« AnteriorContinuar »
We have the Rural Rehabilitation Corporation, which is still servicing loans in Matanuska Valley area.
Mr. O'BRIEN. Are the farms in Alaska. largely electrified? Has there been tremendous progress in that respect?
Mr. WILSON. Except in the more outlying areas. ing areas are electrified to a very high degree.
The major farm
We have had problems-I think Mr. Anderson here, who was formerly the Farmers' Home representative, might be able to talk to something about the problems of the Federal program. I will leave that up to them. I believe that there are some changes that have been made recently and recommendations that have been made by their personnel to improve the operation of the Federal program.
But I might tell you a little bit about the program that the Territory themselves are doing, for your information.
We have $350,000 appropriated for revolving loans. Of that $350,000 we have $245,000 actually loaned out or in the process of being loaned. Those loans are, of course, covering quite an area. We have loans as far south as Petersburg, Aleutian Islands, Fairbanks, Kenai, Kodiak. It covers quite an area for $350,000, which doesn't go too far. We have at the present time 75 farmers who are receiving benefits and approximately 12 more who are pending. So there would be roughly 87 individuals who are being assisted through the Territorial
Mr. O'BRIEN. May I ask a question at this point? Do you believe that the agricultural resources or potentialities in Alaska, if properly taken care of, Federal aid or whatever it might be, would be adequate to support a population in Alaska of a million people? Could they be brought to that?
Mr. WILSON. I don't feel that agriculture itself is going to support a million people.
Mr. O'BRIEN. I mean, could they supply the needs of a million people in the products that you can grow?
Mr. WILSON. In the products we can grow, yes.
Mr. O'BRIEN. I ask that question because, from time to time, Washington that point is raised. People will say, "Well, Alaska's agricultural resources are limited. They can't expand."
Mr. WILSON. We are limited in this way: That we are restricted almost entirely to our home markets. We are not going to develop as an agricultural area that exports great quantities unless something changes quite seriously.
Mr. O'BRIEN. But what you are growing you could supply to a much larger population?
Mr. WILSON. That is right.
Mr. O'BRIEN. The land is capable of doing that. That is the point I am trying to make.
Mr. WILSON. Yes, that is right.
Mr. O'BRIEN. Thank you.
Mr. WILSON. I think you are familiar with the Matanuska Valley colony where I think the grant was something like $4 million to invest in this area here. You can see the tremendous increase in capitalization that has resulted and the increase in production. I would say that the $4 million was very well spent. I think additional moneys won't have to be granted either. It could be made available on a loan basis, could arrive at the same result over a period of years.
Our program is exhausted. For the next year now we will have no chance of pumping new capital into it, only as those loans are repaid we will have approximately $50,000 a year that will be coming in on repayments that can be reloaned. We could probably use $150,000 or $200,000 during the period between now and next legislature that someone will either have to make up or the credit will be denied.
Mr. DAWSON. Do you care to comment on your repayment record? Mr. WILSON. The repayment record, our program-of course, most of the loans are less than 2 years old. The repayment record to date has been very good. We feel that it is solid. We have tried to keep our loans on a business basis. We are not trying to stick our neck out too far.
Mr. DAWSON. What is your delinquency rate at the present time? Mr. WILSON. Of the 75 loans that we now have actually operating, I would say I have 5 loans that I would consider delinquent, and I don't think any of those could be considered loans that will not eventually
We don't have a long enough experience to know just how to figure that, but I feel the delinquency rate is going to be very low.
Mr. UTT. Mr. Wilson, are these loans production credit loans or are they mortgage loans on the real property?
Mr. WILSON. I thought I had that broken down. We have approximately $50,000 in short-term loans, which you would say are more production-credit-type loans. We have the balance, which would be it is about 50-50 real-estate or long-term development, clearing and permanent buildings, and about half of that balance would be into channels for purchase of live chattels for purchase of livestock, equipment, and other.
Mr. UTT. You don't take chattel on short-term loans?
Mr. WILSON. We have occasionally where a person could show how he could pay for the purchase of a piece of equipment within a 1-year term. There we might make a loan of that nature, but most of our chattels are for about a 4-year period.
Mr. O'BRIEN. May the Chair suggest at this point one of the most difficult tasks of the chairman is to fit a certain number of witnesses into a given amount of time. Our time is running extremely short. I wonder if some of the witnesses who are yet to be heard feel that they could submit statements. If they do, the committee would appreciate it very much because I can assure you that this is one record that will be read. On the other hand, if you feel you must add to it orally, that is your privilege. We are running up against a very difficult time situation. We had planned to devote about an hour to the hearing, and we have used nearly all of our time on one subject. Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Durant or Mr. Hunter.
Mr. WILSON. Mr. Hunter is not here.
STATEMENT OF STUART DURANT, MANAGER, MATANUSKA VALLEY FARMERS COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION, PALMER, ALASKA
Mr. DURANT. I am manager of the Matanuska Valley Farmers Cooperative Association. I merely want to make a few statements that I have observed during the past year, having assumed the position just about a year ago.
I am sure that there is a great potential for agriculture in Alaska. I have had over 18 years in cooperative work, and I have never yet been in a section of the country where the people are more cooperative in agriculture than they are here in Alaska.
The thing that I see that we need-perhaps there are 3 or 4 things that we need. I want you people to understand that I have gone onto the farms of these different members of our association during the past year, and we have over 100 producing members. The actual production of the area here, perhaps 60 percent of that production comes through our cooperative. Last year our sales were over $5 million here and in Fairbanks. That is to military and civilian markets.
Now, as I travel around among the farmers I find that they have several needs. Of course, they are interested in more and better roads, better highways to come into market on, hard surface highways. Whether you gentlemen are aware of the fact or not, in the spring we have a breakup where most of our roads almost completely go out and transportation in the valley at that time becomes a real problem. We need a few arteries leading into main agricultural areas, hard surfaced, prepared for spring traffic so they will be better able to move in and out of the market area.
Another thing we need is an investigation into the possibilities of irrigation. Of course, sprinkler irrigation will be the thing which would possibly be more feasible for our area, but the ways of getting water to these various areas so it could be used in the sprinkler irrigation system.
Of course, the third thing that I think our farmers need, and they have expressed it to me, is the fact those who have proved themselves and are trying to develop their farms and are doing a good job should have more money available for the development of the farms, more money available for the clearing of land to give them more acreage so that they can become more efficient. And as they become more efficient and raise more of the grains and the forage crops that they need to feed their dairy cows and their other animals, naturally the price of the products will decrease so that the consuming public and the military will have to pay less money for what they purchase.
So, as we get the efficiency and the proper land cleared and prepared to give us the added production which we need, the price of milk can go down from 40 cents a quart, which it is at the present time, to perhaps a lower figure because these farmers will have the facilities and be more efficient and be able to operate at a profit at a lower cost. There is a terrific milk shortage in the Territory at the present time, as you are aware. At the present time all our markets are short, including the military. We could produce considerable more milk and still have it taken care of without going into any manufactured product. All our fresh milk is consumed without being made into ice cream or cottage cheese or other products. All of those things are manufactured from recombined materials which are brought in from the States.
Mr. O'BRIEN. Then your theory is that it is better to help those who have proven they are willing and able to help themselves than to bring in a lot of new farmers who are unproven?
Mr. DURANT. That is right. Financing is the big problem, as I see it, on the farms.
Mr. O'BRIEN. Thank you very much. I thought you had a very good statement.
Mr. TAYLOR. Before we leave agriculture, Mr. Chairman, I had two very short questions.
I wonder to what extent the school program includes the 4-H, FFA, and organizations of that sort.
Mr. MICK. The Alaska Extension Service sponsors the 4-H program in the Territory. I am not qualified to speak on the Smith-Hughes program, but I believe that it does not apply to the Territory at the present time. The Future Farmers of America do not exist as yet in the Territory.
Mr. TAYLOR. One other question I think perhaps you might answer also. To what extent are the new people coming into the valley as former GI's?
Mr. MICK. I would say that since World War II by far the major influx of farmers have been ex-GI's. They were not farmers when they came into the Territory, but they came in with the idea of becoming farmers in the Territory. That leads us into the need of a greater agricultural educational program.
Mrs. ProST. Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask, approximately what price per acre does agricultural land sell for in this valley?
STATEMENT OF N. B. SNODGRASS, PALMER, ALASKA
Mr. SNODGRASS. N. B. Snodgrass, formerly with the Department of Agriculture in charge of the Alaska station."
My observation in that respect dates back to the last 15 years. It depends on the cost of clearing the land. What used to cost us $125 now costs us $275 an acre. That is average cost in this valley. That determines the price of land that goes into the production of our farms. On dairy feed, it costs over $250 to get it into grass or seed and production. So older land here ranges in price from $100 to $275
Mrs. Prost. That is a producing acre of ground?
Mr. SNODGRASS. Yes.
Mrs. Prost. Thank you.
Mr. TAYLOR. That completes the list of persons who wish to speak on the agricultural program. We have had some indication that there are those who would like to speak on the fish and wildlife setup. I have before me two letters in which persons have asked permission to appear.
Mr. BARTLETT. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. O'BRIEN. The Chair recognizes Mr. Bartlett.
Mr. BARTLETT. Mr. Chairman, by request I present, with the request for unanimous consent for inclusion in the record, two documents. The first is a statement relating to the loan made by the Matanuska Electric Association to the Central Alaska Power Association, together with a list of questions, both, as I am informed, coming from Charles Wilson, who, as you have been previously told, is the head of the Soil Conservation Service and mayor of Palmer. It appears that Mr. Wilson is also a member of the board of directors of the MEA and his questions pertaining to two loans, as I am informed, made by MEA to the Central Alaska Power Association, the first being in the amount
of $25,000, and the second for $15,000. These questions, I am again informed, have been presented by Mr. Wilson to his fellow-directors. Mr. O'BRIEN. Without objection, the several statements will be made a part of the record.
I look at the questions very quickly here, and it does seem to me that the questions are directed to the fellow-directors and that they are not questions that his committee could or would be expected to answer. Is that correct, Mr. Bartlett?
Mr. BARTLETT. That is correct. And I assume that the only reason that this material is offered to us at this time is because it is known here that the committee considered this general subject in Anchorage. Mr. O'BRIEN. Yes; and this will be part of the public record, so that anyone who is able or wishes to answer the questions may do so, and perhaps that answering might continue through the winter. (The documents referred to follow :)
1. Who are the membership of CAPA?
2. Where can I see a copy of the articles of incorporation?
3. Is a copy of the bylaws of CAPA available to MEA board?
4. Where can a member of this board see a copy of the contract with Ivan Bloch?
5. I want to see a copy of the budget covering the investigational work being carried on with MEA funds.
6. I want a statement of expenditures by CAPA, not an audit, but an opportunity to inspect the books of the organization operating on MEA funds.
7. I want a reply to the statements which have appeared in the Palmer paper. Are these true? If not, what is the truth of the points covered in these paid advertisements?
8. Who are the directors of CAPA who will hold office as members of CAPA by virtue of being organizers of CAPA?
9. Why should any person as an individual retain membership in such an organization as CAPA because that person held an office in an electric cooperative at the time CAPA was organized?
10. How many members are now in good standing in CAPA including incorporators, organizational members and consumer members?
11. Why should CAPA be authorized to hold its annual meeting anywhere except in the area served, the third judicial division, or such equivalent designation of a State created in lieu of such division (art. III, sec. 1)?
12. What is the intent of the sentence in CAPA bylaws "Failure to hold such annual meeting or to hold it at the designated time shall not work a forfeiture or dissolution of this corporation"? Does this provision make it possible to hold the meeting in some out of the way location not convenient to the rank and file consumer whose money has created this organization?
13. Why should proxies or mail votes be disallowed in view of the above provision?
14. Am I correct in assuming that an organizational member could be Matanuska Electric Association?
15. Is MEA a member in CAPA and if so, how many votes has MEA on the board of directors of CAPA?
16. In Article IV: directors, section 2, subparagraph (b), who are the individual organizational members of this corporation who are qualified to be directors although they may not be either manager or director of an organizational member or corporation?
17. In article IV, section 7: Is the fixed sum mentioned intended to cover actual expenses or is it to be used in fact to compensate for time as well as cash expenses, and to what limit?
18. Article V, section 2, authorizes special meetings anywhere in Alaska. Why? 19. Has the board of directors of CAPA employed a general manager? If so, what compensation is being paid and who is he?
20. To what extent is the treasurer of CAPA bonded?
21. Article VII, section 3: What other type of business other than generation and distribution of power does CAPA contemplate?