« PreviousContinue »
Senator ODDIE. Following up a question that I asked you a while ago, do you not think that the forest reserve areas of each of these western land States are so large as to give one man all he can do to handle the range problems in each State and that one man should not be expected to handle several States?
Jr. PHILBRICK. I think so.
Senator ODDIE. Do you think that it is an imposition on one man to be given more than the handling of one State? I am speaking of these several States now in this group. Mr. PHILBRICK. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. That will be all, Mr. Philbrick, unless you have a further statement you wish to make. Thank you.
The following statement of “ Cost of production in 1924," illustrated by charts, shall be made a part of the record and inserted therein immediately following the conclusion of this day's hearing. Cost OF PRODUCTION AS DETERMINED IN 1924 CHARTS AND GRAPHS
ANSWERING THE COMPLAINT OF THE FAVORED FEW" Eastern flockowners operating on ranches exclusively complain that western stockmen have the advantage of the use of "free" range a good part of the year. Eastern flockowners feel they are competing against an industry in the West which has undue advantages over them in the matter of operating costs. It is not alone operating costs which determine profits, but gross income. For the purpose of demonstrating that the ranch flockowners have nothing to complain about in the way of “free" feed, we have collected some data on a number of small ranch flocks over Idaho. These data show that while feed costs for the ranchman are higher, this higher cost is more than offset by lower operating costs in all other directions except taxes, and the net profit per head is some four times the like net profit of the range man.
DATA ON RANCH SHEEP AND GRAPH Conclusions which may be drawn from data on ranch sheep:
(1) Under present operating conditions, the small ranch flockowner has no need to envy the little "free" feed the range man gets.
(2) It pays the rancher to have a few sheep about the place. His capital investment is not so large but that he can “jump out” or “jump in," as the general prosperity of the business indicates.
(3) Can not conclude from this data, however, that it would be a paying proposition to run sheep on a large scale on a ranch exclusively year after year, as the larger outlay of expense for converting fields into good pastures by way of loss of other crops in these fields, accompanied by a sharp decline in gross receipts due to adverse conditions in the industry, would leave the man high and dry with an “overhead in the way of interest on landed investment and taxes he could not stand. Data on ranch sheep, small flocks, various parts of Idaho-mainly southern
2. 2 21.4
1.1 3.1 6.2 7.7 1.0
. 71 .83
Net profit per head....
Data on range sheep, 13 successful outfits, 123,000 head
9. 300 Wool profit per ewe--
.60 Receipts per head:
Total profit per ewe--
Expense to wool.-per cent.. 31. 1
Expense to lambs-per cent-- 68. 9 Total.-
10.17 Less cost per head--- 9. 30
Weight of lambs.--pounds-- 68. 80 Net profit per head.
Weight of fleece-----do---- 8. 56
Lambs matured --per cent. 88. 30 The public is generally uninformed as to the heavy annual depreciation on a sheep on account of short life and losses by death and by predatory ani. mals. A $10 2-year-old ewe at the end of five years--age 7 coming is worth normally $5. One dollar a year depreciation due to age alone. The average yearly losses of range men is well over 10 per cent, making about $2 per head each year which must be put aside to replace the capital investment before any profits can be claimed from the business. A rancher at the end of five years has his original land intact, and if he has been a good farmer his land is better than at the beginning of the five-year period. But the sheepman must normally replace at least 75 per cent of his original capital investment at the end of each five-year period. This is exactly where many sheepmen who do not recognize sound business principles fool themselves into thinking they are making big money; but somehow many of them are always buying replacements for their flocks and very evidently not making any progress from year to year. There are lots of farmers who farm inefficiently and uneconomi. cally. Same with many sheepmen. On a whole, however, sheep industry is handled intelligently. The general public is uninformed of the large overhead expense of the sheep industry in the ownership and management of ranch property required for range rights. The sheepman can not run sheep well and farm well too. He must neglect one or the other to some extent. This means that in order to manage sheep properly, as the sheep are the property most susceptible to good or bad management, he must hire excessively for his ranch management with results, as a rule, which lead the final cost of his ranch products more than he could have bought them from others who do their own supervision and much of their own ranch labor.
COMMITTEE OF COST PRODUCTION,
IDANO WOOL GROWERS' ASSOCIATION,
W. R. BARBER, Chairman. (The proceedings of the meetings of the Idaho Wool Growers? Association and the Idaho Cattle and Horse Growers' Association is here printed in full as follows:)
REMARKS BY DONALD MCLEAN, SECRETARY IDAHO Wool GROWERS' ASSOCIATION,
WHICH PRECEDED EACH OF THE 14 IDAHO HEARINGS
For some time there has been considerable agitation for putting the lands of the public domain under some form of Government control or lease. This has been urged by Land Commissioner Spry for several years now, and his agitation has finally resulted in bills being placed before Congress and a good deal of argument for and against. The matter came to a head last winter when the President's agricultural commission in its report strongly urged that some form of control be made law by Congress, which would correlate the grazing on the public domain with the grazing activities of the Forest Service. And the Secretary of the Interior also had a Phipps bill introduced this was not the Phipps bill by which the livestock men tried to counteract the proposed raise in fees of the Forest Service.
COMPARISON COST & PROFIT ITEMS
COST OF ITEMS IN DOLLARŠ This bill, as you know, did not pass last winter, but caused so much discussion that a resolution was adopted by the Senate, paying the expenses of a subcommittee of the Senate Public Lands Committee to investigate the whole subject of grazing in the West, both under the Forest Service and on the public domain, this summer, 1925.
Senator Robert N. Stanfield, of Oregon, was made chairman of this subcommittee, and he is holding hearings from now on in all of the western publicland States. He starts in Arizona the first week of June. He plans to hold two hearings in Idaho—one in Boise and one in Pocatello-about the end of August or the 1st of September. These State hearings precede a large general hearing which will be held in Salt Lake or Ogden in September. This hearing will not only be before the Senate Public Lands Committee but will also be attended by Senator Carey, of Wyoming, who is now chairman of the President's agricultural commission, and who will recommend to the President
HOW THE IDAHO SHEEPMAN'S
GROSS INCOME DOLLAR
COMMITTEE ON Cast OF PRODUCTION. IDAHO WOOL OPOWERS ASSN.
W. A. BAABER - RUPERT - CHAIRMAN
for or against public-land control. Anything he recommends will have the very strong status of being an administration measure.
Senator Carey wrote us recently that the whole trouble with this range problem was that the West could never decide unanimously what it wants. He says time and time and again the western delegation have been importuned to get some measure through Congress; they would start to do this in the best of faith, and up would crop some self-appointed delegation from the same State purporting to represent a large constituency, who wanted perhaps the very
opposite of the thing others recommended. This, of course, makes for great confusion and almost entirely eliminates the possibility of passing any measures whatever.
Naturally, before the Western States can get together on any united policy or any united recommendation for a congressional bill it is necessary that we find out what the State of Idaho wishes in this matter, and it is to do this very thing that we are holding these hearings. We very much hope that we can evolve out of this tedious and long drawn out work some policy which will suit and adapt itself to almost all sections of the State, and that when we finally go before Senator Stanfield in his hearings at Boise, Pocatello, and the big one in Salt Lake we can say, and speak truthfully in the matter, that we actually represent the composite ideas of the State of Idaho. If this can be done, it will be a great accomplishment and will lead the way to getting united action from all the States. We hope that possibly they will be doing the same thing during the summer. With this brief introduction I will go on and explain the different arguments for and against the three possible ways of handling the public domain which have come up in previous hearings that we have held on the subject.
There seem to be but three ways which have received any considerable consideration. They are: To turn back all the public land now vacant to be handled by the State governments; the second one is to put them under the Department of Agriculture, to be handled by either the Forest Service or a similar bureau ; and the third is to put them under the Department of Interior, where they will be handled under some leasing system. So the following paper which I will read will present without comment the arguments pro and con which have been elicited from the various stockmen who have attended our prerious hearings.
The unreserved and unappropriated public domain of the United States now consists of 185,933,272 acres.
PRESENT METHOD OF HANDLING Practically all the lands in any way or degree suitable for farming uses have passed out of the hands of the Government. The present public domain can be useful only for grazing livestock, and it is estimated that only about 70 per cent of the area has any considerable value for that purpose. At the present time about two and one-half million cattle and ten million sheep are grazed upon the public domain of the 11 Western States during some part of the year.
Grazing on the public lands is wholly unregulated and without any form of lease or permit or other form of control by the owners of the stock grazed thereon.
A great deal of instability is felt throughout the livestock business from the fact that the stockmen have never been permitted to buy or lease these lands or to acquire any form of legal status in their grazing use. The erection of fences to control grazing and prevent overstocking is illegal. There can be no security to the stockmen who would invest in wells or tanks to provide the stock water necessary to the fullest and most efficient use of the forage growing on the lands.
For the grazing now obtained from the public domain no payment is made. Competition for leasing or purchase of other lands to furnish feed or grazing when the stock can not be kept on the public domain has brought investments and expenses to a very high point, and more than the business can afford to pay. The high expense of handling the stock and moving it over great distances, the unavoidable heavy losses, and the long distance to market, all go to put the users of the public domain in such a position that they can not undersell or have any real advantage in competition with other livestock producers who own or fully control lands of higher value and which they are free to manage and dispose of as good business practice may dictate.
This is brought up because the Forest Service has swallowed whole the theory which was the particular hobby of the late Secretary of Agriculture, Mr. Wallace, from Iowa, that the public domain is public property belonging as equally to the people of the East, as it does to those who live here, and that the stockman of the Middle West who must own all his land is at a great disadvantage in competing with the “ favored few” of us who live here where we can use that great public resource the open range. As a matter of fact it costs more to produce a head of stock on the range than it does on the