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TOTAL ACREAGE OF SUBMARGINAL LANDS TO BE ACQUIRED UNDER
Mr. Ludlow. What is your opinion, as you contemplate this program, of the total acquisition of land under title 3? As you see this program in the future, how many acres of land approximately would be your total acquisition of land for your program?
Dr. Gray. You mean if we had 2 years?
Mr. Ludlow. How much submarginal land do you contemplate buying under the funds which Congress authorized?
Dr. GRAY. If they are appropriated we should be able to buy from 8 to 10 million acres, depending on the trend of land values and the geographic distribution of purchases.
Mr. Ludlow. You have this in mind as something to be desired and worked out to a completed finish?
Dr. GRAY. Yes.
Mr. Ludlow. How.many acres of land ultimately, as you contemplate it now, would you buy, regardless of what Congress has appropriated? What is your objective?
Dr. Gray. You mean ultimately?
Dr. GRAY. I do not think all of the 75 million acres of so-called submarginal land should be purchased. But at this time we are not clear as to what proportion should ultimately be bought. In every locality there are many considerations that enter into a determination of whether it is wise, whether adequate social objectives are accomplished by buying that land.
Mr. Ludlow. Not knowing the total number of acres you could not predict the total cost?
Dr. GRAY. If I should attempt to, it would be an outside figure. Mr. Ludlow. What would be the outside figure?
Dr. Gray. The outside figure would possibly be in the neighborhood of 400 to 500 million dollars over a period of possibly 10 to 20 years, if we bought it all, but I should not expect we would buy all of that.
Mr. WOODRUM. The outside acreage would be 100 million acres?
Dr. Gray. Approximately; but nearer 75 million acres in submarginal farms that are now used for arable farming.
Mr. SNYDER. It says here that there may be established agencies or branch offices elsewhere in the United States. How many branch offices would you establish?
Dr. Gray. In the first year, we probably would have
Mr. PERKINS (interposing). May I point out that under title 4 a corporation is set up. 'The Secretary is authorized to delegate functions under titles 1 and 2, but not under title 3.
Mr. SNYDER. I understand.
ESTABLISHMENT OF CORPORATIONS
Mr. Taber. There is not any money asked for for the corporation, is there?
Dr. GRAY. I do not know that it would cost any money to set up. It is authorized and created by the act.
Mr. WOODRUM. I would like to have some explanation of that. Is it the purpose of the Department or the Secretary to utilize the functions of title 4 and set up that authority?
Dr. GRAY. The law, as I would read it, directs that this corporation be organized and then gives, in an implied sense, certain discretion in transferring functions.
Mr. WOODRUM. Is that the purpose, to handle it in that way, and set up a corporation, and as rapidly as possible to transfer functions in the administration of this act to this corporation rather than to handle it through the Secretary?
Dr. GRAY. That, of course, is handled by the Secretary. Three people in the Department of Agriculture serve on the board without additional compensation. This simply sets up the organization.
Mr. WOODRUM. It does not call for any additional personnel.
Dr. Gray. No; because the personnel under titles 1 and 2 would be available, and it is the assumption that other employees paid from other funds would become employees of the corporation.
SOURCE AND NEED OF PERSONNEL ESTIMATED FOR
Mr. WOODRUM. Will there be anybody now on the permanent rolls of the Department of Agriculture transferred to the rolls of this activity?
Dr. GRAY. I would think in time; yes.
Dr. Gray. I think very definitely under title I a separate unit would be set up to administer title I.
Mr. Woodrum. In providing for your personnel requirements have you taken that into consideration?
Dr. GRAY. Yes.
Mr. WOODRUM. For instance, you have an administrative officer set up under title I in this budget. His salary, if he is already working in the Department, is provided for in the regular appropriation bill?
Dr. Gray. No; this simply provides for the corporate mechanism, that the corporate mechanism shall be utilized.
Mr. WOODRUM. I understand that.
Dr. GRAY. The three members of the board would be employees of the Department, and it provides that the board could name the administrator and under the administrator would be the employees that we find set up in title I.
Mr. WOODRUM. Take the personnel under title I.
Dr. Gray. None of those employees is now working for the Department of Agriculture.
Mr. TABER. Are they in the Resettlement Administration?
Dr. Gray. No, sir; they are not working at all. I am talking of the jobs.
These new jobs in title I do not exist at the moment. Mr. WOODRUM. How about the people who will fill the jobs?
Dr. Gray. You mean as to whether they might be departmental employees?
Mr. WOODRUM. Yes.
Dr. Gray. Some of them might be employees of the Resettlement Administration.
Mr. WOODRUM. If they are taken from Resettlement and put on this program, there is an administrative order, as I understand it, against the filling of vacancies, and that affects jobs that Congress has already appropriated money for. They are taken from the permanent roils and put on this work, and that vacates the jobs there.
Dr. GRAY. As far as title 3 is concerned, we are in the process of finishing the old program of acquisition and development which we have been carrying on with relief funds. We expect to have the bulk of the work completed by the first of the year, and progressively during the year to get more and more of the job completed. As we do get the job completed, and in the process of expanding this new acquisition program, we feel it is the part of wisdom to transfer those experienced employees rather than go out and get new people.
I am not saying that we would not have to get some new people. We may have to fill certain positions that we do not have people available for now. But it will, in the main, be a process of working out the new program and transferring this experienced personnel to the new program.
Mr. WOODRUM. Will that old program be finished so that you can use all of that personnel for 10 months under the new program?
Dr. Gray. No; we shall be able gradually to drop employees as we complete the old program and pick some of them up as they are needed under the new program.
Mr. WOODRUM. That means that you will have them by September 1, instead of the 1st of January.
Dr. GRAY. Some of them we will have to have by the 1st of September.
Mr. TABER. And some of them you will not need until the 1st of January?
Dr. GRAY. That is right.
Mr. TABER. What percentage what you need on the 1st of September and what percentage in each succeeding month thereafter, in your opinion?
Dr. GRAY. I cannot give you that in percentages.
Mr. TABER. Would you say half of them by the middle of November? That would be about half of the period.
Dr. Gray. I expect by the first of the year we would have the bulk of the people working on the new program that we contemplate. We have worked out curves as to the time we would probably get under way the different functions in acquiring land. This chart which I have here shows that. In the appraisal work we would start almost at once, and we would probably have to take on some additional appraisers almost immediately.
In the land program we have very few appraisers now. Most of the appraisal work was completed months ago.
Mr. WOODRUM. You provide in your budget for 700 people for 10 months. Obviously it will be nearly the 1st of September before this bill becomes a law. You do not mean to tell the committee that you will have those 700 people ready to go to work on the 1st of September.
Dr. GRAY. No, sir.
Mr. WOODRUM. You will not need that full amount of personnel for the 10 months' period.
Mr. PERKINS. On pages 4 and 5 of the statement with reference to the land acquisition work we show how many months the employees are provided for?
Mr. WOODRUM. It provides for some of them for 6 months.
Dr. Gray. You will notice we do not say in the last column for 10 months. We have taken the amount from this that each function,
as we have analyzed the work, will require. Some will be for 10 months, some for 9 months, some for 8 months, some for 6 months, some for 3 months, and so on, throughout the year.
PLACING OFFICES IN THE FIELD
Mr. SNYDER. During the last 15 or 20 years there seems to have been a drive, as far as the talk is concerned, among Government officials for the decentralizing of everything, taking it away from the big cities, which is as I think it should be. When they establish a farm program they take their offices to the big cities. These offices go back to the big cities. You start with Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Baltimore, and so forth.
Mr. TABER. You have to acquire the roof gardens, I suppose.
Dr. Gray. We would probably not have, as far as title 3 is concerned, certainly during the coming year, any field offices in what you call large cities. In the main our project offices while we are buying land might be in small county-seat towns, or in some small villages in the country.
Mr. SNYDER. Let us hope so. Instead of putting these offices in the small towns, we take them to 1 of 10 or 12 cities in the United States, and they have thousands of employees in the big cities, whereas, on the other hand, there are other agencies trying to get their offices out of the cities. Agricultural agencies, especially, should not take their offices into Chicago or other big cities; it seems to me they should not have their central offices there. You had better take them out to the county seats near by.
ADVISABILITY OF POSTPONING LAND ACQUISITION PROGRAM Mr. Ludlow. What would be the effect if we simply marked time for a while in this land acquisition program? You would have a certain amount of overhead, of course, that would be going along.
Dr. Gray. Yes, sir. We, of course, would have to curtail our overhead.
Mr. Ludlow. It is not a program of great urgency, is it? With the fiscal condition of the Government as it is now, could we not just postpone this activity for a while, so far as the acquisition of land is concerned?
Dr. GRAY. Of course, every man feels that his particular program is extremely important and urgent.
Mr. Ludlow. Probably that is not a proper question to ask you.
Dr. GRAY. I am rather a biased witness. It is a long-postponed job, and in many areas we are pouring relief money in there and are not making it any better. We had better start to try to better the situation. We really save money in the long run. In some of the areas, in the Great Plains
Mr. Ludlow. I know how earnest you are, and I wondered, in view of the condition of the finances of the country, whether that expenditure of $10,000,000 right away is absolutely essential.
Dr. Gray. The word "essential”, of course, is always relative. The Government is doing a thousand and one things that are not essential in the sense of keeping body and soul together. It really is up to Congress to determine the relative importance of these things. I assume when they authorized the program they recognized the importance of it.
LOCATION OF LAND TO BE PURCHASED UNDER PROGRAM
Mr. TABER. Can you give us a break-down showing where the 2,000,000 acres would be acquired if you were given this money?
Dr. Gray. I could not break that down, if you mean the exact location.
Mr. TABER. By States.
Mr. CANNON. He has already said it would be located principally in the dust bowl.
Mr. TABER. I think we could get at it better if we could get that information.
Dr. GRAY. In the first year the most of it would be there. I am not saying that we would confine our purchases there.
Mr. PERKINS. If we are going to plan a land program and then buy land in a certain section, it would be bad administration, I think, to say exactly what States you would spend the money in because the plan would be to spend it on the basis of the need.
Mr. TABER. What I am trying to do is to get an idea of what we are going to do. I think we are entitled to that information. Perhaps it is impossible to get it.
Mr. Perkins. There are going to be many more people wanting to sell land than we have the money to buy. If we were to say we would buy a certain amount of land, or had a certain amount of money to spend in a given State, land values might go up so that we would possibly have to go into another area.
EMPLOYMENT OF TECHNICAL AID TO COUNTY COMMITTEES
Mr. Woodrum. Item 3 under title 1 is for technical aid to county committees, and the amount under that item is $250,417. You are providing more funds for technical aid to county committees than the cost of the committees. What is that for?
Mr. PERKINS. As a matter of fact, we are wracking our brains to find out how we are going to do this job for 500 committees with this limited personnel.
Under this item, we have to provide for people to go out and do all the preliminary work, and then, later on, to see how it is progressing. If we have only 10 supervisors and 10 assistants for 48 States, it will be a job and a half to keep in touch with the local committees, and to see that the orders of the Secretary are carried out. It will be very difficult for that few people to keep in touch with 500 county committees, and with the other personnel engaged in this program.
Mr. ĆANNON. Your contact with the county committees would be principally through the local institutions, would it not?
Mr. PERKINS. Yes. There are other employees of the Department who might be helpful.
Mr. CANNON. What service would there be on the part of your State men who would be in charge of your State meetings? What technical service would be required that could not be done by your county agents?
Mr. PERKINS. Perhaps the word "technical” is not a proper word. There will be times when county committees will strike a snag, and there must be somebody in authority. One person to two States is a