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Mr. JACOBSTEIN. Which is the best date for the rural census according to your chart?
Mr. OLSEN. I do not know that it would make much difference. It is a standoff. Mr. JACOBSTEIN. In between?
Mr. OLSEN. If we were getting it here [indicating), we would get most of the population here in July and August.
Mr. RANKIN. Those are the same charts put in the record the other day.
Mr. OLSEN. Very well.
Mr. Rankin. Not only put in the record but it took an hour to explain them.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. I am very much interested in that. I still have in mind why we did not take a reapportionment after 1920. Do I understand you to say, Mr. Olsen, whether you took it in November or April would be immaterial as far as its effect on counting the rural population is concerned?
Mr. OLSEN. Taking as the basis data we have there would not be much difference.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. How about January 1. It was taken January 1, 1920. Of course there were war conditions then?
Mr. OLSEN. You would have fewer people on farms. Mr. JACOBSTEIN. There are fewer people on the farms January 1 and more in November and April?
Mr. OLSEN. November and April about equal. Mr. JACOBSTEIN. November and April are better for agriculture and agricultural population?
Mr. LOZIER. Upon what do you base that graph? STATEMENT OF DR. L. C. GRAY, SENIOR ECONOMIST, BUREAU
OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Doctor Gray. They are all based on reports of livestock and crop reporters.
Mr. MOORMAN. What is the situation with respect to population in cities along in November?
The CHAIRMAN. The Census Bureau can tell us about it.
Doctor HILL. The population along about November 1 is fairly stable, as much so as at any time. If you were going to take the census of population in the fall the month of October would be better, But that would be an impossible date for agriculture.
Mr. MOORMAN. Is that true in April?
Mr. MOORMAN. Would a census in April be to the disadvantage of the cities?
Doctor Hill. I do not think so. Mr. RANKIN. By December 1 a great many crops for that year have not been fully gathered.
Mr. OLSEN. Some crops have not been.
Mr. RANKIN. You know that the Bureau of the Census is supposed to have correct figures which are supposed to be authentic. How are you going to gather correct statistics of the amount of crops produced by the 1st of December when about one-fifth of the crop has not been gathered?
Mr. OLSEN. By that time the farmers will have an idea of what they have in their storages and will be able to give a reasonably good figure out of the balance of it. There is a certain element of estimate in these figures that the farmer will give. He gives an approximation.
Mr. RANKIN. The greatest crop in America from the standard of dollars and cents is the cotton crop. That is what I represent here, the cotton-growing States. By the 1st of December there will be possibly one-fifth of that cotton in the field. Would it not be much easier to get a correct figure of the cotton crop in the spring than in the fall?
Mr. OLSEN. You would have the same element there to reckon with. I do not know that it will apply to cotton as to other crops but several months will elapse. You are going to ask the individual farmer to report on what he produced that year.
The CHAIRMAN. The question has been raised here in regard to renters giving up the farm that they worked the preceding year and moving to another. Are there any figures obtainable as to the percentage of the farm population that would be included in that?
Doctor GRAY. Thirty-five or forty per cent. I do not mean that for all farmers, but the tenant farmers.
The CHAIRMAN. What proportion of tenant farmers are there to land-holding farmers?
Doctor GRAY. Thirty-eight per cent.
Mr. RANKIN. Let me get your figure about that proposition. Your figure is too high for my section of the country and maybe you get this information from the landlord nine times out of ten.
Doctor GRAY. The census itself shows that the tenant farmers. remain on the farm somewhere between two and three years. That is their average period of occupancy at the time the census is taken.
Mr. LOZIER. Is it not true that the shifting tenants produce comparatively little of the products and have but little livestock? The great bulk of tenant farmers whose produce enters into production of any commodity are men that stay for years and years upon the farms, but the class of tenants who shift do nothing but eke out a bare existence.
The CHAIRMAN. I will make it clear to the committee and to Doctor Gray that when he said 38 per cent he referred to 38 per cent of tenant farmers as shifting, not 38 per cent of the farmers of the country.
Doctor Gray. No. Some one asked how many tenant farmers. there were and I said 38 per cent of the farmers are tenant farmers, but they are more numerous in the Southern States, relatively.
The CHAIRMAN. What percentage of them would transfer their location?
Doctor GRAY. Between 35 and 40 per cent. The CHAIRMAN. Of the 38 per cent? Doctor GRAY. Yes. It varies from year to year. Mr. RANKIN. The statement I started to make is the shifting tenants in my country as a rule are negro tenants. The man that takes the census does not go to the negro tenant to find out how much he grows, but he goes to the landlord, the man who owns it.
Mr. MOORMAN. I suggest another thing in that connection, that that shifting might be misconstrued by somebody who did not understand the situation. They seldom move a considerable distance,
very majorithe neigh farmers.co
only move 3 or 4 miles, and 90 per cent of it does not amount to anything.
The CHAIRMAN. They may take another piece on the same tract.. of land under the same ownership. I know that is so in North Carolina.
Mr. MOORMAN. In my section, just as an illustration, there will be 10 farmers. A farmer will have 8 or 10 tenants and they will shiftaround in the same community from one farm to another, and a man who is taking the census will know every one of them and know where he was.
Mr. Rankin. Is it not a fact that in counting those you find shifting tenants that move every year, sometimes two or three times a year and you count him every time he moves and that builds up the average of the rest?
Doctor GRAY. No, I do not believe there is a very large percentage that move two or three times a year.
Mr. RANKIN. Some of them move every year.
Doctor GRAY. Yes. The essential point of this tenant problem is this, that the Census Bureau has to take this data as of this farm and they have to ask the farmer to report on this farm and it is true that many of them do not move very far, the gentleman is entirely correct in his statement that a great majority of the tenants do not move a great distance. They move in the neighborhood in the same county, but there is a large per cent of the farmers that do move from county to county. These data are tabulated by counties but you can tabulate by townships. You have entirely incorrect data if you enumerate from one man as to what he raised on some other farm that he has left. That will be counted in the county in which he is now residing and would be wholly incorrect. You. would have a large margin of error due to that.
Mr. MOORMAN. That would be true any time that you asked him about it. It would be true any time of the year. It would not make any difference whether it was November 1 or April 1.
Doctor GRAY. Not if you asked a man to report for the farm on: which he is. If he just moved to that farm he has not anything to report as far as putting in a crop and raising a crop goes which he is compelled to report for the farm he is now on, and you can go in thecounty where he now is, and if you ask a report for that farm he: lived on last year the data may be for some other county entirely.
Mr. LOZIER. Is it not true that you get much of that information from the landlord?
Doctor Gray. The gentleman is correct as far as the South is concerned. You do get your data from the landlord. There were about half a million croppers in 1925 out of something over two million tenants in the South and about one-fourth of them were croppers, and half of that number were negro croppers and the other half white croppers. I doubt if a landlord would ordinarily represent the white croppers in it.
Mr. LOZIER. I have some knowledge of western farm conditions. If you wanted to make out an income tax return it must be filed before March 15, and a farmer in the Middle West if he owns a farm occupied by a tenant opens his books and nine times out of ten in one item has a complete report of the production of wheat, one transaction, and it comes from one transaction which shows every one of the elevators, shows the quantity of oats that he sells and that
one transaction shows the amount of corn produced. A settlement is made with his tenants at the end of the year. That information can be obtained easily and it would carry such information that we must give to the Government in making out our tax returns.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. Do many farmers pay a Federal income tax?
Mr. LOZIER. With reference to cotton you have access to records of the tenants and it is the easiest thing in the world for the tenant farmer, if there is any doubt and he has forgotten the amount of cotton he has produced to telephone the gin owner or to interview the gin owner and you would get a statement that the negro tenant or the white tenant last year produced so many pounds of cotton.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. What are we at now? Why are we devoting so much of our time to the agricultural schedules? Has some one proposed something that somebody does not want?
The CHAIRMAN. The chief reason is that agriculture is so exceedingly interested in this census and also the matter of the date of taking the census, the date to be determined on for it.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. Has the Census Bureau suggested dates which are questioned by members of the committee?
The CHAIRMAN. They are ready to suggest dates.
Doctor HILL. This matter of dates is one that has always given rise to a great deal of discussion at every census. We can not get dates that will suit perfectly all sections of the country. The best date for agriculture is not the best for population and the best for one section is not the best for another section. We tried to straddle the issue by separating the two censuses but we are convinced now that we ought to keep the two censuses together and select such a date as may be best for both censuses, all things considered. I had the subject up the other day and discussed it with my colleagues and we are of the opinion that the best time of the year for the agricultural and the population censuses combined is in the spring, in April. That is the conclusion we reached. Mr. MOORMAN. I think the gentleman is absolutely right.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there any desire on the part of the committee to hear any more testimony from the Department of Agriculture?
Mr. MOORMAN. I made the request to have them and I am perfectly satisfied.
The CHAIRMAN. We will meet to-morrow morning at 10.30 o'clock. After that we will go over until Monday.
(Thereupon, at 12 o'clock noon, the committee adjourned to meet at 10.30 o'clock a. m., Wednesday, January 25, 1928.)
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON THE CENSUS,
Wednesday, January 25, 1928. The committee this day met, Hon. E. Hart Fenn (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order. Mr. THURSTON. I would like to make a very brief statement and ask some questions if there is any gentleman here who might reply.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Doctor Hill, Mr. Hirsch, Mr. Austin, and Mr. Gosnell are here from the Census Bureau.
Mr. THURSTON. On numerous occasions, both in the Congressand through the press, I have come across statistics purporting to give not only the amount of grain and livestock sold upon, not only the principal agricultural markets of the United States but that were sold in the trade generally, and from these statistics reports have been made and submitted to the public purporting to show the price that the producer has received for these products, and in examining into the mode or method upon which the statistics were based it was disclosed that they took into consideration the selling price of these commodities often on one of the first days of each quarter in the year, and they averaged those four prices and from that addition and division announced a result as to the average price the producer had received for a specific commodity and I want to inquire if the Census Bureau, or any other agency of the Government, has any statistics or figures to show the per cent of the whole amount of any one commodity that is sold during the first quarter after that commodity is in the trade and the following three quarters for the same year; and, my reason for making this inquiry is this: It is a well known fact that at least in the farming regions of the country that the farmers dispose of somewhere around 40 per cent of their products in the first quarter; possibly 30 per cent during the second quarter; 20 per cent. during the third quarter, and have on hand in the last quarter, or the end of the year, possibly 10 per cent of that product.
Now, if the price that the farmer is receiving is based on one quarter when he sells 40 per cent, the same as it is on the last quarter when he only sells 10 per cent, manifestly such a computation is erroneous and would show that the farmer is receiving much more than he does receive in fact.
Now, if it is the idea of the bureau to produce statistics showing the amount of the general farm products produced and the sale of the same, and the average price received, I want to inquire if there is any information in the hands of the bureau, or any agency of the Government, making a computation as to the percentage of each product that is sold in each quarter.
Doctor HILL. We have no information of that kind.
Mr. THURSTON. And it is manifestly very difficult to obtain any accurate information as to the price the farmer is going to receive if it is going to be taken on that basis.
Mr. TRUESDELL. The values used in the census reports represent the average price at which the whole crop was sold. They are obtained from the farmers in this form and are not based in any way on quarterly figures.
Mr. Austin. Here is the record the gentleman refers to, and Doctor Gray expects to come before the committee again.
The CHAIRMAN. That is outside of this particular bill. Mr. THURSTON. Yes. There are some questions I would like to ask Doctor Gray, since he is a man that is well posted and a man with a technical knowledge of these statistics and understands this subject; he dwelt at length upon the prices that the farmer received and he took as his basis the prevailing price on the first day of each quarter of the year.
Well, of course, the great bulk or volume of farm products are sold in the first 90 days of the year, the price is usually depressed over what it is when most of that product is consumed, by taking it off of the market, so that by averaging the low price received for the;