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COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
GILBERT N. HAUGEN, Iowa, Chairman, JAMES C. MCLAUGHLIN, Michigan.
GORDON LEE, Georgia. SYDNEY ANDERSON, Minnesota.
EZEKIEL S. CANDLER, Mississippi. WILLIAM W. WILSON, Illinois.
J. THOMAS HEFLIN, Alabama. CHARLES B. WARD, New York.
THOMAS L. RUBEY, Missouri. WILLIAM B. McKINLEY, Illinois.
JAMES YOUNG, Texas. ELIJAH C. HUTCHINSON, New Jersey. HENDERSON M. JACOWAY, Arkansas. FRED S. PURNELL, Indiana.
JOHN V. LESHER, Pennsylvania.
JOHN W. RAINEY, IVinois.
L. G. HAUGEN, Clerk.
AGRICULTURE APPROPRIATION BILL.
COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE,
Tuesday, December 9, 1919. The committee met at 10.30 o'clock a. m., Hon. Gilbert N. Haugen (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. I have called the committee together this morning to consider the estimates of appropriations for the Department of Agriculture required for the service of the fiscal year ending June 30, 1921, submitted by the Secretary. Full and open hearings will be held on the estimates during which we will have before the committee representatives and chiefs of the various bureaus of the department, as well as others interested in the various items who may wish to appear and be heard. The policy will be to scrutinize each item in the estimates most carefully with a view of practicing strictest economy, but of cours, allowing all just increases which will tend to promote agriculture.
We have with us this morning Mr. Harrison, assistant to the Secretary, from whom we will be pleased to hear first.
SUMMARY OF ESTIMATES.
STATEMENT OF MR. F. R. HARRISON, ASSISTANT TO THE
SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
Mr. Jones. May I ask Mr. Harrison just what official position he has ?
Mr. Harrison. Assistant to the Secretary.
Mr. HARRISON. The regular annual estimates of the department. I will nerely make a general statement to the committee about the estimates as a whole. The estimates for the fiscal year 1921, which you are about to consider, aggregate $37,528,102, compared with $33,899,761, the amount carried in the appropriation act for 1920; that is, the current fiscal year. They involve an apparent increase of $3,628,341. Taking into account, however, the fact that $121,229 is merely transferred from other acts (the sundry civil and the wheatprice guaranty acts), the net increase is only $3,507,112. It should be pointed out, also, that the item of $1,000,000 for fighting and preventing forest fires (an increase of $850,000 over the present
appropriation), the item of $1,000,000 for combating foot-and-mouth disease, and the item of $240,000 for the eradication of the pink bollworm of cotton, are simply insurance funds and will be used only in case of necessity. The committee will be interested to know that, according to the best estimates I can secure
Mr. Jones. Are these items increases over the last?
Mr. HARRISON. The last items to which I. referred are not increasns, except the appropriation for fighting and preventing of forest fires, which involves an increase of $850,000.
Mr. Jones. Over your request for that same purpose last time?
Mr. HARRISON. Yes, sir.. The committee will be interested to know that, according to the best estimates I can secure, the receipts from the various activities of the department, including timber sales, grazing privilegrs, water-power permits, and the like, will amount, during the fiscal year 1921, to approximately $6,925,000, compared with $6,885,000 during the current year.
The amount recommended by the bureaus totaled $41,953,483, an increase of $8,053,722 over the appropriation for 1920. After giving careful consideration to each and every item, and bearing in mind the financial situation of the Nation, the Secretary, as you will note, made reductions in the bureaus' estimates aggregating $4,425,381. He is firmly convinced that the increases approved by him are reasonable, and that they are necessary for the effective prosecution of the work of the department during the next fiscal year.
I have prepared the usual statement summarizing the estimates, which, with your approval, I shall be glad to insert in the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Does that give the estimates in detail of the bureaus?
Mr. HARRISON. It gives the increases by the individual items. We inserted a similar statement last year, as well as in preceding years.
I might refer briefly to a few of t'ie larger items. The Secretary is renewing the recommendation, which he made at the last session of Congress, that the name of the Office of Farm Management be changed to “Bureau of Farm Management and Farm Economics," that it be placed on the same basis as other bureaus in the department, and that an appropriation of approximately $612,000 which represents an increase of about $300,000 over last year, be provided for the conduct, on an adequate scale, of the enlarged program for studies in the field of farm management and farm economics, including the cost of producing agricultural products, as outlined by the reorganization committee.
A plan for the improvement and extension of the crop and live stock reporting service in the Bureau of Crop Estimates, calling for an increase of $550,000, has been developed and is incorporated in these estimates,
We are asking for additional funds for administering and protecting the national forests, for investigating important forest problems
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN of Michigan. Before you leave the other matter: Has the plan been set out and the arguments in favor of it in the print ?
Mr. HARRISON. It is set out in full in the estimates under the Bureau of Crop Estimates. As I was about to say, we are asking also for additional funds for protecting and administering the national forests, for investigating important forest problems, and for aiding private owners in bringing about the practice of good forestry on their holdings
Mr. Jones. Is that Mr. Graves's subject?
Mr. HARRISON. Yes, sir; we are also asking for additional funds for the market news and food products inspection services in the Bureau of Markets. In order to secure greater coordination in the publication and informational work of the department, we are proposing to transfer the office of information and the office of exhibits to the division of publications, consolidating all these services under the supervision of the chief of that bureau.
We are suggesting increases for the development of other important lines of work in the various bureaus. I think I ought to call the attention of the committee to the fact that, during the war, practically no provision was made for the extension of research activities other than those which had a direct bearing on war problems. Many of the increases which we have included in the estimates, therefore, contemplate merely the prosecution of work which should have been, and probably would have been, undertaken some time ago but for the unusual conditions growing out of the war. Other increases are made necessary by reason of the large advances which bave occurred in the cost of labor, materials, supplies, transportation, and the like, and do not contemplate any increase in the work.
In view of the fact that a joint congressional commission is actively engaged upon the task of reclassifying the salaries of Government employees in the city of Washington and expects to make its report to Congress in the near future, it was decided to make no provision in these estimates for increases or readjustments in compensation. We have included some new places, however, and the usual transfers have been made from the lump funds to the statutory rolls. I may add that one of the most pressing problems we have before us now is that of securing and retaining an adequate, efficient, and contented personnel, but we are hopeful that some relief will come through the action of the joint commission. If it does not, we are certainly facing a further decided lowering of efficiency throughout the service.
If the committee has no objection, I would like to insert in the record a letter which the Secretary recently wrote to the Joint Commission on Reclassification of Salaries with reference, particularly, to the salaries of the chiefs of the bureaus in the department, emphasizing the fact that the present compensation is entirely out of proportion with the responsibilities involved. I think it would be interesting to the committee to have the Secretary's views about
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, it is so ordered. (The letter referred to follows:
OCTOBER 13, 1919, Hon. ANDRIEUS A. Jones,
Chairman Joint Commission on Reclassi fication of Salaries. DEAR Senator Jones: In connection with the reclassification of salaries of Government employees, there is a matter which I imagine your commission has in mind but with reference to which I am taking the liberty of expressing my views. I reier to the status and compensation of such responsible oflicers of the department as the chiets of the various burealis. I shall not undertake to express any opinion at this time regarding the status and compensation of the rank and file of the employees of the Govern