Page images

cattle and sheep which are raised on dry lands as well as furnishing commodities such as vegetables and some surplus feed for cattle which are being wintered either on the dry land area or are being brought in on the project lands for winter feeding.

"The towns and industries within the areas of this project have greatly benefited by this irrigation project. The towns within the irrigated area have been on a steady increase in population and prosperity whereas the towns in dry land territories are gradually on the downhill grade."

The value of crops of this project will slightly exceed their value in 1935 of $1,500,000. In 1935 the per acre value of crops was $38.20 as compared with a dry-land crop value of 50 cents. The assessed valuation of irrigated lands averages $28.87, as compared with $8.40 per acre for dry land.

FEASIBILITY OF IRRIGATION IN DROUGHT AREAS Mr. O'NEAL. Is the dust bowl area subject to irrigation projects?

Mr. Page. To a very limited extent. The rivers which traverse the dust bowl area are with very few exceptions small streams which originate in the low country, do not come from the high hills where the snow lies heavy in the winter, and as a result, whenever there is a drought and irrigation is most needed, the streams, too, dry up. There are a few exceptions to that, and there can probably be developed some irrigation which will bolster that territory.

Irrigation in the drought area must forever remain limited in extent. The water available is scanty and much of that which remains unused occurs as occasional run-off, thus necessitating construction of expensive reservoirs of large carry-over capacity in order to provide a reliable supply for even a comparatively small area. Not only must carry-over capacity be provided to meet seasonal deficiencies, but preparations must be made against a series of years of deficient precipitation.

It is doubtful whether all the water available, if conserved for use in irrigation, would irrigate 1 percent of the area critically affected by drought in 1934 and 1936. With costs of projects limited, as they are limited under the reclamation law, to that which can be repaid by lands directly benefited, the possible irrigation developments must be sharply curtailed. Perhaps more liberal financial arrangements, in consideration of grave population and social readjustments which must otherwise be made, might be in order in this region. However, even under these circumstances, irrigation can only assist in the solution of the problems of the drought area.

At the present time too little data is in hand to provide a basis for specific delineations of the possibilities for expansion of irrigation in the drought area. Only general conclusions can be safely drawn. The primary need now is for a comprehensive survey of the water resources of the area and a determination of the feasibility of projects. l'ndoubtedly there exist opportunities for development of some areas, probably small, by irrigation.

Mr. FITZEATRICK. Do they sink any wells in those territories?

Mr. Page. There are a few localities in that section where well water is reliable, but generally irrigation from wells is subject to the hazard of overdraft underground. When this occurs the whole community suffers. I'nderground reservoirs are just as definitely limited as the surface reservoirs, but the people do not see the water going down until it is too late.

Mr. Rich. In an irrigation project, you do not recommend any


Mr. PAGE. We deal only with the surface waters except that on project which is principally served by surface waters sometimes a mombination of drainage and the reuse of drainage water by pumping from wells is feasible.

Mr. Rich. Have you irrigated any lands or started to irrigate them ad found out that your water supply was insufficient to take care of your needs?

Ulr. Page. The available water supply is exhaustively studied, but ve have had projects on which an additional water supply was needed ering this last dry cycle, however. This is due to two unpredictable Gevelopments. First, we have had a long and unprecedented cycle of deficient rainfall, and, second, a new type of farming has developed

these areas, a type entirely different from that in vogue when the project was started. On the Belle Fourche project, for example, and

the North Platte project and others, too, the original crops were kay and corn and wheat, which were irrigated for perhaps 2 months

the year-three or four irrigations being ample. Failing to make profit on that type of agriculture, the settlers changed to sugar beets und alfalfa and other crops, which require irrigation through perhaps i months, and very heavy irrigation. Because of the increased demand for irrigation water thus developed, the water supply has been lound to be inadequate in times of drought on two or three projects kke Belle Fourche.

RAISING OF SUGAR BEETS ON RECLAMATION PROJECTS Mr. LEAVY. Are sugar beets a competitive crop, as it has been referred to? That is, are we an exporting Nation, and do we have a surplus of sugar beets?

Mr. PAGE. No. There are large imports of sugar. The sugar-beet adustry cannot possibly supply the local demand for sugar.

Mr. Rich. Do you advocate the putting of more land under cultivason for sugar, and stopping the importation of the sugar that we are ringing in now?

Mr. Page. I advocate putting in more land for cultivation where it s needed, to provide homes for satisfied people. If sugar crops work nes & good rotation crop in a farmer's program I would not advocate probibiting him from growing sugar beets.

Mr. FITZPATRICK. You would not want sugar beets raised under the editions that they are now raising them throughout the country, on be starvation wages that they are giving to little children and to the people that work at that industry. It is a disgrace.

Mr. Rich. Would it not be in the best interest of the irrigated uses in this country if we permitted the sugar-beet industry to Ipaad, and be able to put satisfied farmers on lands in this country,

naise not only the sugar beets, but the cane in Florida, or the cane - Hawaii, or the cane in Puerto Rico, in order to develop our own

our-beet industry, rather than to have to depend on foreign suntries?

M. BURLEW. I would like to say this for the record, that there is

departmental policy involved there. We feel that Hawaii and Puerto Rico are part of the States, and the sugar-beet industry there y grows about a million and a half tons out of a 6-million-ton sumption.

200751—37-pt. 1- 12

Mr. Rich. I have had complaints from Florida and from Louiaxand I think that Members of the House have also asked that' increase the allotments that they can grow and to prohibit that a. more from being imported.

Mr. Fitzpatrick. If we increased it so that they would get s ing wage, and be able to live under the American standard of li'■"■'we would have to pay twice the amount for sugar that we do . because they could not raise it under the present prices and par •: decent wages.

Mr. Rich. Supposing that we did pay more for sugar. Sup?that we increased the price of labor on the sugar-beet industry, c the price of sugar went up, would that not be doing what the pi' man wants us to do—to give a living wage to the farm families of country?

Mr. Fitzpatrick. If we are going to try to grow all of those ti . that we do not now produce in sufficient quantities in this eocf so as to close the door to the purchase of what the other mar^ produce, we will destroy everthing. Under the reciprocal i" agreement with Cuba, we maintain the quota for Cuban sugar,«: is about 1,900,000 pounds.

Mr. Rich. What part of the sugar industry of this countn cane and not of sugar, do we supply to our own people?

Mr. Burlew. There is about a million and a half in tons of • beets. I think that the quota has been raised to 300,000 toLFlorida and Louisiana. The sugar-quota bill which is now t consideration calls for something more than 6 million tons by \ri consumption, so that the difference between one million arid s and 300,000 tons is imported. Cuba has a quota of 1,900,000, Hi almost 1,000,000, and Puerto Rico about 800,000.

So, you see, a large part of the sugar is still imported.

Mr. Rich. What percentage would that be?

Mr. Burlew. I do not know. The figures speak for themsefrcr

Mr. Fitzpatrick. I do not think that Secretary Wallace 1>very favorably on the raising of sugar beets.

Mr. Rich. The situation that we will have to face is just tii that anyone that goes out to buy a suit of clothes wants to buy best suit that he can buy for the least money, and I will defy yeanybody else to buy a particular brand of clothes just because I Jones or Dick Smith makes it. The American people are shop: and the same thing is applicable to the people of the world. 1 are going to buy the best article that they can buy for the least m and they are not going to buy it from America if they can buy it tV Germany or England or some place else for less money. The situ»: is one of the survival of the fittest; and if you can put out sotnethtti a lower price, you will get the trade, and you will not get it by nis* some kind of an agreement with a fellow and expecting him to «' ahead and buy your commodities.

So far as sugar or any other commodity is concerned, if this Deie." ment of the Government wants to put the farmers on these irrigs^ lands, you have to have something for them to raise; and if web after the American farmer and the American workman, we will the best job for the American people; but if we are going to do tb which is good for Cuba or that which is good for Japan; our people** going to suffer. I am not a sugar raiser, nor am I interested in ■■■ it I have come to the conclusion from what I see here in Washington tat we have to look after the American people first.

~\4.t. Btjrlew. But you do not want our children under 14 years of 2je working in the sugar-beet fields.

Mr. Fitzpatrick. And working for 9 cents a day—little infants— 3 to 11 hours a day.

Mr. Page. Mr. Chairman, I have finished my general statement.


~s1t. Rich. I would like to ask if you can furnish us with some statelent that would show the amount of money that is being expended )r these various irrigation projects, relative to the crops that you are rowing because of your irrigation, to see whether it is scientifically ound for us to spend that money on these various irrigation projects hat you have already started and which you are contemplating tar ting under present-day conditions.

Mr. Page. There are relatively few projects on which the com»arison of crop return to investment would be equitable, because only hose which are completed and producing crops should be considered. )f a large part of our program the land has not yet been put in culivation.

However, with the permission of the committee, we will give you tatements on these subjects. The crop value information has ilready been submitted. There are projects on which large amounts >f money have been spent. Under our plans they are being developed n units, and some units are still incomplete. The storage and perlaps the main canal have been built for 100,000 acres, but there are oerhaps 25,000 or 40,000 acres under cultivation, so that the relation )f the crop value for that 40,000 acres to an investment which contemplates development of 100,000 acres is not an equitable comsarison. I submit here a statement of project costs, with estimates ;o complete and repayments. This can be compared with the crop iable.

[graphic][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »