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All prices are based on good quality products.

Mrs. FRANCES FOLEY GANNON, Director. Mr. ANFUSO. The request has been made by the distinguished gentleman from Maine whether you ladies would join us this afternoon.

Mr. McINTIRE. I am from the farm area so I am interested from a producer standpoint. From a consumer standpoint, generally would their observation be that the quality of this produce is not satisfactory in relation to the price they have to pay for it, or that it is the price and not the quality which they may feel is out of line?

Mrs. PERSINGER. It depends. Sometimes it is one and sometimes it is the other. I really had to shop around to find a decent head of cabbage, for example, because it looked pretty bad.

I went to several stores just to see what the situation was. Sometimes your lettuce is awful and sometimes good.

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Mrs. WERBELL. On the oranges I think we pay too much for the type of orange we are getting, 6 cents for the small ones and 8 cents for the large ones. I think that is rather a high price. I do not know what the farmer is really getting, but I do think it is high; and you get an odor from the skin of the oranges and it has to pass off after a day or two. They must use chemicals on them.

Mr. MCINTIRE. The average housewife, is she familiar with the quality of that product, or is it the eye appeal?

Mrs. WERBELL. The eye appeal.

Mrs. PRYOR. I think the average housewife is conscious of quality, and I think that if you would like a suggestion of something that you could do, we would like to be able to distribute pamphlets and literature to the housewife that would make them alert as to the quality and prices. Ours is voluntary work. We cannot get out and do research and so forth.

We, certainly, could reach a thousand people through circulars if we had this material available, and we do have an educational program and need such material.

Mr. Anfuso. Tht is why I asked you the question before.

Mr. McINTIRE. With the ability of the housewives to buy today they can get 55 percent more food, I mean, she can buy 55 percent more from weekly earnings than in 1937. Will she pick up a melon which I like to do, which has a desiccated spot in it because it is nice and soft and ripe, or will she pick up the hard one because she thinks it is nice and firm ?

Mrs. WERBELL. I know she will not pick a hard one because she has to keep it a week or two in her home before she can use it. The merchant himself will advise her to do otherwise.

Mr. COOLEY. I should like to make one observation. I do not think anyone will deny that today, even when food prices are high, our wages will buy more and better food than ever before in all history. That indicates that wage scales or wages are apparently doing all right. Mrs. WERBELL. Not in all departments?

Mr. COOLEY. I know. This was a blanket statement that an hour of wages will buy more and better food today than ever before in history. That is beside the fact that we could tell you about statistics, but still that leaves us with the problem that the cost of living is increasing constantly and the spread between the producer and the consumer is becoming wider and greater as the months come and go.

What I would like to say, Mr. Chairman, is that I hope we have more merchants here this afternoon. I trust Mr. Fisher will be back because I think it has been very fine having these ladies testify and give us the information that they have about their problems, for that is what we will try to do something about.

Mr. ANFUSO. Thank you.

Mrs. PRYOR. Do you think it would be possible for a committee, such as yours, to work out a price chart so that the average housewife would be able to look at the chart and see what she should pay, for example, for meat, what do you call it, a graduated scale, 10 cents up to a dollar! So when she goes to the store to buy meat that is a dollar a pound, and buys three-quarters of a pound, could you work out such a scale to show how much she should pay for the three-quarters of a pound? That is the problem of the housewife. They can't figure and

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the merchant gets a lot of them, gets the extra penny. She could then say “I ought to pay 80 cents for that, three-quarters of a pound”—or whatever it might be.

Mr. Anfuso. I think you have made a very excellent suggestion but this is an educational body. However, we have administrative officials here who I am sure have noted your question.

I will ask our food friend, Mr. LeMay, who is quite an expert, and Dr. Wilcox to look into it. Thank you very much.

Mr. MCINTIRE. I ask unanimous consent to have inserted in the record at this point a table showing indexes of weekly earnings of workers in various categories.

Mr. ANFUSO. Without objection that will be made a part of the record at this point.

(The table referred to is as follows:)

Indexes of weekly earnings of workers in manufacturing, retail food prices, and

the farm value of foods in the market basket

(1947-49=100)

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NOTE.--Amount of food which could be purchased with a week's earnings in 1947 and 1957 as compared with 1937:

At retail

At the farm

1947. 1957

Percent

+13
+55

Percent

-6 +86

Mr. ANFUSO. We will now stand recessed until 2:30 o'clock this afternoon.

(Whereupon at 12:40 p. m., the above hearing was recessed, to reconvene at 2:30 p. m., the same day.)

AFTERNOON SESSION

Mr. AnFuso (presiding). The committee will come to order.

This morning I failed to call upon a gentleman who was here and is here now-you will see his name on the program--Mr. Angelo De —

1 Lewis, from Wallkill, N. Y.

I want to tell you that Mr. De Lewis has some very interesting testimony to give. He testified before our committee in Syracuse.

Mr. De Lewis, will you please come up?
Will you please tell us what you have in mind?

STATEMENT OF ANGELO DE LEWIS, WALLKILL, N. Y. Mr. DE LEWIS. First of all, when I received the communication to address this committee, I was very happy to be useful, and to attend this meeting. So, therefore, I called right away to get the word of my organization and we worked out a statement which I will present

Mr. ANFUSO. We will make it a part of the record at this point.

(The prepared statement of the Ulster County, N. Y., Farmers' Union is as follows:)

now.

STATEMENT OF ULSTER COUNTY, N. Y., FARMERS' UNION The Ulster Farmers' Union welcomes and appreciates this opportunity to point out some of the problems faced by Hudson Valley fruit growers in recent years.

The plain and simple fact we all must recognize is that since 1946 farm prices have declined steadily in complete contradiction to a steadily rising retail price to the consumer. Grapes that brought $150 a ton to farmers in 1946 brought a top price of $80 per ton in 1956, and indications point to a price this year in the neighborhood of $50 or $60.

We leave it to housewives here to testify on the price advance of jams, jellies, and juices in those same years.

This is only one example of what is happening to all fruit crops.

At the same time Government conservation programs have been cut to the bone, the costs of production have risen drastically with price rises for spray materials, boxes, fertilizers, trucking, packing, etc. The result has been abandonment of vineyards and orchards, and a general depletion of land, and a demoralization of our agricultural community.

Recent years have brought a plague of natural disasters to our area-frosts, hurricanes, hailstorms. Commercial insurance rates against such destruction are so high no average farmer can afford to carry it and Federal crop insurance remains nothing but bait to be dangled before the farmer by every candidate for public office.

Beyond these natural and unnatural hazards that continually assail the farmer, and which can be corrected only by new legislation, he is constantly damaged by flagrant and open breach of existing inspection and grading laws.

Housewives in New York City last winter bought apples bearing Hudson Valley addresses, many of them packed in boxes marked "Fancy Apples," which were, in fact, Utility grade apples raised in Michigan, brought into New York State by speculators, and repacked in local cold-storage houses in the presence of New York State inspectors. The State bureau of markets informed us that under their interpretation of the law they could not act on this practice. Our attempt to have the law clarified was passed by the State assembly, but defeated by the senate.

We are sure New York housewives will find these facts of interest.

In truth, the small American farmer is being destroyed by the most ruthless and merciless monopolistic practices seen in this country since the late 1800's. Our State and Federal Governments are fully aware of this. It has been pointed out to them a thousand times over. But they have chosen to turn their backs on the small farmer and throw in with those whom they believe are a greater political asset.

If this philosophy is allowed to prevail and the farmlands of America fall into the grasp of the ever-growing food monopoly, the American people will find their food supply held for ransom by men who have nothing but scorn for the words "free enterprise."

While we insist on immediate corrective action, we feel the only practical solution to our agricultural dilemma yet offered is the so-called Brannan plan.

Mr. DE LEWIS. I was called to state briefly the troubles that the American farmers are facing today. It takes me back to several years ago when a delegation from the Farmers' Union went to see the Secretary in Washington. I believe we met Mr. Cooley, too, at that time, about 8 or 9 years ago.

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It seems to me, in brief, we might take one item. In 1946, for example, we received for a ton of the grapes $150. Gradually, it started to go down to $125, $120, 115, and so on.

Mr. ANFUSO. What was the first year?

Mr. DE LEWIS. It was in 1946. “At one time we drew up a petition and sent a delegation to Washington. The Extension Service came to Milton, N. Y. They said, "Here is your meeting.” We did discuss it, and went with a delegation at that time. So that time, I believe, we got something like $78.

Last year most of the people got a certificate for $50. So now to get the grapes he pays a few dollars more.

Mr. ĂNFUSO. Wait a minute. How did the others get the $70 ? Who fixed that?

Mr. DE LEWIS. When the picking time is at hand, we look and we ask for prices. We try to get the price and to have them tell us what they are going to give us. Yet they have to find out how much it will be upstate in Michigan; in other words, they fix their own price.

There are about five buyers, because, actually, in the whole valley but one is the main one.

Mr. ANFUSO. What valley are you talking about?

Mr. DE LEWIS. Ulster Valley. But one is the one that sets up the price, and he sets the value for us. So, therefore, the others never come out and say how much they are going to pay—they only say, “You deliver the grapes," and then “we are rich men, we will give you a few dollars more than the other one."

Well, actually, they pay a few dollars more than the other one.

Now, this year we met and they told us that to be on the farm, we pay less, meaning $36 and $80. So the buyers got wise. They understood that we were getting together. He went ahead, the main buyer, and he was doing it himself in his plant.

And he told the farmers that the price would be a little more than last year, but not too much, because the cost is up 6 percent; so, therefore, if he should pay more he will lose the 6 percent and lose more if he has to pay more.

By then picking time came. The grape was ready, and started to rot on the vine, and the farmers just didn't know what to do with the grapes because it is time to be doing something with them and in a week's time there would be no more grapes. So, therefore, he formed the so-called vegetable—I have it here-agreement.

I don't know if I should read it or leave you people read it. Mr. ANFUSO. Just interpret the agreement.

Mr. DE LEWIS. The agreement says that we are going to give the grapes for $50 a ton. And "after we deduct the expense of processing, and so forth, the produce, whatever profit is left we are going to give to you, in the

way

of dividends." Mr. ANFUSO. Can you grow grapes and receive only $50 per ton? Mr. DE LEWIS. No. Mr. ANFUSO. What does it cost you to grow a ton of grapes!

Mr. DE LEWIS. The farmers who do all of the work themselves from morning to night, well, perhaps, cost them about $60 to $65. But according to the Government statistics, like those from Cornell University, the cost of these grapes from when we start to tying the top of the grapes, repairing the wires and the posts, everything included, will cost, that work about 4 or 5 years ago, $75 to $80 per ton.

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