Page images

made up of business in this western country, whereas general farming conditions in the Agricultural Department are the big thing. The largest agricultural interests are in the Middle West and in the East. Up until the present time all of our Secretaries of Agriculture have come from the Middle West, mostly Iowa. Nearly all our Secretaries of the Interior have been western men, and the Secretary of the Interior will always most likely be a western man, a man that knows the conditions of the West.


B. We would like to see the public domain surveyed and classified and these reforms worked out satisfactorily. All of the domain that then comes under grazing land we would like to see administered by the same bureau or department of the Government as the grazing of the Forest Service and under the same rules and regulations. We want these rights to be legalized. We also think that the allotments or privileges on the public domain should be adjudicated by a court just as the water rights were.

We are sure that the whole State feels that under no circumstances do we want the public domain controlled or leased by the individual States. The present instability of the livestock industry is the chief reason for all this reorganization, and we are sure that under State rule we would have too many administrations to deal with. Take, for example, the sheepmen of southern Idaho. Almost none of them operate in Idaho alone. In the western part they operate in both Idaho and Oregon, or Idaho and Washington, and many operate in all three. In central Idaho they operate in both Idaho and Nevada, and in eastern Idaho they go into Nevada, Wyoming, Utah, and Montana. State lines lines mean nothing in the stock business. Now, suppose the States were to administer the winter range or the public domain and leave the summer range under the Forest Service, as it doubtless will be left. Each State will have its own laws and its separate bureau administering its public lands. You will have to deal with several administrative officers, with several different sets of rules and several different methods of handling, and several different fees or systems of taxation. We could not hope for any stabilization under such a condition.

Another very potent argument we have against State ownership is that it would get into politics. Take the condition, for instance, which obtains so frequently in the western part of Idaho, where the owner lives at his winter headquarters in Oregon but runs his sheep largely in Idaho. Now, if a small group of sheepmen in that vicinity of Idaho had supported a governor and he had been elected, they might go to him and say, "We are citizens of Idaho who have supported you, Governor, but we are being crowded off the Idaho domain because a certain citizen of Oregon comes here and takes it all away from us." The Idaho governor would probably see that the permits for the Idaho range were given to his constituents. The same would happen in Oregon or Wyoming. We can not but see a hopeless tangle if States ever were allowed to handle the public domain. The stock business can not be confined to State lines.


Instability also greatly affects the credit of the stockmen. The head of one of the big banking interests of Idaho, who has much money loaned on livestock, says that the livestock industry is one of the foundation stones of the whole system of credit of this country; that when this stone was knocked out from under in the recent depression of 1920 and the stockmen could not pay wages, or buy supplies and hay from the farmer, that this affected the buying power and credit of the farmers, which, in turn, cut off the best customers of the town, such as banks and merchants, and brought the whole credit house of cards down in a heap.

C. Until we get these reforms substantially as above, we very much prefer that the public domain be left as it is and that our business is not further complicated and imperiled by legislation which will impose more taskmasters upon us.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. McLean, if you will suspend. The luncheon hour having now arrived, the committee will stand in recess until 1.30.

(Thereupon, at 12 o'clock noon, a recess was taken until 1.30 p. m. the same day, Monday, September 14, 1925.)


The committee reconvened at 1.30 o'clock p. m. Monday, September 14, 1925, pursuant to the taking of recess.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. Mr. McLean, will you resume?


Mr. McLEAN. Mr. Chairman, I will put into the record the cost of production, concerning which we have a lot of figures, showing the difference between the cost of producing sheep on Idaho farms and on Idaho farms with forest privileges. That I have not with me, as I did not know that you wanted it, but I will see that it gets into the record at the Pocatello meeting or before that. I will furnish it later for the record, as well as all the transcripts of the 14 meetings we held in Idaho.

Do you wish to question me?

Mr. BOWDEN. Where did you hold these 14 meetings in this State? Mr. MCLEAN. We held them all through the grazing and public lands sections of the State from the very farthest east section to the farthest west and southern Idaho. Then we went up the north and south highway as far as Lewiston, and I think we covered all the cattle and sheep and public land and forestry regions practically of the State.

Mr. BOWDEN. Do you know some of the cities or towns that these meetings were held in?

Mr. MCLEAN. Yes; I can name them all. The first one was in Dubois. Then Mackey, Shoshone, Twin Falls, Idaho Falls, and Soda Springs; then Riggins, Lewiston, Payette, Boise, Mountain Home, another one at Twin Falls, and Oakley, and Burley. Mr. BOWDEN. Were the meetings well attended?

Mr. MCLEAN. An average of around 75, I should say. There were some much smaller, but a good many where there were several hundred.

Mr. BOWDEN. Was public notice given in advance of the holding of these meetings?

Mr. MCLEAN. In all of the newspapers, and letters sent to all our private mailing lists; and also it was published in our bulletin and every sort of public information we could get.

Mr. BOWDEN. What were the businesses represented at the meeting from which you had expression?

Mr. MCLEAN. Largely stockmen, of course. About 50-50 sheep and cattle. Then there were homesteaders and members of different farm organizations, and bankers and business men and commercial clubs.

Mr. BOWDEN. So, in your judgment, would the testimony taken at these meetings be representative of the thought of the various activities within the State of Idaho?

Mr. McLEAN. It seems to me it should; and certainly everyone was given ample opportunity to express themselves if they cared to. Every interest.

Mr. GEDNEY. Did not the chairman at the different meetings call on everyone for an expression?

Mr. McLEAN. Usually they went right around in order and called on each person there and gave everyone a chance.

The CHAIRMAN. Now, these meetings were attended by stockmen and farmers, or just stockmen?

Mr. McLEAN. Stockmen, farmers, bankers, commercial clubs, and all members of organizations of farmers that we could get in, and homesteaders and dry farmers. We were particularly anxious and took particular pains to ask homesteaders and dry farmers in.

The CHAIRMAN. They were thoroughly representative?

Mr. McLEAN. We tried to make them so and in most cases they


The CHAIRMAN. Now, Mr. McLean, did you find a feeling among others than those who were users of the forest that those who are using the forest reserves belong to a privileged class? Did you find any sentiment of that kind?

Mr. MCLEAN. That does not seem to be very general in Idaho; no. The CHAIRMAN. There is but little sentiment of that kind in Idaho?

Mr. McLEAN. But little came out.

The CHAIRMAN. Do the farmers look upon the stockmen as their customers and look to the stockmen for a market for their products; I mean the farmers of Idaho in the localities with which you are familiar?

Mr. McLEAN. Well, I will make this statement: That in Idaho about 40 per cent of the crop is alfalfa hay, and that probably less than 10 per cent of that alfalfa hay is shipped out of the State. Most of it is consumed by stock. Of course, some private stock, but most of it the sale market is the range stockmen of the stock.

The CHAIRMAN. Then there is a common interest between the farmer in general in the State of Idaho and the livestock producer? Mr. McLEAN. It seems to me it is almost a fundamental interest. If the farmer didn't have the stockmen, it seems to me that times would be at least much harder; that at least there would be fewer farmers.

The CHAIRMAN. The welfare of one affects the welfare of the other?

Mr. McLEAN. Absolutely. We can not be successful in Idaho, we can not keep up our fertility, unless we raise alfalfa. That is one of our basic crops. And, as I said, about 40 per cent of the crop of the State is alfalfa hay. And I should say 90 per cent of the market of that alfalfa hay is Idaho and the surrounding States' livestock. Not all of it range stock, though.

The CHAIRMAN. Now, that works two ways; I mean the livestock man may be the customer of the farmer, buying his hay, or it may be the farmer is the customer of the livestock man, buying the livestock man's surplus product for the purpose of feeding his hay on his ranch; is that correct?

Mr. McLEAN. Yes, sir. You take this year, there has been an enormous sale of old ewes to farmers to clean up the waste hay and bean straw and scattered grain on their farms.

The CHAIRMAN. And the source of supply for these animals is the livestock man selling off his surplus livestock?

Mr. MCLEAN. Yes, sir. It is either his small lambs or his old ewes. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. McLean, you are familiar with the rule of commensurability as provided for in the Forest Use Book, wherein it is provided that men having grazing privileges within the forest reserve must have ranch property that is commensurate with their grazing privilege; that is to say, they must have ranch property where they can raise all of the feed that the stock that graze upon the forest will consume in the wintertime. Are you familiar with that rule?

Mr. MCLEAN. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Now in your opinion would that rule, if enforced and carried out to the full intent and purpose thereof, be detrimental to the welfare of the farmers of the State of Idaho?

Mr. McLEAN. It seems to me that it is an absurd rule. In the first place, it was formed in good faith I think to keep out transient stockmen who had privileges on the forest reserve, equal with people who were citizens of the State, but it simply puts the Government not only in the livestock business, but it makes them manage the other people's livestock business. And it makes for supervision that is most obnoxious.

The CHAIRMAN. Well, my question was would that rule be, if fully enforced, detrimental to the interests of the farmer? Not the farmer stockman, but of the farmer who was dependent upon the stockman for the sale of his produce?

Mr. MCLEAN. It certainly would; because each stockman would have to raise all his hay, and then the farmer who did not care to raise stock would not have the market for his hay. Is that what you mean?

The CHAIRMAN. That is exactly it. And, of course, the working out of that is obvious. If the stockman was to raise all of his f ed, why then there would be no reason for him to patronize the farmer. Therefore the enforcement of that rule would be inimical to the welfare of the farmer; is that correct?

Mr. McLEAN. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Now, Mr. McLean, you are familiar with the socalled reduction penalty provided for in the Forest Service Use Book that provides for a reduction of flock for violation or infraction of the rules, you are familiar with that proposed penalty? Mr. MCLEAN. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. In your opinion, is that a constructive and proper penalty?

Mr. MCLEAN. It seems to me it is very similar to putting a man. when he goes into debt into jail. That was worked out centuries ago and found obnoxious and not sound economically. If you penalize a man for that sort of thing it simply puts him out of the business and makes it less possible for him to take care of his range properly.

The CHAIRMAN. Well, if he suffers a reduction as a penalty, does that affect the value of his dependent property or other property that he owns in the operation of his sheep plant?

Mr. McLEAN. Very decidedly.

The CHAIRMAN. If a reduction penalty of 10 per cent of his flocks that he was permitted to graze in the forest was inflicted upon him would that destroy a 10 per cent use or a 10 per cent part of his other dependent property?

Mr. McLEAN. At least 10 per cent, and I think it is even in greater proportion.

The CHAIRMAN. Because the overhead pyramids?

Mr. McLEAN. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Was it the consensus of opinion as determined in the hearings that you held that the people of the State of Idaho are desirous of the enactment of some general leasing law providing for grazing of the unreserved public domain?

Mr. McLEAN. They all felt that such laws might be very advisable. That there had b en a good deal of harm done to the public range, and that its carrying capacity was decreasing, but they were all very fearful of having any more supervision until the problems that confront them with the Forest Service regulations are worked out more satisfactorily.

The CHAIRMAN. If Congress was to pass a law providing that the leasing of the public domain should be made optional with communities, would there be any objection to it?

Mr. McLEAN. Not that I have unearthed; no. I think that that might be very satisfactory.

The CHAIRMAN. And if such a law was enacted, did you discover as to whether it would be preferable to put it on the permit per head or per capita livestock basis or on an area basis?

Mr. MCLEAN. They seemed to prefer an area basis on the public domain.

The CHAIRMAN. If Congress was to enact such a law, who, if anyone in your opinion, should be given preferential consideration?

Mr. McLEAN. I should think prior users and present users. The CHAIRMAN. Do you think that the distribution should be based upon present usage and priority of usage?

Mr. McLEAN. I should think so. People whose ranch properties were bought also because they knew that they would have so much range to run their stock upon.

The CHAIRMAN. Is the utilization of the public domain of the State of Idaho closely allied with grazing in the national forests? Mr. McLEAN. Very often; yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. In most instances, do those who are using the unreserved public domain use the national forests?

Mr. McLEAN. In most instances; yes.

The CHAIRMAN. Now, Mr. McLean, a question relative to the relationship of ranch property owned by users of the forest. Now, by ranch property, I mean not only farms but privately owned grazing lands. Is the value of the privately owned range and farm lands of a user of the national forest dependent upon his right to graze within the national forest?

Mr. McLEAN. I should say very largely it is.

« PreviousContinue »