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THE FARMiNGTON TIMES, FARM INGTON, MISSOURI, JANUARY 17, 1922
Some Aspects of the Farmers' Problems " ' By BERNARD M. BARUCH " . . (Reprinted from The whole rural world is In fer ment of unrest, and there la an un paralleled volume and intensity of de- ' terralned, If not angry, protest,, and an ominous swarming of occupational con- . ferences. Interest groupings, political movements and Drooaganda. Such a turmoil cannot but arrest eur atten tion. Indeed, It demanda our careful study and examination. It la not like ly that alx million aloof and ruggedly Independent men have coma together and banded themselves into active unions, societies, f (inn bureaus, and so forth, for no sufficient cause. Investigation of the subject conclu sively proves that, while there la much overstatement of grievances and mis conception of remedies, the farmers are right In complaining of wrongs long endured, and right In holding that It la feasible to relieve their Ills with benefit to the rest, of the community. This being the case of an Industry that contributes. In the raw material form alone, about one-third of the na tional annual wealth production and la the means of livelihood of about 40 per cent of the population, It Is ob vious that the subject Is one of grave concern. Not only do the farmers make up one-halt of the nation, but the well-being of the other half de pends upon them. So long as we have nations, a wise polltclal economy will aim at a large degree of national self-sufficiency and self-containment. Rome fell when the food supply was too far removed from the belly. Like ber, we shall destroy our own agriculture and, extend our ources of food distantly and precari ously, If we do not see to it that our farmers are well and fairly paid for their services. The farm gives the nation men as well as food. Cities derive their vitality and are forever renewed from the country, but an Im poverished countryside exports Intelli gence and retains unlntelllgenca. Only the lower grades of mentality and character will remain on, or seek, the farm, unless agriculture is capable . of being pursued with contentment and adequate compensation. Hence, to em bitter and Impoverish the farmer Is to dry up and contaminate' the vital ources of the nation. - The war showed convincingly how dependent the nation Is on the full productivity of the farme. Despite herculean efforta, agricultural produc tion kept only a few weeks or months ahead of consumption, and that only by Increasing the acreage of certain staple crops at the cost of reducing that of others. We ought not to for get that lesson when we ponder 6n the farmer's problems. They are truly common problems, and there should be no attempt to deal with them as If they were purely selfish demands of a clear-cut group, antagonistic to the rest of the community. Bather should we consider agriculture In the light of broad national policy. Just as we consider oil, coal, steel, dye- stuffs, and so forth, as sinews of na tional strength. Our growing popula tion and a higher standard of living demand Increasing food supplies, and more wool, cotton, hides, and the rest, With the disappearance of free, or cheap fertile land, additional acreage and Increased yields can come oniy from costly effort. This we need not expect from an Impoverished or un happy rural population. It will not do to take a narrow view of the rural discontent, or to appraise It from the standpoint of yesterday. This Is peculiarly an age of flux and change and new deals. Because a thing always has been so no longer means that It Is righteous, or always shall be so. More, perhaps, than ever before, there Is a widespread feeling that all human relations can be Im proved by taking thought, and that It ' is not becoming for the reasoning anl . mal to leave his destiny largely to chance and natural Incidence. , Prudent and orderly adjustment of production and distribution in accord ance with consumption Is recognized aa wise mnnngement In every business but that of farming. let, I venture to say, there is no other Industry In which It Is so Important to the pub lic to the city-dwelier that produc tion should be sure, steady, and In creasing, and that distribution should be In proportion to the need. The un organized farmers naturally act blind , ly and Impulsively, and, In conse quence, surfeit and dearth, accompa nied by disconcerting price-variations, harass the consumer. One year pota ; toes rot In the fields because of excess production, and there Is a scarcity of the things flint, have been displaced to make way for the expansion of the potato acreage;- next year the punish ed farmers mass their fields on same other crof, and potatoes enter the ' class of luxuries; and sq on. : Agriculture is the greatest and fun damentally the most important of out. American industries, rue cities are lint the branches of the tree of na !" ilonnl life, the roots of which go deep ' ly Into the land. We all flourish oi sleotlne with the farmer. So, when we if the cities rend of the present nnl verssl ditres. of the farmers, of a 'lump of six billion dollar In, the farm ' a-nlue "f their crops In a singJo year, Atlantlo Monthly) of their inability to meet mortgages er to pay current bills, and how, seeking relief from their Ills, tbey are plan-' nlng to form pools, Inaugurate farm ers1 strikes, and demand legislation abolishing . grain exchangee, private cattle markets, and the like, we ought not hastily to brand them as economic heretics and highwaymen, and burl at them the charge of being seekers of special privilege. Rather, we should sk If their trouble la not ours, and sea what can be done te Improve the situation. Purely from self-interest. If for no higher motive, we should help them. All of us want to get back permanently to "normalcy f but la It reasonable to hope for that condition unless our greatest and most baalc In dustry can be put on a sound ana solid permanent foundation! The farmers are aot entitled to special privileges; but' are they not right In demanding that they be placed on an equal foot ing with the buyers of their products and with other industries? - n . , Let us, then, consider some of the farmer's grievances, and see how far they are real. In doing so, we should remember that, while there have been, and still are, Instances of purposeful abuse, the subject should not be ap proached with any general Imputation to existing distributive agencies of de liberately Intentional oppression, but rather with the conception that the marketing of farm products baa not been modernized. . An ancient evil, and a persistent one, Is the undergradlng of farm prod ucts, with tbe result -that what the fanners sell as pf one quality Is re sold as of a higher. That this sort of chicanery should persist on any Im portant scale In these days of busi ness Integrity would seem almost In credible, hot there Is much evidence that It does so persist. Even aa t write,- the newspapers announce the suspension of several firms from tbe New York Produce Exchange for ex porting to Germany as No. 2 wheat a whole shipload of grossly Inferior wheat mixed with oats, chaff and tbe like. Another evil la that of Inaccurate weighing of farm products, which, It Is charged, Is sometimes a matter of dishonest Intention and sometimes of protective policy on the part of tbe local buyer, who fears that he may "weigh out more than be "weighs In.' A greater grievance Is that at pres ent the field fanner has tittle or no control over the time and conditions of marketing his products, with the result that he Is often underpaid for his products and usually overcharged for marketing service. The differ ence between what the. farmer re ceives and what the consumer pays often exceeds all possibility of Justi fication. To cite a single illustration. Last year, according to figures attest ed by the railways and the growers, Georgia watermelon-ralsera received on the average T.5 cents for a melon, the railroads got 12.7 cents for carry ing It to Baltimore and the consumer paid one dollar, leaving T9.S cents for cue service or margeung ana us risKs, as against 20.2 cents for growing and transporting. The bard annals of farm-life are replete with such com mentaries on the crudenesa of pres ent practices. Nature prescribes that the farmer' "goods" must be' finished within two or three months of the year, while financial and storage limitations gen erally compel him to sell them at the same time. As a rule, other Industries are in a continuous process of finish ing eooda for the markets; they dis tribute as they produce, and they can curtail production without too great Injury to themselves or the commu nity; but If the farmer restricts his output. It Is with disastrous conse quences, both to himself and to the community. The average farmer Is busy with production for the major part of the year, and has nothing to sell The bulk of his output comes on the mar ket at once. Because of lack of stor age facilities and of financial support, the farmer cannot carry his goods through the year and dispose of them as they are currently needed. In the great majority of cases, farmers have to entrust storage In warehouses and elevators and the financial carrying of their products to others. . ' - v ; , Farm products are generally mar keted at a time when there Is a con gestion of both transportation and finance when cars and money are scarce. . , The outcome, in many in stances, la that the farmers not only sell under pressure, and therefore at a disadvantage, but are compelled to take further reductions in net returns, in order to meet the charges for the service of storing, transporting, financ ing, and ultimate marketing which charges they claim, are often exces slve, bear heavily on both consumer and producer, and are under1 the con trol of those performing the services It Is true that they are relieved of the risks -of a changing market by selling at once ; but they are quite will- tng' to take (h unfavorable chance, If the favorable one also Is their and they can retain for themselves a part of the, service1 charges that are uni form, : In good yeurs and. bad, with high prices and low. V : Wliile, In the main, the farmer most tell, regardless of market conditions, at the time Of the maturity of crops, he cannot suspend production In tote. He must go on producing If be is to go on riving, and If the world la to exist- The most he can do la to curtail pro duction a little or alter Ha form, and that- because be Is In the dark as to the probable demand tor bis goods may be only to Jump from the frying pan Into the fire, taking the consumer with hlnvVr'i?-. - 'fi'v .''"-j.''V'V': Even the dnlrr farmers, whose out put la not seasonal, complain that tbey find themselves at a disadvantage in the marketing of their productions, especially raw milk, because of the high costs of distribution, which they must ultimately bear. - - Mow that the farmer are stirring, thinking, and uniting as never before to eradicate these Inequalities, they are subjected to stern economic lec tures, and are met with the accusation that they are demanding, and are the recipients of, special privileges. Let tie see what privileges the government has conferred on the farmers. Much has been mad of Section 0 of the Clayton Anti-Trust Act, which pur ported to permit them to combine with Immunity, under certain conditions. Admitting that, nominally, this ex emption was In the nature of a special privilege, though I think It was so la appearance rather than In fact, we find that the courts nave nullinea it by Judicial Interpretation. Why ahould not the farmers be permitted to ac cnranllsh bv co-ODeratlve methods what other businesses are already doing bj co-operation m tne lorm oi incorpora tion? If It be proper for men to form, by fusion of existing corporations or otherwise, a corporation that controls the entire production of a commouity, or a large Dart of It, why Is it not proper for a group of farmers to unite for the marketing of . their common nroducts. either in one or In several selling agencies? Why should It be rieht for a hundred thousnnd corporate shareholders to direct 25 or SO or 40 per cent of an Industry, and wrong for a hundred thousand co-operatIv farmers to control a no largci" proper- tlon of the wheat crop, or cotton, or any other Droduct? The Denartment of Agriculture Is often spoken of as a special concession to the farmers, but in Ita commercial results, it Is of as much benefit to tne buyers and consumers of agricultural products as to the rroaucers. or e,eB more. I do not suppose that anyone opposes the benefits that the farmer derive from the educational and re search work of the department, or tne help that It gives them In working out Improved cultural methods and prac tices, in developing better yielding va rieties through breeding and selection. In Introducing newvarletles from re mote parts of the world and adapting them to our climate and economic con dition, and In devising practical meas ures for the elimination or control of dangerous and destructive animal and plant diseases, insect peats, ana uw like. All these things manifestly tend to stimulate and enlarge production, and their general beneficial effects are obvious. . It Is complained that, whereas the law restricts Federal Reserve banks to three months' time for commercial Miner the farmer ia allowed six months on his notes. This Is not sneclal nrlvllege. but merely such a recognition of business conditions as makes it possible for country banks to do business with country people. The crop farmer has only one turn over a year, while the merchant and manufacturer have many, inciaentai- ly, I note that the Federal Reserve Board baa Just authorized the Fed eral Reserve banks to discount export paper for a period of six months, to conform to tna nature oi me uu nestt. The Farm Loan banks are pointed to as an Instance of special govern ment favor for farmers. Are they not rather the outcome of laudable efforts to equalize rural, and urban condi tions? And about all the government does there Is to help set up an ad ministrative organization and lend a little credit at the start. Eventually the farmers will provide all the capi tal and carry all the liabilities them selves. It Is true that Farm Loan bonds are tax exempt; but so are bonds of municipal light and traction nlnnts and new housing Is to be ex empt fro,m taxation, In New York, for ten years. On the other hand, the farmer reads of plana for municipal housing proj ects that run Into the billions, of hun dreds of millions annually spent on the merchant marine; he reads that the railways are being favored with Increased rates and virtual guaranties of earnings by the government, with the result to him of an 'ncreased toll on all that he sells and all that he buys. He hears of many manifesta tions of governmental concern for par ticular Industries and Interests. Res cuing tbe railways from Insolvency Is undoubtedly for the benefit of the country as a whole, but what can be of more general benefit tnaq encour tagement.of ample production of the principal necessaries of life and their even flow from contented producers to satisfied consumers? . ,: ' While. It may be conceded that special governmental aid may be nec essary In the general Interest, we must all agree that It Is difficult to see why agriculture and the production and dis tribution of farm products are not ac corded the same opportunities that are provided-for other businesses; espe cially as the enjoyment by the fanner of such opportunities would appear to be even mora contributory to the gen- erai good than In the case of other Industries.. Tbe spirit pf American democracy Is unalterably opposed, alike to enacted sneclal privilege and to the special privilege of unequal op portunity that arises - automatically from the failure to correct glaring economJo Inequalities. I am opposed to tbe Injection of government into business, but I do believe that It Is an essential function of democratic gov ernment to equalize opportunity to far as It is within Its power to do to, whether , by the ; repeal of archaic statutes or the enactment of modern ones. If the anti-trust laws keep the farmers from endeavoring scientifically to integrate their Industry while other Industrie find a way to meet modern conditions without violating such stat utes, then It would aeem reasonable to find a way for the farmer to meet them under the same condition. The law should operate equally In fact Re pairing the economic structure on one aide la no Injustice to the ether side, wnicn is in gooa repair. , W have traveled long w ay from the old conception of government aa merely a defensive and policing agency; and regulative, corrective, er equaliz ing legislation, which, apparently Is of a special nature, la often of the most general beneficial consequences. Even the First Congress paased tariff act that waa avowedly for the protection of manufacturers ; but a protective tariff alwaya has been defended as a means of promoting the general gooa through a particular approach; and the statute books are filled with acts tor the benefit of shipping, commerce. and labor. IV Now. what is the farmer asking? Without trying to catalogue tne re medial measures that have been sug gested In his behalf, the principal pro posals that bear airectiy on me im provement of his distributing and mar keting relations may be summarized as follows : First: storage warehouses for cot ton, wool, and tobacco, and elevators for grain, of sufficient capacity to meet the maximum demand on them at the peak of the marketing period. The farmer thinks that either prtvate capi tal must furnish these facilities, or the state must erect and own the eleva tors and warehouses. ' Second: weighing and grading of agricultural products, nd certification thereof, to be done by Impartial and disinterested public Inspectors (this Is already accomplished to some extent by the federal licensing of weighers and graders), to eliminate underpay ing, overcharging, and unfair grading, and to facilitate the utilization of the stored products as the basis of credit Third : a certainty of credit sufficient to enable the marketing of products In au orderly manner. Fourth: the Department of Agricul ture ahould collect, tabulate, summa rize, and regularly and frequently pub lish and distribute to the farmers, full Information from all the markets of the world, so that they shall be as well Informed of their selling position as buyers new are of their buying posi tion. Fifth : freedom to Integrate tbe busi ness of agriculture by means of con solidated selling agencies, co-ordinating and co-operating In auch way as to put the farmer on an equal footing with the large buyers of his products, and with commercial relations In other Industries. When a business requires specialized talent. It has to buy It So will the farmers ; and perhaps the best way for them to get It would be to utlilza some of the present machinery of the larg est established agencies dealing In farm products. Of course, If he wishes, the farmer may go further and engage in flour-mllllng and other manufactures of food products. In my opinion however, he would be wise to stop short of that. Public Interest may be opposed to all great Integrations ; but, In Justice, should they be forbidden to the farmer and permitted to otners? The corporate form of association can not now be wholly adapted to his ob jects and conditions. The looser co operative form seems more generally suitable. Therefore, he wishes to be free, If he finds It desirable and feas ible, to resort to co-operation with his fellows and neighbors, without run nlng afoul of the law. -To urge that the farmers should have tne same lib erty to consolidate and co-ordinate their peculiar economid functions, which other Industries In their fields enjoy, Is not, however, to concede that any business Integration should have legislative sanction to exercise monop olistic power. The 'American people are as firmly opposed to Industrial as to political autocracy, whether at tempted by rural or by urban Industry, For lack of united effort the farmers as a whole are still marketing' their crops by antiquated methods, or by no methods at all, but tney are surrounded by a business world that has been modernized to the Inst minute and la tirelessly striving for efficiency. This efficiency Is due In large measure to big business, to united business, to In tegrated business. The farmers now seek the benefits of such largeness, un ion and Integration. The American farmer Is a modern of the moderns In the use of labor saving machinery, and he has made vast strides In recent years . In scientific tillage and efficient fnrm management, but as a business In contact with other businesses agircultnre Is a "one horse shay" In competition with high power automobiles. The American farmer Is the greatest and most Intractable of Individualists, While Industrial pro duction and all phases of the huge com mercial mechanism and Its myriad ac cessories have articulated. and co-ordinated themselves all the way from nat ural raw materials to retail sales, the business of agriculture has gone on in . much the one man fashion of the back woods -of the first part of the nine teenth rentnry, when the farmer was self sufScfehf and did not depend" upon. or care very much, what the great world, was doing. Tha result Is that the agricultural group la almost as much at a disadvantage In deatlng with other economic groups aa the Jay farm er of the funny pages In the hands of sleek urban confidence men,, who sell him acreage In Central Park or the Chicago city hall " The leaders of the farmers thoroughly understand this. and tbey are Intelligently striving to Integrate their Industry so that It will be on an squat footing with other busi nesses. r':f "' As sa examnle of Integration, take the-steel industry, In which the model Is the United Statu Steel Corporation, with Its Iron mines, Its coal mines, It lake and rail transportation, Its ocean vessel. It by-product coke ovens, Us blast furnaces. Its open hearth and Bessemer furnaces, Its rolling mills, Ita tube mill and other manufacturing processes that are carried to the high est degree of finished production, com patible with the large trade it na built up. All this Is generally conced ed to be to the advantage of the con sumer. Nor does the steel corporation Inconsiderately dump Its products on the market. On the contrary. It M acts that it la frequently a stabilizing Influence, as Is often the case with oth er large organizations. It Is master ef Its distribution as well as of ita pro duction. If prices are not satisfactory the products are held back or produc tion la reduced or suspended. , It Is not compelled to send a year's work to th market at one time and take whatever It can get under such circumstances. It has one selling policy and Ita own export department. Neither are tha grades and qualities of steel determin ed at the caprice of the buyer, nor uoea tha latter hold the scalea. In this sin gle Integration of the steel corporation la represented about 40 per cent of tha steel production of America. The rest la mostly In the hands of a few large companies. In ordinary times the steel corporation, by example, atnblllzes all steel prices. If this Is permissible (It Uneven desirable, because stable and fair prices are essential to solid end continued prosperity) why would It be wrong for the farmers to utilize central agencies that would have sltnl lor effects on agricultural products? Something like that Is what tbey arc aiming at ' Some farmers favored by regional compactness and contiguity, such as tha dtrus-frult-ralsers of California, al ready have found a ' way legally to merge and sell their products Into- arallv and In accordance witn seasonal and local demand, thus improving their position and rendering the con sumer a reliable service of ensured quality, certain supply, and reasonable and relatively steady prices, xney have not found It necessary to resort to any special privilege, or to claim anv exemption under the antt-trust legislation of the state or nation. With out removing local control, they nave built up a very efficient marketing agency. The grain, cotton, and to bacco farmers, and tha producera of bides and wool, because of their num bers and the vastneas of their regions. and for other reasons, hava found Integration a mora difficult task; though there are now some thousands of farmer's co-operative elevators. warehouses, creameries, and other en terprises of one sort and another, with a turn-over of a billion doners a year. They are giving th farmers business experience and training, and, ao far aa they go, they meet the need of honest weighing and fair grading; but they do not meet the requirements of rationally adjnstea marketing in any large and fundamental way. Tbe next step, which will be a pat tern for other groups. Is now being prepared by the graln-ralsers through the establishment of sales media which shall handle grain separately or col lectively, as the Individual farmer, may elect. It Is this step the plan of the Committee of Seventeen which has created ao much opposition and la thought by some to be In conflict with the antl-truBt laws. Though there la now before congress a measure de signed to clear up doubt on this point. the graln-producera are not relying on any Immunity from anti-trust legisla tion. They desire, and they are en titled, to co-ordinate their efforta Just as effectively as the large business In terests of the country have done. In connection with the selling organiza tions the United States Grain Growers Incorporated Is drafting a scheme of financing Instrumentalities and auxili ary agencies which are Indispensable to the successful utilization of modern business methods. , It Is essential that the farmers should, proceed gradually with these plans, and aim to avoid the error of scrapping the existing marketing ma chinery, which has been so laboriously built up by long experience, before they have a tried and proved substi tute or supplementary meennmsm. They must be careful not totbecome enmeshed In their own reforms and lose the perspective of their place In the national system. They must guard against fanatical devotion to new doc trines, and ahould seek articulation with the general economic system rather than its reckless destruction as It relates to them. ; "To take a tolerant and sympathetic view of the farmers' strjvings for bet ter things Is not to give a blanket endorsement to any specific plan, and still less to applaud the vagaries of some of their leaders ana groups. Neither should we, on the other hand, allow the - froth of bitter agitation, false economics, and mistaken radical- Ism to Conceal the facts of the farm- era' disadvantages, and tne practtcabll ity of eliminating them by well-con sldered measures. It may be that the farmers- will not show the business sagacity and develop the wise leader- shin to carry through sound plans; but that possibility does not Justify the instruction of -, their upward efforts. Wo, as city people,-see in high and ; speculatively S manipulated f prices, spoilage,. Waste, ' scarcity, tne result if defective distribution of farm prod- i lil ts. Should It not occur lo as that we have a common Interest with th , farmer uvhis.atteuipt to.nttnin a de gree of efficiency In distribution cor-. responding to his efficiency In prodno Ion? Do not the recent fluctuations In the May wheat option, apparently unrelated to normal Interaction of supply , and, demand, offer a timely proof of. the heed of some such stabil izing agency as tne grain growers nsvs . In contemplation? f J . , - It Is contended that if their pro posed organizations be perfected and ' operated, the farmers will have to their bands an Instrument that will be capable of dangerous abuse. We are told that It will be possible to pervert It to arbitrary and oppressive price- - fixing from It legitimate use of order ing and stabilising the flow of farm products to the market, to the mutual benefit of producer and consumer,, I have no apprenensions on tnis point. Iu the first place, a loos organiza tion, such, as any nnlod of farmer must be at best, cannot be ao arbi trarily and promptly controlled as a great corporation. Tbe one la s lum bering democracy and the other an agll autocracy. Ia tbe second place, witft all possible power of organization, tha farmers cannot succeed to any great extent, or for any considerable length) .' of time, In fixing prices,. The great) law of supply and demand works 14 various and surprising ways, to U undoing of the best laid plana that, . attempt to foil it. In the third placet, their power will, avail the farmer nothing If It be abused. In our timt and country power ia of value to Ita possessor only so long as It 1 nof abused. It Is fair to say that I havd seen no signs In responsible quarter of- a disposition to dictate prlceat There seems, on the contrary, to be commonly beneficial purpose to reallz) a stahility that will gtvi an orderl and abundant flow -of fnrm product to the consumer and ensure reasonable1 -and dependable returns to the pro ducer. " ', In view of the supreme Importance) to the national well-being of a pros perous and contented agricultural pop ulation, we should be prepared to go a long why In assisting the fnrmers to get an equltoble share of the wealth they produce, through the inaugura tion of reforms that will procure a continuous and Increasing stream of farm products. They are far from get ting a fulr share now. - Considering bis capital and the long hours of labor put In by the average farmer and his. family, he Is remunerated less than any other occupational class, with the possible exception of teachers, reli gious and lay.' .Though we know that the present general distress of tha farmers Is exceptional and la linked ' with the Inevitable economic readjust, ment following tbe war. It must be remembered that although represent lng one-third of tbe Industrial product and hatf the total population of the nation, the rural communities ordi narily enjoy but a fifth to a quarter ol the net annual national gain. Notwith standing the taste of prosperity that tbe farmers had during the war, there ia today a lower standard of living among the cotton farmera of the South than In any other pursuit In the country. In conclusion, It seems to me that tha farmers are chiefly striving for a gen. erally beneficial Integration of thelt business, of the same kind and charac ter that other business enjoys. If It should be found on examination that the attainment of this end requires methods different from those which other activities have followed for the same purpose should we not sympa. thetically consider the plea for tha right to co-operate, If only from our own enlightened self Interest, "In ob taining an abundant and steady flow of farm products? In examining the agricultural sltua Hon with a view to Its Improvement,. we shall be most helpful If we main- ' tain a detached and judicial viewpoint, remembering that existing wrongs may be chiefly an accident of Unsymmetrt eal economic growth Instead of a crea tion of malevolent design and conspira cy. We Americans are prone, as Pro fessor David Friday well says In hi admirable book, "Profits, Wages and Prices," to seek a "criminal Intent be hind every difficult and undesirable eco nomlc situation." I can positively as sert from my contact with men 'ot large affairs, Including bankers, that, as a whole, they are endeavoring to fulfill as they see them the obligations that go with their power,. Preoccupied with the grave problems and heavy tasks of their own Immediate affairs, , they have not turned their thoughtful personal attention or their construc tive abilities to the deficiencies of agri cultural business organization. Agri culture, It may be said, suffers from their preoccupation and neglect rather than from any purposeful exploitation by them. - They ought now to begin to respond to the ; farmers' difficulties, which they must realize are their own. On the other hand, my contacts with the farmers have filled me with respect for them for their sanity, their pa tience, their balance. Within the last year, and particularly at a meeting called by the Kansas State Board of Agriculture and at another called by tha Committee of Seventeen, I have met many of the leaders of the new farm movement and I testify In all sincerity that they are endeavoring to deal with their problems, not as pro- moters of a narrow class Interest, not aa exploiters of .the hhplcsa consumer, not as merciless . monopolists, but a honest ment bent on the Improvement of the common wal, V. ; -vi , We can and must meet such me i nnd such a cause halt way. Their business Is our buslness the nation' business. . . V t.