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The Chairman. Is the tax value that is created by the association of the dependent ranch property as I have defined the term and its relation to the national forest affected by this relationship?
By that I mean, to explain it further : Is the value that is placed upon the land for the purpose of taxation affected by the association or relationship of that taxable land with the privilege of grazing on the national forest? Mr. McLean. I should think so very largely.
The Chairman. If the grazing privilege was separated and taken away from that property, it would tend to lessen the taxable value of the property !
Mr. MCLEAN. Yes, sir; very decidedly.
The CHAIRMAN. Then following that out, is it your opinion that the counties wherein these dependent properties lie and the States are indirectly benefited by the association of these properties with the right to graze on the national forest ?
Mr. McLean. Very decidedly affected. The Chairman. Have you any questions, Senator Oddie? Senator Oddie. Have you ever studied the policy of the Forest Service toward timber operations? Mr. McLEAN. Somewhat; but I am not an expert on that line.
Senator ODDIE. Have you studied the question of fees charged timber operators for stumpage?
Mr. McLean. No; I do not know about that. Senator ODDIE. You are not familiar with the relation between the fees charged timber operators for stumpage and livestock grazers on the forest reserves?
Mr. McLean. Not enough to testify intelligently.
Senator GOODING. Have you tried to secure from other countries the charges that are made for grazing, such livestock countries as Australia and South America? Do you know what the charges are in those countries, roughly, for the grazing of livestock, and can you make any comparison with our own charge here?
Mr. McLEAN. I have read some on it, but my impression is that it is considerably less than our charge. But I have not the accurate
Senator Gooding. I wonder, Mr. Chairman, if you have any record of those prices? Have they been put into the record ? The CHAIRMAN. No; we have no record of that.
Senator Gooding. It seems to me that that is very important to this committee in dealing with this question.
The Chairman. It certainly is related when we are studying the cost of livestock production in Western States which necessarily are in competition with foreign countries.
Senator Gooding. Yes. Senator Oddie. Are you familiar with the relationship existing between the small farmer and the livestock industry? Mr. McLEAN. Yes, sir.
Senator Oddie. Do you realize the need for cooperation between them and their dependence on each other?
Mr. McLean. Yes, sir. for instance, the manufacturing industries throughout the Eastern
Senator Oddie. Do you think that other industries in the country,
States should be as much interested in the success of the livestock industry in the West as the small farmers are?
Mr. MCLEAN. I think they should. Especially as to such manufactures as shoes and woolen goods, the packing plants, etc.
Senator Oppie. Well, I will go farther than that, manufacturers in general. In other words, do you not think that the manufacturing industry of the East would be more prosperous if the livestock industry of the West were prosperous, because of the increased purchasing capacity that prosperity will give the livestock industry?
Mr. MCLEAN. And also the farmers; yes, sir. That is what I brought out this morning, that these bankers had put into our testimony several times that when the livestock men were unable, especially in this western country to buy hay and buy the other products that they buy from the farmers, that it makes the farmers less prosperous, they are unable to patronize their merchants to any such extent as they otherwise would, and that in Idaho, at least, the complete collapse of the livestock industry in this recent panic brought the whole house of cards down with it.
Senator Ondie. That is very clear. Now, that reasoning, you believe, should be carried to the Atlantic coast as well as in the confines of these Western States?
Mr. McLEAN. From the amount of patronage that we give them, yes; because we manufacture nothing here, I think they should.
Senator Opdie. Do you believe that a successful livestock industry will be better customers of these eastern manufacturers ?
Mr. McLEAX. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, Mr. McLean, following that thought from another direction, is the eastern consumer of western meat affected by the cost of production?
Mr. McLEAN. He certainly should be. How much he is I do not know.
The CHAIRMAN. Is it a fact that all of the cost of production over some period of time plus a profit to the stockmen must be passed on to the ultimate consumer?
Mr. McLEAN. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Then it parallels, does it not, that the eastern consumer of meats is interested in the question that you are presenting to this committee, that of an effort to stabilize and lessen the cost of meat production?
Mr. MCLEAN. Yes, sir.
STATEMENT OF MR. F. S. GEDNEY, MEMBER OF THE ADVISORY
COMMITTEE OF THE IDAHO WOOL GROWERS' ASSOCIATION, MOUNTAIN HOME, IDAHO
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Gedney, will you give your name, your address, and your position to the reporter?
Mr. GEDNEY. F. S. Gedney, Mountain Home, Idaho. On the advisory committee of the Idaho Wool Growers Association and on the public-lands committee of the Idaho Wool Growers' Association and on the public-lands committee of the National Wool Growers Association.
The Chairman, Mr. Gedney, are you engaged in the livestock business?
Mr. GEDxey. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you a user of the range within the boundaries of the national forest?
Mr. GEDNEY. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you a user of the so-called unreserved public domain?
Mr. GEDNEY. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you a statement, Mr. Gedney, that you will make to this committee?
Mr. GEDNEY. Yes; I have a statement. I will take up first the grazing homesteads. Now, this law of the grazing homestead would rather make you think that it is a livestock proposition, but there isn't any requirement that a person taking up a grazing homestead should own any livestock. In fact, the most of them do not. And almost all these homesteads, or a good part of them, have been taken up by men who live in cities and in towns. Men who knew the conditions in the country have not taken up these homesteads, except where they have taken them up as a holdup game, as we call it. The great part of them are taken up with the idea of compelling the stockmen to pay for the use of them.
For instance, I heard of one case where a fellow went to a sheepman and said he wanted $500 for the use of his grazing homestead that summer. The sheepman said, “Where is it? “Well," he said, “I don't know where it is; I haven't been there, but it is up on your range, and you have got to pay me for it before you can go on there." And that is what it is.
Now, a great many of these homesteads are occupied by men that are engaged in the moonshine business.
The CHAIRMAN. What do you mean by the moonshine business? Mr. GEDNEY. Making illicit liquor on these grazing homesteads. At the same time holding up the livestock men for the use of these homesteads. I could illustrate that. We have a large warehouse out on the range, and we are unable to keep any corn there. They have broken the doors down. Finally we fixed the doors and they broke in through the roof and took the corn out. The CHAIRMAN. These moonshiners? Mr. GEDNEY. Yes; these moonshiners. The CHAIRMAN. And they make liquor? Mr. GEDNEY. Yes; they make liquor. The CHAIRMAN. They make alcoholic beverage from the corn? Mr. GEDNEY. Yes, sir. Now, there are a great many abuses of this grazing homestead. As I say, they are not required to have any stock. They don't have any stock. They are required to take up a residence within six
. months, but they do not do it. They have been very lenient with them and allowed them, where they said they had to go away from the homestead in order to make a living, to work for somebody else, and still have made their final proof. In a great many instances one man files on a homestead and holds it as long as he can, and then another man files on it, and so on it goes, all the time selling this
pasture to the livestock business. We know when a man takes up a homestead that we are going to have to pay him for the use of it. We know when he gets the title to it we are going to have to buy it from him, and that is what they are depending on.
Now, the Idaho Wool Growers' Association want to recommend to this committee that all the public lands be withdrawn from entry, and that an inquiry be made into these homesteads and an investigation of them. That patents where they are still in the hands of the original applicant that have been procured by fraud be canceled, and that these fraudulent entries be canceled. Anyway, we would like to insist that an investigation of these homesteads be made, and we think that the Government men should know and see what is being done with this homestead law. It has not been a benefit to the country.
Now, it has sort of brought back the old régime. These fellows, lots of them, hold up these homesteads with their guns and tell the herders, the camp tenders, that they can not go on there until they pay a certain amount for it. And they locate these in places where the sheep can not keep off from them and where the cattle can not keep off from them.
Now, as to the forest reserve. We haven't any quarrel with the officials of the Forest Service as officials in the West. We do think that men sitting in offices back in Washington can not see out here to the West and know the conditions. We contend that the basic principles of the Forest Department are wrong, all wrong. I am speaking principally of what I say is the principle of socialism; that is, that they take from one man and give it to another man.
Now, let me illustrate that. In our own case, I went into the sheep business in 1911. We had a range right of 12,000, and we had sufficient ground to run them on. The next year they decided that we had too much ground for the sheep, and they took about one-third away from us. The next year we still had too much ground for the sheep, and they took a little more ground from us. And we set up a terrible howl, and the next year they gave us back a little land that they had taken from another sheepman and gave back to us. The next year they decided that we had too many sheep for the land that we had, and they cut our sheep down. That process went on until we had a right of 6,000 left out of a right of 12,000, and we didn't have ground enough to run that 6,000 on.
Now, I want to impress the committee with this fact. We had a plant large enough to carry 12,000 head of sheep. Now, when they took a right of 6,000 away from us, then only half of this plant was valuable after that time, and we could not sell the other half of the plant because there was no value to it.
The value of all this range country grazing land permit depends upon the value of the range. It must be marketed through the range, and you took away a half of the permit, and you take away a half of the value of the rest of the running unit. That is gone. You can not sell it to somebody else, because they have already got theirs. So you lose that.
Now, I do not know how many outfits in the last three or four years have gone broke in the State of Idaho, and they are still going broke. Here just last fall six or seven or eight large outfits have gone broke. And the main trouble here is the great overhead that
has been caused by these big plants that have been built up and then their rights being cut off by the forest. · Now, we are against this basic principle of taking from one man and giving to the other. And that is what we want remedied. We want our rights acknowledged in the forest reserve.
Another thing that I think is the fault of the Forest Service, and that is, I think, that their working men are underpaid. A ranger out here gets $70 a month and has to furnish two saddle horses and board himself. And he only gets a job for six months in the year. He has to look for his living the rest of the time. Now, what kind of a man are they going to get? They can not get a practical man. They get some boy. That is all they can get. So the Forest Service is handicapped itself, besides working a hardship on the users.
Senator ODDIE. Just in that connection may I ask a question? Should not the men who have charge of the range matters, such as these Forest Service officials have, be technical, skilled, and experienced men! Mr. GEDNEY. Yes; but they should be practical livestock men.
Senator ODDIE. Well, is not the handling of a range successfully an art or a profession that takes years to master?
Mr. GEDNEY. Senator Oddie, I have said this, that I think it takes more knowledge and more learning to be a successful livestock man than it does to be a lawyer or a doctor or any other professional man.
Senator ODDIE. In other words, a man can not learn that business in a very few years
then ? Mr. GEDNEY. Why, no; it takes a man that is grown up in it; that is, raised in it, to know this livestock business. And then you see these men come out and buy a livestock business, and go out of business, make a failure of it; they are bright men, and it seems they ought to have made a success of it, but they do not understand the business.
Senator ODDIE. And the Government is really asking the impossible of a great many of these young inexperienced men? Mr. GEDNEY. Yes.
Senator ODDIE. Do you think that a system which permits that is a logical, practical system?
Mr. GEDNEY. No; It can not be. Senator ODDIE. Do you think that there should be some corrections made in it?
Mr. GEDNEY. Yes. Now I think the Civil Service is somewhat to blame, but I am not so well versed about that. But it used to be that the Civil Service held the examination for a ranger. Well, a practical man that was raised on the range could not pass that civil-service examination, and they could not get the good men for that reason. They had to get school men in order to pass these examinations that the Civil Service required.
Senator ODDIE. Do you think familiarity with the particular district should be an important qualification in the examination?
Mr. GEDNEY. Yes; yes. Now, down in Nevada—well, I don't know what to call it-it is not a forest, but it is grazing land down there. There is no forest there. A man had to able to give the board feet in a pine tree when there weren't any pine trees down there. And they couldn't pass the examination for that reason.