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Imports of grain crops (United States), calendar year 1934
1 Statistics furnished by Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, Department of Commerce.
Mr. FITZPATRICK. I wanted to bring that out. Then it is not the object of reclamation to put in more acreage in competition with vhat we are taking out?
Mr. Page. That is correct, emphatically. Mr. FITZPATRICK. It is to make places where people can live, and not be a burden on their communities.
NATURE OF CROPS RAISED ON IRRIGATED LANDS
Mr. Rich. I cannot quite get the purport of your statement, that t is not in competition. Are there any places on these reclamation rojects where they are raising more foodstuffs or marketable supplies han they use themselves? Mr. Page. Yes, sir. Mr. Rich. Then certainly you would be in competition with other gricultural lands, would you not?
Mr. Page. We are not in competition on the products where there í a surplus in the United States—that is, corn, cotton, wheat, hogs, nd tobacco, crops in which there is considered to be a surplus in this puntry. Mr. Rich. Do you not raise wheat on any of these projects? Mr. Page. Not enough for local consumption. Mr. Rich. Corn, hogs, cotton, and—what are the other commodi
Mr. Page. Tobacco. Mr. Rich. What do you raise on these irrigated lands? This is all w to me, and that is the reason that I am asking these questions. ou talk about the opponents of reclamation. I think that the question ked by the gentleman from New York was the same question that is
my mind, as to why we are spending millions and hundreds of illions of dollars for irrigation and then we are out buying millions acres of land, to take them out of cultivation. I would like to get at cleared up, to see if I understand the philosophy of irrigation. Mr. PAGE. The six crops of major value on the various projects are falfa, alfalfa seed, apples, barley, beans, citrus fruit, clover seedMr. Rich. What do you mean by citrus fruit? Mr. PAGE. Both oranges and grapefruit. Mr. LEAVY. And lemons. Mr. Page. Some lemons; not many lemons. Then, some corn, some cotton, oats, onions, peaches, pears, potaes, small fruit, sugar beets Mr. Rich. What do you mean by small fruit? Mr. Page. Berries and cherries. Then, sweetpotatoes and trucky, and a little wheat.
WEST IS ARID
Few of our citizens realize that the United States has rough! 600,000,000 acres of deserts within its boundaries; that almost all the western one-third of our land area is semiarid or arid.
Many apparently believe that irrigation is an expensive frill indulged in by the farmers of our big Western States by which they increas their agricultural output to the detriment of farmers in other areas This is a mistaken and an unfortunate conception of irrigation.
In the area west of the one hundredth meridian, irrigation is not magic by which the farmer improves his lot. It is the only method which sufficient moisture can be supplied to the available fertile, dr land to produce tilled crops.
WHAT IS IRRIGATION?
Irrigation consists of applying water to land to make it yield. I the West the climate is such that large areas receive only 3 inches rain a year. These areas are as dry as the Sahara. In other section the rainfall is heavier, but nowhere west of the one hundredth meridis except on mountain tops and in a narrow strip along the Pacific cozy north of San Francisco Bay, is the average rainfall as much as inches a year. Over most of this vast expanse the average is out siderably below 15 inches. The natural vegetation of this ares: sagebrush and greasewood, with sparse short grass in the wet localities.
Not only is the rainfall scanty, but virtually all of it comes in winter months. The summers are long and very dry. In the irperial Valley in southern California there is no record of rainfall dura June in the last 35 years, for example.
Under such conditions, obviously, there would be no farms and farmers without irrigation.
Since the earliest pioneer days irrigation has been practiced in the West. Even before the white man came, the Indians of the Souttwest irrigated their fields to make them produce a little corn a fodder for their goats.
The Spanish missionaries in California and the Mormons in Ita established the first irrigation communities of the type we know to in the West. It is well to keep in mind that these early pioner adopted irrigation as the only means of providing an agricultur base for their communities.
IRRIGATION SEVERELY LIMITED From these early beginnings the irrigated agriculture of the Is has grown until it covers about 18,000,000 acres, of which 1,600.4 acres are irrigated within the confines of projects constructed byť Bureau of Reclamation as agent for the United States Governme
Even the most liberal estimates place at 30,000,000 acres the mal mum that can be irrigated in the West. That is less than one twentysixth of the total arable land in the United States. Although West has one-third of all the land in the United States, it can nevr even after it has developed to the limit every river, lake, and stress it possesses, have more than one twenty-sixth of the farmed acress
Already the semiarid and arid region has 11 percent of the population of the country, and each census shows that this percentage is growing. But no matter how many millions of people may eventually live there, they will have to make out with only about 4 percent of the country's farm lands.
Already the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Oreg., and Seattle have outstripped their agricultural backyards. It will interest the farmers of the Middle West, I am sure, to learn that these cities are buying annually larger percentages of their staple foods from them. Pork, flour, and dairy products move by trainloads from the Mississippi Valley to these Pacific coast cities.
For the big crops of the Midwest and the South, the cities of the West, and, indeed, the irrigated farming sections are among the principal markets. There is no danger that irrigated farms ever will take these markets away for the simple reason that farmers who irrigate cannot compete on the same terms with those who do not have to buy their water to make their wheat, corn, and tobacco grow.
CROPS MUST BE NONCOMPETITIVE It is expensive business buying water to produce a crop. To make irrigated agriculture pay, the farmer is forced to produce crops which cannot be grown elsewhere. And that is exactly what the irrigation farmer does.
The irrigation farmer, to survive at all, must produce crops which are noncompetitive with those of his eastern neighbors who are favored by nature with free water.
His crops must be of one of three types, none of which compete with farmers anywhere else in this country.
They must be either crops which cannot be grown elsewhere in the United States, crops which he can produce at seasons when they cannot be grown elsewhere in the United States, or crops for local markets.
As a consequence oranges, lemons, and grapefruit, dates, avocados, pomegranates, figs, almonds, and English walnuts are major crops on irrigated lands. They cannot be produced except in areas peculiarly favored with warm climates. Because they are noncompetitive, the irrigation farmer can afford to buy water to grow them.
As a consequence, also, the irrigation farmer produces and markets thousands of carloads of lettuce in December, January, February, and March; thousands of carloads of cantaloupes in May and June; peas, tomatoes, and other vegetables by the carloads during the months when ice and snow cover the Midwest and East; and early fruits which have come and gone by the time the trees in other sections are through blooming.
ALFALFA IS MAJOR CROP Alfalfa is the major crop produced on lands irrigated by the Federal projects. It far overshadows all other crops. It is used for feed on The projects and it provides feed during the winter for the herds and locks which roam the vast public ranges. The livestock industry, as is well known, is centered in the semiarid and arid west. Dry land which can be used for nothing else serves to pasture millions of head of cattle and sheep. The public domain is the source of feeder stock for
the feed lots of the Middle West. Without the continuous supply of feeder stock from the public domain many thousands of Midde Western farmers would have no means of disposing of their corn and fodder. Without the alfalfa produced by irrigation in the West, the public domain could not support its livestock and this source of feeder stock would be sharply curtailed.
Farmers of no other area have just cause to fear the irrigation farmer of the West. The irrigation product supplements the produce of other areas. It does not compete with it. If every drop of water available in the West eventually is used, insufficient land can be irrigated to produce enough foodstuff to sustain the growing population of the West. In any case, the necessity for freighting the products of western irrigated farms from 1,500 to 3,000 miles to midwestern and eastern market centers serves as an effective embargo against competition with farmers of those areas.
DEFINING OPPONENTS TO PLACING LANDS UNDER CULTIVATION THROUGH
Mr. Rich. Mr. Chairman, I may seem unduly axious to get this straightened out in my mind, but first I would like to know who he means by the opponents of his proposal, and then I want to dwells little on these items that he says they raise on these irrigated lands, and that they are not in competition with the products of other lands. I think that we ought to clear that up, if we can.
Mr. SCRUGHAM. Yes; and the proper procedure is for you to propound your inquiries in such order as will bring out that information.
Mr. Rich. Because I will be very much misunderstood before this hearing if we do not clear this up.
First, you have referred to the opponents of reclamation. Who would the opponents of reclamation be?
Mr. Page. Those that I have in mind primarily are those who have taken occasion to oppose the reclamation program in Congress.
Mr. Rich. The program of Congress?
Mr. Page. No; those who have talked against the Federal reclsmation policy.
Mr. Rich. Then anyone that objects to placing these lands under cultivation by irrigation is an opponent of your proposal?
Mr. PAGE. Yes, sir; as a general statement I think that that is correct.
INCREASE IN ASSESSED VALUE OF LANDS RECLAIMED AND IRRIGATED
Mr. Rich. Suppose that an individual cannot understand the reason for putting hundreds of millions of dollars into cultivated lands, wher the Department of Agriculture is out buying up millions of acres of land to take them out of cultivation. How do you satisfy the men who are looking at it from the standpoint of the Federal Treasury, and trying to conserve the great amount of money that is being spent by the Federal Government? How can you satisfy me on that point?
Mr. Page. I do not consider that the two policies are at variance. It happened that I was on the President's drought committee. I cite this as an example. As a member of that committee, I traveled most of the time with the representatives of the Resettlement Administration who are purchasing a large part of this so-called marginal