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The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Wilson, are you engaged in the livestock business?

Mr. WILSON. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. In what branch of the livestock industry?
Mr. WILSON. Sheep business largely. A few cattle.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you graze within a national forest?
Mr. WILSON. No, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you graze upon the public domain?

Mr. WILSON. There may be an 80 or 160 somewhere that I graze upon, but I am unable to find it. Practically none.

The CHAIRMAN. You graze on private holdings?

Mr. WILSON. Now. I have until recent years grazed on the public domain. Never on the forest.

The CHAIRMAN. You have a statement that you will make to this committee?

Mr. WILSON. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Will you proceed with your statement?

Mr. WILSON. First, I want to thank this committee for holding the hearings that they have held at Rock Springs and are now holding at Casper, coming out into our country and hearing our side of the case and our problems, as it would not only be difficult for many of our witnesses but impossible for them to spare the time and the expense of a trip to Washington. I want the committee to know that we are grateful for holding these hearings here, and I think that I voice the sentiments of the livestock producers of the State of Wyoming.

The questions of the forest reserves and the public domain vitally affect every citizen of the State of Wyoming. The livestock industry of our State is, and will undoubtedly continue to be, the leading industry of the State. I expect to have that statement challenged by some of our mineral producers. While, of course, at this time the mineral industry far surpasses ours in point of value of the product, yet our industry affords more employment and vitally affects the welfare of more communities in the State than does any other one industry. More communities in our State are dependent upon the livestock industry than any other; so that any burdens that are added to an already overburdened and overregulated industry must in turn affect all the citizens of the State.

I call this to your attention, because I want you to realize, as I think you do realize, that while we are speaking for the livestock industry, and necessarily may take a selfish standpoint, we are also speaking for the economic welfare of the State of Wyoming.

I do not expect to make any extended statement and go into_all the phases of this question. That matter will be handled by Mr. Thomas Cooper, the chairman of the public lands committee of our association, who has not only given the matter more thought than I have but is far more capable than I, but I do want to make a few general observations.

So far as the Forest Service is concerned, the wool growers of Wyoming stand solidly on the platform adopted at the Salt Lake conference on August 25. That platform is already in the record, and there is no necessity for burdening the record with that platform. I wish, however, to differentiate between the platform relative to the Forest Service and the platform relative to the public

domain. We are in favor of the platform relative to the Forest Service, but not in favor of the platform recommended relative to the disposition of the remaining public domain.

So far as the public domain is concerned, I take it from the hearings that have heretofore been held that the committee is considering three majory propositions:

First, Federal control along the lines of the bill agreed upon between the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior, known, I believe, as the Finney bill, which appears on page 7 of Part 1 of the hearings of this committee.

Second, to turn over the remaining public lands to the States. Third, a general leasing bill providing for the leasing of the unappropriated unreserved public domain.

Taking up the first proposition, of Federal control, a cardinal objection to Federal control is the fact that it will establish another bureau or extend the powers of an existing bureau in Washington.

I am opposed to all bureaucracy and deplore the almost constant tendency on the part of both the National and State Governments to create new bureaus and departments. I believe there is too much centralization of power in Washington. Functions that should properly belong to the State and that could be better administered by the State are lodged in some bureau in Washington. The officials of many of the bureaus spend most of their time pressagenting their activities, stressing how vital their duties are to the preservation of the Republic. They are constantly seeking new worlds to conquer, and by their loud laments they succeed in increasing the power and activities of their department. The bureaus gather new duties in the attempt to justify their expansion and-of course, the most important part to them-the increased appropriation. These duties consist largely in interference with the private activities of the people, especially their business activities.

It may be stated as axiomatic that while bureaucracy and efficiency may go together under an autocratic régime, it is impossible under the very nature of things for bureaucracy to go together with efficiency in a democracy, nor, indeed, can paternalism and liberty exist side by side. Bureaucracy resents progress, vision, and innovation because these are disturbing and antagonistic to the very essence of its being-routine. Bureaucracy is wasteful, stagnant, and inefficient.

Senator Borah, in an address a few years ago, referring to tendencies which would make of the United States a republic in form but a bureaucracy in fact, said:

It may be impossible to devise some system of government more deadening to individual initiative, more destructive to human progress, more burdensome to the people than a bureaucracy, but so far God in His infinite mercy has not permitted it to curse the human family. Up to date, the worst of all forms of government is a bureaucracy.

Federal control of grazing on the public domain is the child of bureaucracy. For 20 years bureaucracy has been vainly trying to fasten its talons on the remaining public lands of the United States. President Coolidge has well said:

We are occupying fields that should be abandoned. We must reduce the cost of government * *. It is an unpleasant and difficult task to separate people from the Federal service, but it can be done and it will be done.


I think the Members of Congress fully realize how difficult it is to separate some of the people in Washington from the Federal pay roll.

For 20 years some of the self-appointed saviors of the livestock industry have been constantly stating that the public domain was being greatly overgrazed and destroyed and, because of this alleged overgrazing, it was not producing more than 50 per cent of the forage that it should produce. They have also continually stated that if this grazing were placed under Federal control similar to that of the forest reserves the carrying capacity could be at least doubled. This statement was made more than 18 years ago by officers of the Forest Service, some of whom are now actively asking for legislation to control grazing upon the public domain.

One of the late outbursts against the alleged overgrazing upon the public demain comes from the experiment station of the University of Utah, from which I quote. This is Circular No. 40, dated March, 1924:



The land laws passed in 1891 and amended several times since set the selling price of State land at $10 an acre and provided that not to exceed 640 acres of school land may be leased by any one person; there is no such limit on the noneducational State-owned land. On account of $10 an acre being considerably above the price for ordinary range land, none has been sold.

I am calling your attention to these statements to show how unreliable some of the statements emanating from various sources regarding overgrazing on the public domain are. I will take these up in detail after I have finished reading this excerpt from this circular. [Continuing reading:]

The rental fees are 2 cents an acre for land without streams or good watering places, 5 cents an acre for land with stream or good water place, and 25 cents an acre for irrigable land. Leases may be extended for five years and are subject to three preferential lease periods, making 20 years of reasonably secure tenure.

I am sure that that is news to every stockman in the State of Wyoming and every man who has ever leased an acre of State land. [Continuing reading:]

In general, the Wyoming lease laws are patterned after those of Texas, but an effort at improvement was made with view to prevent the excessively large corporate leases of Texas and to handle them in such a manner as to promote welfare of the community.

In practice about 60 per cent of the State-owned land has been leased for an average rental of between 4 and 5 cents an acre. The income has been about $100,000 a year, with all leases for five years. The size of leasehold on educational land has averaged 575 acres and on noneducational land, where there is no limit, about 1.000 acres.

I have taken those statements up in detail. In the bulletin they say that there has been no State-owned land sold by the State of Wyoming because of the fact that the price of $10 per acre was too high. The Commissioner of Public Lands, writing under date of September 26, this year, says that our figures are made up on these matters only at the end of the biennial period; therefore the next figures will not be available until September 30, 1926. However, the period ending September 30, 1924, showed a total acreage of State and school lands sold of 569,261.5 acres.

They make the statement about the rental being 212 cents per acre on dry land and 5 cents per acre on land with stream or good watering place, and the Commissioner of Public Lands advises me that the rental for the year that this bulletin was written was 5 cents on dry lands and 72 cents on lands with water. And the bulletin states that the irrigable land is leased at 25 cents per acre, whereas my authority, the Commissioner of Public Lands, states that it is leased for 50 cents an acre. So that so far as the State of Wyoming is concerned this bulletin, which is a plea for Federal control of the public domain, alleging overgrazing, does not contain one single statement of fact.

Senator KENDRICK. In connection with the price paid the State for leasing, Mr. Wilson, I wanted to ask if it is not true that these prices as now, charged have been recently reduced in many cases in order to meet the unusual conditions prevailing in the livestock industry?

Mr. WILSON. Yes; Senator Kendrick. The State board of land commissioners a little over two years ago voluntarily reduced the fees or rentals to 212 cents an acre for a period of two years. At a meeting last December they informally extended that for an additional two years, and at a meeting in January they formally entered the order making the 22-cent reduction for an additional two


Representative WINTER. You said that this bulletin did not contain a statement of fact. To bring that out more clearly, you mean to assert that it did not have a single correct statement of fact?

Mr. WILSON. So far as relates to the State of Wyoming, the number of acres of land sold, and the prices. Except, of course, that there was a statement of fact that the minimum price was fixed at $10 an acre; it is a statement of fact, but it does not tell the whole story. For example, in the act of admission it provides:

To the State of Wyoming: For the establishment and maintenance and support in the said State of the insane asylum

and various other institutions, it recites land grants for the fish hatchery and soldiers' home, etc., and concludes with this proviso:

That none of the lands granted by this act shall be sold for less than $10

per acre.

It was provided first in the act of admission and later included in the constitution of the State of Wyoming. It is a constitutional provision, but it was a constitutional provision that was forced on us by the Congress of the United States in the act of admission.

The statement they make about the preferential right to renew-I think Senator Kendrick has had the experience-I know all of us have had it-that there is no preferential right to renew the leases. There may be impliedly, but any one else can go in and lease that land. So that the statement is incorrect in that.

It has been my experience that many of the advocates of Federal control of grazing are equally careless of the fact and prefer to and

do present pleasant reading fiction.


us consider for a moment the claim that under Federal control

the carrying capacity of the ranges would be increased. We find that since 1918 the number of sheep grazed on the national forests in the United States have decreased over 2,000,000 head, and the cattle

and horses nearly one-half million head. This would seem to disprove the statement that under Federal control the carrying capacity would be doubled, because the forests have been under Federal control and under the present control for approximately 20 years, and instead of increasing the carrying capacity there apparently has been an actual decrease.

It is rather difficult to seriously regard the charge of overgrazing when you stop to consider that in 1910, according to Government figures, we had in the State of Wyoming 4,826,565 head of sheep, and at that time there was something over 30,000,000 acres of public domain.

In 1920 we had in Wyoming 1,891,775 head of sheep and nearly 20,000,000 acres of public domain.

I assume that the decrease in cattle population might not be quite as marked as that in sheep population, but there has been a considerable decrease in the number of cattle in the State of Wyoming during that period.

The sheep population decreased 51.5 per cent and the acreage of the public domain decreased 3313 per cent, and practically all of the land that was appropriated by entrymen from the Government did continue to graze stock.

So that the statement of overgrazing-in my own locality, at least, the locality with which I am familiar is not entirely true. I am prepared to grant that in some parts of the State undoubtedly there has been overgrazing.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Wilson, you mean that in the reduction of the public domain the grazing area decreased but very little?

Mr. WILSON. Did not decrease proportionately with the decrease of the number of livestock, Senator Stanfield.

The CHAIRMAN. Now, in regard to the 333 per cent that was withdrawn from the public domain, what part of that continued to be grazed, do you suppose?

Mr. WILSON. Well, I would imagine that practically all of it continued to be grazed. There would be a certain amount of it, possibly 5 per cent of the 333 per cent, certainly not over that, that might be found. On all of the filing operations they reserve a large part of their land, unless under irrigation, for grazing purposes.

The CHAIRMAN. Then the grazing of the available area was reduced but very little?

Mr. WILSON. Not the 33% per cent. In my judgment the overgrazing depends largely on when you look at it. If you would go out and look at a shearing corral after about 50,000 head of sheep had been shorn there you would think there would never be any more grass or weeds grow within a half mile, we will say, or a mile of that shearing corral. But it has been our experience that that grass grows more luxuriantly year after year, grass and weeds, if the rainfall conditions are sufficient to assure the growth of feed on the range, whether it has been grazed or not. That is particularly noticeable in the bed grounds. They apparently look as though the grass roots almost have been destroyed. And yet when a man goes to look for his horse around a sheep camp he always looks around the bed ground, because the most luxuriant growth of feed is contained around those bed grounds of any place in the locality.

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