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Mr. OLSEN. What I was going to do was to raise the question of what it is intended to include in the coming census.
Mrs. Kaun. That rests with the Census Bureau.
Mr. DE ROUEN. I think the amendment was to strike out from 21 to 24 and insert-anyhow, it has been changed.
Mr. MOORMAN. I would like to hear the gentleman's suggestion, Mr. DE ROUEN. Yes; go ahead.
Mr. OLSEN. I wanted to raise the question as to why they changed the wording, because I presumed that it was the intention to conduct the census on very much the same basis as the 1920 census was conducted, and I thought that the committee probably would want to consider the description of that census, or what should be contained in it similar to what was contained in the 1920 bill. In other words, the question naturally arose in our minds, was it planned to conduct the census as the 1920 census was conducted, or was it contemplated to change it and exclude, for example, some of the items. Now, the wording for the 1930 census in the bill that is before us enumerates crops and livestock, and it makes no reference to tenure or land values, and a lot of the other data that has been included in the other earlier censuses. Then there is no reference to a census of irrigation, as far as I can see, and forestry, so far as it applies to farm wood lots, as in the previous bill. We raise the question as to whether it was intended to omit that census or whether it was to be conducted on the same basis as the earlier censuses were conducted, feeling that it would be very important that they be continued.
Mrs. Kaun. Would not that rest with the Census Bureau?
Mr. GOSNELL. What is the section of the 1920 bill? He did not read it. Mr. OLSEN. Section 8 of the 1920 bill reads, in part, as follows:
The schedules relating to agriculture shall include the name, color, sex, and country of birth of occupant of each farm, tenure, acreage of farm, acreage of woodland, value of farm and improvements, and the encumbrance thereon, value of farm implements, number of livestock on farms, ranges, and elsewhere, and the acreage of crops and the quantities of crops and other farm products for the year ending December 31 next preceding the enumeration. Inquiries shall be made as to the quantity of land reclaimed by irrigation and drainage and the crops produced; also as to the location and character of irrigation and drainage enterprises, and the capital invested in such enterprises.
It is a more complete wording and enumerates many items that are not included in the present bill.
Mr. MOORMAN. I would like to ask the gentleman, as a representative of the Agriculture Department, if there is no suggestion that he has to make in any wise affecting agriculture that can be accomplished by this census, that was not in the last census. In other words, have you no beneficial suggestion; have you no suggestion that would be beneficial to agriculture, as a result of your 10 years' study from the last census?
Mr. OLSEN. I think that all census schedules are worked out in conference between individuals who are interested in the matter, and it would not be to the point, probably, for me to suggest specific additional data, to submit what we should like to have and what we would regard as very valuable.
Mr. MOORMAN. Has the gentleman any conclusion as a result of the last 10 years' study of the Agricultural Department with reference to the census of distribution, that would be beneficial to agriculture and agricultural communities?
Mr. OLSEN. We would be very glad to submit a statement as to what we think of the census of distribution. We have realized the want of adequate data on distribution of farm products, and we believe a great deal of it could be had in the census.
Mr. MOORMAN. That is exactly what I am talking about. I would like to request, as a member of this committee, that the Department of Agriculture submit and place in the record its recommendations specifically that it regards as of value to agriculture, with reference to the suggestions you have just made.
Mr. OLSEN. I would be very glad to. We will make that a full statement.
Mr. MOORMAN. In other words, the feature of distribution is added here, which we know is to the interest of other people, of every one, and you represent the Agriculture Department, and I am calling upon you as a representative of that department to submit to this committee for its consideration and action, everything that you can that will be beneficial to agriculture and agricultural communities.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
Washington, D. C., February 25, 1928. Hon. E. HART FENN, Chairman House Committee on the Census,
House of Representatives. DEAR MR. FENN: There has been under consideration before your committee House bill 393, providing for the decennial census of agriculture and population, Representatives of this department have appeared before your committee and have presented some of the views of this department with reference to certain features of that bill. Unfortunately, due to lack of time, it was found impracticable to present all of the points in which this department is concerned, and you kindly suggested that the department formulate a systematic statement of our views and submit the same for the record. At the same time you requested that we indicate the relationship of the proposed census of distribution to the work of this department and of other agricultural agencies. I have had a group of our people prepare a memorandum covering the subjects mentioned above, and I am glad to send you for the record a copy of the same.
As brought out in more detail in the inclosed memorandum we are vitally interested both in the proposed census of distribution and in the census of agriculture. . In the case of the latter we urge that the committee define the scope of the agricultural census in sufficient detail so that it may not be left subject to possible variations in administrative personnel and policy.
We are also much concerned about the proposal to change the date of the census to April 1. This is a much more serious matter than the layman unacquainted with statistical problems and methods is likely to realize. The possibilities of confusion of spring-born livestock and spring-planted crops with the livestock crop, and with the crop acreage and yields of the preceding year, the effect of "memory bias,” the generally disconcerting influence on comparability of marked changes of date, and particularly the large inaccuracies certain to result from the extensive movement of farmers in the first three months of the year-all these considerations combine to make it very undesirable in our judgment to change the date to April. If it appears essential to take the population census at that time, I respectfully urge your committee to provide for a second agricultural census enumeration as of December 1 or January 1 if that date seems more practicable. The resulting improvement in adequacy and accuracy of results, as compared with the enumeration in April, will more than justify the extra expenditure.
The agricultural census is so important to our work and to the work of other agricultural agencies, not to speak of its extensive utilization by innumerable manufacturing and commercial interests, that I feel justified in emphasizing the point of view expressed above as amplified in the accompanying memorandum. Sincerely yours,
W. M. JARDINE, Secretary.
MEMORANDUM CONCERNING HOUSE Bill 393 PROVIDING FOR A CENSUS OF
POPULATION, DISTRIBUTION, AND AGRICULTURE
A. THE CENSUS OF DISTRIBUTION IN ITS RELATION TO AGRICULTURE
Since the precise form of that census has not been determined, it is not practicable at this time to state in detail all the ways in which it will be of help to those grappling with the problems of agricultural production and marketing; much, in fact, depends on the scope and character of the plan. Such a census planned with a view not only to providing information for commercial and manufacturing classes but also to supplying a maximum of information suitable to the needs of agricultural workers would be of enormous value to this department and to its various cooperating agencies.
It is already recognized that to be most effective a census of distribution must be closely correlated both with the manufacturing census and with the agricultural census. Manufacturers, as well as commercial agencies, are buyers and sellers of commodities and play an important role in distribution. Farmers, for instance, buy farm machinery to a considerable extent from manufacturers or their agents. They also sell to some extent direct to processors and other businesses which would be classed as manufacturing. Moreover, to trace important farm products to the retailer or ultimate consumers, as, for instance, meat products, will involve obatining cognate information from the packers, local butchers, and other manufacturing establishments.
Farmers are also engaged in selling their products and in buying extensively, Since many commercial establishments dealing with farmers do not segregate their transactions with farmers from those with nonfarmers, a great deal of the information concerning the initial step in the sale of farm products and concerning the final step in the sale of products purchased by farmers must be obtained from farmers themselves, and therefore must be provided for in the agricultural census. This applies to the quantity and value of farm products sold or to be sold, to the sales and purchases of livestock, and to inquiries concerning important groups of commodities purchased by farmers such as fertilizers, feed, lumber, and other building materials, farm implements and macinery, tractors, auto trucks, and automobiles, harness and saddlery, etc., Such information properly classified would be of the greatest value not only to agricultural statisticians and research and extension workers, but also to the various commercial and manufacturing interests concerned.
However, data of a similar character obtained in connection with a census of distribution would be exceedingly helpful not only in providing a check on the data obtained in the agricultural census, but also in providing information on questions which it may not be found possible to include in the agricultural schedule.
In getting at the things bought by farmers a certain amount of subclassification in the items reported by retail dealers in rural territory will be desirable, supplemented by a corresponding subclassification of the items reported by manufacturers as sold direct to consumers. The following represents something like a minimum requisite for important groups of items reported by retail dealers:
(1) Tractors should be reported separately from automobiles and trucks, especially since in the case of the last-named item particularly it can be assumed that an important percentage of reported sales are to other classes than farmers.
(2) Automobile, truck, and tractor parts should likewise be distinguished.
(3) Agricultural implements and machinery should be distinguished from other classes of hardware and machinery and should be subclassified, so that such important classes as binders, headers, combines, separators, wagons, buggies, plows, cultivators, hay rakes and loaders, manure spreaders, etc., could be separated.
(4) In schedules for lumber and wood yards, as well as for elevators, etc., coal and wood should be separated.
(5) Electrical appliances might be so classified as to show the number of electrical lighting systems for farm use.
(6) The item of fertilizer applies almost exclusively to farm uses. It would be exceedingly helpful if this could be so classified as to show important kinds. Building lime, of course, should be distinguished from lime used as fertilizer.
(7) The item harness and saddlery could probably not be subclassified, but it would be helpful to have the total value of this item reported for rural districts.
(8) While it will be necessary to obtain data on feeds purchased by farmers in the agricultural schedule, it would be very helpful to have the quantities sold by retail dealers in various parts of the country. This should distinguish quan
tities and values of such items as hay (subdivided into principal classes), corn, oats, and various classes of mill feeds and other commercial feed stuffs.
(9) Data on quantity and value of building materials with such classification as is found desirable for lumber-yard schedules will be helpful for our uses.
While, as indicated, much information of value covering the purchases made by farmers can be obtained from a census of distribution, the obvious difficulties involved and the necessary limitations imposed on the inclusion of many items of this character in the agricultural schedules has suggested the desirability of a partial or sample census of things purchased by farmers. Such a census, complete in itself for certain selected counties carefully chosen as representative of characteristic geographic areas, would be exceedingly helpful not only to agricultural workers, but also to the various businesses selling to farmers. Such a census could be made much more detailed than would be possible in the general agricultural and distribution schedules, and it would constitute an integral part of the general-distribution census.
We come now to the things sold by farmers. While there are obvious difficulties about tracing the movement of all such products from the producer through to the consumer, enough of the steps can be taken so as to supply data of the greatest value from our point of view, provided quantities as well as values are obtained both for sales and for stocks on hand and provided the classification employed is such as to be usable.
Such a census would be very helpful in a number of ways. For instance, for the various classes and subclasses of agricultural commodities it would show stocks on hand for the various types of distributors and in different parts of the country. For many kinds of products not losing their identity in processing or manufacture before reaching the consumer, the volume of consumption and the geography of consumption would be made available. This would be of the greatest value to cooperative marketing organizations in studying the markets for their products and to independent dealers engaged in determining the relative importance of different areas as market outlets. The census of distribution of agricultural products will also be most helpful in providing statistical indications of the path which the various products take in their movement through the various channels of distribution, the relative importance of different distributive centers and of the various classes of agencies concerned in the distributive process, and also the spread or dealers' gross margins for some of the principal classes of dealers.
The following general suggestions may be found helpful by your committee in considering the problem of making the census of distribution most helpful to farmers:
(1) In order to measure the consumption in a given city of such agricultural products as meats or fruit by kinds, it is probably impracticable to get classified sales by quantity and kind for all retailers. Much fruit, for instance, is sold by hucksters or through delicatessen stores, restaurants, etc. Therefore it would be desirable to rely largely on jobbers' reports, and to make these most helpful, in-the-city sales should be distinguished when possible from out-of-the-city sales.
(2) Since many sales to consumers are made by agencies which are also engaged in selling at wholesale to other distributors it would be most important for certain kinds of establishments to separate retail sales from wholesale.
(3) To be most helpful it will be desirable to employ different kinds of schedules for different classes of distributors in order that the maximum feasible degree of classification of sales and stocks may be obtained. For instance, instead of a general category such as fruit it would be most desirable to distinguish the various kinds of fruits, at least the more important kinds. For some of the more important kinds of farm products such as cotton, corn, wheat, tobacco, oats, hay, etc., subclassification into principal classes and grades will be desirable. The principal kinds of livestock and livestock products should also be distinguished as far as possible at each of the various steps in the distributive process.
(4) It occurs to us to add that an adequate census of distribution will be a far more complex undertaking than any of the other kinds of censuses which we have yet developed, and furthermore there are but few precedents from which experience may be derived. The success of such a census will depend essentially on how effectively it is planned. It would therefore appear vital that such facilities for careful technical planning be set up as will permit the formulation of an adequate plan. This will save a vast amount of wasted energy and expense.
B. SCOPE OF THE CENSUS OF AGRICULTURE The bill provides in section 1 for a census of population, agriculture, and distribution in the year 1930. In section 4 it provides that the fifteenth and succeeding censuses shall be restricted to inquiries relating to population, to agriculture, and to distribution. The Fourteenth Census act provided for a census of population, agriculture, manufactures, forestry, and forest products and mines and quarries. From the standpoint of this department, therefore, it is desirable to call attention to the omission of the phrase "a census of forestry” and to raise the question whether it is intended to exclude statistical inquiries relating to forests and forestry.
Section 4 provides that the number, form, and subdivision of the inquiries in the schedules shall be determined by the Director of the Census with the approval of the Secretary of Commerce. Section 16 provides that in 1934 and once every 10 years thereafter there shall be a census of agriculture and livestock which shall show the acreage of farm land, the acreage of the principal crops, and the number and value of domestic animals on the farms and ranges of the country. It further provides that the schedule shall be prepared by the Director of the Census. Thus the scope of the regular decennial census is not indicated in the bill, but full discretion is given to the Director of the Census and the Secretary of Commerce. In the case of the intervening quinquennial census the act is specific so far as concerns certain limited lines of inquiry.
For some decades the census of agriculture has contained many important lines of inquiry in addition to those specified in sections 1, 4, and 16. The question should be considered, therefore, whether the bill as it now stands does not too narrowly restrict the scope of the quinquennial census of agriculture (assuming that a strict interpretation of these provisions is called for) and whether the provisions for the regular decennial census of agriculture are not so indefinite that they do not insure an adequate scope. Attention is particularly called to the fact that provision for a census of irrigation and drainage is not specified. The omission of these items would be a serious loss, destroying the possibility of determining the extent of important changes in these items which have occurred since 1920.
Data on irrigation and drainage, such as was obtained by the census in 1920, and previously, are essential to the economic analysis of the reclamation problem. The head of our irrigation investigations asserts that the irrigation census is more important even than the agricultural census in 12 Western States. Comprehensive data are necessary for determining the need of expansion of the irrigated and drained areas, the financial returns to be expected by irrigators and farmers on drained land, the solvency of the irrigation and drainage enterprises, the capital required for irrigation and drainage development, and the relations of Government or State owned to private or cooperative enterprises. Such data are essential to provide an adequate basis for determining lines of investigation and research projects by. this department and State agencies, including the opportunities and requirements for development in particular regions.
In order to study the trends of development and to advise concerning the practicability of proposed undertakings, it is important to know how rapidly the unused lands are being drained or irrigated and made available for settlement; the cost of drainage and of irrigation; the condition of the lands in drainage and irrigation districts with respect to clearing, grading, or other work needed to fit them for agriculture; the progress made in settling and cultivating such lands; and the types of farming adopted and the crops grown. It is important to know the kinds of organizations that are most satisfactory under different conditions, and it would be well if the statistics were made to include also what was not determined in 1920, namely, the status of bonded indebtedness of the public enterprises. In fact, the head of our work in irrigation investigations declares that data furnished by the irrigation census are so vital in the Western States that if a census of irrigation is not taken by the Federal Government it will be taken by several uncoordinated State agencies. This would entail lack of uniformity in method of collecting the information, and consequent lack of comparability of the results.
The census of drainage is almost equally important. The drainable wet lands of the Central and Southern States, as well as the irrigable lands of the Western States, are an important part of the area available for expansion of the agricultural area of the Nation. Drainage enterprises in 1920, according to census statistics, comprised nearly 65,000,000 acres and represented a capital investment of more than $350,000,000.