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Doctor TAYLOR. I shall be very glad to do that.
NOTE.-Examples of plants yielding drugs and related products now imported that are under investigation are pyrethrum and Levant wormseed. Pyrethrum (insect flowers) used as an insecticide was imported, mostly from Japan, to a value of $2,777,000 in 1929, $1,770,000 in 1930, and $700,000 in 1931. Figures for eight months this year indicate that at least 10,000,000 pounds will be imported in 1932. Experiments have demonstrated that this crop is adapted to many sections in this country, and that machine harvesting can be substituted for hand-picking methods used abroad. The commercial growing of Levant wormseed, which yields santonin, an important drug used in the control of intestinal parasites, especially in hogs, has been undertaken in Oregon as a result of experiments conducted on the coast. This drug has heretofore been under Russian control whereby the price was held at over $100 a pound. Imports in the fiscal year 1931 were 1,736 pounds, valued at $196,428. Since then the price has declined to less than $50, partly as a result of domestic production.
Essential oil yielding plants under investigation include the Japanese peppermint and rose geranium. The latter yields a perfume oil of which the imports in 1930 were 148,000 pounds, valued at $534,000, and in 1931, 178,000 pounds, valued at $538,000. This crop shows promise in Florida and California. Japacese peppermint now grown in Japan yields an oil that is the only source of natural menthol. Imports of menthol from Japan in 1930 were 324,000 pounds, valued at $1,215,000, and in 1931 they were 325,000 pounds, valued at $957,000. Experiments have shown this crop adapted to a wide range and capable of rapid introduction when conditions warrant it.
The United States produces only about 40 per cent of the flaxseed required to supply domestic industries with linseed oil. Safflower, which yields a similar oil
, is one of the oil-seed crops under investigation. Experiments have shown it to be adapted to the spring-wheat section in the Northern Great Plains area and that it can be grown and handled like wheat. If generally introduced it would replace wheat acreage and augment the domestic supply of paint and varnish oils.
Field stations and major field experiments of drug and related plants
Mr. BUCHANAN. The next item is:
Dry-land agriculture: For the investigation and improvement of methods of crop production under subhumid, semiarid, or dry-land conditions, $227,639: Provided, That the limitations in this act as to the cost of farm buildings shall not apply to this paragraph: Provided further, That no part of this appropriation shall be used for the establishment of any new field station.
WORK UNDER THIS APPROPRIATION
Doctor TAYLOR. Under this appropriation the problems of agricultural and horticultural development of the Great Plains area, a region classed as semiarid, are studied at field stations to obtain the fullest possible information concerning soil and climatic conditions throughout the region and the agricultural effectiveness of each of the many different methods of tillage and crop rotations that can be
considered as more or less suitable for this region where irrigation is not available.
Field stations are maintained at the following points: Akron, Colo.
Woodward, Okla. Tucumcari, N. Mex.
Big Spring, Tex. Mandan, N. Dak.
Dalhart, Tex. Lawton, Okla.
Sheridan, Wyo. Dry-land crop production: The work under this project consists of rotation and tillage experiments with cereal crops, forage crops, and cotton, as well as pasture conservation and development in this region. (Bureau of Animal Industry cooperates with livestock experiments at the field station at Big Spring, Tex.) The problems of the possibilities and methods of crop production under dry-farming conditions are common to all the States lying in whole or in part in the Great Plains. Crop rotation, cultural methods, and pasture practices are concerned not only with the immediate effects but with the cumulative effects in increasing, maintaining or decreasing the productivity of the soil.
Dry-land fruit and vegetable production: The work under this project consists of demonstrations of the feasibility, of growing in this semiarid region certain fruits and vegetables which can be produced on a home-garden scale. Under present economic conditions, the importance of the home garden and orchard in maintaining the agricultural population can not be overestimated.
Cooperative shelter-belt demonstrations and experimental test plantings: Under this project trees and ornamental plants that can be grown in dry regions are propagated and placed with experimenters for testing and demonstrations of trees planted as shelter belts are developed and encouraged. The dry lands naturally are treeless regions, but gratifying success has attended systematic effort to determine the kinds of trees and methods of care and culture necessary in their successful growth for shade and shelter.
CROP ROTATION AND TILLAGE PROJECT This is a crop rotation and tillage project in which dry lands are studied, in the higher Great Plains, in that strip of country which reaches from about the 98th meridian westward to practically the foot of the Rockies, and which extends all the way from the Canadian boundary down to central Texas, and in which the dry-farming industry development of the past 40 years is mainly located.
Mr. BUCHANAN. This area comprises, I believe, one-third of the country.
Doctor TAYLOR. It comprises a vary large part of the fertile soil which is topographically capable of easy tillage operation, but in which the limiting factor in production is the smallness and erratic character of the rainfall during the growing season, and where the agricultural methods of the humid country, farther east, and also of the more arid country farther west, where irrigation is necessary, do
The questions are presented of how to maintain the continued productivity of the soil with a relatively small range of crops that can be grown under those climatic conditions and of steadying the production so that there shall not be the extreme plunging in increased acreage, here and there, following good crop years.
Mr. Hart. That area is partly responsible for the overproduction of agricultural products due, as you said, to a good crop one year and the gambling instinct of plunging the next year. I know that is true of one item, in which I am interested, which is beans. You have Colorado and New Mexico. They plunge in these Colorado pinto beans, and they grow them in large acreages, because the acreage on which they are grown is practically worthless and if they hit it, they put a large production on the market and bring it down on beans. Then, they go into a place where we have a market, as down in the South, they will demoralize our market because their product is sold at greatly spread prices, and the merchants will buy those beans for their people down there. When the people go into these stores, they give them the cheapest food they can get, and consequently they give them these pinto beans.
Mr. BUCHANAN. They are just as good as the others. The only difference is in color.
Mr. Hart. They are just as nutritious. Of course that demoralized the market because of this rush of production, and knowledge that they are easy to handle, because I have seen them marketed. You can rent this land they grow these beans on at 25 or 50 cents an acre. They pay practically no tax on them. The beans just grow wild. That is a tremendous factor in the demoralization of prices.
Doctor TAYLOR. The tragedy of it all is, that within the last human generation, it started earlier than that, but its maia development has been within the last 40 years, that occasional good crops resulting from favorable seasons have tempted people and railroads and business and everybody out iato a territory where there is extreme climatic fluctuation. The bad years have starved them out and driven them back, and good years have pulled people in again, and what we are endeavoring to do through this sustained work, which constitutes, so far as we know, the largest chain of systematically prosecuted outdoor experimentation anywhere, is to determine the basis principles and the average yields and the frequency of profitable yields as a basis for the gradual educational steadying of the whole production.
Mr. BUCHANAN. When you said profitable yield, why did you not say living yield?
Doctor Taylor. The question of what constitutes a living yield is basic, but it differs tremendously in accordance with the mode of living, the scale of living.
Mr. Hart. Demands and aspirations and all that?
Mr. BUCHANAN. The Department of Agriculture takes these immigrants out there in great crop years, and shows them all these things, and mades these developments, and in subsequent years they do not make anything. The railroads tried to develop the country, and these immigrants have been deceived. They are out there now, and have to live. What are we going to do with them is the question.
Doctor TAYLOR. The practical solution is a safer system of farming. On the national side of the question, we have this, that more of our high quality wheat is grown in this strip than elsewhere.
Mr. BUCHANAN. That is because of climatic conditions, is it not? Mr. TAYLOR. That is because of climatic conditions.
Mr. BUCHANAN. And that territory is producing this kind of wheat.
Doctor TAYLOR. Yes, sir. If there is ever to be anything like effective practical determination of acreage to plant, it has to rest on a type of agriculture which is the least hazardous in so far as production goes, and we feel that through this work we are accomplishing gradually an educational effect which is important. The department's work has, from the beginning, been conservative and cautionary in distinction from the extravagant and ill-considered and over-enthusiastic settlement and development of the region, and we feel that it is & very important line of work when we take the national interest into consideration.
Mr. Hart. As you put these lines into what is generally termed a discussion of uses of land, would you term this as marginal land?
Doctor TAYLOR. I do not think so. Of course, when you get on the feather edge and the farming is being done on a catch-as-catch-can basis, on much of the land within this great strip.
Mr. Hart. There are some lands that could be so classified, are there not?
Doctor TAYLOR. Yes, sir; but the great bulk of lands in this strip of territory that are now occupied by farmers are good soils, which, taking a period of years together, yield a fair living to the producer, although there come periods of sometimes two or three years, when unless he has established a surplus of some kind, or has a reserve to tide him over, he is bound to suffer hardship. And if he happens to go in just before such a period of bad season, and he has not his reserve, he is in trouble.
STUDIES BEING MADE AT FIELD EXPERIMENT STATIONS
Mr. BUCHANAN. You have eight experimental stations in this site. Doctor TAYLOR. Yes, sir.
Mr. BUCHANAN. Only two of them are in one State. There are two in Oklahoma; one at Lawton and the other at Woodward, Okla. I notice there are two in Texas; one at Big Springs and one at Dalhart.
Doctor TAYLOR. Yes, sir.
Doctor Taylor. They are just about 175 miles or so apart, but there you are under very different climatic and soil conditions. Woodward is in the panhandle quite outside the cotton range, and Lawton is in the edge of the Cotton Belt.
Mr. Buchanan. Woodward, Okla., you might say, is the twilight zone between reasonable rains and light rainfalls, is it not?
Doctor TAYLOR. In its averages it is in the light rainfall area. It is just at the base of the Oklahoma panhandle. It is about comparable with the base of the Texas panhandle. It is good soil, good topography, transportation already there, people already there, and making their living out of the land.
Mr. BUCHANAN. Your studies in investigation and experiments take into consideration the best crop to produce, whether seed crop or whether they are crops for human consumption.
Doctor TAYLOR. Yes, whether it is cash crop or feed crop. Mr. BUCHANAN. They take into consideration the best adaptability of the land so that the farmer could make a living on it?
Doctor TAYLOR. Yes, sir; and the establishing of the crop sequences and the cultural practices which, taking a long period of years together, are safest.
Mr. BUCHANAN. Did your department start the practices in some States, I will say Washington, for instance, where the rainfall was so light it was found to be profitable to plow the land and let it lay out and absorb the moisture for one year; and then alternate planting one year and not planting the other, and the year they do not plant, they plow it up so that the moisture will sink into the ground?
Doctor TAYLOR. To alternate fallowing and cropping?
Doctor TAYLOR. I could not say we started that, because that is a practice that exists in the Old World.
Mr. BUCHANAN. I am talking about here.
Doctor TAYLOR. But that is done in some plots, and in contrast side by side the yields are recorded, alternate fallowing and crop production, such as corn, where tillage keeps out the weeds and they make a feed crop in the year between the fallowings.
Mr. Hart. Has that figured out satisfactorily?
Doctor Taylor. In some cases where you figure out your return in five to ten year periods, when you figure up your cost, it has. The alternate fallow requires two years' labor on one cron.
Mr. Hart. I notice out in Washington that an eastern concerna large canner of beans-went out on that wheat land and leased it, and they put in a crop of beans in the fallow year, and harvested a crop of beans there. They thought Michigan was getting too much for beans and they thought they were going to reduce the cost to beat the band. They went out there and bought a lot of machinery and hired labor, and they struck a dry year and got 150 pounds to the acre, and then 100 pounds, and so forth. They got all through, they pocketed a beautiful loss and they decided to buy the beans in Michigan. I think they planted for three years in succession.
Mr. BUCHANAN. Are there any big, heavy rains out in this section where the water runs off the land?
Doctor TAYLOR. Occasionally. It is one of the hazards, that your rainfall total for the year may look good, but when you analyze it, you find it came at the wrong time and that there was then too much, so that there was a heavy run-off.
Mr. BUCHANAN. Have you made any study or investigation of a system of terraces to make the big rainfall soak into the ground so that it could be utilized ?
Doctor TAYLOR. That work is under way in the Bureau of Chemistry and Soils with the Bureau of Agricultural Engineering cooperating so far as equipment is concerned. But in this we do have a very important work.
Mr. BUCHANAN. It looks like there ought to be some cooperation with your department to know whether that moisture could be preserved or not.
Doctor Taylor. They are making that determination. These field stations are located on sites that are relatively level—where the topography is relatively level-because that is what farmers picked for first choice and settlement when they went in there, and our particular aim is to determine what methods of cultivation on that farm and soil are effective in utilizing the full rainfall there.