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In section 4, on page 4 of the bill, providing for the fifteenth decennial census and subsequent censuses, I notice the wording is changed somewhat from the act authorizing the former census. It states as follows:
The number, form, and subdivision of the inquiries in the schedules used to take the census shall be determined by the Director of the Census with the approval of the Secretary of Commerce.
I believe in the 1900 census, and in the 1910 and 1920 censuses, the items which were to be included in the schedule for the census of agriculture were specified, and it seems to us to be wise to continue that practice of specifying the general lines of inquiry which the census of agriculture should cover; but in addition to that I should like to suggest that these general lines of inquiry be specified as they were in the 1920 census, with this additional clause:
And such other items as the Director of the Census shall determine, with the approval of the Secretary of Commerce.
That, it seems to me, would not restrict the Census Bureau
The Chairman. You would broaden it, in other words?
Mr. Ogg. I would simply specify—my idea would be to specify— in the act the general lines of inquiry, not specifying the questions, of course, but specifying the general lines of inquiry just as has been done in the preceding decennial censuses, and then add a clause which would allow the Director of the Census to include in there items that in his judgment would seem to be proper. That would give sufficient elasticity to take care of any unforseen matters which might come up, upon which information would seem to be very important, and at the same time it would assure that you would have an adequate census of agriculture.
As to the date of the census, section 6 of this bill, H. R. 393, page 5, provides as follows:
The census of agriculture shall be taken as of the 1st of the prceding November.
It is provided in that same section that the census of the population shall be taken as of the 1st day of April. It seems to us that it would be, perhaps, wiser to take these two censuses at the same time. So far as the farmers are concerned, to have the census of the population taken in April and the census of agriculture taken in November simply means that two different enumerators will have to come and consume the farmers' time, and in April the farmers are very busy; and it seems, in the interest of economy-—economy of the Government as well as the farmers' time, that
The Chairman. Would you take them both in November?
Mr. Ogg. I would suggest November 30 or December 1 would be, as far as the farmers are concerned, and as far as our interest in securing agricultural information is concerned, a very good date.
There are a number of reasons why I would suggest that particular date, one reason being that we would like to see the census data, and the estimates and information gathered by the, Department of Agriculture, as nearly identical in the period of time covered as possible.
The Chairman. You understand this is a decennial proposition?
Mr. Ogg. I understand; but the Department of Agriculture issues estimates every year, and some estimates monthly, and they need some base figures with which to correct and adjust those estimates; and if the census data are gathered during the calendar year, or during the fiscal year in the same period that the agricultural statistics of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics are gathered, it affords the Bureau of Agricultural Economics a better basis upon which to adjust their estimates.
The Chairman. I am going to ask you, do you not feel that the figures found by the Department of Agriculture are as accurate as may be? Why have them, if they are not?
Mr. Ogg. We would like to see those figures extended, and covering even more than they cover now.
The Chairman. Why can not the Department of Agriculture ascertain those figures as far as the law may allow, without reference to the Census Bureau; or why do they exist?
Mr. Ogg. The point I am trying to make there is that if we take the census, for example, December 1 or January 1, that would cover approximately the calendar year. Most of the figures published by the Department of Agriculture are issued either for the calendar year or for the fiscal year, and if the census figures are taken for the calendar year, it will give the Department of Agriculture a set of figures upon which to check up their estimates:
The Chairman. Yes; but under the law do they not have to work independently of the Census Bureau?
Mr. Ogg. They work independently, but on some of these estimates which are not gathered by an actual census, but from estimates made on the basis of reports submitted by, say, 10,000 of 15,000 reporters, they are only estimates, and they need some accurate census information upon which to go back from time to time and check up on the accuracy of those estimates.
The Chairman. We will presume that the census is taken in 1930. What would the Department of Agriculture do in 1933, and of what avail would it be to them?
Mr. Ogg. After one year it would not be of any especial avail.
The Chairman.—There is a 10-year period when the figures of the Department of Agriculture would be of no patricular avail. In other words, for one year they would depend on the figures of the Census Bureau, and then that would cease.
Mr. Ogg. It would supply them with a basis for the next five-year period, because there will be a census in between the decennial censuses.
The Chairman. I understand; but why maintain that department? Why not let the census do the whole thing?
Mr. Ogg. Because five years or ten years is too long a period for much of the information that the Department requires.
The Chairman. But you are saying that this should be put in this bill, and it seems to me if the Department of Agriculture is obliged to depend on the Census Bureau for the ascertainment of their facts and figures, and the checking of their estimates, as you have termed it, what particular use is the collection of data by the Department of Agriculture?
Mr. Ogg. Perhaps I did not state that accurately. I perhaps should not have given the impression that they depend on and get their figures from the Census Bureau. But, of course, in making any kind of an estimate, it is always helpful to have an actual census to refer to, to check up on the estimates.
The Chairman. This bill provides for a census.
Mr. Ogg. Exactly; the only thing I am trying to say here is that it would help the Department even more if the period covered by the census was more nearly comparable to the same period that the department covers. And there are other reasons. I just offered that as one reason which appeals to me, why the date should be the 1st of December rather than the 1st of November.
Another matter that might be mentioned is that if the censuses should be taken together, I certainly hope that the committee will not see fit to make the date April 1.
Mr. Rankin. Why?
Mr. Ogg. Because April 1 is a very busy time with farmers.
Mr. Rankin. What farmers? Did you ever live on a farm?
Mr. Ogg. Yes.
Mr. Rankin. Whereabouts?
Mr. Ogg. Down in Virginia. Kansas, however, is my home State.
Mr. Rankin. As a matter of fact, right there is a proposition upon which we should agree, and we might as well question him now. April is a time when the farmers are at home on their farms?
Mr. Ogg. Yes.
Mr. Rankin. Is it not a fact that that condition would prevail then more than at almost any other time of the year?
Mr. Ogg. Most of them would be at home; yes, sir.
Mr. Rankin. If you wait until some time when you can find all of the farmers idle, and you will find these farmers on their farms, you will have much more trouble to get the information that this census is trying to develop, will you not?
Mr. Ogg. If you put it in the summer time, I would say that would be true, in the summer. During certain idle periods in the summer, in between, crop operations that might be true. But I would not think that around the 1st of December you would find many farmers away from home.
Mr. Rankin. As a matter of fact, more farmers are away from home in the wintertime than any other time of the year, are they not?
Mr. Ogg. That has not been my observation.
The Chairman. Throughout the country?
Mr. Rankin. Throughout the whole country. You will find that the farmers are crowded into the towns. There are a great many of the farmers in this part of the country who go to town to spend the winter. You find them in Florida in December. They go to California, many of them.
The Chairman. And to Alabama and Mississippi.
Mr. Rankin. Yes. You find them down there.
Mr. Moorman. It is unquestionably true in my section of the country, in the wintertime, at the time you suggest here, November or December 1, you would probably find 5 per cent of the population would be working in automobile factories and other industries in the cities; and then they return to the country to use their ground and make their crops and things of that sort.
Mr. Rankin. Let me make another suggestion. In nearly every section of the United States the land is largely cultivated by tenant farmers, and in my section of the State those farmers all move about the 1st of December, and if you go there at a time when all this disturbance is taking place, change of location and the change of tenants, you will have more trouble about the time you suggest than any other time of the year I can mention.
Mr. Ogg. I do not know how it is in your State, but in Virginia it seems to be the general custom that tenants move about the 1st of January, or during the Christmas period. That seems to be a pretty general custom there, and that is why I did not suggest January 1, because while theoretically that would be ideal from a statistical standpoint and getting the calendar year, yet from a practical standpoint I do not think it would be practicable, because of the movement of tenant farmers around the first of the year.
Mr. Rankin. Then another objection to your time of the year is in the wintertime the roads are at their worst, the weather cold, it is usually rainy around the last of November or the 1st of December throughout the Southern States as a rule, what we might term our wet season begins; and we had more difficulty in 1920 in getting the census in the rural districts taken than I ever thought we would have under any conditions.
Mr. Ogg. That was taken later than December 1, was it not?
Mr. Rankin. It was taken in January; but I think December would be worse than January. I think you would have a more disturbed condition in December than you would have in January.
Mr. Ogg. I was just going to state that I would not think there would be as much objection to having it December 1 as there would be, say, January 1, because the roads in January and February, in my observation, are worse than they are in December.
Mr. Rankin. They are bad enough in December. You understand my attitude is not to select either one of them. My idea is to take the census around the 1st of April, and my position on this proposition is prompted solely by the interests of agriculture. I believe that I have studied this proposition from the farmers' standpoint as thoroughly as any man in the House, and I believe it would be much better for the farmers throughout the country to take this census in the spring than to take it at any other time.
Mr. Ogg. May I ask what would be your thought in regard to June 30?
Mr. Rankin. I do not think that would be a good time, and I will tell you why. In the first place, June 30 is what we call at home the laying-by time—if you have ever worked on the farm, you know what that means—and when people get through laying-by, they scatter. You will find more people on the farms, getting ready to make a crop, in April or May than any other time of the year.
The Chairman. In the bill it is given " as of the 1st of the preceding November." I presume, without having any particular knowledge of it—I have not discussed it with anybody, but I presume—the purpose of that is, so that the figures may be ascertained at the end of a crop season.
Mr. Rankin. How is that?
The Chairman. "The 1st of the preceding November," it says. That is only my presumption. I have no experience in it. That would be when they have finished the crop—have closed the crop season.
Mr. Rankin. The truth is that they have not closed the crop season, and they do not close it in the cotton States until all the cotton is ginned, and that does not take place until the middle of January.
The Chairman. But this would ascertain the number of bales and the amount of the crop, and I understand that is what they want.
Mr. White. In the current year?
The Chairman. Yes, in the current year; take it in November.
Mr. Rankin. There are a million bales of cotton in the fields at that time.
Mr. Ogg. The main point that I was trying to make in that suggestion was this, that it would afford figures for the calendar year, or nearly so, which the Department of Agriculture could use very helpfully in the estimates which they give out from time to time, and it seems to us it would make possible greater accuracy in the agricultural information which we gather.
Mr. Rankin. In April, in so far as cotton is conserned, it would be absolutely accurate. If you took it in December, it would be impossible to make it accurate, because they would have to go on later to get the final ginning.
Mr. Ogg. On the other hand, if you take it in April, the share cropper or tenant who leaves the farm January 1 goes to a new farm and begins new operations. If be does not keep books, it would be very difficult, it seems to me, or at least it might involve more inaccuracies, to take the census then, because if you are trying to get the figures over the past year, he would have lived on one farm part of the year and on another farm another part of the year, and in that way there would be some confusion, it seems to me; whereas, if you take it November 30, or say, December 1, you would catch most of the tenant farmers before they leave their farms, and just before the time that they leave, and iD that way all of their activities would be fresh in their minds. I am speaking mostly, now, of those who do not keep books, and who would have to depend on their memories to a large extent as to their farm operations, and it seems to me it would be in the interest of accuracy to have it taken at that time.
The Chairman. On what date does the Department of Agriculture make its figures now?
Mr. Ogg. Except the monthly figures, most of them are made on the basis of December 31 or June 30.
The Chairman. Have you communicated with the Department of Agriculture, asking for a change in the time that they take their figures?
Mr. Ogg. No, sir.
The Chairman. Is it not a fact that from their experience they feel that is the best time to take them?
Mr. Ogg. I presume they feel that is the best time.
The Chairman. That is contrary to your desire in this bill?
Mr. Ogg. No; that is exactly in accord with my desire. They take it either during the calendar year or the fiscal year.
The Chairman. When do they make the collocation of their figures?