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DEMAND FOR IRRIGATED FARMS
The drought in the Great Plains area in 1936 served again to emphasize the need for additional opportunities for settlers on irrigation projects throughout the West.
The number of families which left the drought area this year in search of new homes in more stable farming communities was very large although so far as I know no exact total was made.
The Resettlement Administration checked the number of emigrants from the drought areas who went to the various Western States as closely as it could. It found that the average emigrant family contained 3% persons; between January I and September 15, 1936, 4,259 farm families migrated from the drought area into Washington and Oregon, 2,329 into Washington and 1,930 into Oregon. In this same period about 4,500 farm families entered Idaho from the droughtstricken region and during the first 6 months of 1936 a total of 27,800 persons irom the drought area migrated to California
A high percentage of these people sought new homes in localities where they might be more secure. Nearly all those who left the drought area went West, and reports I have received from Bureau of Reclamation projects indicate that the majority of these were hopeful of locating under irrigation canals where stored water would protect them from such calamities as they had experienced in the Great Plains in 1934 and 1936. There is ample evidence also that in addition to those who packed their belongings into automobiles and left their Great Plains homes, there are large numbers still there who are interested in seeking new opportunities on irrigation projects farther west.
In illustration, I will quote some figures furnished by Mr. Dana Templin, superintendent of the Minidoka project in Idaho, where 57 public land farm units were available this year on the Gooding division. An announcement was circulated that these farm units were available to qualified homesteaders under the Reclamation Act. Between October 28, when the announcement was made, and December 3, 1936, Mr. Templin received 1,934 inquiries about these farm units and on December 3 additional inquiries were being received at a rate of 30 or 10 day. The greatest number of these inquiries came from the "dust bowl' area in Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas. In addition to written inquiries, scores of people called at the project ofhce to personally investigate the possibilities of reestablishing themselves on irrigated farms. In the first month nine filings were made on the farm units and two additional applications were pending.
A comparatively small number of these immigrants reaching the Western States have the necessary resources to homestead under the Reclamation Act, by the provisions of which settlers are required to have capital of $2,000. However, some have sufficient capital to homestead under these conditions and some have sufficient capital to buy outright farms held by the Federal land bank, or parts of improved farms in instances where the owners are willing to subdivide.
One hundred and seven public land farm umts were offered by the Bureau of Reclamation on its project near Ontario, Oreg., in 1936. In a little over 6 months 52 had been filed upon and the current charges paid. 20 had been assigned but no payment made, a few had been withdrawn for one cause or another, and otky 33 remained vacant. The 33 of which remained varant on November I were the least attractive, many of them brink quite rough and necessitating considerable lat or in their subjugation, Groups of men from the drought area were Vitrig the Ons het project, where thomp farm units were offered, cach day during the fall and early winter of 1936. Many of them did not have sufhcient capital to qualfs as mttlera. Others were buying unimproved lands susceptible of irrigation inte vicinity.
The Yakıma project, an old and well-establi-hed agricultural community. attracted large numer of families from the drought area, mome of whom madde the trip to eastern Washington only to Nek Hasonal employment in the harvest Many of them, however, were announ to become prmanent settlers in that area. The Bureau of Reclamation has under construct:on a new division of the Yakima project, the Roza disin,01), which eventually will provide water for at ont 72,0) acres. Had this land tan available this year, it is probable that all of it would have been settled and that the largest numir of wittiers would have been found among these refugees from the Great Plains drought.
There has been a strong movement of people from the Great Plains drought area into the Yakıma Valley for 3 years This movement began early in 1934 Several hundred families have found farms in the Yakıma Valley, many makan down payments on property held by the Federal land bank. Reemplos dett
dar, tesettlement officers, representatives of civic groups in the city of Yakima,
.: own project officials informed me that the immigrants from the drought u to the Yakima Valley are farmers of types which would enhance any
Biral of Reclamation representative in Yakima, after obtaining information h all yources at his command, provided the following estimate of the situation * A total of 3,800 persons went to the Yakima project from the drought, 1 . 1956. Or this pumber 800 actually were settled on farms in the Yakima 1 . In addition to this number of successful seekers for new homes, 700 well
fartners made earnest efforts to locate in Yakima Valley but were unable and paraut property. The local manager of the Federal land bank in Yakima in tist people of German descent are in the majority of those immigrant a the bank has contacted. The bank has made 150 sales in Yakima Valley ent months. About 10 percent have been made to families from the drought
demand for new opportunities under irrigation canals in the West is not 2nd to home seekers from any single locality. The migration of well-qualified,
tie settlers from the dust bowl" has been dramatic but these immigrants .- nt only a portion of those who have sought opportunities on Federal proj
The largest single group of home seekers applying at project offices con
tote that composed of sons of western irrigation farmers; young men who rat reached the point in their lives where they wish to make a home of their
STATUS OF REPAYMENTS Tre act of April 1, 1932, granted to water users on Federal Reclamation projects Dratorium for the payment of construction charges that became due in 1931 usa vue-half the charges that became due in 1932. Subsequent acts of March : 1933, March 27, 1934, and June 13, 1935, extended the moratorium to all con
urt »charges payable for the year 1932, 1933, 1934, and 1935. The act of Vr: 14, 1936, extended the moratorium to one-half the construction charges for erar 1936.
Construction-charge collections (cash and power and other credits) during the al year 1936 amounted to $399,372.09 even though a moratorium was in effect. b atan and maintenance collections amounted to $996,115.12. Total cash • Geet ons during the year from all sources amounted to $2,463,785 as compared 1. $2,355,080 the previous year. Accretions to the reclamation fund from sale
le lands, oil royalties, etc., amounted to $2,374,426 as compared with 16).932 for the previous year. There follow three statements showing the status of construction charges,
tion and maintenance charges, and water-rental charges due and payable, dected and uncollected:
crnent of reclamation fund construction charges paid and unpaid as of June 30,
Statement of reclamation fund construction charges paid and unpaid as of June 30,
$53 100.0 1010
98.5 1000 1000
1000 1000 1000
Statement of reclamation fund water rental charges paid and unpaid as of
June 30, 1936
State and project
Amount paid ||
Charges due and unpaid
Yuma auxiliary. Arizona-California: Yuma California: Orland. Colorado:
9, 129. 70 1,507, 458.70
31.75 2, 117.28
16, 868. 25
706.53 2,926. 20
9,634, 557. 12
STATUS OF RECLAMATION FUND
During the fiscal years 1934 to 1936, inclusive, the Reclamation fund has been used to carry on operation and maintenance only. The balance in the fund has increased from $2,775,971 on July 1, 1933, to $10,999,261 on July 1, 1936.
The Budget for 1937 proposed continuation of the Bureau's construction work from the general fund of the Treasury. This policy, however, was not adopted entirely by Congress. Appropriations for continuation of construction of certain reclamation projects, amounting to $10,860,000 were made from the Reclamation fund; continuation of construction of the Central Valley project in California, the Grand Coulee Dam project in Washington, and the Boulder Canyon project, including the All-American Canal was provided for by appropriations from the general fund of the Treasury.
The Budget for 1938 follows the policy of Congress in dealing with the 1937 estimates, i. e., appropriations of $9,665,000 from the Reclamation fund are proposed for certain projects, and appropriations of $25,000,000 from the general fund of the Treasury for the Central Valley, Grand Coulee, and Boulder Canyon projects.
The construction program for 1937 and 1938 calls for a total expenditure from the Reclamation fund of $20,525,000; for operation and maintenance, approximately $4,000,000 will be required; in all, $24,525,000 during 1937 and 1938. Such a program of expenditure from the Reclamation fund equals the probable available funds with a very liberal forecast of income based upon full payment of construction charges for the years 1937 and 1938. Certainly the income will be deficient if any reduction of construction repayment is permitted. It will be impossible to continue construction work in 1939 with the Reclamation fund unless other sources of income are provided.
In 1902, when Federal responsibility toward the arid and semiarid western public-land States was recognized with the enactment of the Reclamation Act, the sale of public lands constituted an important source of income. Funds from this source were relied upon to make the then new reclamation policy effective.
Today the situation is entirely altered. Salable public lands have been exhausted. The remaining public domain has been withdrawn, and a new policy has been established with regard to it. Nearly all of it has been set aside as & permanent public range to be administered by the Federal Government and conserved for perpetual use by the people. This was a logical step, long overdue, but now that it has been taken it focuses sharply the imperative need for the discovery of new sources of income to the Reclamation fund.
Income to the Reclamation fund from the sale of public lands has dropped from $9,430,573.98 in 1908 to $154,567.65 this year. During this long period of diminishing revenue from this source, Congress has recognized the need for added sources of income to the Reclamation fund. A very valuable addition was made by the Oil Leasing Act of February 25, 1920. Royalties received from the exploitation of oil on the public domain in 1924 added $6,693,908.15 to the Reclamation fund. This year only $2,053,152.48 was received due to effective application of an oil conservation policy. Thus, the one important supplementary income to the Reclamation fund is diminishing.
The only revenue to the Reclamation fund which can be called stable at this time is that received from repayment of project construction costs by those benefiting. A moratorium granted and extended by Congress has postponed or surtailed these repayments for a space of 6 years. The collection of approximately $15,000,000 was deferred. Even with the resumption of the annual repayments in full, and this resumption is an immediate prospect, revenues to the Reclamation fund will be insufficient due to the vanishing receipts from other sources, to uphold the long-recognized responsibility of the Federal Government toward these arid and semiarid public-land States. There can be no overemphasis of the immediate urgency of the requirement for augmented income to the Reclamation fund.
The following statement shows actual funds available for the fiscal years 1934, 1935, and 1936, and estimated funds available and estimated cash withdrawals required by appropriations available and proposed for the fiscal years 1937 and 1938:
The reclamation fund, 1934–38