal reclamation law and the provisions of State constitutions is now before the Supreme Court of the United States. The case will be argued this winter or next spring.
Second, the Small Projects Act was amended by the Congress in May 1957, so as to meet the technical objections of the President and permit the provision of the act to go into effect. During the debate on this matter, however, an attempt was made to reopen the question whether the so-called Engle formula