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merators to get as good returns as they possibly might had more adequate pay been allowed.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Rankin will recall one of the criticisms of the 1920 census was in regard to the small pay of the enumerators that did not induce them to do the work fully. Was it not presented to the committee at the last session?
Mr. OLSEN. We have had a great deal of experience in the Agricultural Bureau in taking schedules and know the difficulties.
The CHAIRMAN. We all know that compensation has increased since 1920. It did during the war, and to-day you could not hire a man for what you did in 1920 at the same price.
Mr. OLSEN. That is true. As a matter of fact, the census schedule is a substantial schedule for the farmer to fill and from our experience in taking schedules with the farmers we know how difficult it is to get returns that are accurate. I feel it would be a step in the right direction if enumerators could be given more time on the individual case. I think that would go far toward getting better results.
Mr. White. The gentleman spoke of cooperation to be secured from the county agents. If they are only quasi-Federal officers can that cooperation be secured readily and willingly?
Mr. OLSEN. I do not want to be understood as speaking for the extension service. It is a thought that occurred to me on the spur of the moment and it seemed logical that they would be interested in this. I know they are disposed to be helpful. It is a matter that might be well raised with the extension service of the department.
There is another question that I would like to mention. I do not know how germane it would be to your discussion to-day but I would say for the Department of Agriculture that we have found the cooperation we have received from the census in the tabulating of data by townships exceedingly helpful to us in our work. We have come to feel that those tabulations are worth their weight in gold. They save us work and give us a picture of the farming situation we could not get in any other way and if it had not been for the census we would in the case of some data have been left high and dry. I refer to the township tabulations. I think their value has become so fully realized in the bureau and by people throughout the States where they have live and alert research people that it is fully established they are worth making. I do not know whether this committee would provide for actual tabulation of the townships but we would speak for the importance of that work. It is exceedingly valuable to us.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. Why do you lay emphasis on the townships as units?
Mr. OLSEN. Because it is a political unit marked off and easy to handle. It is relatively small and by using it we get away from a great many of the variations that show up in the county.
In our farm-management work in the past we have been in the habit of going into a territory and picking out farms for studying the investigators to get their organization, method of operation, etc., with a view of determining what is the most effective type of farm organization. When we are through with these studies we apply the results to certain farmers in that area. We have to be judicious about it. As soon as the township tabulations for the 1925 census became available, we proceeded to break down the State into typeof-farming areas, within which we in turn grouped farms according to their special type of organization. From these smaller groups of farms, representative farms are selected for special study, the results of which we think can be applied generally to the farms in these groups.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you get much cooperation from the farm agents in this work, not the bureau agents, but the county agents? Mr. OLSEN. What work are you speaking of?
The CHAIRMAN. This work you have just spoken of in regard to methods of farms in particular sections.
Mr. OLSEN. The county agent is not a research man. The CHAIRMAN. I understand that. Mr. OLSEN. We frequently associate him with our project. The CHAIRMAN. You have had cooperation from them? Mr. OLSEN. Yes. Furthermore we like to have them work with us because such association helps to give us practical objectives. When the study is completed the county agent is familiar with the results.
The CHAIRMAN. Your contact in the Department of Agriculture is much closer than the Census Bureau.
Mr. OLSEN. Naturally, they are under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture.
The CHAIRMAN. You have found a spirit of cooperation and willingness to work from them?
Mr. OLSEN. Yes.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. To what extent is the farmer going to resent or does he resent at all answering these voluminous schedules? How far can you lead up to the schedules and expect the farmers to go over them with you and answer them, he himself feeling all the time that. he is not going to get anything out of it. He wants to know why he does not get more for his products.
Mr. OLSEN. Undoubtedly many farmers have that point of view. On the other hand, we are finding more and more that the farmers appreciate real fundamental research that helps them organize their business along more effective lines.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. Organize them in what way?
Mr. OLSEN. Sometimes it may shift production from one product to another. It may mean eliminating certain land they have in cultivation. That may be a desirable thing. It is only after you have examined rather carefully the whole situation that you can determine what is the logical thing to do to make a better paying farm.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. Is not that the liveliest problem of the farmer to-day, the marketing problem and why he does not get more for his crop of apples or wheat?
Mr. OLSEN. Quite right. Mr. JACOBSTEIN. Is not that the most important problem of the farmer to-day, why he does not get more for his produce?
Mr. OLSEN. Yes,
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. Would it not seem as though if we were going to ask more information of the farmer that we ought to ask him along that line and show him that we intend to help him in that direction?
Mr. OLSEN. As to data on the whole question of marketing and distribution, if it is not overloading the schedules it should be obtained by the census. This bill provides for obtaining fundamental data on distribution, a movement in the right direction.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. I did not know that the plans thus far proposed go quite that far.
Mr. OLSEN. I do not know what the committee has in mind, but I was referring to that place in the bill where you do make reference to the data on distribution. I am thoroughly in sympathy with your suggestion. I think we have a tremendous amount to do in the marketing end which is fundamental to the farmer but it is illogical to separate production from marketing. They should have the most effective marketing machinery conceivable, but when your farmers produce a commodity not desired by the market or in volume that the market will not take at remunerative prices I do not see that any machinery you might provide would obviate loss. You can see what the position of the farmer is to-day. They ought to get together. We have given a great deal of time in the Department of Agriculture to fundamental researches in marketing.
Vr. JACOBSTEIN. I am not criticising.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. My observation is that the Department of Agriculture has been teaching the farmer to produce more and more, to make two blades of grass grow where one grew before, being interested in production. In the end that has not necessarily helped the farmer. It might have helped them. It has certainly led them since the war to increase production and those people interested in distribution may be interested only in finding markets for the finished product. You people come along interested in the production end and here is the farmer caught in between both of you. If I were a farmer, frankly, I would resent the fact that you are spending so much time and money in studying my production problem and then my ultimate consumer problem and not getting the in-between problem, which is my problem as a farmer, why I do not get more for my produce.
Mr. OLSEX. It is true that the department until rather recent years has concentrated on the production problem of the farmer. That is historically true. I think it is in part due to the fact that science, the more exact sciences, have developed to the point where they could be applied to the development of production and questions of agronomy as well as plant and animal diseases and all that sort of thing. But the department has come to fully appreciate the importance of taking care of the marketing or so-called economic problem of the farmer, and the bureau of which I am a member is devoting all its time to these economic questions. It is true that we are deroting some time to the study of production, not questions of how to increase the yield particularly, but how to combine the factors of land, labor. and capital and all the scientific information to get maximum results,
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. Maximum results in what way?
Mr. OLSEN. In net returns. That may mean curtailing of production. At the present time we are getting out outlook reports to help the farmer.
Mr. RANKIN. An outlook report?
Mr. WHITE. Is it not fair to presume that the information is as valuable on production to the farmer as it is to any one, or more so?
Mr. OLSEN. We think it is exceedingly important to the working out of ways and means whereby the farmer can increase his efficiency as they do in industry, and increased efficiency does enter into the farming business. We are devoting a lot of time to the marketing of products. We have a division of the department, the bureau of cooperative marketing. We have commodity divisions studying problems in commodity marketing; and others studying questions of demand to find how the consumer varies in his consumption, whether he prefers this product against another product and under what conditions he will take one commodity as against another. The emphasis in our bureau is on that side. We can not ignore the production side. The two go together.
Mr. WHITE. When the 1930 census is completed and you put out a volume on agriculture, what do you think is the material that the farmer is going to be especially interested in? Mr. OLSEN. In that volume? Mr. WHITE. Yes. Mr. OLSEN. I do not know that I can foresee that.
Mr. RANKIN. What will be the high spot? Does he want to know how many acres, how many tons are being produced, or does he want to see what the income has been to the farmers of the United States? Is he not interested in income more than ever before?
Mr. OLSEN. This census data coupled with other data is used in getting figures in so far as we can get them on income. It is basic data. It is simply part of the blocks that make up the picture.
Take the question of the age of fruit trees. In the peach industry farmers are planting peach trees indiscriminately without reference to whether markets will take peaches at remunerative prices. We have had our statisticians make surveys of the age of peach trees and these studies indicate that farmers in some areas are planting in the face of disastrous conditions a few years ahead. These trees come to maturity in a certain number of years and will bear a certain volume of fruit of which you can approximate the amount. The farmer is interested in this information because it does show him what kind of competition he will be up against.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. In another section of the country your Department of Agriculture may be teaching the farmer to raise peaches.
Mr. OLSEN. That is true.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. The farmers in my State rooted up thousands of peach trees when they came to maturity.
Mr. OLSEN. In that connection I will make the point that I think it is profitable for the farmer to use the best varieties of peaches or wheat, whatever it might be, and absolutely the best cultural processes available. We find in our studies of farm income, and we devote a great deal of time to it, that the farmers who use the best varieties and best cultural methods, fruit spraying, etc., are likely to get the highest net returns. It is a case of producing products in the proper way to get results.
The CHAIRMAN. Is not the subject we are discussing now more a matter for the Department of Agriculture than the Census Bureau ?
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. In recommending to be included in the census that information we ought to have in mind just what it is that helps the people for whom we are getting the information. Heretofore I think this material has been of interest to outsiders, perhaps. I am thinking now when we spend any money in taking the census of agriculture, we ought to, at least, reveal that information which is most essential to the welfare of the farmer. That is how I would feel if I were a farmer. I am not a farmer but I am looking after his interests in this matter.
Mr. OLSEN. I think the census is providing information that is important to the farmer.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. Thus far I have not seen any strong statement on the question of distribution which leads me to feel that is true. I hope I am mistaken. When I look at the 1930 census I do not want to find data or information of interest exclusively to the chain stores or the city fellow who is seeking to know where the markets
Mr. OLSEN. I am in sympathy with that suggestion and I feel that the census is reaching out to get the information available. Mr. JACOBSTEIN. I am using you as a funnel to talk to the census. Mr. RANKIN. Where are you from? Where do you live? Mr. OLSEN. Before I came to the department? Mr. RANKIN. Yes. Mr. OLSEN. From Illinois.
Mr. RANKIN. You are virtually at the head of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics?
Mr. OLSEN. Mr. Tenny is chief of the bureau and I am assistant chief and have charge of research.
Mr. RANKIN. Where is Mr. Tenny from?
Mr. OLSEN. We have policies under which we work that are in conformity with those agreed to by the Secretary of Agriculture and the chief of the bureau is the administrator of those policies.
Mr. RANKIN. You stated you had an outlook report you were going to give out. What does that propose to cover?
Mr. OLSEN. That outlook report brings together for the various commodities all of the data available on the supply and demand for those commodities.
Mr. RANKIN. That is another one of your guessing forecasts?
Mr. OLSEN. It is a report. Sometimes there is an attempt to indicate that there may be a rise or decline in prices of one commodity as against another.