-Wide World Photos
Miles of fields like the Oklahoma wheat-
field (bottom) have contributed to piling
surpluses like the one overflowing outside
elevators at Withrow, Wash. (top). Such
surpluses have raised serious questions about
the farm program — whether more or less
government aid is necessary.
I1).) 1 crop mav be about the same.
The break-down on this 1953 crop
take-over is illuminating, ll shows that
CM', acquired 57 percent of the white
wheat produced in the Northwest 1"
percent of the hard red winter wheal
grown in Kansas and eight neighboring
stale-. 34 percent "f the hard red spring
wheat from the Northern Plains state?
and 33 percent "I the soft reel winter
wheat grown in the Midwest.
In terms of bushels, the governmenl
took title to 95 million bushels of white
wheat. 204 million bushels nl hard win
Ier. oil million bushels ..I hard -pring
and ')n million bushels of -..It red »intei
wheat. Hani red winter wheat accounted
le.r aboul 13 percent ..I CC( ■'- total acquisitions during the' vear.
There i- another set of figure's which
sheds further light nn ihis subject. It i-
ei compilation of the percentages "I various classes "I wheal u-eal For human
consumption within the- I nited Neiio-. li
shows thi- utilization over the five-year
During this time', as an average, 30
percent ..I the white wheat went int..
domestic I I use, as did 39 percenl ol
tin' heiril reel winter, oil percent of the'
-oil red winter. 61 percent "I the hen.I
red spring and 80 percent of the' durum
crop. In other words, the percentage ol
hard winter wheal going into domestic
food consumption is below the national
average "I 15 percenl .mil feer under the
percentages for -..mi' other classes o
It seems tu me that all of the figures
I have just cited raise ;e basic question
relating lo proposeils lor a two-price or
multiple-price program for wheal. Various plans lor the implementation of such
a program have' been pul forward ami
widely-discussed over tin- past thirty
years en- more. Such plans have heen introduced during the present session of
I In- first premise is that this countr)
should produce around one billion bushels eef wheal each year to utilize ils resources most effectively. Historical!)
aboul half a billion bushels arc consumed leu I I domestically during each
year. Neeteal in simplest terms, lhe plan
is lo oive' the- Farmer ;i high fixed guar*
antee, perhaps at Inn percenl of pen ii v.
for lhe olid million bushels used for food
within lhe I nited Steites. The- rest of the
annual production would either be sup-
ported ai a much lower rate or allowed
le. seek its own price level as il mines
into export channels and livestock feed
outlets w it li i ii ihis country.
Nnw Id ii- apply this formula lo a hy-
potluiii.il e else'. Let us assume that Farmer Brown produces 2,000 bushels ..!
Chiefkan wheat, almost none of which is
likely to find its way into .l<>tnisli< I"...I
consumption. His neighbor. Farmer
Jones, produces em equal amount of line
Comanche wheat, most of which will
probablv move' into Inod use-.
!)"'■- Farmer Brown get tin- same gnv-
ernmenl payment for 1,000 bushels of
inferior wheat ;is Farmer June's gets foi
the same amounl nl high epieililv wheat'.'
Does the- Dakota wheal farmer who hei-
been producing lop quality hard spring
wheat for tin- commercial trade gei the
same treatment as bis cousin in another
area who has been growing much of his
wheal lor lhe governmenl loan?
II the answer to llie--,' questions is yes
eunl it is excepl Foi minor qualifications then lhe two-price eer multiple-
price plan falls far short nl it- announced
objective of fair compensation I" lhe
fanner fur lhe portiun nl his wheal production which move's into domestic looel
ii-i'. Instead ii would perpetuate lhe injustices of lhe "Id rigid price plan which
treated all wheat as virtuall) the same'
For iln- loan purposes. This concept un-
questionabl) was a major contributing
factor I., th.- -hill toward high-yielding,
low qualit) wheats eunl lie' resultant 9ur-
phis)-s which hang eis an albatross about
the necks "l Vmerican wheat farmers
I nli'ss w.- redirect wheal production
inward improved qualit) anel eel the' same
time reduce the incentives which have
encouraged wholesale expansion of
wheal acreage outside "I the areas where
ii i- in..si economicall) produced, wc
have "iilv seen the beginning nf our
problem. Ol course, we' could extend thi
mail tn ruin, vv e could pave il with g I
iiitentie.il-. Km ii would -lill lead straight
I he multiple-price plan for wheat involve1,- other questions too. Farmers who
produce feed grains have raised serious
objections to such a program. Wheat-
exporting nations have expressed the
fear lhat ei two-price plan would lead to
dumping anil generally demoralized
Now Iel us look briefly at another proposal which has been put forward as the
salvation of wheal growers and, in fact.
of all farmers. I refer, of course, to current efforts te) restore price supports at
90 percenl of parity for lhe basic c
As you know, ei bill lo accomplish this
peisscel ||1(. House of Representatives by
a narrow margin, last spring. The required majority was obtained when a
number of city Congressmen, who had
veiled againsl an extension of fixed supports in August of 1954, donned overalls
for the'day — at least figurative!; eenel
were shepherded into the 90 percenl of
parity fold by a new farm leader, Mr.
Perhaps lhe poorest-kept secrel in
\\ ashington today is that those congressmen who wen' joined by ihe labor leadership in ih.- farm bill fight were expected tei return the Favor when Mr-
Reuthi'i's Forces moved to increase tin'
minimum wage scale' to $1.25 per hour
In emv event, it ought to be clear b)
now thai the very program ol rigiel sup
ports which contributed so greatly to
our present problems will never solve'
ihi'in. The entire drop in farm prices and
leital farm income which has occurred
since the Korean War peak e.l lihiueirv.
-Wide World F>h°,c
CIO President Walter Reuther, who teNs
a Senate Labor Subcommittee that an >"'
crease in the hourly minimum wage to $'•?,.
is "morally right and economically sound,
expected help on the wage bill from forl*
leaders whose efforts to restore price sup'
ports at ninety per cent of parity receive
F VCTS FORUM NEWS, Septembi r, '■""'