Page images
PDF
EPUB

ally controlling a greater volume of their products as they move through marketing channels to the processor or ultimate consumer. By collective action, growers are extending their marketing system, strengthening their position in bargaining on central markets, developing a credit system that will make them more independent, and improving their chances of adjusting production to prevent troublesome surpluses.

Officially, the United States is definitely committed to the principles of cooperative marketing. The policy of the Federal Government to aid with men and money in the establishment of producerowned and producer-controlled cooperative marketing organizations is enabling farmers to take another essential step—the development of national commodity-selling agencies.

PRODUCERS ARE COMPETITORS Producers of farm products are keen competitors. Despite this competition, it is to the interest of every producer to work with, not against, his neighbor. This is the first step the individual farmer, ranchman, gardener, or orchardist must take to put himself in a position to receive the benefits of the agricultural marketing act.

The law provides that the Farm Board shall deal with producers through their cooperative organizations rather than with individuals. It is a law designed to give farmers governmental aid in order that they may help themselves. The Farm Board is assisting farmers in setting up their own cooperative organizations and is not doing the job for them. All cooperative marketing agencies are owned by the farmers and are not in any sense governmental agencies.

The agricultural marketing act directs the Federal Farm Board to designate as a commodity any farm product or group of products whose use and marketing methods are similar. With this definition as a guide, the board has thus far designated 12 commodities. They are: (1) Cotton; (2) dairy products, including fluid milk, cream, cheese, condensed milk, butter, ice cream, evaporated milk, whole and skim milk powder; (3) wheat; (4) rice; (5) livestock, including cattle, hogs, sheep, goats; (6) wool and mohair; (7) tobacco; (8) poultry and eggs; (9) seeds, including alfalfa, clover, timothy, red top, and other field seeds; (10) potatoes; (11) coarse grains, including corn, oats, rye, barley, flax, grain sorghums, and buckwheat; (12) sugar beets and sugarcane.

In general, central marketing is being developed under a plan whereby each cooperatively handled commodity of the country will be under the control of a single farmer-owned and farmer-controlled organization, thus giving growers a chance to have something to say about the selling price of their products,

BOARD SUPPORTS ONE NATIONAL It is the policy of the Federal Farm Board to approve and to support only one national commodity-selling plan and organization. This is done in order to bring a large volume of a commodity under the control of one management, to avoid duplication of cooperative marketing facilities, and to eliminate the wasteful competition that naturally develops where there is more than one central agency.

ven in of the Federamerican Cottonon, National W National Bean

The board is recognizing, for example, only one national organization for grain, one for livestock, one for cotton, one for wool and mohair, and one for pecans.

Already this national plan is being used in selling 16 different farm crops. Since the agricultural marketing act was passed, seven national agencies have been established by cooperatives with the aid of the Federal Farm Board. They are: Farmers National Grain Corporation, American Cotton Cooperative Association, National Livestock Marketing Association, National Wool Marketing Corporation, National Pecan Marketing Association, National Bean Marketing Association, and National Beet Growers Association. All of these organizations are incorporated under the laws of Delaware. The first six of the nationals are sales agencies. The seven nationals represent 18 crops, most of the main ones grown in this country—wheat, corn, oats, barley, rye, buckwheat, flax, grain sorghums, wool, mohair, cotton, cattle, hogs, sheep, goats, pecans, dry beans, and sugar beets.

FIVE NATIONALS IN OPERATION Five of these nationals already are operating, marketing grain, cotton, livestock, wool and mohair, and pecans.

The board gives counsel and financial assistance to the national agencies with the hope that producers, through them, will gain control of a sufficient volume of the various commodities to have bargaining power in marketing. Great care has been taken to see that these agencies are set up on a sound financial basis so that they may grow in strength and in time be in a position to take care of themselves without further assistance from the Government.

Growers' cooperatives handling the following farm crops, not marketed by the existing national agencies, have been given financial or other aid by the Federal Farm Board: Fluid milk, butter, cheese, eggs, chickens, turkeys, tobacco, honey, rice, peanuts, walnuts, grapefruit, oranges, fresh grapes, raisins, figs, berries, pears, plums, apricots, apples, prunes, peaches, sour cherries, potatoes, soybeans, grass seed, lettuce, cabbage, green peas and beans, and other general truck crops. Producers of these products have not yet reached the national stage in the development of cooperative selling organizations. Some of them, however, have efficient regional marketing cooperatives. A great deal of work is now being done by farmers to develop local and regional cooperatives, leading, in same cases, to the ultimate establishment of single national marketing organizations.

COOPERATIVE TRAIL IS LONG America's cooperative marketing trail is long; it winds back to the middle of the last century. Farmers began by developing cooperative marketing inside small circles, sometimes handling several crops in one local association. Later they made larger circles to include many locals, often taking in all of the cooperatives handling a particular commodity in a district or region. Then still larger circles were made and several regionals were federated into terminal marketing agencies. All of this was helpful but did not go far enough to reach the main objectives. Finally, the passage of the agricultural marketing act made it possible to draw a single or master circle big enough to take in all of a commodity handled by cooperatives, including locals, districts, regionals, and terminals. Eventually, this is expected to do away with competition among cooperatives handling the same commodity. With the majority of producers inside the master commodity circle, where the sales are controlled by a single national marketing organization, farmers may be able to put agriculture on a basis of economic equality with other industries.

Various Federal and State agricultural agencies are cooperating on a national educational program designed to familiarize farmers with the new developments in cooperative marketing and to encourage more of them to become members of cooperatives. The agencies cooperating in this correlated educational movement include the United States Department of Agriculture, Federal and State extension groups, land-grant colleges and universities, the Federal Board for Vocational Education, State departments of agriculture, general farm organizations, and farmers' cooperatives.

The cooperative marketing agencies are financed by the intermediate credit banks, commercial banks, and the Federal Farm Board.

Congress authorized $500,000,000 to be used by the Federal Farm Board as a revolving fund. At the outset $150,000,000 of this amount was appropriated. During its first year of operation the board asked for an additional $100,000,000, making a total appropriation of $250,000,000.

BOARD LOANS TO CENTRALS The board has adopted the policy of making loans to central cooperatives, such as regionals and nationals, wherever they exist, instead of lending directly to member associations. In the absence of national marketing organizations, the board advances money directly to qualified cooperatives, requiring that these associations become affiliated with a national when one is formed. Where there is no national agency to represent a commodity, the Federal Farm Board furnishes application blanks to the cooperatives seeking a loan. There are also furnished the necessary forms of exhibits which will develop the detailed information that should be before the board when it considers the application of an association for a loan.

The Farm Board loans money to cooperatives at a limited rate of interest—“In no case shall the rate exceed 4 per cent per annum on the unpaid principal.” Where the national or central cooperative agencies borrow the money from the Federal Farm Board they in turn loan it to district or local cooperatives at a slightly higher rate of interest to cover handling charges and to build up reserves. Profits resulting from their operations go to build up the reserves of the national or central in which ownership is shared by farmer members in proportion to their patronage. .

A national commodity marketing organization must not be confused with the stabilization corporations provided for in the agricultural marketing act. Their functions are distinctly different. The stabilization corporation is used in an emergency to buy and take off the market some considerable portion of the tonnage so as

the nationalting from theirlling charges

The stabilliarketing act. tion corporations

to relieve the low-price pressure and carry the product until some future date with the hope that there will be a more favorable opportunity for disposing of it.

Two stabilization corporations have been established under the act. They are The Grain Stabilization Corporation, Fisher Building, Chicago, Ill., and The Cotton Stabilization Corporation, 535 Gravier Street, New Orleans, La.

SEVEN ADVISORY COMMITTEES Seven advisory commodity committees have been named and certified to the Federal Farm Board, as provided for in the agricultural marketing act. They represent wheat, coarse grains, cotton, wool and mohair, dairy products, livestock, and sugar beets and sugarcane. These committees are selected by farmers' cooperatives at the invitation of the Farm Board. The manner of selection is prescribed by the board. Each committee is composed of seven memhers; the act requires that two members shall be experienced handlers or processors of the commodity. These advisory committees represent commodities before the Farm Board. The names and addresses of the various advisory committee members are given in this bulletin immediately following the sections devoted to the commodity they represent,

« PreviousContinue »