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duction. The situation for cattle is shown in the following table (Table 2):
TABLE 2.-Hogs on farms: Cumulative percentage changes, 1920–1924
Under increases in births you will observe that by April 1 a considerable number of calves have already been dropped.
Table 3 illustrates a similar set of conditions for hogs. The increase in numbers by April 1, as shown in column 3, due to increase in births is very marked, and yet by no means all of the spring farrows have come in by that date.
TABLE 3.-Cattle on farms: Cumulative percentage changes, 1920–1924
Mr. THURSTON. The feeding period, in the main, commences late in the fall.
Mr. OLSEN. You have to take into consideration the situation as to the following year. If you take the census after January 1, you will have new stock, that you do not have to take into consideration on January 1. If you take the census on January 1 you would get the livestock at minimum numbers, whereas if you took it around April 1 you would be taking it in the breeding season, and at a time when a lot of new stock is coming in,
We think that it is better to take the livestock census at the time that we have the minimum stock. Now, we think that it is far better
to take the census of the livestock at the time when it is at its minimum and when you can be sure as to what you are getting. We think that you can get the most accurate information at the time when the new stock is not coming in. In that way the farmers will not be confused as to the stock they have, as to whether they had certain stock before or after April 1.
Let me show you gentlemen what these charts develop in that connection. We will take this one.
Mr. THURSTON. Just a moment, before you leave the charts dealing with grains. I want to offer a practical observation which has been gone into by Mr. Lozier as to the percentage of the corn crop that has been picked. Mr. OLSEN. Yes, sir.
Mr. THURSTON. By the 1st of November. I am sure that in the State of Iowa 30 per cent of the corn crop has not been picked by the 1st of November. Now it is a very common practice, among everyone who raises grain, to overestimate his production and what his corn will yield, and he makes a statement of the amount, and I believe that nine times out of ten I am safe in asserting that he will have a production of from 15 to 25 per cent or 30 per cent less corn than he has estimated.
So that figures based on November 1, in my judgment, would show an excess of production of from 15 to 30 per cent over the actual production. I know that is the situation and that condition to be actual.
Mr. MOORMAN. There never was a truer thing stated.
Mr. OLSEN. But, he is estimating for a very small percentage of his crop by December. There are very few cases where it is not out, or he has not gathered a sufficient amount of his crop to have a reasonably good idea as to what his yield will be. Mr. THURSTON. I am not advocating November 1. Mr. OLSEN. I am advocating December 1.
Mr. THURSTON. Even that same fallacy as to the matter of production would apply as to December 1. Then, there is another thing to be taken into consideration. Anybody that has had experience knows that before the crop matures the farmer is certain to exaggerate the number of acres he has. When the crop has matured and been binned and sold and the amount of yield ascertained he immediately decreases the number of acres and inflates the production of the acre. You know, that is human nature. It is characteristic.
Mr. THURSTON. I think that that applies in ninety cases out of a hundred.
Mr. MOORMAN. And, the result of this exaggeration would be to report overproduction, more than the farmers actually had raised..
Mr. OLSEN. We have tried to make, and have made, as close a check as we could and the results seem to indicate to us the fact that April 1 would give us less accurate information than January 1. We are convinced that we could get a more accurate census on January 1.
Mı. THURSTON. Let me direct your attention to this fact: Of course, cattle feeding in the Corn Belt largely commences in the fall and is carried over until late in the spring so that on beef production the available statistics would be more reliable around the first of April than they would be when the feeding commences.
Mr. OLSEN. I think not. I think that that is very important. Take the census as of April 1 and what do we get? Your hog farrowing has begun. If it were taken on the 1st of January you would not be getting the spring pigs. Whereas on April 1 you get a figure which would not include all of the spring pigs. You are getting a figure then that is neither fish nor fowl-you do not know what it is.
Mr. THURSTON. I am becoming confused here as to whether we are more interested in production or consumption. I would like to know what the attitude of the department is with reference to the gathering of these statistics. Is production or consumption the thing that you are primarily interested in? Mr. OLSEN. We are interested in both.
Mr. THURSTON. Manifestly, a different rule applies to production than to consumption.
Mr. OLSEN. We are trying to get data on both. I do not quite get your point.
Mr. THURSTON. Well, the grain production is marketed during the latter part of the year, whereas a major portion of the livestock is marketed during the first half of the year, and you would appear rather closer to the production than to marketing.
Mr. OLSEN. I think that we want to get both and if you take the census during the latter part of the year you are going to get a pretty accurate report, whereas if you take it with breeding stock coming in during the first half of the year, you are going to get an incomplete inventory of the new stuff.
Mr. THURSTON. I am not attempting to say what is in the minds of the rest of the committee, but as far as I am concerned, I am confused as to the proposition that you are most interested in, whether it is the collection of production statistics, or marketing statistics. Mr. OLSEN. Most of the census deals with the production statistics
We are equally interested in marketing statistics and would be very glad if the census could provide more of such data.
The CHAIRMAN. Right here, I notice on April 1 that the cattle on hand on April 1 is shown as 101.1 as againstMr. OLSEN. Where is that? The CHAIRMAN. I am speaking of 1924. Mr. OLSEN. 1924, here (indicating on chart]. The CHAIRMAN. Yes. On May 1 it was 103.5. Mr. OLSEN. And on June 1 it is 105.4.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; and it runs comparatively level to August 1. There is only a difference of about four-tenths of 1 per cent between April 1 and the highest figure, which I think is August. There are at least four months when the figure is about the same.
Mr. OLSEN. And I might say that represents a high peak in cattle numbers.
The CHAIRMAN. Let us take December. Mr. OLSEN. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. According to that, December, 1924, there is nothing on hand, nothw
c hart for December. Mr. OLSEN. It is higher in April The CHAIRMAN. How m
i t in December than it is at the 1st of April? Mr. OLSEN. It is higher they
according to 1923. The CHAIRMAN.
chart there, 1923. Mr. OLSEN. It is m et
The CHAIRMAN. And, it is higher in 1922.
The CHAIRMAN. I wish that you would tell us what material difference there is between December 1 and those other figures that you have quoted.
Mr. OLSEN. We have here April 1 a lot of new stuff that is coming in only part of which would be included in the census and that does not give you an accurate figure. You have got a miscellaneous lot of stuff included in the census if taken April 1, and we do not know what it is.
Mr. THURSTON. Could you not inquire of the farmer, Mr. Olsen, as to what he had on hand last year and not what he had on hand at the time of the taking of the census, or has on hand this year?
Mr. OLSEN. The point is that you are getting the calves and pigs that have come in since January, and you are getting those confused with the stock born last year.
Mr. THURSTON. The enumerator will ask the farmer what he had on hand during the preceding year, or last year, rather.
Mr. OLSEN. Certainly; he will ask him that.
Mr. OLSEN. Without a doubt the farmers will be confused as to those two sets of data. Doctor HILL. I think that I ought to correct one error.
The CHAIRMAN. You think that the farmer is going to be confused as to what he had on hand on the first of January as compared with what he has on hand when the census is taken? Mr. OLSEN. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, you have introduced some extraneous figures here that you have not told us about yet, as to why those figures correspond so closely. If the figures correspond so closely what difference does it make whether it is the latter part of the year or April 1?
Mr. OLSEN. Then there is the problem of classifying livestock by ages. Such data are exceedingly important in determining the potential production of livestock. The enumeration of young animals is very difficult. It is easiest to make when the births are at their lowest numbers and when there is least confusion in the mind of the farmer regarding his livestock.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you not think if we took the farm census and the population census and the distribution census all at the same time, at one period, that we would be able to get a more accurate census, and it would be more convenient to the farmer to give his acreage, population, his stock and all of the other information in the return altogether than it would be to confuse him with a crop report and a population report at a different period? Is not the farmer to be considered, his pleasure, or his adaptability and would it not be better to get all of the information at the same time than it would be to interrogate him at two different times? In other words, can not a man give his agriculture, his crops, number of tenants, mortgages on his farm and all of the details which the Bureau of the Census require on one date rather than to have him mixed up with two dates?
I want to be convinced that separate dates are better than the system of having it all taken at one time. I am speaking now from the standpoint of the convenience of the farmer.
Mr. WHITE. We understand that this is a calendar year census, do we not?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; this is a calendar year census.
Vr. OLSEX. You understand that I am not necessarily arguing for two censuses.
The CHAIRMAN. If we are to take an agricultural census for 1929, no matter what time of the year in 1929 it may be, we are obliged to take a population census in 1930, too. That is required by the Constitution. We can not get away from that in any way.
I am not insisting on April 1.
The CHAIRMAN. What we would like to get is a date that would be acceptable for the two censuses, agriculture and the population, so that they could be taken at the same time, both for convenience and economy. It seems to me that that is the thing that ought to be considered.
January 1 has been referred to in previous sessions of the Congress as a date for the taking of the census and the statement has been made that January 1 was not a good date for the taking of a population census throughout the country because of weather conditions, etc.
So, if we could arrive at some date that is a most convenient date, not only for the Department of Agriculture or the Bureau of the Census, or as far as we are concerned our convenience, but to select a date so that we can do it all at one time, so that all of the censuses will be taken at the same time for the convenience of the country and the convenience of those who furnish the information, file their returns, etc., and also for economy in taking the census, that is what we should do. I think that we can arrive at such a date.
Mr. THURSTON. I am sure that all of this discussion leads us out into different fields.
The CHAIRMAN. Surely. Mr. THURSTON. And we are merely approaching the problem with a view to solving it.
The CHAIRMAN. I think that we should bear in mind that we are attempting to select a date that is suitable to the taking of the agricultural and a date that is suitable to the taking of the population census.
Mr. THURSTON. I want to observe here that I am not nearly so solicitous of the inability of the man on the farm.
The CHAIRMAN, I am not either. Mr. THURSTON. To make some fair statement of his business. In fact, we all know that the farmer is able to do that. I do not feel apprehensive along that line. I feel that the average men, average farmer, being a man with a small business, as probably the average farmer is, yet I think that he has the main facts in his mind, and that they can be elicited and that he can keep them in his mind over a period of three or four months.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, the farmer knows what he is
I think that Doctor Hill wanted to make the statement w in thet connection. The Census Bureau has been on livestock at the time the census is taken. The fermer's inventory will apply to the date on is to be taken. If the date of the taking of the