Keeping in Touch With Washington
How Will Law Work?
WASHINGTON, D. C.—The way
the new farm law
1950 will be a major factor in guid
ing the course of agricultural legis
lation during the second session of
the 81st congress.
While much of the new act
will not get a complete test un-
1950— such the
visions applying a sliding scale
of price supports and the new
parity formula to the basic com-
modities of corn, wheat, cotton.
-there will be
rice and peanut!
enough of the law in operation
to serve as a weathervane.
The new parity formula and a
new system of postwar price sup
ports will be applicable to so-called
nonbasic commodities which account
for approximately three-quarters of
the farmer's income—commodities
such as dairy products, hogs, poul
try and products, potatoes, wool,
The thing to watch is the way the
law "works" with regard to these
commodities, some of which are un
der mandatory supports and some
under a system of supports which
will depend upon such factors as
supply and need—but most of all,
availability of funds.
Seventy-five to 90 percent sup
ports for dairy products and 60 to
90 percent for potatoes and wool are
written out in the new legislation,
but wide discretionary power is
given Secretary of Agriculture
Charles F. Brannan with respect to
the "nonmandatory" commodities
such as hogs and poultry products.
Success of the program with re
spect to these commodities then,
to a great extent, will depend on
the way it is administered by USDA.
The importance of the outcome can
not be overestimated when they
bring in three-quarters of all farm
But the secretary also is bound
by the availability of funds, and
only congress can authorize gov
ernment expenditures. So congress
as well as the secretary will have
a large share of responsibility for
the way the law works.
With some fears being expressed
that the basic commodities with
their 90 percent mandatory supports,
will leave little money for the non
basic with their variable supports
and in many cases nonmandatory,
there already are indications of ef
forts to get congress to increase
funds available for supporting farm
One way this could be done
would be to increase the borrow
ing power of the Commodity Credit
Corp. beyond the present statutory
limitation of $4,750,000,000. Several
attempts were made at the first
session to boost this limit, but none
A CCC report pointed out recently
that the agency still had approxi
mately $2,000,000,000, but the bulk
of investments in 1949 major crops
still had to be made. CCC may
have sufficient funds to get through
the current fiscal year, but the fis
cal year starting July 1, 1950, may
be a different matter.
It all boils down to the fact that
whether a serious effort is made or
not made to pass still new "perma
legislation during the
second session, congress still has a
bull by the tail when it comes to
BRANNAN PLUGS HIS PLAN
Secretary Brannan made no
bones of the fact that he still
thinks congress should adopt
his production payment plan to
support perishable farm com
He plugged for the plan in ad
dressing the National Milk Produc
ers federation annual meeting in
November and again when he an
nounced the 1950 support program
Dairy products, potatoes and hogs
are among the commodities to which
the secretary would like to apply
the Brannan plan.
In announcing the new potato
support program, Brannan came
right out and said he wasn't satis
fied with it, but it was the best he
could do under the new farm law.
He indicated that he preferred
higher supports in order to maintain
producer income — providing, of
course, that he had a new method
for disposing of surpluses.
Brannan undoubtedly had in mind
his farm plan which would permit
prices of perishables to seek their
natural level. If prices averaged
below government supports, the
government would make up the dif
ference to the producer in the form
of payments drawn on the treasury.
Under his plan, the government
would not buy surpluses as it now
is required to do, but allow them to
move into the markets at whatever
prices they would bring.
If the secretary gets into trouble
with the 1950 support program, he
may attempt to use such troubles as
a wedge to try once more to influ
ence congress to give his plan a trial.
Brannan apparently considers the
plan his ace in the hole.
OLEO TAX ISSUE
Number 1 item of business on
the senate calendar for the new
session of congress is repeal of
the federal taxes on yellow-col
This bill was passed overwhelm
ingly by the house of representatives
in the first session, but butter state
senators effectively bottled it up in
But oleomargarine manufactur
ers, encouraged by their victory in
Ohio where voters approved sale of
factory colored oleo, have their
chips down expecting a quick vic
tory in the second session.
Dairy state senators, however,
threaten a filibuster which could tie
up the second session of the 81st
congress as the southern filibuster
against civil rights legislation tied
up the first session at the start of
RURAL ROADS ON DOCKET
Rural roads legislation stands
a good chance of approval in the
new session of congress.
There are several bills pending,
but their objective is virtually the
same—$100,000,000 to $150,000,000
annually for improvement of rural
roads with emphasis on routes used
by R. F. D. school buses and farm
Wyoming Farmer Invents
Compact Beet Harvester
HERE'S A BEET HARVESTER that pulls, tops, loads and windrows the
tops all in one operation. Farmer-inventor Fred Brug, Johnson county,
Wyoming, says it will harvest 6 tons an hour and the tractor operator is the
only man needed. Power is taken from the tractor power take-off.
The two-row unit has a conventional digger which lifts the beets into
a twin auger mechanism that grabs the tops. The beet and all is carried
back to the topping knives where the beet drops to a conveyor and the tops
go right on out the back of the machine. A deflector plate puts both rows
of tops into one windrow. Patents have been applied for and Brug hopes
the machine may be manufactured soon.
• 9 t,
>» • Ifo
—Montana Farmer-Stockman Photo
Right front view of the Brug beet har
vester is seen above. The compact unit
is only 6 feet long, 7Vi feet wide.
Chute-conveyor mechanism seen on
right of machine takes the beets after
lopping and lifts them up to drop into
the 2-ton capacity bin.
Right photo is rear view of the ma
chine showing tops coming out and be
ing put into windrow.
At left, a close-up view of the twin
augers that pull the beet back for top
ping by rotary knives. Tops come off
ends of the augers, drop onto the de
flector plate seen in lower right of
photo and drop into neat windrow.
Photo below shows conveyor mounted
on left of machine, that runs from the
very bottom and center of the bin to
elevate the beets into a truck or into
a stockpile. The beets actually travel
on about 35 feet of conveyor before
delivery into truck, making for clean,
low-tare beets at the dump.
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