Potato Control Under the A.A.A.

November 5, 1935

Report Outline
A.A.A. Moves to Enforce Potato Control Law
Potato Production and Price Movements
Provisions of Potato Control Act of 1935
Objections to Potato Law; Proposed Amendments
Special Focus

A.A.A. Moves to Enforce Potato Control Law

Plans for Referendum of Potato Growers in January

The potato control act of 1935, which has been vigorously attacked during recent weeks both by opponents of the New Deal and by members of the administration, is to become effective December 1. By imposing a punitive tax on potatoes marketed in excess of given allotments, the law is intended to increase returns to growers through limitation of production. Steps preliminary to its enforcement were taken by the Agricultural Adjustment Administration on November 1, when it announced a national tax-exempt sales allotment of 226,600,000 bushels for the 1936 crop year and apportioned the national quota among the states.

In the face of continuing controversy over the law, the A. A. A. announced also, November 1, that a referendum of potato growers would be held in January to determine prevailing sentiment. Should the vote prove unfavorable, modifications desired by growers and by the A. A. A. could be sought from Congress, which will then be in session. The A. A. A's decision to hold a referendum in January constitutes tacit recognition of widespread dissatisfaction with the law. Although the law provides that its operation shall be contingent upon approval of a majority of the growers in referendums held just prior to the 1937 crop year and subsequent years, no provision is made for taking a vote before the first year's operation.

Opponents of the administration's farm program have attacked the potato control law on the ground that the surpluses which led growers to seek limitation of potato production arose because farmers planted to potatoes acreage taken out of production under other A. A. A. crop restriction programs. The law has been condemned also on the grounds that (1) it is not favored by a majority of the growers, (2) its compulsory features are undesirable, (3) effective administration will be impossible, and (4) it will unduly burden the consumer. Eight of the 28 members of the House Committee on Agriculture, in a minority report submitted August 3, held that:

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