Plans for Early Action on New Farm Bill
When Congress reconvenes in January, 1938, or earlier if a special session is held this autumn, farm legislation will be the first business to engage its attention. Both houses adopted a resolution to that effect shortly before adjournment of the last session. In addition, the Senate instructed its Committee on Agriculture to report a general farm bill “within one week from the beginning of the next session of Congress.” Subcommittees of the Senate committee have scheduled hearings for October in the wheat and corn regions of the West and the cotton, tobacco, and rice sections of the South. Sessions of both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees are to be held in Washington in advance of the meeting of Congress to prepare final recommendations for farm legislation.
The agreement to expedite farm legislation at the next session was exacted by the administration in return for an undertaking on its part to grant commodity loans and subsidy payments on this year's bumper cotton crop sufficient to guarantee producers a return of 12 cents a pound. Under the plan announced August 23, loans of 9 cents a pound will be made by the Commodity Credit Corporation. Subsidy payments equal to the difference between the average selling price, now about 9 cents, and 12 cents will be paid producers on the product of 65 per cent of their base acreage. Such payments on the 1937 cotton crop, however, will not be made until next year, and then only to producers complying with the contemplated 1938 agricultural adjustment program. The latter stipulation, included in the act appropriating funds for the subsidy, met the President's objection to taking further steps to peg cotton prices without a guarantee that future production would be curtailed if such action proved advisable.
General Ever-Normal Granary Idea
It is intended that the new legislation shall constitute the basis for a long-time agricultural-adjustment program. The shape of that program is foreshadowed by the provisions of two pending bills. One was brought forward last May by the American Farm Bureau Federation and formally introduced in the House, June 18, by Rep. Flannagan (D., Va.) and in the Senate, July 15, by Senators Pope (D., Ida.) and McGill (D., Kan.). The other, containing some of the same provisions but differing in important particulars, was introduced in the House, July 22, by Rep. Jones (D., Tex.), chairman of the Committee on Agriculture. Both bills include provisions designed to put into effect the principle of the ever-normal granary long advocated by Secretary of Agriculture Wallace.