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else up there that can run this livestock or have that livestock, because I don't know where I am going to get off.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you believe that the livestock man is entitled to a legal right to graze within the national forest?
Mr. BACON. I certainly do.
Senator GOODING. Mr. Bacon, do you not think that if we had a proper distribution of livestock over the State that the livestock as a whole would be materially increased on the forest reserves?
Mr. BACON. I think in some cases, Senator, that is true. In other cases it is not true. I know that in most of the allotments that I have I am short to-day.
Senator GOODING. Well, is it not a fact that some of the reserves are not carrying half of their capacity?
Mr. BACON. I think that is true. We have got some forest reserves in the State that could carry more stock.
The CHAIRMAN. That is all, Mr. Bacon. Mr. Philbrick.
STATEMENT OF MR. W. H. PHILBRICK, PRESIDENT AND MANAGER OF THE FALL CREEK SHEEP CO., AMERICAN FALLS, IDAHO
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Philbrick, will you state your name, your residence, and your position to the reporter?
Mr. PHILBRICK. W. H. Philbrick; American Falls, Idaho; president and manager of the Fall Creek Sheep Co.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Philbrick, are you engaged in the livestock business?
Mr. PHILBRICK. I am.
The CHAIRMAN. How long have you been engaged in the livestock business?
Mr. PHILBRICK. Forty years.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you graze within the boundaries of the national forest?
Mr. PHILBRICK. We graze our sheep.
The CHAIRMAN. And do you graze on the public domain?
Mr. PHILBRICK. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. What branch of the livestock industry are you engaged in?
Mr. PHILBRICK. We have sheep and a few cattle.
The CHAIRMAN. What national forest do you graze in?
Mr. PHILBRICK. Cache National Forest.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Philbrick, has your experience in grazing the public domain led you to form an opinion as to whether it would be advisable for Congress to enact a law providing for the leasing of the public domain for the purpose of grazing livestock?
Mr. PHILBRICK. I have formed an opinion, and from the experience that we have had with the Forest Service and the use of the forest reserve ranges, I think that there should be a radical change in the method of control before the public domain should be put under Government supervision as to leasing or the use of it for stock grazing.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, if Congress should enact such a law would you favor the leasing of it in areas or the employing of the permit system on the per head of livestock basis? By that I mean, Mr. Philbrick, if Congress should enact such a law, should they lease on an area basis or should they employ the system adopted by the
Forest Service in issuing permits for so many head of stock to graze!
Mr. PHILBRICK. I don't think it would be practical to lease it in areas, because one year a certain area may produce considerable forage, and the next year it may not. And the same condition exists regarding water.
We have a condition coming up now on the forest reserve that is going to test that very thing. We have agreed with the Forest Service officials to rotate our grazing on our allotments. And our allotment has been divided in three portions, a map of which I just received within the last two weeks. This year we are all right. We have a wet year. The portion that we are to graze next year as our second portion is in a dry year practically without water. We would have to take our sheep from 2 to 4 miles to water in an ordinary year in the midsummer, while in the early spring, when the snow is there, we could use that to good advantage and always have done it as the first part of our range.
The CHAIRMAN. Your range is an area allotment with the right to graze a certain number of livestock on the allotment?
Mr. PHILBRICK. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. By that I mean you do not graze in common? Mr. PHILBRICK. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. What is your opinion as to what would be the effect on the livestock business if the grazing fees were to be increased?
Mr. PHILBRICK. I think it would embarrass the industry to quite an extent, under the present rules and regulations especially. Not only the additional expense in money, but that money contributed to the department would I might say that at the present time my understanding is that the department is receiving more money from the livestock industry than it costs to manage that portion of their work. If there is additional money it will mean additional employees and additional regulations, many of which are at the present time impractical and cause losses to the stockman more than the cost of his range rights.
Perhaps to illustrate what I have said there I can speak of a condition that exists with us personally this year. We have a range permit for 3,929 sheep, which has been reduced along for the last 20 years from a permit of 11,500. We happen to be on the forest reserve that is surrounded on three sides by farmers, and we have had a great many applications for A-grade beginners, and they have been accommodated to quite a number; I don't know how many, but I think we still have two remaining in the business that started in as A-grade men.
The rules allow 3,900 ewes and their lambs to be grazed on our forest reserves. The 29 head over were not considered, and we went on with our full number this year. We have up to last year had a permit for 4,385. It was reduced last year arbitrarily before we knew what the season was going to be. When the season came on it was dry, and we not only accepted the reduction but we put on only 2.900 sheep instead of 3,900 to protect the range, and held off a bunch of 1.600 that we had that could not go on as a whole bunch. We left the forest reserve at the request of the Forest Service officers about 20 or 30 days early on account of the dry season.
This year we had a small number over our 3,900, and I asked for a temporary permit for an additional 500. I called on our district forester and the superintendent of grazing and stated my case to them and received what I thought was very reasonable consideration. I went home and told my foreman that I expected to be able to get that number on. Soon after I received a letter from the supervisor of our national forest stating that it could not be done. That the reduction had been made to protect the ranges and that permit would not be granted.
Senator ODDIE. Let me ask you, was that the supervisor in this State or at the head office?
Mr. PHILBRICK. That was the supervisor of our national forest.
Mr. PHILBRICK. Well, he lives in Logan, Utah, but he controls a national forest that is in both States. He has supervision of it. Now the condition that existed last year has been reversed this year. We have more feed on our range, not only on our forest reserves this year but on the open and unprotected range there is more forage than I have seen in any year since 1884. And there was no reason except the rule to prevent our grazing the additional 500 head on the reserve. It would not damage it.
We have also another rule which allows us to run 1,800 head in a bunch after we ship the lambs. We shipped our lambs a week or 10 days ago, and it was necessary on account of having the 3,900 there to take 300 head of our ewes from the range, bring them down and put them in a pasture because we could not carry them there without running a third herd. We have on the range at the present time at least two sections that we have not grazed at all up to the time we shipped the lambs. So that it could not possibly be a matter of want of feed or damage to the range.
Senator GOODING. I am going to ask you if this is not your judgment; is it not the policy of the Forest Service in the State of Idaho to limit the number of sheep and cattle on the reserve to the smallest number that it is possible all the time?
Mr. PHILBRICK. The trend has been that way.
Senator ODDIE. Is that based on an intelligent determination as to what the forest reserve will carry?
Mr. PHILBRICK. That is the information that is given to us, but from my experience I think not. I think it is a promulgation and carrying along of a policy that was inaugurated by Mr. Pinchot when he told me one time when I was in Washington with a few other parties, Mr. Gooding's brother and Mr. Johnston that we should not worry too much about these rules and regulations because we would all be off the forest reserve in 10 years.
Senator ODDIE. Do you think that the administration of the forest reserves in this State would be better if it were controlled by some one in the State who understood conditions in this State?
Mr. PHILBRICK. Rather than being controlled from Washington. Senator ODDIE. But I mean further than that. Do you think it would be better for the forest service that each State have its own head office rather than have the matter determined from an office in another State?
Mr. PHILBRICK. Well, do you mean have that State office under the Federal Washington office?
Senator ODDIE. Under the present system do you think the administration of the forest reserve in this State would be better off if this State had its own head office rather than having it at Ogden? Mr. PHILBRICK. Generally speaking, I think the closer you can bring the governing body to the work they have the better. Senator ODDIE. That is what I mean.
Senator GOODING. Do you know of any reason why the headquarters should be in Washington, with a big staff of officers down there. thousands of miles away from the scene of action?
Mr. PHILBRICK. No; I do not.
Senator GOODING. Is it practical? Is it a business proposition? If this forest reserve was being handled by a great corporation, do you imagine that it would keep a big force of officers in Washington to administer the forest reserves? Is it a practical thing? Is it right as a business proposition? Does it appeal to you as a business man?
Mr. PHILBRICK. No; it does not.
Senator GOODING. Now, what do you think of a policy of the Government that makes an investigation in regard to the prices of leased lands of individuals or holdings of corporations, and then in face of the fact that the cattle industry especially is demoralized and almost passing out of existence, as far as the forest reserves are concerned, wants to force the users of this range to pay as much for the use of it as a few individuals or corporations are getting for a specially favored piece of ground? What do you think of such a policy?
Mr. PHILBRICK. Well, with the administration rules as they are, I was very much opposed to the appraisal of the forest-reserve ranges, and I think that the allotment should be based on area enough to carry the number of stock that the permit calls for rather than on a basis of the value per head varying on different allotments. There is one thing that affects the value of a range, and that is its proximity to a market or its availability for use of the man that has it allotted to him, and a range far away should be less than one that is convenient. But as to saying one particular range is worth a certain amount and another one some other amount, I think that is entirely impractical. It is all right in theory, but it won't work in practice, because there are no two years that the same range produces the same amount of forage.
Senator GOODING. Now, what has the forest reserve done to save the cattle industry in the distressing condition it is in? Have they put out a helping hand anywhere or any place that you know of? Mr. PHILBRICK. I don't know that they have changed their policies at all.
GOODING. Well, they proposed an increase in fees, did
Mr. PHILBRICK. Yes.
Senator GOODING. Well, have they not hampered you in every way that is possible for them to do as far as the use of the forest reserve is concerned?
Mr. PHILBRICK. The distribution of the forest reserve was made on an arbitrary basis, and I think that it would be necessary to adopt
a different policy than that if the public domain was put under regulation. At the time the forests were created the grazing area was allotted to the users of the previous year. That took in quite a number of men who did not belong in the State at all, who just happened to be in that year, and bought cattle or sheep and had grazed them on certain areas. It shut out quite a number of men who had branch holdings that had disposed of their stock the year before and did not happen to be using the range that year.
With our particular outfit we had been using the Salmon River and some other ranges. The Indian reservation at Fort Hall was cut down and a large area of it thrown open as public domain. We were present with two bands of sheep right on the line 12 o'clock noon to go on to acquire such rights as were generally recognized between stockmen from prior use, not knowing that the forest reserve was going to be created in the next year or two. It was created. We had 13,800 head of sheep that year on the ground that was made into a forest reserve-the year before we had it. We were allotted 11,500, and gradually have been cut down.
Some years they tell us that we have got too much range for the sheep, and perhaps the next year we have too many sheep for the range, so we have been cut down both in area and in number. And this last reduction was made in the face of our range being in better condition than it has been for a long time, because we have always protected it by going on later, if necessary, and coming off earlier, and the cut, I think, applies on our range to two men only. And the reason of it was they said that they were going to issue 10-year permits, and they wanted to be sure that the range would be ample to carry the stock permitted, but in one 10-year permit it also provides that that permit shall go for 10 years that way unless they see that there would have to be a reduction to protect the range. So I can not see what the necessity was of the 10 per cent in the beginning, as they had the privilege of cutting it at any time that they saw fit.
Senator ODDIE. Do you think that the amount of precipitation has more to do with the condition of the range than the amount of grazing on it?
Mr. PHILBRICK. The amount of precipitation and the time when it comes. Last year was a very dry year, and in any dry year the seed matures better than it does in a wet year. It is stronger, and perhaps a good many plants that grow in a high altitude produce seed under those conditions that they would not other years. And I think that, together with the greater precipitation that we have had this year, is the cause of the fine range that we enjoyed.
Senator ODDIE. Well in other words do you believe that more local control of these matters will be of greater benefit to the industry? Mr. PHILBRICK. Yes, sir. I think that the rules should be mostly laws. It would with a lot that we have. Because under a rule or regulation system that we have now we are liable at any time to have a man appointed to the head of the department whose ideas and views are very contrary to those of his predecessor, and he could change those rules to quite an extent.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think that the basic rules and principles should be enacted into law to supplant rules and regulations? Mr. PHILBRICK. Yes, sir.