embodied in this act should be replaced by the more rigorous land limitation provision contained in the reclamation laws. Senator Douglas offered an amendment to this effect on the Senate floor on May 23, 1957, but the amendment was defeated. However, Senator Douglas has a separate bill pending (S. 1125) which, if enacted, would eliminate the Engle formula from the Small Projects Act and would substitute the rigid provisions of the reclamation laws. This bill is still in committee.

Third, in July 1957, Secretary Seaton disapproved the long-pending repayment contract for the Pine Flat project on Kings River in California upon the ground that the land limitation provisions of the proposed contract did not fully satisfy the requirements of the reclamation law. Secretary Seaton's objection was that the proposed contract would enable an owner of excess lands within the project area to escape the effect of the land limitation provisions by paying his share of the capital obligation and thus foregoing the interest-free, 40-year installment financing which is available under reclamation law. Secretary Seaton said in his rejection letter (which is quoted in Reclamation News for July 1957) that this provision of the proposed contract "would reduce the statutory limitations to a mere shadow." He also said that this provision would make the test of compliance with the land limitation provisions “not one of public policy, but solely one of the financial capability of each landowner to purchase immunity from the statutory restrictions." Secretary Seaton nevertheless recognized that full and final payment of the entire obligation of the contracting district does end the applicability of the acreage limitations. The rejection of this contract has created a serious and so far unsolved problem for the Kings River project.

Fourth, in July 1957, Senator Barrett of Wyoming introduced a bill (S. 2541) for the purpose of amending the land-limitation provisions of reclamation law. This bill, which was summarized in Reclamation News for July 1957, would incorporate two new principles into the reclamation law: One is a provision that the Secretary of the Interior could increase the 160-acre maximum for particular projects in which a larger area is necessary to support "an average size family at a suitably profitable level.” The other is the so-called Engle formula whereby the owner of excess acreage is permitted to receive project water for his excess lands by agreeing to pay interest on his share of the repayment obligation instead of filing a recordable contract for the sale of his excess lands. This latter provision, which was first suggested by Congressman Engle some years ago, is limited to supplemental water projects and projects in which the lands have been cultivated for at least 10 years prior to project authorization. This bill is still before the Senate committee.

Fifth, a number of project authorization acts have been passed in which the acreage limitation provisions have either been relaxed or eliminated entirely. Examples include the Kendrick project in Wyoming (Public Law 283) where the 160-acre maximum was increased to 480 acres because of soil and climatic conditions, and the East Bench unit of the Missouri Basin project in Montana (Public Law 112), where certain project lands with established water rights were exempted entirely from the limitation provisions. Other congressional action on this subject included an amendment of the Columbia Basin Project Act (Public Law 264) so as to increase substantially the maximum size of individual ownerships within the area of that project.

These and other developments indicate that there is in Congress a growing awareness of the need for a general amendment of the land-limitation provisions of the reclamation law. In the opinion of your committee the provisions of S. 2541 introduced by Senator Barrett represent a constructive proposal to this end. At its Denver meeting on July 25, 1957, your committee studied and discussed the provisions of this bill and at the conclusion of the discussion your committee unanimously resolved to endorse the principles embodied in this proposal.

Your committee has again considered the matter at its Phoenix meeting on November 5. We are still of the opinion that the principles embodied in this bill represent a fair and appropriate solution of the problem which is continually presented by the rigid provisions of the present law. This bill, if adopted, will retain the basic principle of the acreage limitation laws and will at the same time permit the establishment of the reclamation projects in areas where the agricultural economy has already developed a landownership pattern which is not consistent with the 160-acre limitation. Under this bill the owner of excess lands will have the choice of either selling his excess holdings or else giving up the advantage of interest-free Government financing on that part of the project cost which is allocable to his excess lands. Those who do not have

excess holdings and those who are willing to sell their excess lands will still have the advantage of the interest-free Government loan, whereas the excess holdings will not receive the benefit of this type of repayment contract.

The principles of S. 2541 have also been approved by the legislative committee and the water policy committee of this association at their respective meetings in Denver in July 1957.

It is the recommendation of the land limitations committee that the National Reclamation Association at this meeting go on record as approving in principle the provisions embodied in S. 2541. A resolution to that effect has been presented to the resolutions committee.

In conclusion your committee recommends that this association continue its efforts to seek a fair and reasonable modification of the land limitation provisions of reclamation law and that it continue to follow all developments relating to that subject.

For that reason we believe that it is important for the association to maintain a standing committee on land limitations until the problem is solved.



Whereas the National Reclamation Association is concerned about the difficulties and handicaps created by the rigid acreage limitation provisions of the reclamation law; and

Whereas the National Reclamation Association has adopted a policy supporting modernization of the land limitation provisions of reclamation law; and

Whereas there is now pending before the Congress of the United States a bill, S. 2541, to amend these provisions of reclamation law: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the National Reclamation Association approves the principles embodied in S. 2541, 85th Congress, as introduced, and urges that they be enacted into law; and be it further

Resolved, that the land limitations committee of this association be continued.


REDEFINITION OF “FAMILY UNIT" Whereas under present laws and regulations restricting acreage ownership, a family unit holding more than 160 acres, is terminated by death of a husband or wife, thus forcing sale of land in excess of that amount of land to the loss of the survivor: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the National Reclamation Association urge the enactment of legislation redefining the term "family unit" to include the surviving spouse in the event of death of either husband or wife.

A BILL To provide for continued delivery of water under the Federal reclamation laws

to lands held by husband and wife upon the death of either Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That where the death of a husband or wife causes lands in private ownership to become excess lands, as that term is used in section 46 of the act of May 25, 1926 (44 Stat. 636, 43 U. S. C. sec. 423e), and those lands had theretofore been eligible to receive water from a project under the Federal reclamation laws (act of June 17, 1902, 32 Stat. 388, and acts amendatory thereof or supplementary thereto) without execution of a recordable contract under section 46 of said act of May 27, 1926, the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to furnish water to them, without requiring execution of such a contract, so long as they remain in the ownership of the surviving spouse.

Mr. Jackson. My name is Guy C. Jackson, Jr. I am president of the National Reclamation Association, which represents the 17 Western States and approximately 50 percent of the United States

land area.

Reclamation has been in effect for some 56 years and during that time the trend has been continuously to larger farms. On one of the tables in the formal statement, since 1935 to 1954, the averagesized American farm has increased from 155 to 242 acres.

It is also noted on another table in the formal statement that the better class of farms have continued to show an increase while the lesser class of farms have shown an inclination to decrease.

We have the National Reclamation Association belief that the pattern which was set in the year of 1902 is entirely unrealistic in the year of 1958.

Mr. Chairmain, I might say that we do not feel that your suit of clothes will fit this man, or this man's suit of clothes fit the other. We feel that it is necessary for us to bring our reclamation laws up to date the same as we bring our Constitution up to date, which was recently discussed by the young lady here.

In this connection we, of course, are speaking primarily to the three bills which were contained in your notes.

First, I want to mention S. 2541. We believe that S. 2541 is the most realistic approach that has been offered to cure the inequities of the 1902 limitations. If there is a better plan proposed, I am sure

a that National Reclamation Association would give it their earnest and sincere consideration, because we, as an association, have been interested in this problem and endeavoring to obtain a solution since the year 1943. We are hopeful that action will be taken at this session.

Another bill that is up for consideration today is S. 3448, which pertains to an individual project in the State of Wyoming. It is unfortunate that it has been necessary to follow the project-byproject method, but what else could a far-reaching Congress do but to go by the project-by-project method until such time as we had a new yardstick under which we could measure the projects so that each American farm family could earn a decent living, just as the laboring class and the others earn a decent living in this country.

So, insofar as S. 3448 is concerned, our organization definitely recommends the passage of this, and the passage of others that are so justified, until such time as we do have a competent and modern yardstick to fit our way of life as it is in 1958.

Now, speaking to S. 1425, which I believe was the bill sponsored by the able Senator from Illinois, and I did listen to him most attentively this morning, our association is opposed to the passage of S. 1425 for the simple reason that, if limitations of 1902 are placed upon the new Small Projects Act, it would then be a step backward instead of a step forward. The little step that is made forward under the Small Projects Act should never be repealed or changed until that Small Projects Act has had an opportunity to go into operation, and see then from actual practice whether or not there are faulty features to the measure.

Another thing we propose, which does not particularly relate to the three bills which I have mentioned, is that we propose a redefinition of the family unit as recognized under our reclamation laws. The particular feature which we desire to bring to your attention is that we believe that the wife should be permitted to own and continue after the death of the spouse the entire farm so long as

she desired to do so. Of course, upon her death, then the breakup of the farm would necessarily occur.

In conclusion, I want to state that National Reclamation Association believes in the family-size farm. I am sorry that Senator Doug. las was pointing his finger at someone, apparently accusing that great corporate entities desire to take over the farming of this country.

I am sure that is true, but I do not want that finger of accusation pointed toward National Reclamation Association because we do not deserve such a designation. We do believe that whenever and wherever it becomes necessary for the size of a farm to be increased so that a family can earn a decent and respectable living, then there should be provision within our law enabling our administrative bodies to do this. If we cannot find a formula that is flexible enough to fit the different situations, whether it be high elevation, whether it be the rice situation as we have it in California or Texas, or whatever the circumstances must be, then what else can we do except to operate project by project ?

We do not particularly like the project-by-project method, but, if that is the best we can find, it seems that we must follow it.

Mr. Chairman, as I stated, I made this brief, and I believe it was brief enough, sir, so may I indulge in asking that the prepared statement of the Water Conservation Association of Texas be filed in the record ?

I happen to be president emeritus of that particular organization. I have copies here if you will permit it to be filed.

Senator ANDERSON. It will be printed in the appendix of the record. Senator BARRETT. I would like to ask a question. At the outset, let me commend you Mr. Jackson, for your very splendid statement.

I would like to take the essential part of my bill, S. 2541, and ask you if the National Reclamation Association does not favor this policy, taken from the bill itself, as follows:

That, whenever the Secretary of the Interior determines that more than 160 irrigable acres is necessary for the support of an average size family at a suitable profitable level, then he is authorized upon terms and conditions satisfactory to him to waive the limit of 160 acres.

Certainly, that provides only for a family-sized farm, does it not?

Mr. JACKSON. That is the way our association understands it. Unless there is a better method brought out, we think that is the best that has been been produced, Senator.

Senator BARRETT. Mr. Jackson, there is just one question I would like to ask you. I have already recited the history of the Riverton project in my State. We have had three other projects in Wyoming, the Eden project, the Owl Creek project, and Kendrick project, that are comparable to that.

Let me ask you this one question. Nearly 100 veterans were settled on the Riverton project after World War II. They invested every dollar they had in the world on those farms. After they had worked the farms for a period of 4 or 5 years, they found out that they had lost money year after year and that it was impossible to make a living for themselves and for their families on their farms.

you think it is the American way of life to say to those farmers, “Stay there and starve to death," or is it the American way to give


them a chance to make a living and say, "Under the circumstances, we will have to enlarge these farms so you can make a living ?” That is what the Congress has decided to do.

Was Congress acting wisely or was it unwise in saying to those veterans you cannot make out on 160 acres so we are going to enlarge it and give you 320 acres to support your family!

Mr. Jackson. The Government was wise in resettling the veterans, because the Government had put them in a position of being a suppressed and overridden tenant farmer, and they removed that suppres sion by giving him an opportunity in other places.

Senator BARRETT. Certainly that was the only way you could fairly treat the veteran who was accorded a preference because of his military services.

Mr. Jackson. Be he a veteran or normal citizen, a human being should be treated that way.

Senator BARRETT. Thank you very much.
Senator ANDERSON. Mr. Bliss.


MITTEE OF THE NATIONAL RECLAMATION ASSOCIATION Mr. Bliss. My name is John H. Bliss. I live in Santa Fe, N. Mex. I am a consulting engineer and am chairman of the small projects committee of the National Reclamation Association.

I am appearing before you in behalf of the principles set forth in S. 2541 and in opposition to S. 1425 to amend the Small Reclamation Projects Act of 1956.

Guy Jackson, president of NRA, has told you the association has been trying for many years to obtain modification of the land-limitation provisions of the reclamation law to make them more realistic and workable. Opponents of this effort would have you believe that western water users are endeavoring with every means at their disposal to destroy the principle of the family-size farm so that big business can take over its operation. This is simply not true.

I fail to see how, when a farmer in Wyoming has to have 400 acres to make a living, big business could take over in that area. It certainly is not in the cards.

The National Reclamation Association fully recognizes the necessity of spreading the Federal benefits of a reclamation project among the optimum number of family-size farm units. It is, however, seeking legislation correcting the inequities in the 160-acre farm limitation adopted over 50 years ago.

It is seeking to have Congress recognize that farm-size requirements on high elevation lands where the growing season is short; for example, cannot be measured by the same acreage yardstick as lands where the growing season may last most of the year and where intensively farmed specialty crops are grown.

It is seeking recognition of the fact that the machine age has so increased the per acre cost of farming that the 160-acre limitation is not valid in many reclamation projects if the farmer is reasonably to enjoy the modern American way of life which he has every right to expect.


« ForrigeFortsett »