Skip to main content

Full text of "National defense migration. Hearings before the Select Committee Investigating National Defense Migration, House of Representatives, Seventy-seventh Congress, first[-second] session, pursuant to H. Res. 113, a resolution to inquire further into the interstate migration of citizens, emphasizing the present and potential consequences of the migraion caused by the national defense program. pt. 11-[34]"

See other formats


5 ' 












H. Res. 113 


PART 21 

NOVEMBER 24, 1941 

Printed for the use of the Select Committee Investigating 
National Defense Migration 

H-5 )^ 









H. Res. 113 


PART 21 

NOVEMBER 24, 1941 

Printed, for the use of the Select Committee Investigating 
National Defense Migration 


60396 WASHINGTON : 1941 


JOHN H. TOLAN, California, Chairman 

JOHN J. SI'ARKMAN, Alabama CARL T. CURTIS, Nebraska 

LAURENCE F. ARNOLD, Illinois FRANK C. OSMERS, Jr., New Jersey 

Robert K. Lamb, Stag Director 





List of witnesses V 

List of authors VII 

Monday, November 24, 1941, morning session 8219 

Testimony of William Harm 8219-8221 

Statement of William Harm 8220 

Testimony of George E. Johnson 8222 

Statement of George E. Johnson 8222-8244 

Statement of John W. Creighton 8252 

Testimony of John W. Creighton 8253 

Testimony of panel of Hastings businessmen 8257 

Statement of Fred Seaton 8259 

Testimony of Fred Seaton 8263 

Statement of Charles M. Anderson 8265 

Testimony of Charles M. Anderson 8266 

Statement of E. D. Einsel 8268 

Testimony of E. D. Einsel 8269 

Statement of Hal Lainson 8272 

Testimony of Hal Lainson 8276 

Statement by Dean Gray 8278 

Testimony of Dean Gray 8279 

Testimony of A. E. Reeves 8288 

Monday, November 24, 1941, afternoon session 8291 

Testimony of L. B. Glantz 8291-8294 

Statement of L. B. Glantz 8291 

Testimony of Edward P. Ryan 8298-8305 

Statement of Edward P. Ryan 8298 

Testimony of Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Marymee 8316 

Testimony of Will Maupin 8315 

Testimony of Lloyd C. Thomas 8316-8318 

Statement of Llovd C. Thomas 8316 

Testimony of H. K. Douthit 8321-8323 

Statement of H. K. Douthit 8321 

Testimony of Martin Schroeder 8327 

Statement of Martin Schroeder 8331 

Testimony of Leo M. Christensen 8333 

Statement of Leo M. Christensen 8334 

Introduction of exhibits 8336 

Exhibit 1. Labor Recruitment in Nebraska, by John A. Coover, chief, 
Nebraska State Employment Service, Division of Placements and 

Unemployment Insurance, Lincoln, Nebr 8337 

Exhibit 2. Migration from Nebraska, as seen from the viewpoint of 
labor, bv Roy M. Brewer, president, Nebraska State Federation of 

Labor, Grand Island, Nebr 8340 

Exhibit 3. School enrollments in Kearney, Nebr., by Harry A. Burke, 

superintendent of schools, Kearney, Nebr 8342 

Exhibit 4. Benefits of irrigation in Holdrege, Nebr., by Frank A. 
Anderson, president, Holdrege Chamber of Commerce, Holdrege, 

Nebr 8344 

Exhibit 5. Automobile sales in western Nebraska, by A. H. Jones Co., 

Hastings, Nebr 8347 

Exhibit 6. Manufacturing in Nebraska, by H. L. Dempster, president, 

Dempster Mill Manufacturing Co., Beatrice, Nebr 8349 

Index 8353 



Hastings Hearing, November 24, 1941 


Anderson, Charles N., manager, Western Land Roller Co., Hastings, 

Nebr 8265,8266 

Christensen, Dr. Leo M., research executive, chemurgy project, University 

of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebr 8333 

Creighton, Dr. John W., president, Hastings College, Hastings, Nebr.. 8252, 8253 
Douthit, H. K., superintendent, Nebraska School of Agriculture, Curtis, 

Nebr 8321,8323 

Einsel, E. D., president, Hastings Equity Grain-Bin Co., Hastings, 

Nebr 8268,8269 

Glantz, Hon. L. B., mayor, Minden, Nebr 8291,8294 

Grav, Dean, manager, Food Centers. Inc., Hastings, Nebr 8278, 8279 

Harm, Hon. Win., mayor, Hastings, Nebr 8219,8221 

Johnson, Geo. E., general manager, Central Nebraska Public Power and 

Irrigation District, Hastings, Nebr 8222,8244 

Lainson, Hal, secretary, Dutton-Lainson Co., Hastings, Nebr 8272, 8276 

Marymee, Mr. and Mrs. Elmer, Bladen, Nebr 8311 

Maupin, Will, editor, Clay County Sun, Clay Center, Nebr 8315 

Reeves, Dr. A. E., Farnum, Nebr 8288 

Rvan, Edward P., secretary, Central Nebraska Defense Council, Grand 

'Island, Nebr 8298,8305 

Schroeder, Dr. Martin, American Home Missions Board, United Lutheran 

Churches of America, Lincoln, Nebr 8327 

Seaton, Fred, publisher, Hastings Tribune, Hastings, Nebr 8259,8263 

Thomas, Llovd C, vice president, Central Nebraska Defense Council, 

Kearney, Nebr 8316, 8318 




morning session 

House of Representatives, 
Select Committee Investigating 

National Defense Migration, 

Washington, D. C. 

The committee met at 9 : 30 a. m. in the post-office building, Hastings, 
Nebr., Hon. Carl T. Curtis presiding in the absence of the committee 
chairman, Representative John H. Tolan, of California. 

Present were: Representatives Carl T. Curtis (acting chairman), of 
Nebraska ; Laurence F. Arnold, of Illinois ; Frank C. Osmers, Jr., of 
New Jersey; and John J. Sparkman, of Alabama. 

Also present: Dr. Robert K. Lamb, staff director; Francis X. Riley, 
field investigator; and Mrs. L. McEnroe, field secretary. 

The Chairman. The committee will please come to order. 

Mr. Harm, will you take the witness stand, please ? 


The Chairman. I might say to our Nebraska friends that we are 
delighted that this committee could come here. 

Before we start to interrogate the witnesses, I should like to intro- 
duce the members of the committee. On my right is Congressman 
Laurence F. Arnold, of Illinois; on my immediate left is Congressman 
John J. Sparkman, of Alabama; and on my far left is Congressman 
Frank C. Osmers, Jr., of New Jersey. 

Our chairman, Congressman John H. Tolan, of California, could 
not get here. This is the first time he has been absent from a com- 
mittee hearing. We regret very much that he will be unable to con- 
duct these proceedings. 

Mr. Harm, will you give your full name and tell in what capacity 
you appear here ? 

Mr. Harm. William Harm, mayor of Hastings. 

The Chairman. How long have you lived in Hastings! 

Mr. Harm. Over 50 years. 

The Chairman. How long have you been connected with the city 
government ? 

Mr. Harm. I have been connected with the city government for 29 

The Chairman. We have read your prepared statement, Mr. Harm, 
and it will be made a part of the record. 



(The statement referred to above is as follows:) 


I :mi submitting a few Items regarding the conditions of real estate in Adams 
County us simwii by our county records: 

a survey mad.' by the register of deeds in 1932 Bhowed that 53 percent of the 
farms in .\dams County were free of mortgage. The present estimate is less than 
50 pereenl are free. 

At presenl the county owns tm? Lots In our city taken by tax sale, and V20 in 

Other towns in our county taken liy tax sale; practically all are vacant. 

Title to 56 farms and 36 city properties have changed through foreclosure 
during; the past .'? years. 

During the period from 1933 to 1941, inclusive, there have been 1,401 farm 
mortgages Bled on Adams County farms. 

During the same period there have been 2,283 mortgages filed against city and 
town properties. 

The larger part of these have been because of the necessity to make new loans 
or refinance, due to the lack of production and income of the owners of the 

In the total sum of these, compared to present market or sale value as against 
the value at the beginning of the period, there seems to be an enormous increase 
of indebtedness caused by drought and no employment for our citizens. 

But I find that a considerable amount of properties are under contract agree- 
ment because of financial difficulties of the record-owners and these naturally do 
not appear <>n the record its having been lust by said record owners. 

And through my investigation of farm conditions I find :i great, shortage in 
hogs and cattle over our county caused by drouth and no funds to purchase feed 
with by our farmers. 

Of course, our few industries are a great help to our city. Agriculture is our 
natural recourse, but in the last several years our resource has not produced 
any crops because of drouth. 

I would hesitate to predict what would have happened to the merchants of 
our city without the help of our Federal Government promoting Work Projects 
Administration project and relief rolls. 

Our city's bonded indebtedness is now $81.3,000 and our schools' bonded indebt- 
edness is'$3t!>.000 up to July 1, 1941, making a total of $662,000 of outstanding 
bonded indebtedness against our city and our schools. 

Our assessed valuation for our city in 1H34 was approximately $19,000,000 
but today it has declined in value to approximately $12,500,000 showing a de- 
crease of approximately $6,000,000 in the past 7 years. 

These figures pertain to the personal and real estate taxes that have been 
collected in Adams County up to the 1940 taxes. 

City of Eastings only 





Percentage collected: 







This is a brief report from the relief office, November 1, 1941 : 273 persons 
working on Work Projects Administration projects, of which number 159 were 
men and 114 were women ; 220 families were on direct relief, the larger number of 
these are classed as nonemployables. Number of families receiving assistance 
and on work program, old-age assistance, aid to dependent children and to the 
blind, direct relief. Work Projects Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps, 
child welfare, and crippled children is 1,025 households. 



The Chairman. What does Hastings depend upon for its economic 
existence ? 

Mr. Harm. We have some industry, but our main source of income 
is agriculture. 

The Chairman. At least in years past it has been primarily agri- 
cultural. Is that right ? 

Mr. Harm. Yes, sir. We haven't raised much in the last 10 years, 
but it is still agriculture. 

The Chairman. What has been the condition of Hastings in the last 
year under the defense program both in industry and agriculture ? 

Mr. Harm. It is causing a hardship on the small merchants. It is 
making it hard for the city to promote W. P. A. projects. It is making 
it hard for the city to get materials. I should like at this time to read 
from my notes [reading] : 

The outlook for the Work Projects Administration program in Hastings, Nehr., 
for this winter at least is not very promising. 

A few weeks ago the city completed a large project employing as many as 160 
men at one time. This week the last of the projects that we have been working on 
will be finished. This will necessitate the laying off of the last 60 of the men. 

The city is sponsoring a project for installing 240 concrete electrolier posts. 
This project is approved and ready to go as soon as we can get the cable. The 
city has asked for priority on $7,000 worth of cable, but it looks as if it will be 
spring at least before the cable can be delivered. 

The city spent $700 for plans and specifications for improvement at the city 
sewage-treatment plant. This was to be a Work Projects Administration project 
Because much equipment is required it is not safe to proceed because of priorities 

All other projects that the city is ready to sponsor are paving improvements, 
which cannot be worked on till spring. 

Now, that is the condition in our city. We have a lot of things in 
mind to do, but we have been having a hard time to get priority rights 
and create labor for the unemployed. 

The Chairman. Will you tell the committee something about the 
municipal power plant you have here ? How large is it ? 

Mr. Harm. We estimate its value at $12,000,000. We think it is a 
wonderful plant. It employs approximately 75 people. That is a 
pay roll of more than $100,000 a year. 

The Chairman. Can this plant furnish the power demands for more 
industry ? 

Mr. Harm. Yes, indeed. 

The Chairman. Has it further capacity ? 

Mr. Harm. Ample capacity. 

The Chairman. What change has taken place in the population of 
Hastings from the 1930 census to the 1940 census ? 

Mr. Harm. There was a decrease in population. It is almost un- 

The Chairman. Has that continued during the defense program ? 

Mr. Harm. Yes ; I think this summer it has been very serious. 

The Chairman. What type of people are you losing? 

Mr. Harm. Those in the 21-40 age group. We have the older people 
on W. P. A. 

The Chairman. Do you know where those younger people are 



Mr. Harm. California, mostly. 

The Chairman. Do they just happen to go out there, or has there 
been soliciting 1 

Mr. Harm. Many of these families have children of working age. 
The younger people move out there, and then send for their parents. 
The parents sell their furniture and property, and are gone. 

The Chairman. Are those young people skilled or unskilled 

Mr. Harm. Mostly skilled. 

The Chairman. I believe that is all. Thank you, Mr. Harm. 

( )ur next \\ itness is Mr. Johnson. 


The Chairman. Mr. Johnson, Congressman Sparkman will inter- 
rogate you. I might say that Mr. Sparkman comes from the T. V. A. 
territory. He is a member of the Military Affairs Committee, and 
is familiar with the power situation throughout the country. 

Mr. Sparkman. Will you state your name, please, and the capacity 
in which you are appearing? 

Mr. Johnson. George E. Johnson, general manager, Central 
Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District. 

Mr. Sparkman. Mr. Johnson, I have been looking over the state- 
ment that you and Mr. Canaday have filed with the committee. We 
will not have you go over that statement in full, but in its entirety it 
will be printed in our record. 

(The statement referred to above is as follows:) 


This statement deals with population trends in the four counties comprising 
the central Nebraska public power and irrigation district. These counties are 
Adams, Kearney, Phelps, and Gosper. 

The following tables, taken from the United States census reports, show the 
population of these counties from 1910 to 1940, both years inclusive: 












Adams County: 





17, 407 
16, 839 

2, 537 
2, 676 


20, 900 
22, 621 
26. 275 

8, 593 

10. 451 

Qosper County: 


3. 967 

26, 851 
24, 438 
18, 689 



25. 202 
24, 839 


1020 . 







1940 .. 


Kearney County: 


Total for the four coun- 


45, 390 



45, 783 




Phelps County: 









From the foregoing table the following facts stand out : 

1. There has been a steady decline in the farm population during the last 30 


2. This decline has been about constant and was not greatly accelerated by the 
drought of the last 10 years. 

3. The population of all the cities and towns, except in Adams County (Hast- 
ings), has remained about the same. 

4. The city population in Adams County (Hastings) grew rapidly during the 
first 20 vears of the period covered and then declined during the last 10 years. 

Hastings, Minden, and Holdrege are the largest towns in this area. Minden 
and Holdredge show slight increases in population during the last 10-year period. 
Hastings' population decreased from 15,490 in 1930 to 15,145 in 1940. 

Every town in the State with a population of 10,000 or more increased in popu- 
lation except Hastings and Norfolk. 

The following table shows a comparison of the population trends of these four 
counties in comparison with the State as a whole : j 


Four counties 




< r 







881. 362 
891. 079 
801, 686 

26, 851 
24, 438 




-90, 170 




-2, 026 


1930 .. 




During the first 20 years of this period the farm population of the State was 
about stable, showing a slight decrease. But the farm population of these '4 
counties decreased. During the last 10 years the percentage of decrease was 
greater throughout the State as a whole than it was in those 4 counties. The 
State's loss was over 10 percent. The four counties' loss was 8.8 percent. The 
loss in these four counties has been at about a constant ratio for 30 years. The 
State as a whole has suffered no loss except during the last 10 years. The loss 
of farm population to the State as a whole for the 30-year period was 79,676 or 
about 11 percent. The loss in these 4 counties during the same period was 8,162 
or slightly more than 30 percent. 

The urban population in the State in 1910 was 310,852. In 1940 it was 514,148. 
This is an increase of 203,296 or a little less than S5 percent. During this same 
period the urban population in these 4 counties decreased 1,S62 or about 4 percent. 

The causes of this decline in rural population are many.; 

Mechanization of farming has the same effect on the number of men engaged 
In farming as it has on men engaged in industry. One man with a high-powered 
tractor and heavy machinery can now do the work formerly requiring many men 
using light, horse-drawn equipment. This is true especially with reference to 
grain crops. 

Living conditions on the farm have not been attractive. : The farm boy or girl 
who, in the middle of winter, was compelled to take his or her Saturday night 
bath in the family washtub in the kitchen before a cob fire in the cook stove, and 
had other conditions equally bad to put up with, cannot be blamed if he deter- 
mined to change his environment. 

But the real reason for this migration from the farm in this particular territory 
may be found in the following table, for which we are indebted to Mr. Val Kuska,. 
colonization agent of the Burlington Railroad : 




r-i— oco I— >o o» ■* 

to oo <N r- u~. co ci co 
■<r 3 |-TT oo o *«) 

> 8 Sm 

I — I DO 

■ — CO » 


CM — 'O CM 




;S S3 


r» o>a> — to 

- -. m<o 

■a rt 

IO> iO — co — 
; "*» -TO 00 O* 
■ o CM •— » iOO> 

CO ^ Oi 1^ 

n(0 CO tO 

»0 ^-> — 


ifO» CM ^ CO o 
\£$ >— ip tr to coco 
.— io *-< O ^ CO (O 

CNCO i— » 

CO <-• CO »o co cm 

Mr-©© ^ ^ 
^. © co cm co — < 

■ t'-'-'coco^r »ooo r- co »~i ^j« ow 

* CM — Q> 

— i-> .— cm 

u? CM co to 

OO'tN O © "**" tO CM CO CM CM 

<<J< •-< 

- a a<a 

c8 2&?%V 

: 2o 



o>r>- oco cm io com. 

TI- — i- — -<r GOCM 

■in -«-* *-"SjT -* 

^ oo -h r- o> cm 

cocm i-i^ 

i - / •*• coco 

i CO -OS CO '-O o co to CO 

' — • OCM 

CO •** CO o 
r- OC C »0 

CO — »-l 

*rr co o» c» oc 

i - rj i - 
^ ro n 

— «© to 

»C CM 

<C CM -* CO CM 

O CM to CO to 

■*r — < o> © r- 

ec" »o co* »o" co" 

3T3-SC 2 » 2 E c<« i,-<pa $<KZ;<b< 

Otaefl— 1»0(3!«0 03 C 3 

ftJJZ^-OKO O IS «< 

.2 a 

CO CO CM 00 —00 

o -^ cc o r- CO n 

t^ 00 CM O CO — < »c 

t-o Vo co*-^" »co 

— — r^ o o "^ cn 

io-h oc •"-■ >ra 

od -^ i-T 


CO o — CO 

O— • 
— CO 
00 — 

os *r> cn co »o 

1 — O CO 00 

: cm — •>»< o> oi 

\ CO CO I- I- -»r — 

OCN —00 

oo co co oo ^r r 
r^coo t— o — - 

OO ■*!© 

I^OOOO I--— t— CO OO tf3 t- 

r- o ro >o o o co ac o o oo — o 


— "co"cO CM CO tV»C 00 O — "CM 

CM X 00 -V O 

CN —i 

o « — — — 

- 1 

a? cd 

,«fl r 

•- v. i- n C w «m 
2 3 3 ° b fl Oi 

;j-o'u p >- j; 3 

a a a s « u — v — 

o3 y 3*jy3i)00 




OS 00 N00 -^Oi — CO 

Tf 10 hic r*. co 010 

COO COt-* CN O 00 CO 


00 o CO *^ -*f GO Cs CN 



i-H t- CN 


a^^^t^fX'CiiO CO »0 CN CO OiO OS iO 

. — CM CO CO O CO 

■^ t— CO ^ 

CS iO OS iO 

CO »0 -^ 1-H 

CO" CO" i-hOS*" os"—" 
i-h — Os CO i-t 

«iciflco>o(N r- co 

O CO CO CO OS CO cn >o 
CO CO CN — t- ^H »C CO 

00 CO 

cn r- <-« co *n co — 

CO — CN 00 00 

CO — 

CN l> 

CO "** 

— iO* 


5 3 co 

00 CO CS 


00 oo 

t- O 

■HN O 

iC OS 

OS iO 

O *" 

CO 00 

— CO 

** CD 



G Os 




OS t^- 

— CO 
tH CO 


CO CV9- 




"<rooo oos — — 

CO 00 CN 00 CN CN r* 

*o — cn >n 


co ■* t- o 

lOCO i-*<3> 

Q0 — — — 

r- o to co 

to co os r— 

CO 00 O CO 

iO -^ Tj* O 

i— CO coo 

eo'os" 00*0* 

— CO 1-1 

OS 00 O O O -hO coos 
onoi-n t- CO toco 

'f p-«tOM CO CN -*f CN 

OS — -44 Ot 

t- CO 

o — t*h» 

*0 O t- — 

iO — Os OS 

— "co" eo~*o 



o-" I- , 
C5-J P. a 


Efl — ^3 
•rt ° 

fc3^ > o 

3 « ° bP » 

-f S"R-S S c3"o 

.2 s- 2 2 w - 5 <" 

"- a <» gtooto 

** CO .. ^ l_l 

O 3 o3 O O 

O 0J 03p > O 03 w O 03 r* — 



O COO ^ 

cn co — r- 


CO 00 "*f »o too 

r- co cn 10 1-- — 

CO tO -*fCO O CO 


.10 r- co cn to 

> ■*?« ^f CO iO CN 
i-H CN* O ^ CO 

1— O iO CO CN »0 iO GO CO — 

to cn ci os r- co 'O *r ^ cn 

CN CO Tf — CN CO O OS 10 -^r 

O O 

— CO 


t— GO tOt- 

«H — 

CO ■ — 1" SCO 

CN — CN OS Tf t^ OS coos — r- 
— COt-OS OS t-- CN COCO 

CO CN CO OS — i-H i-H 

0> rt ■* 
10 r~ 10 





■*f CO 

r- cs 


co »o 


CO ~< 

OS -* 
>0 CS 


CS —1 



co -*r 



CO cs 

'© CO 
1 CO w 



t- OS CO CN »0 CO 

CO CN OS OS — " 1— 1 ■— 1 CO "*f< CO CN 

CO — 1 -rr CO O OS 

■- 1- -r 

~ CN OS 

— a 


o »o COCO t- CO ■**« 
Os ^ CNco t- m —i-H 

— CN 1-1 

■^r -^ coos cn cn r- 1-h 

mcO -*t tO t— CN CO tO 

CN — CO ^ I— CO tO CN 

IO 1-1 

O 0O r-f 

t- OS OS — CO 

i-H o -^ CO CO CO 

r- — co co co cn 

CO OS t— CO t— CO 

— O CO CO O 


CS Oi cs -^ 
CO CO cs cs 



g tag 0-3 043 ° 

'■3 2; a »- tv '0 •- " ca-jj o.-^ cu-^ as g 
_cj cs.__g cto = ' ea fe 3 o3-Uo3ia'cjo 
3-0 •a a 2 g § B q'«!« ^-<ffl g<JBS<5e- 

P.SBS yE-Si. -w j3 « 

o c3 co 3 >octj<no a Cr S3 

(IhJhI^oIOWO O ^ <1 


The foregoing statistics would perhaps hare given a more accurate picture if 
every year bad been Included or averages Cor definite periods used. Weather 
conditions fluctuate so that, by using Individual years, coming at regular inter- 
vals, we may, even over as long a period nt time as thai used, not get the com- 
plete trend. 

The foregoing tables show certain definite trends. In the first place the peak 
wns reached about 1910 or in the period between 1910 and 1920. There has been a 
definite decline In the number of farms (with a corresponding increase in acreage 
in eacb unit) and in CTOp yields per acre since that date. Of particular interest 
is the decline In the amount of alfalfa from the peak in 1910. All of these tend- 
encies became more pronounced during the Long and severe drought of the last 
few years. 

The fad that these tendencies have continued during periods of normal as well 
as subnormal rainfall show that subnormal precipitation is not the real cause 
that brought on this situation. 

In analyzing the causes of this situation in a paper presented at a meeting of 
the Land Reclamation Division of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers 
in December 1929, entitled. "The Dse Of Supplemental Water," J. C. Russell, pro- 
fessor of soils of the University of Nebraska, said in part: 

"In the very heart of the Great Plains in central Nebraska there lie 450,000 
■ cros of land in one continuous tract, tlat as a table, sloping eastward (5 to 8 feet 
to the mile, of loess soil 100 feet deep, adequately drained, and of potentially high 
productive quality, traversed by highways and rails, occupied for many years by 
a stable population of farmers and townsmen and supporting well-organized agri- 
cultural activities on railfall alone. 

"It is not an arid section. It is not even marginal dry-farming land. It is a 
region of corn and wheat fields, 4 acres of corn for every 3 acres of wheat, and 8 
acres in corn and wheat out of every in. In its virgin condition it was covered 
with little blue stem. Its average annual rainfall over a long period of years has 
been about 24 inches. It is a region where county corn yeilds are occasionally 
as high its 40 bushels and wheat as high as 25 bushels. But it is a region of un- 

"In 1913 corn yielded 2 bushels per acre and wheat 9.6 bushels. In 192(1 corn 
yielded 5 bushels per acre, and wheat 5.3 bushels. One-third of the time the 
yield of corn is under 15 bushels and the yield of wheat is under 8.5 bushels. 

"It is a region of fitful drought. In 23 years in the western third of this area 
there have been 65 occasions averaging 48 days in length, between April 1 and 
October 31. when not more than 1 inch of effective rain has fallen. In 1D22 the 
western third of this area went 109 days with only one rain of over one-half inch. 

"Flowing by this region on the north, a few miles away in a deeply cut valley, 
is the Platte River carrying enough water at seasons, if stored, to supply these 
450 OflO acres with better than 12 inches of water over all. 

"Some 15 years ago a group of citizens actuated by the drought disaster of 
1913 sponsored a movement to divert the waters of the Platte in seasons of flood, 
and store them in the retentive loess subsoil against periods of drought. Their 
idea was not to irrigate, in the accepted sense of the word, but to supplement 
rainfall. They called it supplemental irrigation. 

"It is not the purpose of this paper to explain the proposed tricounty supple- 
mental project of central Nebrnska. Tf shnll be referred to from time to time 
as illustrative material with which the writer is familiar. The real purpose of this 
papev is to discuss the philosophy, theory, and practice of supplemental irrigation. 

"Supplemental irrigation has been defined as the practice of artificially supply- 
ing to the soil sufficient water to carry crops through periods of drought and to 
make up the difference between the crop requirements and rainfall in seasons 
when rainfall alone is inadequate. It is irrigation in regions where rainfall con- 
tributes a substantial but indefinite portion of the crop's water requirements. It 
is a comparatively new idea. Is it necessary? Will it work? How should It 
be done? 

"First. Is it necessary? 

"Perhaps it seems strange that a section like Adams. Kearney, and Phelps 
Counties in central Nebraska should he brought under cultivation, become com- 
pletely settled, develop a complex but stabilized agriculture, and thriving cities 
and towns, and then after 40 or 50 years the complaint be voiced that rainfall 
Is inadequate and supplemental irrigation is required. 

"Perhaps you think that the complaint against inadequate rainfall is a fancied 
one and will cease to be heard when the national agricultural situation is alle- 


"Perhaps you are one who feels that as a general principle it is economically 
and socially unsound to project irrigation eastward into stabilized nonirrigation 
farming regions when land awaits colonization in existing Government reclama- 
tion projects, or when thousands of acres of humid country could be reclaimed 
by drainage or terrace construction. 

"I assert that the complaint of central Nebraska against inadequate water, 
coming at this stage of agricultural development, is inevitable and that it marks 
the beginning of a problem of reclamation in portions of the Great Plains as im- 
portant in national welfare as the comprehensive irrigation developments in arid 

"I have three reasons for making this assertion : 

"First: The Great Plains country was settled in a pioneer stage of national 
development by peoples who willed to withstand its rigors, who put what they 
won from it back into it, and who thereby created national wealth just as in all 
other sections of the country. But the pioneer spirit no longer exists. The 
Nation is in a new stage of development. Those who possess the land now find 
that it is overevaluated. And in the Great Plains its value must either decline, 
which would be a national calamity, or its value must be stabilized by mitigation 
of the hazard of drought. 

"Second. The newness of the land has worn off and its fertility has declined, 
and its earning power has been impaired. We know now what we did not know 
in the beginning or even 20 years ago, namely, that it is not possible to maintain 
fertility without irrigation in a region that is subject to frequent drought. 

"This statement may call for additional explanation. In Adams, Kearney, 
and Phelps Counties, Nebr., which are illustrative of a condition which extends 
southward across Kansas and northward into South Dakota, there are only 4.6 
acres of legumes today for every ICO acres of land under cultivation, and the 
acreage is declining. It is hazardous and uneconomical to grow them, hazardous 
because crops 'burn up' more quickly on legume land, and uneconomical because 
legumes are heavy users of water and rainfall alone is insufficient for satisfac- 
tory tonnage. 

"Because there are no legumes there is no cattle feeding and therefore no ma- 
nure. Unless it should transpire that nitrogen fertilizers can be used to advan- 
tage, and this is highly problematic, there is no way known to maintain the 
soil at the high productive level of its early years without supplementary 

"The third reason for my assertion that the complaint of inadequate water 
in the Great Plains is an inevitable one is that the efficiency of precipitation is 
growing less. It is growing less for the reason that the silty soil of central 
Kansas, Nebrask, and Dakota is losing or has already lost its virgin porous struc- 
ture, and is less receptive of rains than it formerly was, and forms and inferior 
natural or artificial mulch and loses water more rapidly. Also as a result of the 
decline in fertility it probably takes more water to produce a pound of dry matter." 

In describing the particular area under discussion in Bulletin 311 entitled 
"Benefits of Irrigation From the Kingsley Reservoir," published by the University 
of Nebraska College of Agriculture, Frank Miller and H. C. Filley, of the de- 
partment of rural economics, said : 

"The area that will receive irrigation benefits lies within the Platte River 
watershed in Adams, Buffalo, Dawson, Gosper, Hall, Kearney, Lincoln, and Phelps 
Counties. It is a small part of the vast belt of land, tilted against the east base 
of the Rocky Mountains, known as the Great Plains region. Settlement in this 
area was under way as early as 1870, but the main part of the land was home- 
steaded or purchased by actual farmers between 18S0 and 1890. 

"These settlers plowed up the native vegetation which was adapted to the 
climate. For centuries it had been adding humus to the plant nutrients found 
in the soil-forming material. The vegetative carpet had retarded run-off during 
infrequent rainstorms and had caused moisture to be stored in the soil. During 
the early years of cultivation the reserve of decaying vegetable matter left by 
the native grasses held the soil particles together so that rainfall was easily 
absorbed. The mineral elements in the soil, its humus content which supplied 
nitrogen, and the reserve subsoil moisture all contributed to crop yields. Un- 
fortunately the productivity of the land has declined with cultivation and Its 
earning power has decreased. The silty soil is losing or has already lost its 
virgin porous structure, and is less receptive of rains than it formerly was. The 
surface is powdery. It forms an inferior natural or artificial mulch and loses 
water more rapidly. Wind and water erosion have taken their toll of fertility. 
60396 — 42— pt. 21 2 


As a result of these changed conditions, it probably takes more water to produce 
b nound -r drj matter In crops than 11 took under virgin conditions. 

-it la ii, ,i possible to maintain productivity without Irrigal a region that 

is subject to trequenl drought it. the upland area of the Irrigation district tbere 

.,,- ,jy 3.7 acres af alfalfa for each 100 acres of land under cultivation. Other 

legumes are less common, it is hazardous to grow them, for crops burn up 

''"•'Yini'fa which Is well adapted, is deep rooted. It has the hlghesl water re- 
tirement 'for producing a pound of dry matter of any of the common farm crops 
and draws heavily upon Bubsoil moisture. When a stand is left for a .year 
ueriod the moisture Is removed to a depth of 20 to 85 feet. Normal rainfall may 
not replace a like amount of water for at least a generation. Yields on reseeded 
laud depend largely upon annual precipitation. They are usually so ugni tnat 

reseedlng is nol considered a pr< Citable farm practice. The practh I using this 

[mportanl crop In :i rotation is found en the unirrigated land of the area. 
•Sweetclover can ho grown successfully on most of the land, hut is little used 
Nitrogen which is added to the soil stimulates growth, in the early part of 
the sea-.n when water is available, crops which follow clover grow vigorously. 
Later, when dry weather comes, there is little or no moisture reserve in the subsoil 

''"'•The roots of the grain crops commonly grown in the region do not penetrate 
the soil as deeply as do the roots of alfalfa and sweetclover. But continuous 
cropping Of corn and small grain, under present practices, has depleted the humus 
left hv centuries Of natural vegetative growth. 

"Humus is an important constituent of a fertile soil. It performs three im- 
portant functions. In the first place this decayed organic matter hinds the soil 
particles into granules so that the erosive effect of wind and water is materially 
reduced In the second place, humus has a large water-holding capacity and 
absorbs rainfall in much the same way that a sponge takes up water. Lastly, 
humus nourishes bacteria which make nitrogen available for plant growth. I his 
important constituent has been disappearing from the soils of central Nebraska. 
It can be returned by the use of alfalfa and sweetclover in rotations, but farmers 
do not use these crops extensively because of the reasons previously given. 

From the foregoing we see the picture of what is happening to this country 
and the reasons for it. The answer to the problem is, of course, to stabilize 
production and farm prices. How to do these things offers the veal difficulty. 

\ benevolent, sympathetic, and understanding national administration has gone 
a long wav to help solve these problems. The Rural Electrification Administra- 
tion has brought many of the conveniences, even the luxuries, of the modern home, 
to the farm and made It a much more attractive place to live. 

The Agricultural Adjustment Administration has brought the farmers together 
for serious study and cooperation in the solution of their problems. New 
methods of farming to conserve soil and moisture have been introduced New 
crops more resistant to drought have been introduced also. The shelterbelt tree- 
planting program has made its contribution. All of these things, introduced 
during the last few vears, are helping so've the problem. 

Bv far the most important step yet taken in the area under discussion is the 
placing of about 200.009 acres of land under irrigation by the central Nebraska 
public power and irrigation district (the tricounty project). This great project 
|v hist getting under wav. It will render complete service to its irrigators for 
the first time in 1942. But with its incomplete works it 1ms been able to furnish 
some water for Irrigation. From results already obtained the most optimistic 
hopes of its promoters seem assured of realization. Corn irrigated this year is 
producing from 70 to 90 bushels per acre in fields that, for several years, had not 
produced enough to pay their taxes. Barley planted on land which received 
Irrigation in the spring of 1940. hut has not been irrigated since, as a result of 
subsoil storage from that irrigation, produced 10 bushels more per acre than 
barlev on adjacent land that had never been irrigated. Wheat showed similar 
results. The alfalfa acreage in this irrigated territory is being greatly extended. 
Farms are already being divided up and made smaller. _ 

What has happened in Scotts Bluff County offers the best illustration of 
what will happen in this area when the 200.000 acres under this project are 
completely irrigated. There are about 200.000 acres of irrigated land in Scotts 
Bluff County. While there was some irrigation before 1910, successful irrigation 
started about that time with the completion of the Pathfinder Reservoir. With- 


out irrigation Scotts Bluff County would be comparable to other counties in the 
west end of the State that do not have irrigation. 

The Burlington Railroad would probably not have been built up the North 
Platte Valley and the city of Scottsbluff, a city of 12,000 people, and several 
smaller towns would never have come into existence. Scotts Bluff County today 
has an assessed valuation for tax purposes of $26,000,000. Without irrigation 
it would probably have had an assessed valuation of $6,000,000. Scotts Bluff 
County supports a population of 33,917 people. Without irrigation, its popula- 
tion would probably not exceed 5,000. 

Given irrigation, the territory under consideration should exceed the progress 
made in Scotts Bluff County. The 200,000 acres to be irrigated by the tricounty 
project should bring better results than the 200,000 irrigated acres in Scotts 
Bluff County. The tricounty area has better, more uniform soil. It is 200 
miles closer to market. Irrigation for this area will be cheaper. Its growing 
seasons are longer. 

The following table, prepared by Mr. Val Kuska, colonization agent of the 
Burlington Railroad, showing the effect of irrigating 200,000 acres of land in 
Scotts Bluff County, illustrates very vividly what can reasonably be expected 
from the irrigation of the 200,000 acres of land now susceptible to irrigation 
under the tricounty project : 



S 588 ( 

8 1 - .— O0 CO f l» *T< 

I- Q »C~ — OS «©< 

■*• oo© mb* cn oo «-" < 

— * C* *f 0> OS* OO" *p £-" < 

co cs — • «o oo N< 
_> <o cn 

• c 9 >- CO 
I r- So oi w 

' OS Q — «~ 

co ^ c3 ooos S -*r 

--T os«o —"co od*o* -*« 
~ n oo co t- 

OO —t 

> CO — COO CO O "0 

>os — <x oo to co — • 

> t>- C* CO — 00 to CO 

00 CNOO -* •— « 

I o to — c-j 

S? ?j 

i CI c — — ■ 

os — osoo c 

os to CO 00 
O0 — tOh- 

'2 Sc 

B I — T J to cp o *o h- OS 

— CO — OS 

o e»o 
T re cn 



/ c 



00 CO 

CN <N 


1- CM 




r: CO 

C~ «0 


~ CO 

o> o 


— 1 00 


lO — i 





«-• co »o os o o ^r 

■"*- Tfi cj *n 

: co r~ ■«»« 

ic -H .— cn 

— COO CS ^ »C »0 »0 ■"*» CO CN 

NO); ■<** — co oo i— -co 

^-, ~- © <-< *<*• 

OS »C 

— CI 


CO— I 

00 o 

CC— < 

<n e» 

C» CN 

<N OS 

00 CO 



CM — ' 1^ CO CI 00 O 

i — < — iCO 

•O S 


c:a.s2i wo 

|5 ffl 

: -«* m *~ -r< u. ■•- *-" m 

w 2 ^> ~ O— *^>OD — 0000300 

'-•^■Sb *e a -2 -e o" 


3 .2 


The stabilization of crop production by irrigation and by the soil conservation 
program will not solve all of the problems with which this State is faced. Irri. 
gation, at best, will only cover a small percentage of the total acreage of the 
State. The part of the State not irrigated will continue to have fluctuations 
in crops due to the changes in weather conditions. This country needs in- 
dustries to take up the slack during the adverse crop years. 

The Industries we need most are those that would process what we raise. 
Chemurgy is opening many fields for the use of farm products. The plastic 
industry is in its infancy. We have a large number of raw materials for this 
industry that are being wasted each year, as corn stalks, grain sorghums, and 
straw. These materials can now be turned into products useful to industry if 
the processing plants are located where the wasted products exist. These 
products cannot profitably be harvested and shipped elsewhere. They will con- 
tinue to be wasted and the territory continue to lose the income from them 
unless processing plants are constructed to use this surplus. 

We now have a large area between North Platte, Hastings, and Grand Island 
that for the first time will have an adequate water supply. Canning factories 
can now be operated in this area with the assurance that they will be able to 
secure an ample supply of vegetables each year such as asparagus, peas, sweet 
corn, and tomatoes. We have had some irrigation in this territory for many 
years. However, due to the lack of storage water to carry over for the dry 
years, we have not been in a position to constantly raise crops which would 
justify the location of canning factories. Because they are perishable, none of 
these vegetable crops can be shipped out to be processed. Processing plants 
must be located where the products will reach them while it is fresh. Eren 
alfalfa mills must be located where they can process the alfalfa immediately 
after it is harvested. 

With the expansion of irrigation on a large scale the State will be able to 
produce innumerable varieties of crops but it will not have an adequate market 
for these crops unless processing plants are located in the area where the crops 
are raised so that the crops can be processed in season and used throughout the 
year. Wheat and corn can be raised and shipped elsewhere for processing; 
however, there is no logical reason why Nebraska wheat should be shipped to 
Minneapolis to be milled or corn to other States for milling purposes. 

We have the potential facilities here. Local plants will supply work for our 
people when work on the farm is slack and will keep them from going elsewhere. 
Nebraska is developing its hydroelectric facilities. The three great public power 
districts with their interconnecting grid system and transmission lines now 
make power available in almost any part of the State at very reasonable cost. 

Industries in this State do not necessarily need to be confined entirely to 
processing just what we raise here. We have in Hastings fine examples of 
various successful industries whose products are shipped all over the country. 
The Western Land Poller Co., manufacturers of irrigation pumps, farm ma- 
chinery, and equipment, has successfully operated during the more adverse times, 
has had a substantial pay roll, and has contributed a great deal to the welfare 
of the people in this community. The same thing is true about the Rose Manu- 
facturing Co., operated by the Dutton-Lainson Co., the Hastings Air Conditioning 
Co., Jaden Manufacturing Co., and others. Their success with small plants 
proves there can be a decentralization of some of the larger industries manu- 
facturing similar products. 

While the plant costs of larger industries may be less if all the work is done 
in one plant, the labor problems would be greatly lessened if such plants were 
divided into units and each unit located in a separate part of the country. 

The manufacturer can locate a plant in this territory, buy a large tract of 
Irrigated land, build homes on it for his workmen, give them enough land to 
raise a substantial garden, keep a cow, raise poultry and in this way. the laborer 
would produce a large part of his living. The manufacturer would find his labor 
much more satisfied and the cost to him lessened. With the coming of shorter 
hours in labor, a laboring man has adequate time to care for a home and garden 
of this kind. It would be a very wholesome thing for the country as a whole if 
this plan could be carried out on a large scale. 

With reference to the power available at this time for such plants, the three 
hydro districts now have a surplus capacity of more than 100.000 kilowatts or 
130,000 hoursepower. The public power districts have also purchased a large 
number of steam generating plants and these plants have been tied into the 
^electric grid system with the hydro plants and are now operated by the hydro 
districts. Other hydro plants may economically be installed at the Kingsley 


Dam, using the water that is now coming down from storage in the 2,000,000 
acre feel reservoir of I ii<' bydro ilist rlcts : also below i be Loup River public power- 
district's plant :hk1 on the Republican River. These plants could produce an 
addil lonal 150,000 boursepower. 

Regarding ski n<<i labor for operating manufacturing plants, for many years 
our State University has been training men to operate and maintain all types 
of farm machinery, Including tractors, automobiles, and trucks. Our State 
University since 1019 has operated the only State-controlled tractor-testing labo- 
ratory in the United states, on practically every farm we have someone who 
is skilled in the overhauling and rebuilding of all types of farm machinery. 
These men have very little difficulty in fitting themselves into 'lie program of 
line production in manufacturing plants. 

I believe the besl example of the adaptation of this type of labor to manu- 
facturing plants has been done by the Allison .Motor Works. The construction 
of the Allison Motor requires very careful work by the mechanics and Mr, 
Allison stales that he has bad better service from the young men from the farm 
and manual training schools than from mechanics imported from the East who 
have learned their trade in other plants. 

Now for suggestions of a program that will help solve these problems: 

1. Extend Irrigation: The Tri-County facilities can, at a comparatively small 
cost, he extended to irrigate from 200,000 to 300,000 more acres of land. The 
state bas an adequate underground water supply to irrigate at least an equal 
amount. With the cheap power available from the hydroelectric projects this 
irrigation becomes more feasible. There are about 200,000 acres susceptible of 
successful irrigation from the Republican River and its tributaries. This develop- 
ment should be done now in conjunction with the flood control project on the 
Republican. If the above suggestions are followed, homes and a living will be 
provided for an Increase in population greater than the loss to the entire State 
during the last 10 years. 

2. Continue tin' farm program of soil conservation, and crops better fitted 
to local conditions. Continue the tree-planting program. 

3. Extend the rural electrification program until every farm home is an 
attractive place to live. 

4. Promote industry: Due to fluctuating weather conditions this territory's 
economy will not become stable until it has sufficient industries to take up the 
slack during the adverse crop years. We should have industries that will 
process what we raise. We should not be required to send our wheat to Minne- 
apolis to be milled. Chemurgy is opening up new fields for the use of farm 
products. The plastic industry is in its infancy. Processing plants for these 
purposes should be built in this territory where the materials to be processed 
are produced. 

The Government is building large industries for the production of defense 
materials. Some of these industries should be located here. Locating them 
here will furnish the temporary help that this country needs in order to make 
up for the loss of population due to people obtaining jobs in defense industries 

Rut the chief reason we want and need a defense industry is this: If 
plants producing for our needs during peacetime can be converted into 
producers of war munitions, we believe that plants producing war supplies, 
when the emergency is over, can as readily be converted to producing for our 
peace needs. If large expenditures are made for permanent plants and a 
skilled personnel to operate those plants gathered together, these plants, if 
tiny can be converted into a peace industry, will be converted, and the develop- 
ment of industry which this country so much needs will be greatly accelerated. 

(Attached hereto and as a part of this statement are supporting data.) 


Storing of Water Lowers the Water Table in the Platte Valley. 

With reference to specific objections to the irrigation and hydroelectric pro- 
gram of the Tri-County district in particular and the other districts generally. 
It has been asserted that the Tri-County district is lowering the water table in 
the territory between Kearney and Central City and is ruining a prosperous 
valley. The adverse conditions in this area that have existed during the 
last few years have been blamed upon this district. The facts are that this 
district closed the outlet works at the Kingsley Reservoir and commenced 


storing water about the 1st of February 1941. It bad done nothing up to that 
time that could have any substantial effect upon the water table anywhere. 

The answer to this criticism will be found in studies made by the United 
States Geological Survey cooperating with the geology department of the Slate 
University. A summary of these studies is found in the pamphlet entitled, 
"Studies of Relations of Rainfall and Run-off in the United Stales," Geological 
Survey Water-Supply Paper No. 772, published by the United States Government 
Printing Office in 1936. This summary, commencing on page 2G9 of this paper, 
is as follows : 

"The advisory committee of the American Geophysical Union in a report to 
the water-planning committee, dated February 12, 1935, suggested, among other 
things, 'a study of the laws governing the ground-water supply to streams and 
the relation of ground-water levels to ground-water flow. This is important 
because ground water is the only source of supply to streams without surface 
storage during drought periods. Also in case of many crops, such as alfalfa, 
ground water is the principal source of moisture utilized by vegetation during 
drought periods when soil moisture is deficient.' 

"In this connection a comparison of deficiencies in precipitation with decline 
of ground-water levels made in the Platte Valley in central Nebraska by Leland 
K. Wenzel, of the United States Geological Survey, is of interest. The results 
of this study are briefly outlined in the following statement prepared for the 
press, dated April 1, 1935. In connection with this statement it should be noted 
that water is pumped from wells for irrigation during the summer in the area 
east of Kearney, and hence the water-level fluctuations shown in the accompany- 
ing figure are not wholly caused by natural conditions. The part of the Platte 
Valley where irrigation is practiced with water diverted from the Platte River 
is somewhat separated from the part of the valley east of Kearney by a restric- 
tion in the valley, and it is believed that the effect of surface-water irrigation 
west of Kearney on the fluctuations of the water table in the area to the east is 

"The water levels in about 100 wells in the Platte River Valley between Grand 
Island and Cozad, in central Nebraska, have been measured periodically since 
October 1930 by the United States Geological Survey in cooperation with the 
conservation and survey division of the University of Nebraska. In October 1934 
the water levels in these wells stood from 1 to 8 feet lower than in October 1930, 
thus indicating a general decline of the ground-water table throughout this 
part of the Platte Valley. It has been greatest in part of the valley between 
Cozad and Kearney, ranging from 4 to 8 feet in an area north of Cozad and 
Lexington and from 3 to 4 feet in an area on the north side of the valley from 
Lexington to and beyond Kearney. This decline has been caused principally by 
subnormal precipitation, together with the relatively small amount of surface 
water available for irrigation, and thus for seepage to the ground-water table, 
in the last 4 years. N. H. Darton, of the United States Geological Survey, made 
an investigation in 1896 of the geology and ground-water conditions of south- 
eastern Nebraska. The ground-water level in the vicinity of Lexington was then 
20 to 22 feet below the land surface. At the present time it is only 7 to 10 feet 
below the land surface and hence is still from 10 to 15 feet above the level of 
1896. * The net rise since 1896 doubtless has been caused by seepage of water 
diverted from the Platte River for irrigation. In years when only comparatively 
little water flows, in the irrigation ditches — as during the last 4 years — the 
seepage is small, and therefore rather large declines of the water table occur. 
Rises of 1 to 4 feet of the water level in wells near Lexington were recorded in 
the fall of 1934, when surface water once more flowed in many of the canals near 
the city. 

"East of Kearney the decline of the ground-water table has in general been less 
than west of Kearney. From Kearney to Shelton and south of Alda it has in 
general ranged from 2 to 3 feet, and in the vicinity of Wood River it has been 
less than 2 feet. The decline east of Kearney was smaller chiefly because the 
water table had not been built up prior to 1930 to any great extent by surface- 
water irrigation and also, perhaps, because east of Kearney the ground-water 
level is sustained to a greater extent by underflow from the northwest. Such 
decline as occurred was due chiefly to subnormal precipitation but in small part 
to the considerable quantity of ground water that was pumped for irrigation. 

"A special study was made of the fluctuation of the water levels in 20 observa- 
tion wells between Grand Island and Kearney and their relation to the precipi- 
tation. The results are shown in the accompanying graphs (fig. 8S). One hydro- 


graph Bhowa the average water level at the end of successive 8-month periods 
from January 1981 to January L98C In 14 wells in which the water levels stand 
more than 10 feel below the land surface. Another bydrograpb similarly shows 
the average wain- levels in 8 wells with water levels leas than 10 feel below its 
surface. The wells of the Becond group are In the Bamestretcb of the Platte Valley 

as those Of the Orel group hut arc nearer i he riser, where the water table is not 

far belovi the surface, a third graph shews the accumulative departure from 
normal precipitation as compiled from the records at Grand Island and Kearney 

since January 1. 1931. 

"The water levels in the weiis of the second group in general rise and fall 
more than the water levels in the wells of the first group. This more active 
fluctuation is due to the following causes: Recharge from precipitation occurs 
more frequently where the water table Is shallow and thus larger rises of the 

water level result. On the other hand, the roots of more plants draw water 
directly from the zone of saturation where the water table IS shallow, and con- 
sequently larger declines of the water level occur in the growing season. Changes 
in the level of the Platte River cause similar changes in the water levels in wells 
- to i he stream, hut the river has small effect on the water levels in wells 
farther away. In the winter aad spring of 1931, l!t.;:;. and 1934 the average rise 
was Irss than 1 inch in the wells with deeper water level but more than 1 foot 
in the wells with shallow water level. The decline of the water levels in the 
f-ummer and fall was likewise greatest in the shallow-water wells. Consequently 
in the last 4 years the net decline was nearly t lie same in each group. 

"In the first half of 1932 there were rather large rises of the water levels in 
all the wells in the Platte Valley, as indicated by the hydropraphs. The cause 
of this rise is apparent from the curve showing accumulative departure from 
normal precipitation. From Octoher 1931 to April 1932 the average precipitation 
recorded at Grand Island and Kearney was slightly above normal, and conse- 
quently considerahle water percolated into the ground and was added to the 
ground-water reservoir in this recharge period. As a result the water level did 
not reach as low a level in 1932 as it did in 1931. Since July 1932 the precipitation 
lias been about 22 inches below normal — a deficiency equivalent to almost 1 year's 
normal precipitation — and the water level in the valley has suffered annual net 
declines. It may reasonably he expected that future years of greater precipitation 
will again raise the ground-water levels." 

The data upon which the foregoing conclusions are based have been kept up to 
date and could be made available to the committee by the United States Geological 
Survey, Department of the Interior, Washington, D. C, or the conservation and 
survey division of the University of Nehraska. We venture a prediction that 
the water table in this area is higher during 1941, the only year the Kingsley 
Reservoir has been in operation, than it has been since 1932. 

Large areas of profitable land are taken out of use. 

One other criticism of the project is that it takes a large amount of land out 
of productive use in the construction of its reservoir. The following is the 
acreage taken out of use in the Kingsley Reservoir : 


Cultivated land 5. 728 

Alfalfa land G23 

Meadow land 8, 9(18 

Glazing land, river bed, and other poor land 20. 376 

Total 35.635 

Commencing on page 44 of bulletin 311, Economic Benefits of Irrigation from 
the Kingsley Reservoir, heretofore referred to, we find the following statement 
under the title, "The Reservoir Area": 

"In order to store water for irrigation in central Nebraska approximately 32.000 
acres of Keith County land will he covered by the Kingsley Reservoir. Not all of 
this land is tillable and a part that can be cultivated is low-grade soil along th« 
North Platte River bed. If it is assumed that the entire acreage consists of 
grade I and II soils 79.8 percent of which are cultivated in the county, the annual 
loss in agricultural production does not exceed 1.100 carloads (table 40). If this 
maximum production is subtracted from the 26.905-carload increase on the land 
that will receive supplemental water in the irrigation district, the estimated net 
annual increase in all crops is 25,805 carloads. 

"Actual production in the reservoir area is believed to be at least 25 percent 
lower than the 1,100-carload estimate. A large part of the land that will be 


covered by water is grade III and IV soils. Actual yields on these classes of 
land are lower than the averages used in the estimates. Details are given in 
tables 38 and 39. 

"In working out the estimated production for the reservoir area acreages were 
allotted to the several crops according to the average percentage of land planted 
to them in the county as a whole. A large part of the land tributary to this 
particular area is used for grazing. Farming practice within the county contines 
wheat largely to the tableland. Desirable land that will be covered by the reser- 
voir is used for feed crops. The estimated annual production of wheat in table 
40 is 72 cars. An average of only G.2 carloads were shipped the past 10 years 
(table 41). Hay and other forage crops replaced the wheat. As a matter of 
course, the major part of these crops was consumed locally. 

"During the 10-year period ending 1936, total outgoing carload shipments from 
4 stations serving the reservoir area have averaged 523.4 cars annually. It is not 
possible to determine the exact amount of this total coming from the acreage 
that will be covered by water. The combined shipments, out and in, averaged 
724.9 carloads. More than 72 percent (72.8) of this total was livestock. Cattle 
and sheep will probably continue to find their way into and out of the territory 
surrounding these shipping points after the reservoir is filled. Freight forwarded, 
other than livestock, averaged 42.7 carloads annually for the 1927-36 10-year 


The central Nebraska public power and irrigation district expects to deliver 
a minimum of 1 acre-foot of water for each acre of irrigable land when it gets 
into complete operation. At that time it will be adequately irrigating 200,000 
acres of land. 

During the summer of 1941, the central Nebraska public power and irrigation 
district had water available in its storage reservoir to be used for irrigation. 
Prior to that time it had delivered some water, during the early spring or late 
fall, when it was available from the direct flow of the Platte River. During 
the last summer, however, the district did deliver 13,744.04 acre-feet of water 
to irrigate 25,401.25 acres of irrigable land. A small portion of this land did 
receive an acre-foot of water per acre. The greater portion of it received a less 

The following results, from a few farms, are reported by Mr. Leonard Wenzl, 
agricultural engineer employed by the district: 

"1. W. H. Swartz, Loomis, Nebr. NW% 1-6-19. Mr. Swartz reported that 
he had an $8 000 investment in the 160-acre unimproved farm. During the 
period of 1934 to 1940, inclusive, the land which was rented to adjoining land- 
owners and farmers barely paid taxes on the land. There was practically no 
income from the grain crops raised. It is all under cultivation and was planted 
to corn, wheat, oats, and barley in accordance with the Triple A conservation 
program. There was small fallow or idle land as it is called under the program 
which was planted to feed crops. Because of the drought situation during 
most of that period, grain yields were very low. The average corn yield in that 
period was less than 5 bushels per acre. In several years the wheat was a total 
failure. This year Mr. Swartz prepared 40 acres for irrigation. In spite of 
severe damage by hail, the corn is yielding 25 bushels per acre. The balance of 
the corn on this farm is yielding only 5 to 8 bushels per acre. Mr. Swartz feels 
that the trial in irrigation this year was successful enough to warrant preparing 
the balance of the farm for irrigation next year. He has had a leveling con- 
tractor working on the farm this fall. He also finds that it is unsatisfactory to 
rent to adjoining farmers who are having trouble securing labor to carry on 
farming operations. Also they are not able to handle as much land under irri- 
gation and land that is producing crops which make it necessary for considerable 
labor in harvesting and marketing than was the case under dry-land conditions. 
Mr. Swartz has decided to improve this farm and is now building a house, barn, 
and having a well dug, and doing other necessary construction for establishing 
a farmstead on this farm. 

"2. Max Junkin, Smithfield, Nebr. Sec. 17-7-21. Mr. Junkin operates about 
1.500 acres of land near Smithfield. He carries a large herd of purebred 
Hereford cattle. He stated that he has had considerable diffi ulty carrying on 
his livestock feeding operations during the last 10 years because of crop failure 
in his immediate territory. It has been necessary to truck in thousands of 
bushels of grain and heavy tonnages of alfalfa hay, beet tops, and beet pulp 
from the valley to carry his herd of cattle. 1941 was the first season tricounty 
was able to furnish water on the E-65 system. Mr. Junkin watered 65 acres 


50 of which were In corn whlcb is yielding between 80 and 9d bushels per acre. 
One Held was in Irrigated rye which was cut fur silage in late June. The land 
was then Irrigated and planted to ;i forage sorghum which was also used for 
Silage this year. The tWO Crops Off the same field made a total yield of 28 
luii- uf silage per acre. .Mr. Jiinkin is intending to develop as much of his 
farm as can he Irrigated Within the next 2 years or a total of approximately 200 


"3. Walter Maaske, Bertrand, Nebr. SW% 33-7-20. Mr. Maaske operated 
640 acres uf land in the Bertrand community. H" has been following general 
grain farming- wheat, corn, barley, oats, and some sotghum. His place is 
highly Unproved He built a new double crib in 1034 following a fair corn 
crop in 1933 under dry-land conditions. This crib had about 200 hushels in 
it in 1035 from about l < >< » acres. The years 1935 t<> 1940 he never husked as 
much as 200 hushels from his farm. In 1!'41 he prepared and irrigated 60 
acres of corn. This corn is yielding over 50 hushels per acre. His crib has 
been Oiled fur the Qrsl time and it was necessary to pile some of the corn on the 
ground fur lack of space. He has contracted for leveling additional land and 
intends to prepare land for alfalfa and othe crops which can be produced under 
irrigation. He stated that he would not plant another acre of dry-land corn 
on his farm. 

"4. T. A. Gustafson and Richard Gustafson, Funk. Nebr. SM> 23-6-17. 
This is a father-and-son partnership on Highway No. 6 2 miles east of Funk. 
Mr. Gustafson stated that in the period 1929 to 1939 his general farming opera- 
tions did not pay operating expenses. He started irrigating in 1939 from the 
main Phelps County Canal which cuts through his farm. It was necessary for 
him to pump part of the water because of insufficient flow to make gravity 
delivery possible. Mr. Gustafsun stated that during the 3 years of irrigation 
his irrigated corn has averaged 50 bushels per acre. This year with over 100 
acres irrigated, his best field-yielded 90 bushels per acre. He has successfully 
Irrigated 11 acres of alfalfa which is a new crop for him, some irrigated sudan 
pasture, forage sorghum for silage, buffalo grass pasture, besides his corn. Mr. 
Gustafson is one of the outstanding irrigators in the tricounty area and will 
try to water all of the irrigable land on his farm next year. He is changing 
from wheat to corn and other crops which can be more easily irrigated and 
offer heavier yields and returns. 

"5. Fred Olson, Holdrege, Nebr. E%SW% 36-7-19. Mr. Olson owns and 
operates this 80-acre farm and rents 320 acres in addition. He has been farming 
for a number of years raising grain crops under dry-land conditions. He stated 
that by hard work and close figuring along with Triple A payments he just about 
made expenses since 1930. The average yield, according to records in the Triple A 
office, are: Wheat, 13 bushels and corn 19 bushels per acre over a 10-year period. 
He stated that his son was discouraged with farming and is taking up other lines 
of work, leaving no one to assist him in farming operations and making it neces- 
sary to employ outside labor. This year he watered 35 acres of corn. His farm 
is under the E-65 system, which had water for the first time during 1941. The 
35 acres of irrigated corn yielded 55 bushels per acre. He stated that there is 
more corn on the 85 acres than was produced on 400 acres during the last 5 years. 
He is preparing the balance of his own SO acres for water next year. 

"6. Carl A. Erickson. Axtell. Nebr. Mr. Erickson is a tenant farmer operating 
the N% 6-6-16. He has been the tenant on this farm for the last 9 years. In 
addition to the half section he has operated 160 acres of cultivated dry land and 
160 acres of grazing land. He stated that in the last 12 years he has purchased 
and worn out over $10,000 worth of farm machinery. Since 1934, he stated that 
the crops did not return enough to pay operating expenses, and that if it would 
not have been for Triple A payments and his livestock and poultry, it w^ould not 
have been possible for him to continue farming. He started irrigating from the 
Phelps County canal system in 1939 and has been increasing the irrigated area 
each year. This year he irrigated 115 acres. Twenty-five acres of this w r as a 
new stand of alfalfa — the balance in corn and forage crop. His irrigated hybrid 
corn is yielding 75 bushels iter acre. He is preparing additional land for irriga- 
tion next year and stated he wanted to irrigate the entire half section as soon as 
possible if he could hire satisfactory labor — the labor shortage becoming a problem 
on this large irrigated farm. He plans to start raising sugar heels in 1042. 

"Thirty stands of alfalfa were established during 1941. Every farmer wants 
20 acres or more as soon as he can prepare a good alfalfa seedbed. Over 200 
farms have hired leveling contractors to do some leveling work for them in 
improving their farm for irrigation." 


(Accompanying the above statement was a booklet entitled "Eco- 
nomic Benefits of Irrigation From the Kingsley (Keystone) Reservoir," 
by Frank Miller and H. C. Filley, of the Department of Rural Eco- 
nomics, University of Nebraska College of Agriculture. The booklet, 
gublished in October 1937, as Bulletin 311, University of Nebraska 
ollege of Agriculture Experiment Station, Lincoln, is held in com- 
mittee files, but the section headed "Summary and conclusions," is as 
follows :) 

Crop production in central and western Nebraska is uncertain. Lack of de- 
pendable moisture is the most important limiting factor. 

Irrigation is successfully practiced in several areas of the State. Rainfall short- 
age over a long period and extreme drought in recent years have stimulated interest 
in its extension. 

Most of the stream flow in areas suited to irrigation is now appropriated for use. 
Extension depends upon the storage of water now lost as run-off. Most of this 
loss occurs during the dormant season. 

Numerous irrigation projects that must depend upon stored water have been 
outlined. One of the most extensive is the central Nebraska public power and 
irrigation district. The water supply for this project will be drawn from the 
Kingsley Reservoir. 

Kingsley Dam is located on the North Platte River 9 miles northeast of Ogallala 
in Keith County, Nebr. 

Water impounded by the dam will form a lake with about 32,000 acres of water 
surface in Keith County. Storage capacity is approximately 2.000,000 acre-feet. 
It is' anticipated that Adams, Buffalo, Dawson, Gosper, Hall, Kearney, Lincoln, 
and Phelps Counties will benefit from irrigation made possible by the dam. 

These counties have 2,083,372 acres of high-grade soil, of which 1,672,894 acres 
are cultivated. Approximately 900,000 acres of this land may be placed under 

The climate of the area is semiarid. Weather is a distinct hazard in crop 
production because of extreme variability in annual and seasonal rainfall. 

Average crop yields without irrigation for the 10-year period ending 1935 were 
as follows : 

Tons or bushels 
Crop : P er acre 

Alfalfa 1.82 

Barley 20. 84 

Corn 17.67 

Oats 22.90 

Potatoes 64.80 

Wheat 13.00 

Crop yields under irrigation should average not less than the following : 

Tons or bushels 
Crop : Per acre 

Alfalfa 3. 

Barley 45. 

Corn 40.0 

Oats 45.0 

Potatoes : 170.0 

Sugar beets 10. 2 

Wheat 20.0 

Fattening livestock en route to market from the western range country should 
become a dominant farm enterprise. 

The estimated net increase in production due to irrigation in the area is 25,805 
carloads annually. 

Outshipments from stations serving the reservoir area, excluding livestock 
which were grazed on the surrounding territory, averaged 42.7 carloads annually 
over the 10-year period ending in 1936. 

Total outshipments, including livestock, averaged 523.4 carloads. 

It is estimated that construction of Kingsley Dam alone will add 12,395 carloads 
of freight to the traffic of the railroad serving the reservoir area. This is 290 
times the average outgoing carload freight, except livestock, from the four sta- 
tions serving the reservoir area. 


An additional 6,580 carloads of material and equipment from outside sources 
■will be used ai various places in completing the Irrigation project. 

Gravel for all construction taken from pits within the area will aggregate an 
additional 8.490 carloads. 

BcottS Bluff Count; has 10.2 percenl as much area as the eight counties that 
win benefit from Irrigation water Btored In the Klngsley reservoir. 

Freighl forwarded from all Btatlons In Bcotts Bluff County during the 10-year 
period ending i!'::. r > averaged 10,752.3 carloads annually, in the 8 counties it 
averaged 34,910.0 carloads. 

Incoming freighl at all stations in Setts Bluff County for the 10-year period 
ending 1938 averaged 20,020.2 carloads per year, in the 8 counties freight re- 
ceived averaged 29,788.1 carloads. 

In ScottS Bluff County irrigat ion has been a vital factor in stimulating business 

Under Irrigation more intensive use of land in all probability will lead to 
smaller farms and Increased farm population. 

Electric current generated by release of stored water will probably be a source 
of cheap power throughout central Nebraska. 

An Increase in factories to process farm products grown within the area is an- 
ticipated. Existing plants may be enlarged or plants may be constructed at new 

If industrial expansion takes place as anticipated, additional labor will be 
required and urban population will increase. 

The agricultural and industrial developments resulting from irrigation within 
the central Nebraska district may be far more extensive than is indicated in this 

memorandum on suggested location for an ordnance plant under the 
National Defense Program 

report by george e. johnson, general manager, central nebraska publig 
power and irrigation district, hasting8, nebr. 

Central Nebraska Defense Council, 

Hastings, Nebr., October U h 1941. 
Re Suggested location for an ordnance plant under the national-defense program. 

Office, Chief of Ordnance, 

War Department, Ammunitions Division, 

Washington, D. C. 
(Attention of Lt. Col. John P. Harris, Chief, Powder, Explosives, and 
Pyrotechnics Section.) 

Gentlemf.n : Last week I was called to Washington by Senator Norris to supply 
information regarding the furnishing of power to two defense industries in 
Nebraska. After talking with Mr. J. A. Krug, 4523 New Social Security Building, 
Colonel Weaver, room 7213, New War Department Building, and Major Tibbets, 
of your Department, I requested permission of Major Tibbets to tile a report ou a 
site in central Nebraska. 

To give you some background of myself when considering this report, I wish 
to state I was born in Nebraska. I am a civil and electrical engineer and op- 
erated as a consulting engineer from 190G to 1935 with the exception of the years 
between 1915 and 1923. Between 1915 and 1923, I was State engineer for the 
State of Nebraska, having charge of all irrigation, waterpower, drainage, and 
highways in the State of Nebraska. I have studied the resources of Nebraska for 
many years and have contributed a considerable amount of time assisting in their 

Since September 1935, I have been employed as chief engineer and general man- 
ager of the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District having charge 
of the design, construction, and operation of a Public Works Administration 
financed project, known as the tricounty project, costing approximately $38,000,000. 
Also, I assisted in the design of tbe project of the Loup River Public Power District. 

In addition to serving as chief engineer and general manager for the Central 
Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District, I am chairman of the Central 
Nebraska Defense Council. I am also chairman of the board of managers operat- 
ing the Nebraska Public Power System, which includes our grid system and all of 
the major power plants in the State of Nebraska with the exception of the Western 


Public Service Co. in the west part of the State and the Nebraska Power Co. in 
Omaha. Our system is serving 412 towns and 23 Rural Electrification Adminis- 
tration districts. We have a surplus of approximately 100,000 kilowatts of power, 
200,000,000 kilowatt-hours per year of energy from our hydro plants, and up to 
360,000,000 kilowatt-hours per year of energy from our steam plants, depending 
upon tbe characteristics of the load. We are very anxious to dispose of the major 
portion of this surplus power and energy to national-defense industries. 

We are just completing the construction of the three major projects in the State 
costing approximately $60,000,000, financed by the United States Government. 
These projects are all in operation and ready to deliver the power and energy as 
above stated. Our steam plants have recently been purchased from the private 
power companies and are operated jointly with our hydro plants to serve the 
Nebraska Public Power System. 

The Nebraska Public Power System is ready to deliver power to any location 
within a reasonable transmission distance of our system. However, it is my 
opinion, after making a careful study of the site and considering the information 
I have received from the several departments in Washington regarding require- 
ments for defense plants, that the location I am proposing has more advantages 
than any other location in the State. 

The following data are submitted for your consideration : 

Location. — The location is shown on maps attached and is immediately south of 
the Platte River in Kearney and Adams Counties, consisting of approximately 
33,000 acres. This location is practically level except at the south edge where the 
land is gently rolling. Parallel to the river there is a fall of about 7 feet to the 
mile. There is a gradual rise to the south as one leaves the river. This location 
has never been flooded, so there will be no danger of flood damage to plants located 
in this area. 

Soil conditions. — This site is located in the center of a rich agricultural area in 
the central part of the State. The land north of the Platte River is under intensive 
cultivation and is irrigated. The land south and east of this site is under culti- 
vation, and the land west and southwest is under irrigation. On the site proposed 
the land has a thin layer of topsoil approximately 1 foot thick, underlaid with 
gravel, providing perfect drainage. The distance to water in the north half of 
this site is approximately 15 feet. This water level is approximately the average 
water level of the river. The level of the water in the river varies from dry to 
5 feet deep. Due to the thin layer of topsoil and the gravel near the surface, this 
land is not suitable for cultivation and is low-cost pasture land. 

Water supply. — We have an underground storage of 500,000,000 acre-feet of 
water in our sand hills extending north and west from Kearney and Wood 
River. This water flows in a southeasterly direction under the Platte River 
and forms a vast sheet of underground water supply throughout the entire central 
portion of the State, extending from Lexington on the west to a short distance 
east of Grand Island. This water supply is not affected by the variation of 
flow in the Platte River. The proposed site is located in the center of this section 
having underground sheet water. This underground flow is the source of water 
for the Blue River and a portion of the source of water for the Republican River. 

I am attaching photographs of a gravel pit and of irrigation wells which show 
the water being pumped from this underground water supply. We have irriga- 
tion wells on the north side of the Platte River east of Kearney that are de- 
veloping in excess of 5,000 gallons per minute per section of land without in any 
way affecting the water table. After making a careful study of this under- 
ground water supply, I am certain that 40,000.000 gallons of water per day 
can be developed on this proposed site with an average lift of not to exceed 25 

I understand powder plants require large volumes of water and that they 
are broken up into many different buildings. An economic method of develop- 
ing a water supply for such plants would be to install a battery of wells for 
each individual building. Considering the pipe necessary for the distribution 
system, the cost of developing a water supply at the proposed site in this man- 
ner would not exceed the cost of pumping water from a river at one center point 
and distributing it to the several buildings. 

The water from this source is all pure water suitable for drinking purposes 
without treatment and is now being used as domestic water supply by all of the 
towns and cities surrounding this site. The waste water could be dumped into the 
south channel of the Platte River without treatment as no domestic supply is 
being taken from the Platte River east of this point. 


Cost. — Because of the proximity of the gravel to the surface, the greater part 
of the land in this proposed site is suitable for only pasture purposes. Expert 
real-estate men estimate the cost of right-of-way would average approximately 
$20 per acre. Additional land may be secured adjoining the proposed site on 
tlic south for about $50 per acre. 

Railroads.—- This location is between 11h> main line of the Union Pacific Rail- 
road and the main line of the Burlington Railroad which border on the north 
and south. It is reached by three branch line railroads: Missouri Pacific at 
Prosser, Union Pacific between Gibbon and Hastings, and the Burlington between 
Kearney and Kenesaw. 

Pipe lines. — Both natural gas and oil are available at the site. Natural gas 
may be obtained from the main gas line of the Kansas-Nebraska Natural Gas Co. 
The oil is vailable from the main pipe line of the Stanolind Pipe Line Co. extend- 
ing from Wyoming to Kansas City, Mo. 

Highways. — Tins proposed site is between State and Federal Highways No. 
6 and No. ::" which are paved highways. United States Highway No. .'50 parallels 
the Union Pacifis Railroad on the north side of the river and Highway No. 6 
parallels the main line of the Burlington on the south. Three bridges are located 
on the Platte River north of this site providing connection with Highway No. 
30. Due to the low cost of gravel in this vicinity, the main county roads are 
all surfaced with gravel providing all-weather roads connecting the site with 
the Federal highways at several points. 

The weather conditions in Nebraska are such that during the construction of 
our project from December 1935, to date, we have not had a single day on which 
our roads were blocked with snow. The State maintains adequate highway 
maintenance equipment and sufficient equipment has always been available to 
clear the highways for traffic within a few hours after snowstorms. 

Air transportation. — The main transcontinental line of the United Air Lines 
parallels this proposed site on the north with a large airport at Grand Island 
having paved runways and all necessary facilities for air travel. Also a new 
airport is being constructed with Federal funds at Kearney, Nebr., which will 
have paved runways and all necessary facilities. We also have a municipal 
airport at Hastings with hangar, runways, and facilities sufficient to take care 
of large planes. 

Weather. — From the standpoint of lost time during construction, this site 
offers a very favorable record. Comparison of the construction costs of our 
project with those in other parts of the Nation, or even in other parts of the 
State, and reference to the contractors themselves, will all show that this area 
has been particularly favored from the standpoint of number of days available 
for work during the year. Our winters are comparatively mild and building 
construction is carried on the year around. We are not subjected to prolonged 
rainy spells which results in excessively muddy conditions. 

Major Tibbets raised a question regarding dust affecting plants located in 
this area as there has been a considerable amount of talk about the western 
Dust Bowl. With irrigated areas on each side of this site and heavy soil both 
north and south, we are not troubled with dust in this area any more than in 
eastern Kansas, eastern Oklahoma, Missouri, and Iowa where defense plants 
have been located. In fact, I am certain that the defense plants in Kansas and 
Oklahoma will be subjected to more dust than defense plants at this location. 
We operate our large generating equipment, including hydro, Diesel, and steam 
plants, both east and west of this location, with the buildings open in the summer 
without any difficulty at all from dust. 

Power supply. — We have a 115,000-volt transmission line running east and 
west through tins proposed site with power plants on each end of the transmis- 
sion line which will provide two-way service for a plant using power up to 
30,000 kilowatts. We also have additional 115,000-volt lines north and south of 
this proposed site and the power supply could be increased to 60,000 kilowatts by 
a cross-tie line. 

The districts also have 34,500-volt lines paralelling the proposed site on both 
the north and south sides which will provide two-way service up to 10,000 
kilowatts of power. 

The statement above, regarding power and energy, is based on the average 
loads on power systems. To assist in determining the amount of power which 
is available for any particular national-defense load, we are giving below a 
brief outline of the surplus power and energy available for various types of loads. 



The power plants constructed with Public Works Administration financing are 
as follows : 

Public Works Administration financed hydro plants 

Loup River Public Power District: 

Columbus plant, Columbus 

Monroe plant, Monroe -- 

Platte Valley Public Power and Irrigation District: North Platte plant, 
North Platte 

The Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District: 

Jeffrey plant, Brady 

Johnson plant No. 1, Lexington 

Johnson plant No. 2, Lexington 

Total Public Works Administration hydro plants 



39, 900. 
7, 837. 5 

18, 000. 
18, 00(1. 
18, 000. 

127, 837. 5 

Net capabil- 

39, 900 


18, 000 
18, 000 
18, 000 

The values given for net capability are very conservative. In the operation of 
these plants we have found that, in every case, the equipment has been able to 
produce power considerably in excess of the ratings. 

Since constructing these plants the districts have leased the following plants 
in connection with the activity of the Consumers District which has recently pur- 
chased 12 power company properties in the State : 

Plants leased from Consumers District 

K St. Plant, Lincoln 

Second St. Plant, Lincoln 

Norfolk plant, Norfolk 

Riverside plant, Grand Island.. 

Kearney plant, Kearney 

Gothenburg plant, Gothenburg 

Cody plant. North Platte 

McCook plant, McCook 

Total leased plants 

57, 030 


Net capabil- 





19, 220 


10, 000 

10. 000 



13, 500 










49, 620 

This gives a total for all plants of 1S4,867.5 kilowatts of installed capacity hav- 
ing a net capability of 177,420 kilowatts. In addition, interchange arrangements 
are in force with the Nebraska Power Co. which has installed plant capacity 
totaling 111,000 kilowatts and is now constructing a 154-kilovolt tie line with 
the Kansas Gas & Electric Co., at Wichita, Kans. Capacity of this 154-kilovolt 
line will be about 40,000 kilowatts. 

Our commitments of firm capacity amount to 54,250 kilowatts. Allowing 20,000 
kilowatts of reserve capacity, in addition to the capacity available from the Ne- 
braska Power Co., and deducting our firm commitments from the 177,420 kilowatts 
of net capability leaves a total of 103,170 kilowatts of surplus capacity in the 
Nebraska Public Power System. 

The total annual kilowatt-hours available for sale (allowing for transmission 
losses) from the Public Works Administration financed hydro plants is 425,000,000 
kilowatt-hours per year. This figure is derived from water studies made by Pub- 
lic Works Administration engineers and is based upon the water supply for the 
years 1930 to 1940 which was the period of least water supply for which we have 
record. On an energy basis, our firm commitments amount to approximately 212,- 
000,000 kilowatt-hours per year, leaving a balance of 213,000.000 kilowatt- 
hours of hydro energy available without resorting to the leased plants. 

There does not appear to be any reason to fear an extremely large increase in 
the present loads in Nebraska. This is brought out by the tabulation appearing 
on page 30 of the magazine Business Week, issue of October 4, 1941. This tablula- 
tion which is a comparison of the first half of 1941 with the first half of 1940 
shows a 5-percent decrease in power output for Nebraska. 

If national-defense loads of high-load factor are added to our system, our steam 
plant capacity can be called upon for base-load production to increase the energy 
generated to handle these loads. Loads up to 100 percent load factor can be ac- 



ccpicd by the system for as high as BO^GOO kilowatts average demand. This 
would si ill leave 213,000,000 kilowatt bours of bydro energy which could be added 
on top of this demand bo long us the total maximum demand did ool exceed the 
1 ' > .". . 1 7 n kilowatts mentl d above. 

in general, then, it may be said thai the Nebraska Public Power System can 
accept national-defense Loads without limits as to energy up to approximately 
50,000 kilowatts and that additional demand up t<> approximately 100,000 kilo- 
watts can be assumed provided the energy limits mentioned above are not 
( x. i eded. 

Labor, Within a radius of ;>"> miles of the proposed site we have a population 
of 102,183, about equally divided between the cities :ind the farms. Due to the 
completion of our projects there is an unusually large number of our people 
unemployed who are available for defense Labor. This labor is available in three 
Classes skilled, semiskilled, and common. 

Ill completing our project, COSting approximately $38,000,000, our contractors 

were able to secure practically ail of their labor supply within the State, The 

only labor supplied from out of the State was three welders to handle special 

welding work and operators for the extremely large draglines and dredges which 
were used on our work. All of the labor was secured from within the State of 
Nebraska, which includes operators for medium-size and small draglines, oper- 
ators for tractors, welders, machinists, repairmen, and all mechanics necessary 
for the construction of our power houses, transmission lines, large Concrete struc- 
tures, and the handling of 00,000,000 cubic yards of earth. The maximum number 
of people employed on the project at any one time was approximately 10,000. 

The work on our project, the Platte Valley public power and Irrigation district 
and thi' Loup River public power district, costing approximately $60,000,000, is 
substantially completed at present, with the exception of a small amount of 
transmission-line construction. Due to the defense program, the work in practi- 
cally all of our industries has been reduced, which is reflected in the reduction in 
use of power referred to above. A large number of men have been released. These 
people are now out of employment. Some of them are now Leaving the State, 
going to defense jobs in other States. A large portion of these laborers have 
families who were horn and raised in Nebraska, and the removal of these families 
from the State will not only be a hardship on the people but will also he a hard- 
ship on our merchants and professional people in the towns and cities affected 
by the purchasing power of this labor. 

Several questions were asked by Colonel Weaver and Major Tibbets regarding 
skilled labor. A large part of the skilled labor on our projects was taken from the 
farmers. For many years our State university has been giving free instruction 
in the operation, overhaul, and repair of all types of farm machinery, including 
tractors, trucks, and automobiles. Our farms are being operated almost entirely 
with machinery, and on each farm there is someone who is able to take care of 
this machinery and equipment. We have a large reserve supply of mechanics, 
who can easily be trained in the use of tools or operation of machines in defense 
plants. The efficient use of such labor has not only been demonstrated by the 
contractors on our projects but also by the Allison Motor Works, where a very large 
percent of the mechanics and machine operators have been developed from the 
farm labor and local boys who have had manual training in high schools. Mr. 
Allison has stated to Governor Townsend that after a very short time this local 
labor is superior to the highly trained skilled labor shipped in from the East. 

In addition to the surplus labor supply, there are a large number of contractors 
in the State who have been working on our projects and are in a position to 
proceed immediately with the construction of defense 1 plants. Some of our local 
contractors have already completed the COnstTUtCion of defense plants in other 
localities and have experience in this class of work. 

We have a large number of machine shops and small factories in the towns and 
cities surrounding this proposed site which now have spare capacity and are 
suitable to handle contracts for the production of components for ordnance. 

Conclusion.- — This proposed site is better served by railroads, highways, and air 
service than any other location in the State of Nebraska of which 1 have knowl- 
edge. It has an inexhaustible supply of fresh, pure water, and is located on low- 
priced land in the center of the State and in the center of a large agricultural 
part of the State. It is not Subject to floods and is easily accessible from rail- 
roads, highways, and air travel. There is an abundant supply of low-cost labor — 
skilled, semiskilled, and common. 

The lack of national-defense industries in Nebraska has created a serious social 
problem here. A general migration of labor to other localities has already begun, 

The photographs reproduced on following pages were submitted at 
the committee's Hastings hearings as an exhibit in connection with the 
testimony of George E. Johnson, chief engineer and general manager 
of the central Nebraska (tri-county) public power and irrigation dis- 
trict. (See pp. 8222 to 8251.) 


t i 


" 2 

o .- 



J o 

3 "° 


~} : ' 

8242< ' 


<r t 



i £ 

** •/■ IV? 

p ri I 


/ / 



< V 


hi?-: \ r> ' 



u a 

a> o 
a «* 

S aj 

£ ir 

"1 <-■ 





60396 — 42— pt. 21- 


and If defense Industries are not located here soon, there will be Berlous economic 
repercussions, resulting In a complete disruption of the oormal business at this 
sectlbn. n will mean the closing of ;i large number of business bouses and the 
Log of 1 hi* i Hi's- men to other sections of the country. 

We have developed a large Burplus of power with the use of Federal money, 
and this power Is now available (or the operation of defense industries at a 
reasonable cost. 

Re i>i ■> i tiiii.v submitted. 

Geo. E. Johnson, 
Chairman, Central Nebraska Defense Council. 


Mr. Spaekman. I would like to ask you some questions about your 
statement. In the first place I would like you to tell something about 
this Tri-County project. 

Mr. Johnson. We have in the State of Nebraska three large hydro- 
electric projects that are operating together. That is, the genera] 
manager of carl) of the projects serves oil a board of managers which 
directs all three of them. I am the chairman of the board. The irri- 
gation districts represented are the Central Nebraska Public Power 
Irrigation District with offices here in Hastings, and the public power 
irrigation district of the North Platte, the Platte, and the Loup 
Rivers, with offices at Columbus, Nebr. 

We have a separate board of directors for each district. We have 
an operating contract which provides that the general manager of each 
district serves on the board of managers. Each district has charge of 
its own irrigation and also the entire hydraulic set-up on the projects, 
including the irrigation group. The other districts have irrigation. 

The board of managers has charge of what we call our grid system. 
We take the power from the power plants of the three hydroelectric 
districts. That is, from generation in power plants, it goes into the 
grid system. From that point on the board manages and has control 
of the sale and distribution of the power. We serve 70 percent of the 
people of Nebraska, approximately, either wholesale or retail, but 
principally wholesale. We have taken over the major power plants 
in the State, except in Omaha. Those are steam power, operating 
in connection with the hydro system. 

Mr. Spaekman. Did you build supplementary steam plants? 

Mr. Johnson. No. 

Mr. Spaekman. WTiat effect has the Kingslev Dam on the water 

Mr. Johnson. You mean on the water table east of the Kingslev 
Dam? ' 

Mr. Spaekman. I presume that is the water table that would be 
affected by it. There has been filed with us this little booklet, Bulletin 
311, on the "Economic Benefits of Irrigation from the Kingsley (Key- 
stone) Reservoir." 1 

irrigation feom kingsley reservoir 

Mr. Johnson. Yes; there has been considerable controversy in the 
State about these hydro district- and irrigation districts affecting the 
water table of the Platte Valley east of the North Platte. In the report 
we filed we show that that statement isn't true. The main reason 
that that statement cannot be true is the fact that water traveling 

1 lipid in committee files. A section of this booklet, "Summary and Conclusions," ap- 
pears on pp. 8237-8238. 


through gravel in the Platte Valley travels an average rate of 10 feet 
per day, so that the interval between the time when the Platte River 
is dry and when it is carrying its full amount of water is not long 
enough to affect more than a quarter of a mile from the river. The 
real effect, according to United States geological reports, is caused 
by the difference in precipitation from one year to another. In wet 
years, the water table rises, and in dry years it lowers. 

Mr. Sparkman. What are the effects of irrigation today? 

Mr. Johnson. We have just started irrigation there. We have stor- 
age water, so as to have a supply through the summer. The land we 
have irrigated will average about 60 bushels of corn per acre this year 
and in some individual fields the yield goes as high as 100 bushels. 
In the land that hasn't been irrigated it won't be over 15 or 20 

Mr. Sparkman. What are the full profits of irrigation? 

Mr. Johnson. That is pretty well covered in Bulletin 311 which 
we have filed with you. It shows we would increase the income of the 
central section of Nebraska by approximately $10,000,000 a year, and 
stabilize not only agriculture in this section but business with other 
parts of the country. 


Mr. Sparkman. Mr. Johnson, how were these hydroelectric proj- 
ects built ? 

Mr. Johnson. With Federal aid. 

Mr. Sparkman. Are they State-owned ? 

Mr. Johnson. We are operating in the districts about the same as a 
city government. 

Mr. Sparkman. But under State legislation? 

Mr. Johnson. That is right. 

Mr. Sparkman. They are State-sponsored projects built by P. W. A. 

Mr. Johnson. Yes. 

Mr. Sparkman. But owned by the individual districts? 

Mr. Johnson. Yes. 

Mr. Sparkman. You say that under your grid system you supply 
about 70 percent of the power that is consumed in the State? 

Mr. Johnson. We serve 412 towns and cities and 21 rural districts. 

Mr. Sparkman. Do most of those towns and cities own their own 
plants ? 

Mr. Jonhson. A few of them do. 

Mr. Sparkman. Does your grid system include only these three 
State agencies and cities and towns that own their own systems, or 
does it also take in certain private power companies that you do 
not own ? 

Mr. Johnson. We own the entire grid system — that is, our trans- 
mission system. That was all financed and constructed with P. W. A. 
money. And connected to that system are certain private companies, 
such as the Nebraska Power Co. serving Omaha. We also sell power, 
under separate contract, to the Consumers Public Power District, of 
Columbus, Nebr. They have bought quite a number of power com- 

The grid system includes everything in the State except the Western 
Public Service and the Nebraska Power Co. The Consumers District 
handles the retail business from the property that they have taken 


over. We furnish all the generation to the Consumers District. We 
have taken all the power plants and Leased them on a 30-year basis 
and entered into contracts to supply all the power. 

Mr. Sfabkman. I still don'1 understand who owns the distribution 
BJStems in these towns and cities that do not own their own systems. 

Mr. Johnson. The Consumers Public Power District owns most of 

Mr. Sparkman. Is that likewise chartered by the State govern- 

Mr. Johnson. Yes. We have taken over the Southern Nebraska 
Power Co. and aic operating it. That is partly wholesale and partly 
retail. The Platte Valley district has taken over the Gottenber^ 
properties and also the McCook properties. 

Air. Sparkman. This 70 percent of the State's power requirement 
which is supplied under your grid system represents public power 
both in generation and distribution % 

Mr. Johnson. That is right. 

Mr. Sparkman. Is your capacity pretty well used up? 


Mr. Johnson. We now have available a 100,000-kilowatt capacity. 

Mr. Siwkkman. Do you have any more that might become available 
by additional installation? 

Mr. Johnson. Yes. We can develop about 75.000 kilowatts addi- 
tional with water power. 

Mr. Sparkman. That would be a total of 175,000. Is that prime 
power ? 

Mr. Johnson. Yes. 

Mr. Sparkman. How much of that is marketed already? 

Mr. Johnson. All of the 100,000 is not tied up in contracts. 

Mr. Sparkman. What is your total installed capacity at present? 

Mr. Johnson. One hundred and eighteen thousand kilowatts hydro 
and about 75,000 of steam. 

Mr. Sparkman. Is that prime power? 

Mr. Johnson. That is all prime power; yes. 

Mr. Sparkman. Do you have any defense projects in this part of 
the country ? 

Mr. Johnson. The only defense projects in this section of the State 
are subcontracts that are held by the Dutton-Lainson Co. here. In ad- 
dition, a bomb-loading plant has been allocated to Wahoo. That 
plant is about 115 miles northeast of Hastings, and there is a bomber 
plant to be operated by the Glenn L. Martin Co. immediately south of 

Mr. Sparkman. Do you furnish power to either of those projects? 

Mr. Johnson. We will furnish all the power to the bomb-loading 
plant and we now furnish power to the Nebraska Power Co., which, in 
turn, will sell it to the bomber plant in Omaha. 

Mr. Sparkman. If new defense projects should he located in this 
area, sufficient to consume the additional power you mention, could 
an adequate labor supply be furnished? 

Mr. Johnson. That might depend on the kind of plant. I have done 
a considerable amount of preliminary work on arrangements for a 
plant for the central part of the State, halfway between Hastings and 
Kearney, and the reason we have selected that section is because we 
thought it had all the necessary requirements, such as water 10 feet 


below the surface. It is in an area having about 118,000 people within 
a 25-mile driving range. I am certain that 10,000 workers could be 
secured for the plant if it were located in that area. I believe that in 
the eastern part of the State, with the location of two large plants, 
the labor is pretty well taken up. I believe the Governor has definite 
figures on it. 

Mr. Sparkman. Our interest in these matters lies in the hope that 
the dislocation of our population may be kept to a minimum, under 
conditions created by the defense program which will make inevitable 
a certain amount of shifting of the labor force. We believe that if 
this is done, the after effects will be more easily absorbed. 

Do you feel that additional defense projects could be located here 
without requiring shifting of population into the area '. 

Mr. Johnson. Yes, sir. 


Mr. Sparkman. I notice in your paper that there has been a gradual 
decrease in population over the last 30 years in the four counties that 
you mention. 

Mr. Johnson. That is right. 

Mr. Sparkman. And you show, furthermore, that the decline has 
been rather constant — that is, it has not been greatly accelerated by 
the drought of the last 10 years. 

Mr. Johnson. That is right. There is a definite reason for that. 
When this territory was settled and filled with people, we had a subsoil 
about 100 feet deep, which carried up to 21 percent of moisture. In 
the growing of crops that water has gradually risen by capillary at- 
traction until it has been depleted to 7 percent of the soil. That is 
below the amount required to supply plant roots. From now on it is 
necessary for the plants to depend entirely on rainfall. That is the 
main reason for the agricultural troubles of this section, not only in 
Nebraska, but from South Dakota through Kansas. 

Mr. Sparkman. I might say that we have not been altogether in the 
dark as to the things that have been happening out here. Your good 
Congressman x is a member of our committee, and he is constantly 
keeping us informed. He is wide awake to the problem that you have 
here, and I am glad to say in his behalf that no Member of Congress 
has worked more conscientiously for the solution of these problems 
than he has. 

The Chairman. There is one question I would like to ask. This 
power set-up as it exists now covers the State almost entirely. Is there 
any particular section of the State to which the delivery of power for 
the purpose of defense activities would be more economical and efficient 
than it would be to other sections ? 

Mr. Johnson. Yes ; it is more economical to deliver to the section in 
between the North Platte and Republican Rivers. Also, the location 
of defense industry will depend considerably on where they are located. 
To any place between Columbus and Lexington we can economically 
deliver the amount of power stated without the construction of addi- 
tional transmission lines. We could not deliver that power east of 

In our set-up we still have one large transmission line to build, and 
that is to be constructed by the Loup district and ourselves. We have 

1 Reference is to the acting chairman, Representative (Carl T. Curtis, of Nebraska. 


the money for it, and we are contemplating construction. We don't 
know whether we will be able to gel the materials at this time. 

The ( h ukman. I have studied your figures, but not being an engi- 
neer, and being aware that ;i number of people who will road this record 
are not engineers, I want you to make a few comparisons. Do you 
know approximately how much power this Wahoo plant will buy from 

Mr. Johnson. About 7,000 kilowatts, or about 9,000 horsepower. 

The Chairman. What will such a plant use that power for? 

Mr. Johnson. Primarily for motors and Lighting. 

The ( ii\ii;m an. It is not the type of plant, such as an aluminum man- 
ufacturing plant, that uses furnaces? 

Mr. Johnson. No. 

The Chairman. And you say that at the present time you have 
available a surplus of power of 100,000 kilowatts? 

Mr. Johnson. Kilowatts, not kilowatt-hours. That is about 130,000 

The Chairman. Can you give us an illustration to show what could 
be done with that much power? 

Mr. Johnson. That depends on the type of plant. An unusually 
large powder plant takes about 25,000 horsepower. The average de- 
fense plants that they are constructing over the country at a cost of 
$25,000,000 or $30,000,000 are using from 5,000 to 7,000 horsepower. 

The Chairman. In other words you would have enough power at the 
present time to take care of about five such plants. 

Mr. Johnson. Yes. One kilowatt is equivocal to 1V3 horsepower. 
The reason I mention horsepower is that people generally know what 
horsepower means, but they do not know what kilowatt means. 

Mr. Sparkman. So when you say 25,000 horsepower, you mean, 17,- 
000 kilowatts. 

May I ask one more question. I have been looking over this chart. 1 


Mr. Johnson. That covers one consumers' district for 3 months. 
The red or the first tabulation is information collected from the con- 
sumer's district by contacting all of the branch managers and getting 
reports from them as to how many people have left the various towns 
and where those people have gone, and so far as possible what they 
are going to do in the new location. That has been tabulated in the first 
column and shows in red figures. The green is an analysis of the re- 
port that was prepared at Hastings; and the final column refers to 
the people who have left Hastings for defense jobs. 

Mr. Sparkman. Then these in this column could also be included 
in it. 

Mr. Johnson. Yes. We show 22 in the green figures and imme- 
diately below, we show 8. That means 8 of the 22 that have left- 
Hastings in that period have gone to defense jobs. 

1 The chart mentioned is held in committee files. The following table, the basic informa- 
tion for which was compiled by C. M. Dorniny, of Hastings, Xebr., from credit bureau 
records, shows points of destination of 297 persons moving from the Hastings area, from 
June 1, 1940, to October 1, 1941, also the number going to Government employment, the 
armed forces, defense work, and tho.^e without definite destination, but seeking work : 

Moved within Nebraska 136 

Moved to other Western and Mountain States 87 

.Moved to Pacific States 53 

Moved elsewhere 21 

Government employees, State and United States 27 

Entered Army and Navy 8 

Defense work 17 

Migrants looking for work 15 


Mr Sparkman. In addition to retaining your skilled workers and 
other benefits that might come from defense activities placed here, 
what effect would the sale and use of this power for some purpose 
in the national defense program have upon the rate at which you 
repaid the Federal Government for its investment in this set-up? 

Mr Johnson. We would pay off the bonds faster. 

Mr. Sparkman. If you could use all of this in the defense program 
you would double your sales. m 

Mr Johnson. Yes. Our debt structure is geared to the normal 
growth of business in the State. Our estimates have been made very 
conservatively, particularly on the payment of bonds. If we were 
to get more business than that, we would be able to pay off those 
bonds more rapidly. 


Mr. Sparkman. Did you have a 45-percent grant from the Gov- 
ernment and a 55-percent loan ? , . 

Mr. Johnson. Yes, sir; on the central Nebraska project, lhe 
Platte was paid on a 30 percent grant basis and two-thirds of the 
Loup project on a 30-percent basis. 

Mr. Sparkman. What is the total indebtedness? 

Mr. Johnson. We were furnished about $60,000,000 and owe the 
Government $40,000,000 through the sale of bonds. 

Mr. Sparkman. What interest do you pay on the bonds ? 

Mr. Johnson. The average is 4 percent. We started at one-quarter 
of 1 percent. We gradually increased to 5 percent, but the average 
is 4 percent. 

Mr. Sparkman. Is that a pretty high rate of interest ? 

Mr. Johnson. We would like to have obtained the money at a lower 
rate, but that wasn't possible. 

Mr. Sparkman. What does this power retail for to the average con- 
sumer ? 

Mr. Johnson. We are getting an average out of all power we are 
selling of about 5y 2 mills. 

Mr. Sparkman. That is industrial, commercial, and residential ? 

Mr. Johnson. That is firm power, and all put together. 

Mr. Sparkman. Does it include rural cooperatives? 

Mr. Johnson. Yes; and we are now selling about 800,000 kilowatt- 
hours a day. 

The Chairman. The Federal Government has given you all the 
money you need for the cost of construction ; the outlay for all these 
projects that are completed ? 

Mr. Johnson. The allotments have all been made. We have some 
money yet to spend. We have one transmission line to build and some 
cleaning up on some Government contracts. 

The Chairman. But your construction is practically completed, 
with the exception of some transmission lines connecting some parts 
of the network ? 

Mr. Johnson. Yes. We are certified to the P. W. A. as substan- 
tially complete. 

The Chairman. You feel that, in addition to the fact that you are 
able to make a contribution to the defense program, you can help 
everyone who is interested in these bonds by turning this power into 
defense efforts. Is that right? 

Mr. Johnson. Yes. 


Most of your questions have been relating to power. This project 
was constructed primarily for irrigation, and we have planned to 
irrigate 200,000 acres of land. We have just started to irrigate about 
26.()oi) acres this year, and we expect gradually to gel thai under irri- 
gation, and at the end of a 4-year period t<> have all of it under irriga- 
tion, in addition to our own irrigation and supplying water on 
179.000 acres in the Platte Valley thai have had ditches over a long 
period of years hut an insufficient water supply. 

Mi'. OSMERS. That make-, a total of how many acres? 
Mr. JOHNSON. Two hundred and twenty thousand for our district 
and 179.000 along the Platte Valley. 


Mi. Osmers. That is 309,000 acres. When this irrigation project 
arts in full swing, do you think it will cause migration hack to Ne- 
Braska as a result of more profitable agriculture? 

Mr. Johnson. There may be some migration back to the State. I 
think the principal increase of population in the areas that are being 
irrigated will be from some of the areas that are still loosely populated. 

Mr. Osmers. There will be a transfer of population from one part of 
Nebraska to another? 

Mr. Johnson. A large part will be that, I believe, because we have a 
considerable acreage in Nebraska that will have to be turned back to 
grass. The humus is being depleted every year, and with the deple- 
tion of the subsoil moisture, even with normal rainfall, a large part of 
that land will be turned back to grass. In connection with these 
changes, there is one thing that could be done which would greatly 
benefit the State's industrial condition. That is the development of 
industries here that could later be turned into plastic plants. On our 
land, both outside and inside the irrigation districts, we have a large 
amount of materials, such as corn stalks and other roughage on the 
farms, that could be turned into plastics. 

Mr. Osmers. Do soybeans grow well here ? 

Mr. Johnson. Yes; under irrigation. But in the dry areas the 
corn crop, instead of being a loss, could be cut up for use by these plas- 
tic industries, and the farmer would receive a sufficient amount to con- 
tinue to live on his farm. 

Mr. Osmers. Is there any plastic industry in the State of Nebraska? 

Mr. Johnson. No. 

Those industries would be running at the time when the labor sup- 
ply from the farm would not be busy, and thus there would be a labor 
supply for such plants without interfering with any other industry or 
with agriculture. 

Mr. Osmers. Has anything been done to establish an experimental 
station by the State of Nebraska or by the Federal Government to de- 
velop plastics? 

Mr. Johnson. The State University has been working on it. 

Mr. Osmers. The reason I ask about the possibility of in-migration 
as a result of irrigation projects is this: Irrigation leads to intensified 
agriculture — smaller units, more people required, and different kinds 
of crops. And I thought that that in itself might attract people from 
other States. It has done so elsewhere. I thought it might here. 

Mr. Johnson. It will to some extent, although naturally if the people 
living here in the areas not to be irrigated have to leave their farms, 
they will go to these irrigated areas. That will be the first migration; 


and then the people from the outside will make up the supply that does 
not come from within the State. We have now from 250 to 350 acres 
per family on the farms in this area, and that will eventually be 
cut down within 5 years to around 80 to 100 acres per family; 80 
acres is the average unit in all the reclamation projects in the United 

Mr. Osmers. If you farm the same number of acres, that would re- 
quire three or four times as many farmers as are now engaged in that 
area. And it seems to me that you would be drawing people from 
outside the State and some people back to the State who have been 
driven out by the drought. 

Mr. Johnson. We do want to build up the number of people on 
the farms. The average number of people in the towns and cities in 
our irrigated sections is about half of the total. There are about as 
many people in the towns and cities as on the farms. In the average 
irrigated area throughout the United States we have about 60 percent 
living in the towns, so there would be a greater increase in the popu- 
lation in the towns than in the country. 

Mr. Osmers. That is probably due to increased buying power and 
more demands for retail services, also to more manufacturing and to 
the working up of products resulting from irrigation, such as process- 
ing and preserving. 


Mr. Arnold. Can you give me an idea how much this irrigation 
raises the price of land ? 

Mr. Johnson. There will be a gradual rise in price as people in the 
area become more conscious of what irrigation will do for them. We 
have had possibly a 15- or a 20-percent increase in the price of land in 
our projects, and there will be more than 100-percent increase within 
the next 5 years. 

The CHAffiMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Johnson. I might say, 
not only to Mr. Johnson but to all witnesses, that written statements 
will be received and printed in the record in full, and if any witness 
cares to supply something additional, the record is usually kept open 
for 10 days or 2 weeks for the purpose of receiving such additional 

Mr. Johnson. I wonder if I might ask the committee one question 
before I leave. You people are doing a considerable amount of work 
in getting all these data together. I believe within a 2-hour drive 
around Hastings, through the country, you can see a condition that 
exists from South Dakota all the way down to Texas. I believe that 
the businessmen here will be glad to show you just what is happening 
to these farms, if you have time today. I think it would be well worth 
your while to make a trip and see this country at first hand, and ob- 
serve just what is happening to the land. You will see farms that have 
been well developed and then have gone back and have been aban- 
doned. You can read about it, and get information about it, but I 
believe that if you go out and see these farms yourselves, it would be 
of considerable enlightenment to you. 

The Chairman. I hope that can be worked out. It has been a most 
difficult problem to get away from Washington and to give as much 
time to these hearings as we would like. 

Dr. Creighton, Mr. Osmers will interrogate you. 



Mr. Osmers. Dr. Creighton, will you give your lull name and occu- 
pation, for the purpose of the record! 

Dr. Creighton. John \Y. Creighton, president of Hastings College, 
Hastings, Nebr. 

Mr. Osmers. I have read your statement, Dr. Creighton, and found 
it very interesting. 

(The statement referred to above is as follows:) 


The census returns of 1940 reveal a serious drop in the population of Nebraska. 
This decrease is especially serious In this section. Instead of a normal increase, 
there is an actual loss. Nebraska has been redistrictcd with the loss of one 
Congressman, dependable evidence that this State lias not kept up with the 
normal increase of the country at large. The population of Adams County has 
dec leased to the extent that revision downward of salaries of county officials 
has been mandatory. 

The year 1941 has seen the end of the drought period and the real beginning 
for this general area of the effective influence of the tri-county project — two 
events that should materially have changed the population trend from an outgo 
to a come-back basis. But this seems to have failed to occur. Instead, still more 
of our people are leaving. 

In a sense, the latter' condition is worse than the former. In the drought years 
many who left were the natural failures. They left because they could not 
succeed on the narrow margin of existence obtaining. Those leaving now are 
the more superior individuals, those whose natural and acquired abilities are rel- 
atively great. We are losing many fine young men and women from our farms, 
our stores, our schools, and our homes. The men are attracted by the high wages 
of the defense plants and the young women by the salaries in offices of defense 
plants and Government agencies. 

To support these statements, let me report that of 307 graduates of Hastings 
College during the period of 1935-1940, 125 have moved from Nebraska. Of 
the 825 students who did not return for graduation during the 5-year period, 
approximately 125 have left the State. Of the graduates of high schools suggested 
as possible students for Hastings College in the summer of 1941, 163 are reported 
to have left the State before the opening of college, 51 going to the one State 
of California. 

It is obvious that the business and social life of this area will suffer even 
more from this later emigration than from the departure of the near-destitute 
of the thirties. There is ground for the fear that this area is to be defaulted 
into an old-folks home, this territory that really should be a young man's 
country. There is opportunity here for ambitious young people, especially with 
the development of power and irrigation. It is desirable that the unnatural 
pull away be overcome so that this region may have the normal development of 
prosperity logically following irrigation and power developments. 

There is danger that these effects will be more or less permanent. The deple- 
tion of the young manpower is always serious, whether through war, pestilence, 
or pronounced migration. Further, while the tendency of parents to follow 
sons has not been excessive, there is a strong probability that many families will 
later be attracted away from this area. 

It is not to the advantage of our country as a whole that any part suffer. 
Our businessmen will fail, our taxation program will be disrupted, and our whole 
social life will suffer. 

The basic institution of America is the home. Next come three houses— the 
church house, the schoolhouse, the courthouse. Home life, religion, education, 
and observance of law — these are American characteristics. The migration from 
artificial causes that we now see in this area is inflicting damage on home life, 
church life, and school life. 

As an example of the effect on church life, let me cite the plan that certain 
Presbyterian churches in this area have been forced to adopt. The Presbyterian 


Church has held the major principle of an educated ministry. In practical terms 
this has meant a 4-year college course followed by 3 years in a theological 
seminary or divinity school. At the present time, however, there are a number 
of young men at Hastings College who are in charge of Presbyterian churches. 
These churches have become too weak to support men of adequate training- 
according to Presbvterian standards— and are thus compelled to use men of 
inferior training, it is not to be expected that these churches will prosper to 
the same degree as under more competent leadership. To be specific Hastings 
College now has seven students serving churches regularly. 

As "to possible solutions of the problem we must depend on both temporary and 
permanent procedures. We must offset the temporary causes— causes which do 
produce permanent effects however— by temporary correctives. At the same time 
we must hold out dependable promises to the people of the area that permanent 
procedures are to come. . 

The temporary lures calling people away are largely defense plants. Tins 
area should receive defense plants in general proportion to its population. One 
type is that of the aircraft and flying school. Many air fields are located close to 
high mountains where conditions would seem to be far more hazardous than 
obtain in anv probable battlefield of the present World War. Nebraska with her 
good weather and her flat and open country would be an excellent place for flight 


Mr. Osmers. I wonder if you would enlarge upon it for the com- 
mittee and compare the migration of today— that resulting from the 
defense program— with the migration of several years back, due to 
the drought and other causes. 

Dr. Creighton. We haven't made a study of the latter type of migra- 
tion at our college. We have known that it existed, but it hasn't 
affected us so much as the recent migration for the reason that migra- 
tion during depression years was of the failure class — the near- 
destitute people, those who have not made the grade. Those persons 
haven't been very much in our constituency so we have no record of 
their movements. We simply know that it has been going on. Re- 
cently we have been very conscious of it. During the years 1935 to 
1940, of 307 graduates, 125 have moved out of the State. There is also 
a loss in students from the freshman to the senior year averaging 65 
percent in all colleges in this part of the country ._ 

Mr. Osmers. You mean, seniors as compared with those who entered 
as freshmen? 

Dr. Creighton. Yes. Only 35 percent of the entering freshman 
class continue in college through their senior year. So there is a 
pretty big loss in all the institutions. But in that same 5-year period, 
of the 825 students who dropped out, 125 have, gone out of the State. 
Last summer, out of 1,200 students who had been recommended to us 
as good college material, 163 left the State. Not all of them would 
have come to Hastings College; some would probably have gone to 
some other college or university. Of the 163 who have left Nebraska, 
51 have gone to the State of California. That would indicate that 
there is some special reason for their removals. The Denver defense 
plants get a lot of them, probably. 


Mr. Osmers. You mention in your testimony the extremely large 
out -migration during the past 10 years. You put these people in 
the "failure class," for want of a better term. I am going to try to 
determine how many of those removals were caused by failure of the 
people and how many by a failure of the land on which they were 


Dr. Creighton. I would Bay the failure is more in the skies. For 
one thing, it hasn't rained enough. 

Mr. Osmers. That would be more attributable to acts of God than 
bo failure of the people living on those farms. 

Dr. Creigiiton. Yes; except thai there is always a certain margin. 
Some persons can adapt themselves to a very narrow margin; others 

Mr. Osmers. The reason I have made a special point of that condi- 
tion is that in some areas we have evidence indicating that those who 
remain are Laggards and those having initiative picked up and left. 

You have given us very interesting figures for the period from 
1935-40. Has Hastings College made any similar 5-year period study 
concerning the moyements of its graduates? Could we determine if it 
was unusual to have one-third or more of the graduates leave the State? 

Dr. Creighton. We don't have any studies that I could draw upon 
immediately, but we could investigate. 

Mr. Osmers. Do you consider 125 out of 307 an unusually high 

Dr. Creighton. I should say that it is more than the normal expecta- 
tion, but I should say further that during the 5-year period beginning 
with 1940 outgo would be much higher than in earlier periods. We 
have found, for example, in trying to get in touch with our very recent 
alumni, that they are going out of the State. At a recent homecoming 
football game we wanted to get an alumnus to broadcast the game — a 
former football star who has been quite successful as a coach. We 
checked and found he had gone to California with a friend holding a 
similar type of position. Those are the kind of men that are leaving 
now. That wouldn't have been true 5 years ago. 

Mr. Osmers. The present out-migration is significant in that it is 
drawing more heavily on the youth group than on any others. 

Dr. Creighton. That is right. 

Mr. Osmers. If this migration continues, what, in your opinion, 
will be its effects? 

Dr. Creighton. I think you have a situation where the ambitious 
man is going out and leaving the less ambitious — or, putting it in other 
words, the younger generation is leaving and the older people are 
remaining here. 

Mr. Osmers. What will be the picture here when the last of the 
younger generation have migrated out of the State? 

Dr. Creighton. For one thing, we will have a much less progressive 
population when the younger, men have gone. 

Mr. Osmers. What, in your opinion, would be the solution to this 
problem, bearing in mind the testimony of Mr. Johnson regarding 
irrigation ? 

Dr. Creighton. I certainly can't add anything to Mr. Johnson's 
testimony. The only thing I could do would be to supplement it. I 
think that we are going to lose our ambitious men because there is not 
enough going on in this area to hold them. The cases I have cited 
would be a support of that contention. I believe that, as a long-range 
proposition, Mr. Johnson's suggestion about developing plastics in 
order to use our agricultural products in industry, is the final solution. 
Now there is one thing that he didn't touch upon that I think is im- 
portant. I have had conversations with some of the larger sugar 
companies— the Great Western in Denver, and others — and they have 


been watching this area. They tell me there is not very much hope 
because the allotments for beet sugar are all taken up. Even if, 
through our irrigation, we should open up territory that would be good 
sngar country, we would still be denied the development that would 
normally ensue because the sugar lands have already been taken up. 

Mr. Osmers. From what figures I have seen it appears that many 
of your people are going to California to work in the aircraft plants. 
Presuming that this out-migration continues during the defense 
period, when peace comes I doubt whether the aircraft industries of 
California will be able to provide employment for those people 
who are now leaving Nebraska. Now, it is my judgment that peace- 
time opportunity is more important for Nebraska, and for any place, 
than wartime opportunity. Taking your own graduates as an ex- 
ample, do you anticipate that they will return to Nebraska after the 
war period? 

Dr. Creighton. That would depend upon a great many factors,, 
most of which we do not know. I think there is always a tendency 
that when a young man goes into a locality where the wages are good 
he will be married. He will settle down and it will be very much 
harder for him to return to Nebraska than it was for him to move 

Mr. Osmers. If the State of California has no employment for 
them and refuses to give relief, isn't it likely that a number of them 
will return to this State? 

Dr. Creighton. It will be more likely that we will have to expand 
the relief agencies and the W. P. A. in California and keep them 
there rather than having them come back to Nebraska. 

Mr. Osmers. I think that is a very proper deduction from what I 
have been able to gather. 


What have been the effects on the rural church during this period ? 

Dr. Creighton. The rural church has suffered before this. It isn't 
all of recent date. Hastings College which is connected with the 
Presbyterian Church, has always held as their major principle the 
education of ministers. A young man preparing for the ministry 
would go to college and then to the seminary for 3 years; he would 
then be ordained and take a church. He would usually get married 
about that time and- that would call for a certain salary to support 
him. Now in this area the presbytery of Hastings, there are 30 or 
more Presbyterian churches. I think only 5 of them are self-sup- 
porting. A great many of them have not been able to carry on regu- 
lar church services at all. The chairman of the presbytery, Mr. Han- 
son, of Holdrege, has worked out a plan whereby students take charge 
of those churches that cannot support a pastor. We have at present 
1 students carrying on the regular work of a pastor in a church. 
They are not very well prepared for it. They have only had 2 or 3 
years of college and sometimes not even that much. 

Mr. Osmers. What age are they? 

Mr. Creighton. They are usually older than the average college stu- 
dent — from 22 to 28. The average age in college is from 20 to 22. 
They are somewhat older because the churches would like a somewhat 
older type and some of these men are married and have an arrangement 
whereby the wife lives in the parish all the time and the college student 
husband goes home on Friday evening and he is there Saturday and 


Sunday. It is an exceedingly inefficient way to handle it but it is the 
best that can be done. 

Mr. Osmers. The reason for the use <>i* these expedients, is, I sup- 
pose, that the congregation is unable to support the payment of the 
services of a regular pastor. 

Dr. Crmghton. Depletion in membership and lowered financial 
ability of those who remain. 

Mr. Osmers. Do you anticipate that we are entering a period where 
it will be necessary to centralize churches, as is the case with schools, 
or are the distances involved too great in this area? 

Dr. Creiohton. There will be centralization, of course, and some of 
that is necessary, quite obviously. It may be that we should not have 
some of these churches. Not all of these churches are being cared for. 

Mr. Osmers. Even with the use of these expedients you mention they 
are not being cared for? 

Dr. Creighton. I think the policy of the particular presbytery in- 
volved here is one of taking rather heroic measures for those churches 
that should be preserved, no matter what happens. These locations 
are strategic and should be preserved, looking toward a better day. 
That is the basis of their procedure. There are some other churches, 
however, that are not being cared for, churches which they assume are 


Mr. Osmers. Changing to the industrial scene, you make a very in- 
teresting suggestion in your prepared statement, Dr. Creighton, that 
I would like to have you enlarge upon for the committee. That is in 
regard to the possibility of establishing flying schools in this vicinity 
and also of establishing defense plants. 1 

Dr. Creighton. Naturally we are very much interested in this. We 
have had an airport here for some time. We have an arrangement 
with the college and have trained a number of these young men to fly. 
My own son is just about ready to get his commission in the Army Air 
Corps in San Antonio, and I have looked at the air developments rather 
closely. I have been concerned with the number of crashes that have 
occurred near the air fields, near San Diego and Denver. I was in 
Denver just 2 weeks ago at Lowry Air Field. While this field is on 
level country it is very close to the mountains and people there say 
these mountain air currents come sweeping down on the field without 
warning. I see no sense in these boys of ours being trained under 
conditions far more hazardous than those existing in the European 
battlefields. They don't have mountains like the Rockies or the 
Sierras over there. Why should we choose the most hazardous areas 
for training these boys? Here in Nebraska we have level country and 
the changes in temperature are rather slow and predictable compared 
to the mountainous areas. Wiry not take these areas where we have 
good weather a high percentage of the time? Why not train our men 
in these areas where conditions are much less hazardous? 

Mr. Osmers. I think that is a very interesting suggestion. I know 
that the basic facts you set forth about some of these air fields are 
true — that they are subject to unusual weather conditions leading, in 
some instances, to loss of life. Has any such proposal been made from 
this area with specific reference to that possibility? 

i See p. 8253. 


Dr. Creighton. Yes. I don't know how effective that proposal has 
been and whether it was made in just the right fashion or not. I know 
the airport has been interested in that proposal. 

Mr. Osmers. The trend has been to train them in the South, where 
as nearly as possible they can get in 12 months of training every year — 
in Alabama, Texas, and elsewhere. 

Mr. Sparkman. May I interject this thought? You mentioned 
Lowry Field. I don't believe they train fliers at Lowry Field. The 
pilots go in there already trained. They do train enlisted personnel, 
radio operators, and photographic technicians. 

Dr. Creighton. They do lots of flying at Lowry Field. 

Mr. Sparkman. They do worlds of flying, but the pilots are sup- 
posed to be finished pilots, ready to fly under any and all conditions. 

The Chairman. I think, Mr. Sparkman, you may find in this area 
contract flying schools giving private instructions for the Army in 
connection with Lowry Field. 

Mr. Sparkman. That may be true. I don't know. I do know that 
back earlier in the program an arbitrary decision was made that train- 
ing for pilots would be south of the thirty-fifth parallel, and north of 
that would be tactical locations. 

Dr. Creighton. In our civilian pilot-training program we haven't 
had very much trouble with the boys getting in their flying hours. 
They fly all winter here. We have a first-semester group and a second- 
semester group, which indicates, I think, that our flying conditions 
are quite good. An examination of the weather reports would indicate 
that this is good flying territory. 

The Chairman. The entire Great Plains are relatively free from 
fog the year round, are they not ? 

Dr. Creighton. Fog is an unusual occurrence in this area. 

Mr. Sparkman. I felt myself that the drawing of that line was 
rather arbitrary. I think they should take into consideration the 
weather conditions prevalent in an area. 

Dr. Creighton. We have weather reports available for a good many 

We have rain at night, but it scarcely ever rains during the day. 
I believe that the weather reports show that this area is about the 
second most favorable as regards sunshine in the whole country. I 
think you can verify that from the records. I am not a native. 

The Chairman. Thank you, Dr. Creighton. We will give our re- 
porter a 5-minute recess and we will have a panel of Hastings busi- 
nessmen consisting of Messrs. Fred Seaton, Charles Anderson, L. T. 
Johnson, E. D. Einsel, Hal Lainson, Dean Gray. 



The Chairman. Mr. Seaton will act as moderator of the panel, 
and I will ask him to give the names of the witnesses to the reporter. 

Mr. Seaton. These gentlemen are [indicating] Charles Anderson, 
manager of the Western Land Roller Co. ; L. T. Johnson, secretary- 
treasurer of the Brown-McDonald Co. ; E. D. Einsel, president of the 


Hastings Equity Grain-Bin Co.; Hal Lainson, secretary of the Dut- 
idii Lainson Co.; and Dean Gray, manager of Food Centers, Inc. 

The Chairm \\. For the purpose of the record 1 will ask a question 
or two. Mr. Seaton, you arc president of the Hastings Chamber of 
Commerce, are you not \ 

Mr. Seaton. That is right, sir. 

The Chairman. What is your busim 

Mr. Seaton. Publisher of the Tribune here in Hastings. 

The Chairman. Is that a daily paper? 

Mr. Seaton. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. Mr. Lainson, with what firm are you connected? 

Mr. Lainson. With the Dutton-Lainson Co. 

The Chairman. And what line of business is that? 

Mr. Lainson. Wholesale and manufacturing. 

The Chairman. 1Io\\ long has that firm been in existence? 

Mr. Lainson. It was established in 1886. 

The Chairman. Mr. Einsel, what is your business? 

Mr. Einsel. We are in the manufacturing business, the Hastings 
Equity Grain-Bin Co., manufacturing sheet-meta] products. 

The Chairman. What type of metal products? 

Mr. Einsel. Primarily farm equipment, such as steel grain bins, 
stock tanks, irrigation well-casing, hog feeders, and similar items. 

The Chairman. How- long have von been in that business? 

Mr. Einsel. Since 1910. 

The Chairman. Mr. Johnson, with what business are you con- 
nected '. 

Mr. Johnson. With the Brown-McDonald Co. 

The Chairman. What is their business? 

Mr. Johnson. We have retail stores in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, 
and Colorado. 

The Chairman. Those are department stores ? 

Mr. Johnson. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. And what is their main item? 

Mr. Johnson. Men's and women's ready-to-wear and piece goods. 

The Chairman. Mr. Gray, with what business are you connected? 

Mr. Gray. Food Centers, Inc. 

The Chairman. Is that a local retail store? 

Mr. Gray. It is a local chain of grocery stores. 

The Chairman. Where do you operate ? 

Mr. Gray. We operate around Hastings and Grand Island. We 
have 20 stores in 18 towns. 

The Chairman. And Mr. Anderson, what firm are you with? 

Mi-. Anderson. The Western Land Roller Co. 

The Chairman. What kind of company is that? 

Mi'. Anderson. We manufacture farm implements — hay makers, 
buck rakes, land rollers, field rollers, combination feed grain bins, and 
roughage mills, and irrigation pumps. 

The Chairman. Mr. Seaton, we shall begin with your testimony, 
and therefore I shall ask that your paper be inserted in the record at 
this point. 


(The paper referred to above is as follows :) 


The survey of the chamber of commerce conducted for the purpose of deter- 
mining the effects of the defense program on migration to and from Hastings was 
conducted from five angles: Population trends, agriculture, retail, industry and 
wholesale, and recommendations. 

A study of the population trends shows that Hastings has had an irregular trend 
since 1880, but since 1900 had shown a constant increase until 1930 and a loss of 
2.2 percent between 1930 and 1940. The county has shown a greater loss (6.5 
percent) in proportion to population than has the city, which shows that much of 
the migration which has been occurring throughout the county is caused by the 
inability of farmers to withstand drought and low prices. 

The Agricultural Adjustment Administration, of which Mr. John L. Weeks is 
chairman, reports that farm operators in Adams County have decreased from 1,900 
in 1930 to 1,720 in 1941. A greater part of this loss has occurred in the more recent 
years. Mr. Ernest T. Lindgren, county assistance director, reports that of the 220 
males that are certified and working on Work Projects Administration, 35 have 
recently worked on farms, 75 have been farm operators, and many of the remaining 
110 have had some farm experience. 

AVhile it is impossible to know exactly how many farmers have migrated from 
this area, a study of the 1940 census shows that the migration from the Nebraska 
district has been far greater than from most of the other States which are consid- 
ered as being in the drought area. Due to the fact that the city has lost only 
345, while the count y has lost 1,699 (15.6 percent), it would indicate that a large 
percentage of migration from this district have been farm laborers or farm 

As previously stated, there has been some loss from city population. This is in 
part made up by an influx of families from other sections. A study of the 
present condition shows that about 300 families per year have migrated from 
the city and approximately the same number have migrated to the city. However, 
when we study the age groups we see there have been 136 inducted into military 
training from Adams County between the ages of 18 and 36, inclusive. It is also 
interesting to note that 79 percent of these were employed at the time of their 
induction and that all of these have homes in our county. Of those inducted 16 
were farmers. In addition to those inducted there has been approximately 250 
boys and girls of college age who have taken civil-service positions away from 
our city and county. The reemployment office has made approximately 75 place- 
ments in States outside of Nebraska in recent months ; 50 of these going to aircraft 
factories on the west coast, and others to various defense areas that might employ 
skilled or semiskilled laborers. 

A check of the manufacturers in our county shows that they have lost from 
their employment a total of 90 of whom approximately 20 were under 25 years 
of age. Of this group lost to manufacture^ approximately 35 were skilled or 
semiskilled and left their jobs for better positions elsewhere. 

With these facts in mind we estimate there have been around 200 families lost 
to our county due to drought conditions and poor farm prices. There has been a 
total of from 500 to 600 younger persons that still have their homes in Hastings 
who have secured employment elsewhere or have been inducted into military 
training. We have been assured that most of these young people who have left 
will be glad to return when and if employment for them is forthcoming in our 
city, unless such opportunities are too long delayed. (History shows that young 
people readily return to their respective communities if they have an opportunity 
to do so before they become acclimated to their new surroundings.) It is esti- 
mated by the various farm, welfare, and employment services that 75 percent of 
the emigrants from our county are men and the rest women. 

A study of the labor condition shows that the manufacturing firms, to date, 
have had no difficulty in securing all of the skilled help necessary. It is interest- 
ing to note that there is a slight shortage of journeymen plumbers, but, generally 
speaking, there is plenty of labor still available for all of the present needs and 
also for the future. The reemployment office has submitted the following figures 
on persons who, according to their records, ai - e desiring employment right now. 

1 Prepared by R. M. Thompson, secretary, Hastings Chamber of Commerce. 
6039b— 42 — pt. 21 4 







s killed 
























These figures are given on all five counties in view of the fact that should a 
defense industry be Located in this area the labor residing in the area would 
be given first consideration. In addition to those who are applying for employ- 
ment there are many who are on Work Projects Administration who might be 
employed if positions were made available to them. However, a study of the age 
of the average male certified to Work I'rojects Administration shows that he is 
4S years of age, an age which in some cases would jeopardize his possibilities of 
employment on defense or other work. A further study made by the Assistance 
Administration showed that 75 percent of the men leaving Work Projects Admin- 
istration were under the age of 50 and most of them were securing other 

In summarizing the population trends we call your attention to the loss of 
young people to our county by induction into military training, civil service, and 
defense employment. It is our belief, however, this migration of young people 
with the exception of military training can be stopped immediately when some 
kind of employment in our section of the State is made available to them. 

The agricultural statistics of this area, which should include five of the counties 
in this retail-trade area, show that we are substantially dependent upon wheat, 
corn, and livestock. Especially is this true of years previous to 1930 when very 
little effort was being made to diversify farming. During the past few years 
some slight changes have been made but apparently the farmers are more or 
less unwilling to deviate from the above-mentioned sources of income, in spite 
of a continuing cycle of deficient rainfall which has occurred from 1920 to the 
present time and especially acute during the last 10 years. 

The precipitation of our particular locality has varied from 27 inches down to 
a low of 11 inches. Fortunately rainfall of other sections of our trade area 
has helped to keep a more or less balanced wheel in spite of terrific losses taken 
by the farmers on both corn and wheat. A 20-year survey of yields shows that 
wheat has yielded ; , top of 22 bushels to the acre and a low of 3 bushels to the acre. 
(All figures are based on average yield for all acres harvested.) Corn in the same 
years shows a decided decrease beginning in 1020 with a high of 16 r j bushels to a 
low in 1934 of 0.5 bushel and last year showing 1.5 bushels. 


In addition to drought troubles since 1936 corn has decreased from $1.18 per 
bushel to 52 cents in 1938; wheat from $1.09 per bushel to 51 cents. It is very 
easy to see why farmers have migrated from our district. According to Ne- 
braska agricultural statistics, a high of $10,000.(100 for livestock in 1931 was 
recorded on the farms in Adams, Webster. Nuckolls. Franklin, and Clay Counties 
and a low of $5,000,000 in 1038. Crop values for these same counties dropped 
from a high of $7,000,000 in 1933 down to a low of $1,000,000 in 1934, and back 
to the $7,000,00 mark in 19.'!7. 

The various agricultural agencies together with the Chambers of Commerce 
have been trying to stimulate a diversification of crops for many years but 
very poor results have been obtained thus far. 

According to Mr. Weeks, chairman of the Adams County Agricultural Adjust- 
ment Administration program, there is only one way to restore population as far 
as agriculture is concerned and that is through irrigation. More and more study 
is being made of the benefits from irrigation and the advisability of irrigating 
by wells. There was a time when irrigation of this nature was discouraged 
by agricultural authorities but, in view of the lower power rates and more 
efficient machinery, new interest is being taken in this part of the agricultural 
program. At the presenl time in this immediate vicinity there is being pro- 
posed a district consisting of 05 wells that will irrigate a large section of 
what is now known as the dry side of the Hastings district. Low power rates 


and efficient pumping services are being offered to the farmers in this district. 
We find that there are 48 irrigation pumps already installed in Adams County 
and 25 more will be put down for operation in 1942. 

Diversification will very definitely provide more labor for farm laborers but 
it is not likely to increase the population of the county as it is considered likely 
the farm laborers already employed will be able to take care of the additional 
work which will be the result of diversification. The main advantage of diversi- 
fication is preventing a complete loss to the farmer in case of weather conditions 
or price failures. 

It is thought by most authorities that if the farm produced good crops the 
farm operators would not leave the farm for defense work. On the other hand 
defense work offers to farm labor a very definite increase in income, thus forcing 
the farmers to pay higher wages and increasing the cost of production. Unless 
some check is made between now and planting season it is very likely the farmer 
will experience great difficulty in securing sufficient labor to carry on his farming 

You have asked what effort is being made to secure an agricultural industry for 
our county. It is recognized by most authorities in this district that we are 
best fitted to carry on an industry which will process or manufacture agricul- 
tural products which can be raised here. Therefore, we are making an effort 
to obtain any kind of factory that would use raw materials of this locality. 

The retail survey shows that the retailers of this area are dependent upon 
agriculture, industry, and wholesaling — on a percentage basis approximately 60 
percent on agriculture and 40 percent on industry and wholesale. The retail 
business in our particular locality has shown a substantial increase during the 
past year in spite of the population trends away from our city. This is caused 
primarily by the better crop income that has offset much of the loss which other- 
wise would have been shown because of migration. 


The defense program has benefited our community somewhat in the 4 defense 
contracts which have been awarded to our manufacturers. However, it is likely 
that unless certain changes are made immediately we shall see the closing of 
some small retail business houses in our area during the coming year. We have 
interviewed one or more business executives in almost every line represented in 
our city and find that the merchants who either had the capital or credit rating 
have been able to purchase sufficient stock in preparation for the shortage which 
has been talked about for several months. These men are able to do business 
as usual. However, the small businessman who had no ready capital has lost 
thousands of dollars in sales because of his inability to get delivery on merchan- 
dise. Even large national firms have experienced loss of business for this reason. 

It is estimated that merchandise which formerly came on 2 weeks' notice 
now requires 4 months and necessitates a merchant carrying larger stocks than 
he has ever carried before. In some cases this has made the retail business 
unprofitable because of the necessity for increased storage space and handling 
charges. We find that most of the merchants have tried to keep prices well 
within the range of the customers' ability to pay and in many cases have not 
advanced prices as fast as they could have in view of the economic conditions. 

Those who sell appliances, hardware, automobiles, and other articles that use 
metals, chemicals, clothing, and other items on the priorities lists are likely to be 
forced to lay off help because they are unable to obtain commodities to sell. In 
this particular group it is likely that there will be a loss of some 25 to 50 
employees within the next 12 months in Hastings alone, unless some changes are 
made whereby articles of this nature can be made available to the public. 

The building business has already experienced a set-back because of Washington 
announcements that materials would not be available for building homes. This 
announcement has since been changed but according to one contractor it definitely 
put the damper on all talk of new construction for 4 weeks. Many who were 
talking about building a home previous to the control of the Government on 
certain products have dropped all thought of that improvement in view of the 
fact that they cannot be assured the house will be finished in any reasonable 
length of time. 

One retail store reported that after his supply of electric wiring materials were 
sold he would be unable to supply his customers without written authority from 

The Chamber of Commerce and other civic bodies have tried to encourage 
the retail businesses to keep up their stocks and make as great an effort on 



Belling as usual. However, we tin. I that some merchants are rather apathetic 

in view of iiieir inability to gel merchandise to Bell. 

As has already been explained, the Industry of oar eounty and city, which 
Includes manufacturing, wholesaling, ami railroad pay mils, is responsible for 
approximately -hi percent of the Income. The chamber of commerce is making 
every effort to bring about defense contracts tor Industries in our county. We 
have also made some effort io secure for our district some of the defense manu- 
facturing firms, an Army cantonment, or any other program which would be 
financed by the Federal Government. To date we have been unsuccessful in 
most east's and have secured only four small defense contracts for approximately 
20 manufacturers who would like to have some defense work. 

The manufacturer is faced with many of the problems similar to those men- 
tioned in the retail section of this memorandum. He is unable to get defense 
contracts or materials with which to proceed with his regular activities. While 
most of our manufacturers have some supplies on hand, they are iii constant 
fear of Losing some of these supplies if they do not secure a defense contract. 
On the other hand, they are unable to go ahead with any new work because they 
have no assurance that they can get materials which are on the priorities list. 

In summarizing the retail and industrial situation we find that both are 
making every effort to take part and cooperate with the Federal Government, 
but they are constantly being hampered in their efforts by some rule or regulation 
over which they have no control. 

1 am Listing herewith some examples given me by merchants and manufacturers 
to show how they are being affected by the defense program and Government 
regulations : 


One manufacturer states that he became a subcontractor for a large national 
firm. He very carefully carried out his part of the program according to specifica- 
tions and bought a special machine with which to manufacture the product. 
It was discovered that it was impossible for the local manufacturer to get 
approval from the Federal inspector for the product to be manufactured. He was 
therefore forced to sell the special machine back to the prime contractor who 
manufactured the identical article intended to be manufactured here. He got 
Federal inspectors' approval because the inspector could see that the manufactured 
article lit perfectly the prime contractor')!; part of the completed article. This 
firm has therefore refused to secure further subcontracts. 

A retailer explained that he had been informed that he can only secure 60 per- 
cent of the underwear purchases that he had the year before. He states that 
many other items in his store have been similarly curtailed. 

A manufacturer in our county attended the defense-controls clinic held in 
Kansas City the first part of November and was convinced in his own mind that 
he could build a certain article which he saw displayed. The military official 
in charge of this particular item refused to accept any bid from the local manu- 
facturer when it was found he had a production of only 60 tons of fabricated 
steel per month. 

Most manufacturers have been told that they may expect the Government to 
take over any raw materials which they might have for use in defense activities 
if the manufacturer does not have a defense contract. They have also been told 
by other officials they may carry on their regular activities with no fear of any 
such action on the part of the Government. 

Some Government officials who are working with the farmers encourage the 
raising of livestock, beef cattle, and pigs, while others state that the price they 
have to pay for this livestock is too high, and therefore discourage the purchase of 

Mr. Holmes, director of the Federal Housing Administration for the State of 
Nebraska, states that home construction will not be curtailed because of priori- 
tics in defense work. The Supply. Priorities, and Allocations Hoard sends out a 
notice that much of the material used in a home is on the priorities list and only 
through Special permission can it be used in home construction. 

Approximately G months after the Office for Production Management had heen 
in existence, and the local manufacturers had complied with the requests for 
factory surveys, we found out the Ordnance Division of the Army did not even 
know of many of our factories and they could give no contracts to any of our 
factories until they made a special survey of the factory. 

We have information that a large industry which will use agricultural products 
to manufacture an article for defense is unable to proceed with its plans because it 
can get no assurance that machinery will be made available if it installs the fac- 
tory. It is our understanding that this manufacturer is not asking the Govern- 


ment for any assistance with this machinery but only wants assurance that once 
he starts the factory he can complete it. 

One retailer explains tiiat he believes migration from Hastings and similar 
communities has only begun and unless all kinds of regular merchandise can 
be made available to stores they will be forced to close and thus force them- 
selves and their employees out of business. This man made a study of those 
migrating from Hastings as well as those coming to our city and says that in 
many cases a less skilled man at a reduced salary is taking the place of a more 
skilled man who left, thus lowering the income and purchasing power of his 


We have found the following kinds of merchandise are very difficult to secure, 
all kinds of electrical goods, anything containing copper, plastic, metal goods 
whether they contaiu a small or large amount of metal, office supplies, many 
paper items, hardware and plumbing, stoves, radios, furniture, certain chemicals, 
lingerie, vitamins, alcohol, rubber footwear, and work shoes. 

In speaking to a hotel man we find that salesmen are being taken off of 
their routes and being forced to seek other employment. Therefore, hotels 
and those catering to the traveling public are adversely affected by the defense 

The study we have made of the four parts which you assigned to us shows 
us conclusively : 

1. The farmer must be assisted so he can stay on the farm in spite of weather 
conditions and fluctuation of prices. This can be done through irrigation in 
our particular district; some kind of price control that will guarantee the 
farmer a legitimate profit for his efforts and crop insurance. Diversification 
will be encouraged by all agricultural agencies as well as civic bodies located in 
agricultural areas. 

The stabilization of the farm income for this district will materially assist 
in curtailing migration. 

2. The Government should immediately adopt a program which will assure 
the businessman that he can get articles to sell or to manufacture with the 
least amount of red tape and Government interference. Most businessmen wish 
to expand and comply with Government regulations and many will gamble on 
their future ability to sell their products if they can be assured of materials 
with which to work and a fairly stable labor supply. 

3. It is also recommended that the Government, in its endeavor to place defense 
funds where they will do the most good, should locate defense plants in this dis- 
trict and give defense orders to manufacturers located here, so we shall be belter 
able to keep our citizens in the area in which they are already living. Such a 
plan for distributing defense funds will keep population from migrating into 
congested areas and prevent untold hardships and further readjustments after 
the defense program has ceased. 

The following is a list of manufacturers located in Hastings : 

Farm processing manufacturers: Nebraska Consolidated Mills, Blue River 
Creamery K-B Ice Cream Co.. Hastings Ice Cream Co.. Swift & Co., Debus Cor- 
poration, K. & R., Inc., Neilsen Bakery, Steyer's Pastry Shop. 

Manufacturers: Arnold Specialty Works, Hastings Mechanical Works, Spilz 
Foundry, Hastings Canvas Co., Hastings Air Conditioning Co., Wright Manufac- 
turing Co., Central Nebraska Millwork, Jaden Manufacturing Co., Western Brick 
& Supply Co., Polenske Bros. & Schellak, Hastings Equity Grain Bin, Western 
Land Roller, Hastings Casket Co., Rose Manufacturing Co., Hastings D;uly 
Tribune, Democrat Printing Co., Percy Rentier Co., O. E. Serf Printing Co. 

We wish to call your attention to the fact that the majority of these manufac- 
turers are affected because they are dependent upon the manufacturing of 
articles that havf priority ratings. 


The Chairman. Mr. Seaton, will you discuss in general the effect of 
the defense program on the Hastings area to date? 

Mr. Seaton. I told Representative Osmers a moment ago that it 
seems to me that Hastings is in the same position as a man who had 


nicer? <>f the stomach and trot cured of that, then gut cancer and he got 
cured of that, and then had to have his arm amputated and. when he 
was finally get! ing well, gol run over by a truck. 

First, we had no prices for our crops; then we had our period of 
drought, and we had no crops ; and i hen the rainfall came back, and we 
had a brighter agricultural picture and it looked as though we were 
reaching tne golden trail. And (hen. all of a sudden, the Government 
began taking our young men and young women into the civil service. 
and the mechanics into the defense plants. And. of course, the draft 
has taken some of our boys, too. Now we are faced with plant shut- 
downs because of priorities. 

As a consequence, we have suffered a serious, loss in population, mak- 
ing it difficult for us to get labor in many cases, and our manufacturers 
are having an increasingly difficult time in getting materials. 

We have found that to be true even in our own business: — printing. 
We have to have certain metals and chemicals, and we. found it almost 
impossible to get them. These other gentlemen have had a great deal 
more diifirulty than I have. 

With loss of population there comes an economic dislocation 
directly traceable to the loss of people. There is difficulty in finding 
tenants for houses. There are no building programs, because there are 
more houses than there are people to put in them. Our people are liv- 
ing in houses they shouldn't be asked to live in because there are no 
other houses, and rent is so low that it is not profitable to build. 

Then, there is (he problem of social dislocation. The defense pro- 
gram has torn these people out of this territory and put the young men 
in areas some of which we feel — perhaps, it is smug of us — don't have 
the cultural and religious advantages that we do have in the Middle 

It isn't a very pretty picture, and the longer ir continues the worse it 
will get and the less hope there will be of reaching a satisfactory solu- 


The Chairman. Have any surveys been made in connection with the 
situation by the chamber of commerce ? 

Mr. Seaton. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. What is the nature of those surveys ? 

Mr. Seaton. They have varied. Some were on how much labor we 
have here in order to get defense manufacturing either for private 
manufacturers or in a public way. We have gone into the loss of pop- 
ulation very thoroughly. The memorandum from the chamber of 
commerce has some figures on that. We have gone into every phase of 
the problem that seemed to us to be a reasonable one. 

Dr. Creighton mentioned the airport situation. We have done a good 
deal of work on that. We were successful in getting an air training 
school of sorts, but we have never been able to have the airport and its 
possibilities recognized as we thought we were entitled to under the 

The Chairman. Isn't it true that every one of these individual prob- 
lems is far reaching? When there is no building, it is not only the 
carpenter and the electrician and the painter who are out, but the car- 
penter's barber and doctor and dentist and grocer, all down the line, 
suffer also. 


Mr. Anderson, we shall interrogate you on certain matters, but first 
let me say we are including your prepared statement as a part of our 

(The statement referred to above is as follows :) 



I represent the Western Land Roller Co., a manufacturing concern manufac- 
turing agricultural implements, which was established in 1908 and was located 
In Hastings, Nebr., in 1912, and has been in continuous operation in this location 
ever since. 

The company has enjoyed a continuous and successful growth in all these 
years, starting from scratch with only five or six employees and doing only 
a few thousand dollars' worth of business and now employing from 175 to 200 
employees and doing over a million dollars' worth of business per year. 

During this time there were only two periods when the company did not 
show continuous growth — the first period from 1921 to 1923, and then again 
from 1931 to 1934. 

During the period from 1912 to 1930, this territory was generally quite prosper- 
ous, and without checking any records, I would say, was gaining in population. 

This is an agricultural section and when the farmers prosper, everyone 
prospers. There were, however, years in that period of time when we had a 
shortage of rainfall and crops were damaged, but there was no general or 
continuous drought such as we have suffered in the last 10 years. However, 
I am confident that during the later years of that period, our crop yields were 
gradually tapering off as the soil was losing its humus because our average rain- 
fall in this territory is barely enough to raise a crop under favorable conditions. 

When our soil was new and contained an abundance of humus, it was porous; 
the soil absorbed the rainfall without much run-off and also retained it better. 
But as the years rolled along, this humus was gradually being depleted and I 
am quite confident even though we had not gone into the period of extremely 
dry years, our crop yields would have gradually been less and less due to this 
shortage of humus as described. 

During the period from 1930 to 1940, we suffered an extremely dry series of 
years, and as a result our farmers were hard pressed to meet expenses and make 
a livelihood. In these years of- short crops, the migration began and gradually 
increased as the years continued and in my opinion that was the principal reason 
for the population movement from this territory which was not only in this im- 
mediate territory, but in all of this Midwest section west of the Missouri River 
in Nebraska, all of South and North Dakota, Kansas, and Oklahoma, west to 
the Rocky Mountains. I am confident the drought became more acute because of 
the shortage of humus in the soil in all of this territory which had been farmed 
for many years. 

In the past year or year and one-half since the defense program, there has been 
some shift from this territory to the manufacturing centers because of higher 
wages paid in defense industries, but I am confident had our farmers raised good 
crops in this territory, this movement would have been much less and when the 
defense program was over, the people would return right back to this territory. 

It is my opinion that what we need most in this territory and in all of this 
semiarid territory where it can be had, is a supplemental water supply and the 
conservation of rainfall we are now receiving so the humus in these soils can 
again be built up to receive and retain the rainfall normally received. The 
cheapest and quickest way of supplying this supplemental water in areas where 
there is an underground supply, is to pump it. In other areas where creeks and 
rivers can supply the water, ditch irrigation should be used and water from our 
creeks and rivers should be impounded and held back for irrigation purposes. 

In other areas where pump irrigation is not practical and ditch irrigation can- 
not be had, contour farming and other means of holding the rainfall and pre- 
venting run-off should be practiced. 

My explanation of why our company has continued to prosper is because we 
do a Nation.-wide business which is not dependent on this semiarid section. 



The Chairman. Mr. Anderson, will you tell the committee what the 
Hint of I he defense program has been on your business? 

Mr. Anderson. It has made us uncertain of getting necessary ma- 

The Chairman. What kind of materials do you use? 

Mr. Anderson. We use many different materials. Si eel is our larg- 
est item. Scrap iron is probably the second largest. We use ball 
bearings, belting, bolts, nuts — hundreds of small items like that. 

The Chairman. What is your principal product? 

Mr. Anderson. At this time we are manufacturing feed grinders — 
mills for grinding grains and all kinds of roughage — and irrigation 

The Chairman. Are you having any difficulty in getting materials 
for making the mills? 

Mr. Anderson. Ball bearings, I think, and scrap iron are the two 
things that are bothering us most at this time. 

The Chairman. Are there any other direct effects of the defense 
program on your business besides your difficulty in getting materials? 

Mr. Anderson. It has made it hard to get skilled labor. 

The Chairman. Are you losing many skilled workers? 

Mr. Anderson. We lost quite a number to the Army camps and to 
better jobs. 

The Chairman. How many men do you ordinarily employ? 

Mr. Anderson. About 170 to 200. 

The Chairman. Is that the average employment over the year ? 

Mr. Anderson. Yes. It is very steady. There isn't a lot of change 
in the number of men we employ. 

The Chairman. Do you know how many of your skilled men you 
have lost to the defense program ? 

Mr. Anderson. I could only estimate it. I would say about 10, 

The Chairman. Of a pay roll of 160 men, what percent would be 
skilled workers? 

Mr. Anderson. About 50 percent of them. 

The Chairman. And you have lost 10 out of 80? 

Mr. Anderson. That is right. 


The Chairman. What seems to be your difficulty in this material 
situation ? Is it that you can't get a priority rating or that the rating 
isn't effective after you get it? 

Mr. Anderson. The rat Lng isn't effective after we got it, The rating 
that has been given to agricultural implements is too low. 

The Chairman. What rating do they give you? 

Mr. Anderson. We get A-10 on repairs and B-l on complete ma- 
chinery items. 

The Chairman. And it is most difficult to get anything under B-l? 

Mr. Anderson. That is right. 

The Chairman. What effects on the present market for your ma- 
chinery have been .allied over from the years of the drought? 

Do the farmers have a complete stock of feed grinders and other farm 
implements that they need, or is there an unusual demand for new 
materials because they couldn't buy them in the past? 


Mr. Anderson. I hardly know how to answer that question because 
we have been fortunate in being able to increase our business in the area 
where they were not suffering from drought in order to take up the slack 
that we suffer in this area. We have got by in very nice shape by 
doing that. 

The Chairman. Do you anticipate any further labor losses? 

Mr. Anderson. We have been able to meet the labor shortage by 
training new men as they came in off the farms. There is plenty of 
labor coming in from farms which are being vacated, and in this terri- 
tory they first come to Hastings. 

The Chairman. Do you find the farm boys adaptable to mechanical 
work ? 

Mr. Anderson. With training they are some of the best help we have. 

The Chairman. That would be true if any defense effort came into 
the community? 

Mr. Anderson. I would think so. 

The Chairman. Mr. Johnson, will you tell the committee your ex- 
perience in retail sales for the past 10 years? 

Mr. Johnson. They have gone down, naturally. After 10 years of 
dry weather or 10 years of very little rainfall, the buying power of the 
public has gone down. But it is definitely increasing now, in a very 
limited sense. 


The Chairman. Do you have any suggestions for the restoring of 
buying power in this area ? 

Mr. Johnson. The continuation of the farm program has saved us 
during the last 10 years. I do not have too much confidence in a short- 
range program. Defense plants will, of course, be wonderful for a 
short time ; but we have to go back to our basic industry — agriculture. 

I will say that I think the Department of Agriculture, throughout 
its various bureaus, has done us a wonderful service. The thing that 
we have to do is to conserve moisture. We will have a shortage of 
rainfall, as you know, in the years to come, and I think that the pro- 
gram that has been started will be the means of saving this country. 

Now, mass movement doesn't go fast. Have you ever driven out in 
the northern part of Kansas and seen contour farming? Well now, 
that movement can't take on all at once. But through this contour 
farming, we are bound to conserve our moisture. And I am not selling 
Nebraska down, because even if we have a normal amount of rainfall, 
with the Government programs, crop loans, and all of those things, 
why, I feel that we can almost take care of ourselves. 

The Chairman. Do you believe that increased industrial activity 
will help the area in general ? 

Mr. Johnson. Well, industrial activity depends on the efficiency 
of the plant management, and that varies. We have industrial plants 
here in the State that stand on their own ground and have prospered 
and will continue to prosper, but I am talking about the wide territory 
that we depend on. A good industrial plant in a town will help one 
town, but we have a wide problem here, as you know. Some industrial 
plants will help if they have the proper management and if they are 
in the right places. 

The Chairman. Mr. Einsel, before we proceed, I should like at this 
time to have your prepared statement incorporated into the record. 


(Tlie statement referred to above is as follows:) 


The date of the beginning of this corporation was February 9, 1910; its 
original purpose, the manufacture of steel grain bins for farm storage of small 
grain. It was found, because of the nature of the product, seasonable in sale, 
that other products must be added to the line. By the addition of steel stock 
tanks, steel water storage tanks, steel hog troughs, and other related farm 
products, it could maintain employees over a longer season of the year and 
have them available at the seasons of the year the sales demand was greatest for 
its major product — steel grain bins. 

Our products have always been sold through the dealer channel of trade such 
as the local hardware, implement, and lumber dealers over the trade territory 
covered. Territory worked by salesmen has been Nebraska, northwestern Kan- 
sas, eastern Colorado, southeastern Wyoming, parts of southern South Dakota, 
and extreme western Iowa. Reasonable progress was made in developing the 
business up to 1932, at winch time the deflated prices of agricultural products 
so lessened the volume of sales that only a small percentage of normal business 
was done by this company from 1932 up until 1930 when crop conditions over 
the above trade territory began to improve. Unfortunately the farm population 
had been so seriously depleted over this trade territory over the drought years 
that demand for many of our items was very seriously affected. The Items 
manufactured by us used in connection with the production of livestock were 
very slow to come back. Most all of the farmers in this trade territory had 
been forced to sell their livestock holdings to liquidate existing debt or because 
of inability to purchase feed to carry breeding stock on the farms awaiting a 
return of more normal crop yields. 

Because of unfavorable crop production in our trade territory, naturally vol- 
ume of sales was very much affected with a corresponding effect on our ability 
to furnish steady employment to our normal number of employees. Beginning 
in 1939, with improved crop conditions over the trade territory coveerd we found 
the depletion of livestock so serious that many of our former lines of manu- 
factured items did not increase in volume as we had expected. By Government 
reports we realized the principal reason was that so many farms had been 
abandoned and many of them not producing any livestock and in many instances 
only a small part of the farm land was being farmed. Because of those facts It 
has been necessary to add further items to our line to try and maintain our 
husiness. Such items as underground oil tanks used on farms for storage of 
tractor fuel, and the soliciting and repairing of sheet metal parts of farm 

Unfortunately during the entire period of poor crops it was difficult to main- 
tain steady jobs for our employees. Our company has believed that it was to 
its best interest to use men in secretarial jobs. It has had experiences in keeping 
this class of help that I believe will be of interest to anyone seeking information 
about small business. Since 1931 we have lost six employees to Civil Service. 
The point we feel is of interest in this connection is that these employees had 
only a few days' notice to report to their new jobs which made it impossible 
to secure new help that could be broken in by the party leaving. We estimate 
it takes at least a year or longer to familiarize such an employee with, the details 
of his job due to the seasonable items we manufacture, advertise, and sell. If 
it were possible to have 2 to 3 weeks' notice before an employee must report to a 
civil-service job we believe it would be of great assistance to the employer so 
that new help might he employed and partially broken in, causing a minimum of 
hardship on the business. 

While crop conditions over our trade territory have shown a marked improve- 
ment in 1940 and 1941, the defense program has seriously affected our opera- 
tions. Because of our inability to secure raw material in time to supply the 
demand we had for steel grain hins during harvest we estimate that we Could 
have easily doubled our dollar volume cf sales and sold an additional 500 to 1,000 
bins, had raw material been available. 

Due to the publicity given to the shortage of sheet steel for civilian uses, many 
of our factory workmen left our employ, seeking jobs they felt were steadier and 
some of them were attracted to defense centers where higher wages were being 
paid than in this area for like work. 


The greatest number of employees on our pay roll this summer was 40. We 
now have only 21 employees and have not discharged anyone. According to our 
records, we have lost men for the following reasons : Two secured civil-service 
jobs ; one went to the Omaha bomber plant ; four went to college ; seven took other 
local employment. Because of the shortages of material they feared we would 
later lay them off. Two were called into the Army ; one joined the Navy ; one 
went to a California defense plant, and one of whom we have no record. 

Because of the seasonable nature of our products and because of our desire to 
serve in the defense program, we have put forth a great deal of effort in trying 
to secure defense work for our plant. We believe it is safe to say we have spent 
over $500 in time and money trying to secure defense contracts to insure our 
employees jobs. Our efforts to date have been unsuccessful. We have sent rep- 
resentatives to the defense-control office in Omaha, on numerous occasions, and 
had two men attend the defense clinic held in Kansas City, Mo., on November 7 
and 8. We have been unable to locate anything. We have submitted numerous 
bids on defense work but have not been successful to date. Because of further 
threatened shortages of material out of which we can continue to make our stand-, 
ard line of farm equipment we are faced with the problem of maintaining em- 
ployment of present employees. We have suffered seriously because of men 
leaving our employ for these reasons. 

It will be of interest, we believe, to state the amount of farm storage supplied 
by us in 1941 for the storage of small grain in this and other States where our 
product was sold. Approximately 375,000 bushels of bin capacity was sold, most 
of which was in farm size, 1,000-bushel-capacity units. 

The first steel grain bin produced by our company was made in 1910 and has 
been in constant service. It is now 31 years old. Nothing has ever been spent 
on it for repairs or upkeep of any kind. This bin is on a farm about 12 miles 
northwest of Hastings. 

Inasmuch as the output of our products is dependent upon the number of farms 
being operated in the trade territory we cover, the abandonment of farms and 
the loss of rural population has been a most serious problem to be reckoned with 
in the successful operation of our business. 


The Chairman. Mr. Einsel, how large is your plant? How many 
people do you employ ? 

Mr. Einsel. The height of our employment this summer was only 
40 men. We have 20 men in our employ now. 

The Chairman. You visited the recent clinic held in Kansas City 
by the O. P. M., did you not? x 

Mr. Einsel. I didn't attend personally, but I had two representatives 

The Chairman. I think the committee would be very anxious to 
have your reaction to this Kansas City clinic, as to its benefits, and 
possibly any criticism you might have to make. 

Mr. Einsel. Our representatives were unfortunate in not being able 
to find what we were looking for, or what we had hoped to find. Our 
men were unfortunate in finding anything that would fit into our pro- 
gram here. On the few items that did look possible, w T e have entered 
bids, and we hope that there will be some satisfactory results. But 
we have become quite discouraged, because we have bid in a great 
many instances on items that we could make, but unfortunately most 
of that stuff must go back East, and our freight rates on the raw ma- 
terial out here and on the return haul are very much against us. 

1 The Midwest Defense Clinic was held in Kansas City on November 7 and 8, under the 
direction of the Contract Distribution Division of the Office of Production Management. 
Its purpose was to spread defense work among manufacturers of that area. 


The Chairman. Does the freight rate on the product after you have 
manufactured it operate against \<>u. or do you make your prices 

BIDDING Dll l l< I II li 

Mr. Einsel. The bids I have reference to have been f, o. It. destina- 
tion point. For example, one item that we hid on is a part of a tent 
top which is made of sheet metal. The total bid price was $159 and, 
of that, 17 cents was for freight, which constitutes a large part of 
the price per piece of merchandise. Back East the bids ran from 69 

cents to considerably above our bid. But the fact is that plants farther 
East, closer to the supply of raw materials and also to the market 
for the finished product — which is a big factor in securing that busi- 
ness -had the vi]^v on us. 

The Chairman. Do you find that they allow you enough time to 
submit a hid after the notices come out, or have you had some difficulty? 

Mr. ElNSEL. That is one of our greatest difficulties and one of the 
greatest faults we have to find. Naturally, a small company is handi- 
capped in not having a large personnel of engineers and other people 
who might estimate costs exactly. And on top of that, one of our big 
worries is whether material would be available for the job. It is very 
hard to agree to furnish an item by a designated date even though it 
has a priority rating — especially after you have had some experience 
with priorities — and gamble on making that delivery. 

The Chairman. In other words, a circular comes out and it has a 
deadline for receipt of your bid, and you do not have sufficient time to 
see what you can go out in the market and buy the raw material for 
and make sure you are getting it. 
' Mr. Einsel. That is true. 

The Chairman. About how much time do they give you on some 
of these items ? 

Mr. Einsel. By the time we have received the notice from the De- 
fense Contract Service in Omaha, which has been very kind in assist- 
ing us in every way they can out here, and from other sources, I would 
say 7 to 10 days are allowed us at the outside, and many times the 
period is even shorter. It has possibly lengthened a little now. The 
time on these advertisements for bids is possibly being increased a 

The Chairman. What other obstacles are standing in the way of the 
smaller plants in the interior of the country in their efforts to get this 

Mr. Einsel. In our particular line of business, evidently a large 
number of plants are capable of doing similar lines of work, and obvi- 
ously the purchasing agents are anxious to secure that product as close 
as they can to their requirements. Evidently it is easier to keep check 
on and secure deliveries promptly from the larger manufacturers. 
As I see it, the purchasing agent for the Government is no different 
from any other purchasing agent. He automatically goes to the 
larger concerns, expecting prompter service and possibly a better 
product, due to their largeness — which I don't believe he always gets. 

The Chairman. Do you think the Government has gone as far as 
it should in breaking down production? I believe the English call it 
the "exploding" method.- For example, there are few companies in 
the United States that can take a contract for a tank: but if it is broken 

- See Washington hearings, pt. 20, pp. 8050 and 8071. 


down and spread on the table, there are thousands of plants that can 
make various parts of that tank, and it is not such a difficult thing 
after all, because if they need aid in producing a certain article that 
goes into a tank, and they know how many tanks they are going to 
build, they can contract for that particular part. Do you think they 
have gone as far as they can in that line? 

Mr. Einsel. No ; I don't, Mr. Curtis, and I can add a note of my own. 
It seems to me that if the need for speed is as great in this armament 
program as is indicated, the methods of trying to buy this material are 
maybe the greatest handicap in getting the job done, so far as the 
small plant is concerned. When small plants have been asked to 
analyze bids from the Navy or the Army, and to be sure that they can 
comply with all the details, the time allotted has not been sufficient 
for them to figure costs. Therefore this is the thought that has 
occurred to me : If small plants have a place in this picture, it would 
seem that purchasers must adapt themselves to the smaller industry's 
methods of doing business. An engineer, well enough acquainted 
with my plant, through the Defense Contract Service in Omaha, to be 
reasonably sure that we could produce a given item, should be out here 
and should go over the plant with our engineer or plant superin- 
tendent. If speed is the element desired and reasonableness in pro- 
ductive capacity is considered, the defense agencies ought to be able to 
turn orders over to small industries by that method. For small in- 
dustry, the present method is the long way around. 

The Chairman. I think you have hit upon the problem. Is it your 
observation that the Government does not have enough production 
engineers to follow up and help the plant get started, or are they tied 
too closely to rigid rules that serve no good purpose ? 

Mr. Einsel. There have only been two men in our place, to my 
knowledge, since the beginning of the defense program. Mr. Walker, 
of Omaha, was one, and I believe a lieutenant from the Omaha branch 
of the St. Louis Ordnance Department, was the other. We have tried 
to list ourselves with various agencies and have sought to cooperate 
and secure some of this business, in every way that we have known 
how. Possibly we have not known how well enough. 

The Chairman. You have a contract for some material now, haven't 

Mr. Einsel. No, sir ; we have none in the defense program. 


The Chairman. Will you tell us a little bit about your experiences 
in regard to obtaining and retaining your labor force? 

Mr. Einsel. This year has been an improved year, due to improv- 
ing agricultural conditions. Our labor problem has been a serious one 
because of lack of skilled labor of the type we need in this area. The 
shortage of crops in the last several years has had a serious effect on 
employment in our line of industry, and has not made it possible for us 
to retain the large number of employees that we could have had if 
we had had good crops. This year we have had serious difficulty 
getting skilled workers. 

The Chairman. The uncertainty as to what you would be able to do 
in the way of getting materials for ordinary civilian use has made it 
hard to hold your labor force? 

Mr. Einsel. That is right. The main item, steel grain bins, has 
been issued an A-4 priority rating in June. Unfortunately, it was 


slow in becoming effective and a portion of the materia] which was on 
order was nol delivered, and quite a little of it is still undelivered. 
Much of it was nol delivered in time to use for the steel pram bins. 

The Chaihm \n. Mr. Lainson, I shall instruct the reporter to include 
your prepared statement in the record at this point, after which we 
shall direct a few of our questions to you. 

(The statement referred to above is as follows:) 



History of THE BUSINESS 

The Dutton-Lainson Co. was founded in Hastings, Nebr., in 1886 by three men. 
W M Dutton, William McKee, and J. H. Haney who together invested $4,000 
and began to manufacture and Sell harness and cellars. 

In 1895 the firm purchased o business in Omaha. Nebr., a-.d Mr. McKee and 
Mr Haney moved there to manage the new business. The Hastings branch was 
continued' with Mr. Dutton in active charge. Business continued to grow under 
his leadership and a combination of increase in population and favorable agn- 
cultural conditions combined to help Mr. Dutton in his business. 

With the coming of the automobile and the demand for replacement parts and 
• 1C (vsvories the company added an automotive supply department, which at that 
time was one of the very few in this section of the country. Side curtains and 
replacement tops for open-model cars were made in the old harness shop and 
sold not only to the Dutton automotive department but to other distributors as 
well In these early days, and until 1921, the company was known as J. H. Haney 
Co. It was then changed to W. M. Dutton & Sons Co., and in 1939 changed to 
Dutton-Lainson Co. 

In 1& 9 Mr H A Lainson came to the company from an Omaha firm and 
brought with him several men who were trained in hardware and allied lines, 
and it was at that time the company entered into a larger field of distribution. 
Large inventories of merchandise were acquired, trained salesmen were employed, 
and the firm enjoyed a rapid growth and successful business. 

Present Departments 

wholesale distribution departments 

The following list of departments indicates type of goods which are regularly 
stocked and distributed from the wholesale house of the company at Hastings ; 

1. Hardware. 

2. Automotive equipment and supplies and replacement parts. 

3. Paint, varnish, and glass. 

4. Plumbing supplies. 

5. Electrical fixtures, supplies, and appliances. 

6. Household supplies and goods. 

7. Tools. 

8. Tinners' supplies. 

9. Cutlery. 

10. Sporting goods. 

11. Agricultural supplies. 

It can be readily understood that the wholesale business under the present 
priority set-up has verv little opportunity of obtaining merchandise for sale 
in this section of the country. However, considering our business from figures 
at hand, the largest part of our dollar volume comes from what we consider to 
be necessities that are needed to carry on food production in this agricultural 
district. . , 

Our purchasing department estimates that the following is a fair estimate ot 
the uses made of the merchandise which is distributed by our wholesale divi- 
sion: 27 percent for farm use; 17 percent for household use (in town and 
country); 2% percent for industrial firms; 17 percent for building up-keep 


used by painters, plumbers, electricians, and others; 26 percent for maintaining 
trucks, railroads, and passenger equipment ; 2% percent for accessories for 
passenger cars; 8 percent for sporting goods and miscellaneous. 

All but the last two items, or 89% percent, are, in our opinion, essential 

Mr. F. B. Reed, vice president of our company and in charge of purchases 
has advised me that because of inability to get merchandise in certain lines, he 
expects a loss in sales in excess of $200,000 for the coming year. We have on 
order with factories at the present time between $-10,000 and $50,000 worth of 
goods which we do not believe we will be able to obtain. We have another 
$40,000 worth of goods on order with factories for merchandise which is not 
being shipped at this time because of our inability to secure a percentage of 
priority so that the manufacturers may ship. Some jobbers in industrial centers 
have a larger percentage of priority sales which enables them to obtain mate- 
rial. For instance, here is a part of a letter received from the Lufkin Rule 
Co., Saginaw, Mich., dated November 14. 1941, in reply to our letter regarding 
merchandise ordered in January 1941. 

"The Office of Production Management say they prefer very much to have 
goods fabricated under A-10 only against defense requirement orders. With 
the 10-percent defense fating you give us, we penalize ourselves 90 percent out 
of every dollar we ship to you, and you must appreciate that when we lay out 
our manufacturing schedules and present them to the Office of Production 
Management, they immediately question the amount of merchandise we have 
shipped other than to defense and where we ship our friends like Dutton-Lainson 
goods in spite of the fact that they have a very low defense rating, we are just 
penalizing ourselves, because the Office of Production Management automatically 
eliminate from our supplies the goods we have shipped on nondefense orders." 

The partial list of merchandise which we have formerly sold and cannot now 
obtain because factories have withdrawn their items from the market entirely, 
include the following: Galvanized furnace pipe and elbows, galvanized sheet iron, 
galvanized corrugated roofing, aluminum cooking ware, pliers and wrenches, rules 
and tapes, tools, all rubber- and copper-covered wire, all bare electric wire, electric 
switches, conduit and conduit fittings, pipe. 

Many manufacturers are shipping but a small fraction of our requirements such 
as nails, wire, fencing, bolts, coal and gas ranges, saws, stovepipe, gasoline irons, 
lamps and lanterns, wrapping paper, paper bags, shotguns, rifles, silverware, and 
many other items. 

We are faced with the fact that electrical contractors will not buy conduit from 
us because we are unable to furnish the necessary fittings. It is also true that 
we cannot supply electric wire, and so builders are compelled to buy fittings for 
this line from wholesalers who have wire. 

Our wholesale business accounts for a large percentage of our total volume 
and is therefore the most important department of our business. 

The serious drought situation which has existed in this section of the country 
for several years has resulted in constantly declining sales to our dealers who in 
turn sell to the farm trade. A table indicating the change in our total sales is as 
follows : 


Year : index 

1928 108 

1029 97 

1930 87 

1931 '64 

1932 * 39 

1933 M2 

1934 x 44 

1935 50 

1936 ' 49 

1937 * 45 

1938 37 

1939 * 39 

1940 x 41 

1 Indicates years when the average precipitation for the State of Nebraska was below 


Precipitation records in inches 











16. 16 
23. 63 
22. 68 

24. IS 

16 66 
27. 19 

22. . r > I 

22 so 
22 71 
25. 94 
20 54 
20. 23 


26 76 
21. (3 

27. 11 
16, 7s 

21. 16 
27. 26 














1934 . .- 

Figures obtained From — Hastings (Hastings College Weather Bureau). Adams 
County (United States Departmenl of Commerce, Weather Bureau), Nebraska 
(United states Departmenl of Commerce, Weather Bureau) : 


Average precipitation for Nebraska from is7<i to 1940 22. 48 

Highest precipitation for Nebraska 1915 35.57 

Lowest precipitation for Nebraska 1884 : 13.54 

Our pay roll lias in past years of necessity been decreased as our sales have 
decreased and a table on pay rolls of our business would show a constantly 
decreasing total each year. 


The company operates two manufacturing plants known as (1 » the Rose plant 
(formerly known as Frank Rose Manufacturing To.). (2) The Jaden plant 
(formerly known as F. Jaden Manufacturing Co.). 

( 1 ) 77ie Rose plant. 

At the present time the Rose plant has been turned over to the manufacture 
of certain items for the War Department which items include: M55A1 — 37 mm. 
shells, B156647 — 105 mm. Howitzer oil gun, 15-18-83 — 75 mm. cannon grease 
gun, D202 — Shop grease gun. 

The shell order was obtained by solicitation of the. St. Louis ordnance district 
of the War Department, however, constant solicitation of other Government 
agencies has been in progress since August 1938. This business has given full 
lime work to approximately sixty persons and part time work to many others. 

(2) The Jaden plant. 

The operations at the Jaden plant are concerned with the manufacture of a 
varied line of items including the following: Trailer hitches, tire pumps, hydraulic 
pump oilers, cow pokes, door closers, caulking guns, trailers, air conditioners, 
sprayer cleaners, air blow guns, grease guns, air hose assemblies, mail boxes. 

Of these items which have been manufacture in the past, the following 
have been discontinued because of material shortages: Trailers, caulking guns, 
door closers, cow pokes, air host' assemblies, mail boxes. 

Sales from these items account for approximately 15 percent of our factory 
sales volume. 

Sales from the Jaden plant have been made by manufacturers representatives 
calling on distributors throughout the United States. Most of the merchandise 
has gone to hardware and automotive jobbers. A small export business is made 
annually to Mexico, Canada, South America, and the Pacific Islands. 

Since most of the items which we manufacture arc of a nature that will not 
enable us to secure Government priorities, the prospects of continuing production 
after our present stocks of raw materials are exhausted are extremely slight. 
We do not believe that we can continue operations at the Jaden plant unless 
we can secure additional defense business which will utilize the equipment in 
that factory. 

liAHOR Situation 

During the past year we have had approximately ISO persons on the regular 
pay roll. Extra help has sometimes brought this figure up to approximately 225 
persons at one time. However, our calculations of comparisons below arc based 
on the lower figure. 

We find that approximately 7 percent of our employees have moved to Cali- 
fornia in the past year, another 2 percent have moved to other western locations 
and an additional percent have moved to eastern locations. We have therefore, 
lost approximately 15 percent of our employees to defense projects outside of the 


State. These were all persons working for us who quit their jobs of their own 
volition and left this city. Many other part-time workers and many applicants 
have also left in recent months. We know this because many applications are 
left with us each month and in many cases when we attempt to hire the applicant, 
sometime after his leaving an application, we find that he is no longer available 
and has moved from the address indicated on his application. 

Most of our factory help has always been recruited from Hastings and sur- 
rounding small towns and the farms. Approximately 60 percent of our employees 
were born and reared on a farm. In recent months we have noted a very dis- 
couraging condition because many of the new workers that we have taken from 
farms, garages, etc., and have trained to be good factory workers, are leaving us 
to go to larger cities and bigger companies. In some cases the pay is more but 
in many cases the pay is not more. Very often the boys who have never been 
to a city or worked with many thousands of men in one company are anxious 
for the experience and therefore leave their old surroundings. In some cases 
these men have returned only to find that their job with us has been filled and 
that there is nothing for them in this vicinity. 

We have experienced some difficulty in securing and holding highly trained 
and specialized men but this is because of a systematic attempt on the part of 
out-State factories to take our best laborers. We are sure there is a large reser- 
voir of semiskilled labor which if given some instruction will make the best kind 
of factory workers. The exodus of labor from this territory is not only working 
a hardship on manufacturers whose best help is constantly being solicited for 
other jobs but is likewise working a hardship upon jobbers and merchants who 
are losing their customers. 


In conclusion we make the following observation : 

1. During the past 10 years this region has received subnormal precipitation, in 
8 of the 10 years, with 'the result that our wholesale sales have been definitely 
affected and that our present business is less than one-half of what it was in the 
years preceding this period of drought. This condition can be readily understood 
when it is noted that a large percentage of our sales volume comes from small- 
town hardware and automotive outlets whose customers are farmers. To the 
drought situation now is added a condition which we consider equally as serious — 
that is, the exodus of factory employees from this section to industrial centers 
where they are obtaining job's in defense industries. 

The drought caused many farmers to leave our territory. Some of the people 
of our organization are of the opinion that defense industries are taking people 
from our area at a much faster rate than did the drought — with the result that 
after 10 years of drought we are now faced with a condition that is even more 
serious because of defense industries. With this exodus of farmers and now of 
many workers to defense industries in industrial centers, we cannot hope to 
continue selling in future years at a rate comparable to the sales in past years, 
and this adjustment will mean that we will be forced to further contract our 
business, which contraction will result in many additional lay-offs. 

Therefore, it is our conclusion that we will be forced to contract our business 
to a much smaller operation, unless the farms can be made to be more productive 
through irrigation and the factories allowed to continue because of new defense 
work being placed in this territory. The combination of these two things will 
give work to the people so that they will not be forced to leave and find jobs in 
other sections in order to make for themselves a living income. 

2. This section has a vast reservoir of semiskilled workers who can easily be 
trained for skilled jobs as factory employees, but because there is not enough 
work for this labor, these people are leaving this section and going to industrial 
centers where defense orders have been concentrated. 

3. Our factories have become in effect, training schools for larger industries and 
we are thereby experiencing a serious hardship because we pay to train these men 
and as soon as they become proficient they are solicited by various employment 
bureaus, agencies, and individuals in an effort to interest them in leaving this 
vicinitv and going to industrial centers. 

4. Our factories are threatened with a complete shut-down not because all of 
the items which we manufacture are not subject to priorities but because those 
which are subject to priorities do not total enough of a volume for us to maintain 
our establishments and organizations. Whereas this situation is not acute at the 
present, it is nonetheless a threat which we face and which will force our closing 
by the middle of next year if we do not receive additional defense work or mate- 
rials with which to continue a sizable part of our present volume. 

60396— 42— pt. 21- 5 




The Chairman. Mr. Lainson, the Dutton-Lainson Co. originally was 
started in what branch of business ! 

Mr. Lainson. It was started in 1886 as a manufacturer of harnesses 
and saddlery. 

The Chairman. Then it eventually became a hardware wholesale 
house ? 

Mr. Lainson. Yes; in 1920 the harness business was stopped and in- 
ventories of hardware, automotive supplies, plumbing goods, electrical 
supplies, paints, and varnishes were added. 

The ( mailman. Over how wide a territory does the Dutton-Lainson 
Co. sell? 

Mr. Lainson. We have two divisions, a manufacturing division and 
a wholesale division. The wholesale division distributes in six States. 

The Chairman. How do you compare with other mercantile houses 
in the Middle West — west of Chicago — in size? 

Mr. Lainson. I don't believe there is a larger wholesale hardware 
company in the State. We are about average for local wholesale hard- 
ware houses as contrasted with national hardware houses, of which 
there are only 4 or 5. 

The Chairman. What is the outlook of the hardware business under 
the defense program? 

Mr. Lainson. It is not so very good. In the prepared report that 
I gave you I made a break-down of our sales, of the uses to which our 
items are put. Twenty-seven percent of our goods are used by farm- 
ers; 17 percent are used in households, either in the city or country; 
2y 2 percent are used for industrial purposes; 17 percent for building 
maintenance; 26 percent for transportation agencies, which might be 
truckers or railroads, or passenger cars; 8 percent for sporting goods 
and miscellaneous; and the remaining 2y 2 percent are for accessories 
which we don't consider essential — extra spotlights and cigar lighters 
that might be put in cars. 


Eighty-nine percent of our business is what we consider essential to 
the life of this part of the country. At the present time we have on 
order with factories between $50,000 and $60,000 worth of merchan- 
dise which we do not expect to be shipped. We have an additional 
$40,000 worth of goods on orders with factories which they are not 
shipping because of our inability to furnish a reasonable percentage of 
priority. Competitors of ours, for example in Omaha, are able to 
furnish a higher percentage to the suppliers, so that they in turn may 
get merchandise to replace their stocks. But since we don't have any 
defense program to amount to anything in this part of the State or in 
our territory, a very small percentage of our goods is sold to firms in 
national defense who can furnish us with a priority which we in turn 
can use to replenish our stocks. We expect — it is an estimate only — a 
loss in sales in the next year of between $200,000 and $250,000, because 
of our inability to get goods. 

The Chairman. That loss would be directly reflected by the retailers, 
and on down the line to a good many people whom it touches. 

Mr. Arnold. What are vour total sales now? 


Mr. Lainson. I would rather not make that public. I would be glad 
to give you that personally. 

The Chairman. In your manufacturing branch of the business, what 
defense business have you been able to get ? 

Mr. Lainson. We were successful in getting a small contract for the 
manufacture of 518,000 37-millimeter shells. We have also made sev- 
eral items which we had made in former years for the Rock Island 
Arsenal, such as the shop grease gun which, I believe, they use in the 
arsenal itself. Then this year we have made 2 models of grease and 
oil guns which are used on the 75-millimeter cannons and 105-milli- 
meter howitzers. 

The Chairman. On this contract that you have, was it necessary to 
retool to any great extent ? 

Mr. Lainson. Yes ; it was necessary to buy a great many new items 
because it is very close precision work. 

The Chairman. Are there any details about the difficulties that you 
encountered in getting defense business that you would care to 
enumerate or that you feel the committee ought to know ? 

Mr. Lainson. You mean details of securing contracts? 

The Chairman. Any criticisms or suggestions as to the treatment 
that the Government is giving the manufacturers such as yourself ? 

Mr. Lainson. The remarks which Mr. Einsel made could also be 
applied to our firm. We have found that in many cases 5 days was 
all that we had to get in a bid. Since we are in Nebraska and away 
from the centers where we must buy our supplies, it is very often 
difficult for us to obtain quotations from factories on materials that 
would have to be used in the bids. 

Also, the specifications that come with the contract are in reality a 
whole book, and by the time one reads and studies possibly 5 or 10 or 20 
of these enclosures that come with a bid, and assimilates them and 
translates them into terms of his own factory's operations, of course 
5 days is not adequate. 

Also, much of the machinery, I think, outside of a very few machines 
in this part of the country, is not precision machinery. Most of Mr. 
Einsel's machinery and most of our usual machinery that we use on 
our own items is not precision machinery. Most of the Government 
work, however, is precision work. 

subcontracting difficulties 

You spoke of the Kansas City clinic on subcontracting. It is very 
easy to take the brunt of the thing for some prime contractor, and 
many of the items that were shown in Kansas City were items which 
had tolerances beyond watchmakers' tolerances. To produce parts for 
the Sperry bomb sight, nobbing machines were necessary, and a great 
many machines of which there is none in the whole State. 

In regard to the items that we can manufacture, Mr. Einsel spoke 
of certain items which he had bid on, and which went to eastern manu- 
facturers for a lower cost. I think that can be reasonably understood 
when it is pointed out that manufacturers in this part of the country 
don't have large establishments, and therefore their unit cost on this 
stuff is very often higher, of necessity. Anything that we manufac- 
ture out here cannot be competitive with the eastern markets, regardless 
of the freight rates. 

The Chairman. Do you feel that it would help the defense program 
if the Government would insist on subcontracting for the manufacture 


of individual parts and if it would direct that subcontracting to articles 
t hat fit the existing machinery in a given territory. 

Mr. Lainson. That. I understand, can be done now; but the proce- 
dure, as it has been explained to me by members of the War Depart- 
ment, require that the small manufacturer can testify that his company 
is in such an impaired position that it will have to close unless it can get 
Government work. When you make thai testimony you have to be on 
the brink of bankruptcy or closing. I think that many of us feel that 
by the middle of next summer we will have to close unless we receive 
supplies in order to continue our own items. But it seems to me that 
relief should come before every piece of metal in our shops is used up 
and we have to lay off our men, because as soon as we do that the men 
must find work elsewhere. 

The Chairman. In connection with this short time in which you have 
to submit bids, are firms from whom you must get your raw materials 
also bidders? As a general rule, does that situation prevail in your 
industry ? 

Mr. Lainson. I can't recall that it would. We are small manufac- 
turers, and our purchases in the past have been relatively small. At 
times when we have gone to steel companies and wanted to buy steel, 
they have probably favored better friends who have in past years 
bought a larger volume from them ; so in some cases a salesman has been 
more interested in seeing that the old friend with whom he has done 
business for many years gets that order rather than us. 

The Chairman. Mr. Gray, we shall introduce your paper into the 

(The paper referred to above is as follows :) 



The statements and opinions expressed in this paper are the result of observa- 
tion and not of investigation. 

We have seen this territory steadily depleted of resources; the farms de- 
populated of animals ; a happy, contented agricultural region changed into a 
despondent, discontented people. We know that thousands of our farmers have 
moved and that thousands more of our younger people are now leaving for 
more prosperous communities where work can be easily found. We have seen 
farms that at one time sold for 20 and 30 thousand dollars each change hands 
for one-tenth of that amount. We have seen homes in many towns that once 
were valued highly sell for a few dollars, homes and business buildings selling 
for a few dollars to a few hundred dollars each. All of this is common knowl- 
edge and to a large extent is still common. 

Then we saw irrigation and its effect upon the farmers whose lands were 
watered. We have seen those individuals with hope again and we have felt 
the effects of irrigation in our stores. It has kept hope in our hearts and it 
has been the reason in some towns that we are in business today ( Shelton, Lexing- 
ton, Sargent, Burwell, Ord, Arcadia, and Loup City). 

Other areas have been helped by the various Government relief agencies. 
This area has been saved. It was all we had. Consequently, the people of this 
area are highly appreciative of Government activities. 

We have a population area in and around Hastings, Grand Island, and 
Kearney that could supply plentiful labor. There is a small canning factory 
at Burwell, Nebr., steadily employing three or four people. When there was a 
run on tomatoes this season the factory merely blew a whistle in the morning, 
in the afternoon, any time of the day, and were able to get the help of 70, 80, 
or 90 women (they could have employed men) within the space of 1 hour, eager 
and anxious to earn a few dollars to supplement their farm Income. Burwell 
has this small canning factory as a result of irrigation. 


Towns that have already felt the results of irrigation are today totally 
different towns from those where there is none. Our business in irrigation towns 
Is definitely better. 

I have said before that some areas were helped by relief agencies. This area 
was saved by those agencies. If, now, defense industry would take advantage 
of our power set-up, our water supply, our low-priced land and intense desire, 
there are hundreds of businessmen and fanners who would give their time, 
energy, and support and there would be no question of its success from an indus- 
trial, labor, or defense standpoint. 



The Chairman. Mr. Gray, will you describe your business and the 
effect the defense program has had on it ? 

Mr. Gray. We operate in 18 towns. I have observed 2 major effects 
of the defense program. First, the help situation. We have a lot of 
difficulty in keeping our clerks and our butchers. They are leaving 
for defense areas. Out of 100 employees, I expect we have lost 30 in 
the last year and a half. The other effect is a reduced volume in the 
territory. We have analyzed our business to some extent and have 
seen this thing happen : A one-time family of 4 purchasing groceries 
in 1 of our stores, is now a family of 2. I am thinking specifically 
of a family in Hastings, working for Mr. Anderson. They are good 
customers in 1 of our stores, but now there are just 2 of them left. 
The daughter and son have both gone to Washington, where they have 
jobs. This conditoin, in general, prevails in all the towns where we 
operate. In some we have as many families but not as many persons 
to feed, because the young folks have left this area. 

The Chairman. Do you get all the merchandise you need ? 

Mr. Gray. Yes. 

The Chairman. Do as many salesmen call on you now as 18 months 

Mr. Gray. Just as many. 

The Chairman. What benefits do you anticipate from irrigation of 
this territory, not only for the people but for industry in general ? 

Mr. Gray. We are fortunate in being in some of the localities that 
do have irrigation. I can describe for you the town of Sargent, Nebr., 
as an example. We have a store there. We have felt the effects of 
irrigation there to quite an extent. Two or three years ago, if you 
had gone to Sargent, it would have looked like the town of Donovan, 
between Grand Island and Hastings. That is to say, it was beginning 
to look like a ghost town. In the last year they have felt the effects 
of irrigation. Three new buildings were put up. We occupy one of 
them. The fronts are being painted, the park has been renovated. 

The Chairman. Is that town in part of the Loup district, to which 
Mr. Johnson referred ? 


Mr. Gray. Yes, sir; a good many towns are affected by irrigation. 
It has been wonderful. It has saved our business. We wouldn't be in 
those towns today if it hadn't been for irrigation. 

Mr. Osmers. What is the effect of irrigation on the territory as a 
whole, including communities not irrigated ? 


Mr. Gray. We reached the all-time low in «.ur stores last year. Now 
we are coming hack, to a great extent due to the new trend and better 
prices for farm products. 

We operate BOme in the irrigated sections. Now, with the strength- 
ening of prices of eggs and wheat and cattle, we are coining back, to 
some extent, m those towns. The worst feature is that if prices go 
down again, we would have fewer mouths to feed. 

Mr. Osmkrs. Retail food prices have increased sharply in the past 
year and the trend seems to continue. 

Mr. Gkay. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Osmers. In your opinion what will the effect be of price-fixing? 


Mr. Gray. I don't know. We dislike very much to see price-fixing. 
The average grocery man is not profiteering. The average grocery 
man makes very little net. The chain-store average net is 1% percent 
for the United States, so that is one industry that does not need much 

Mr. Osmers. I think you are referring to profit-fixing rather than 
price-fixing. I am looking at it from the consumer's standpoint, and 
I don't think it is any secret that a lot of consumers want to see some 

Mr. Gray. If you fix the prices in the grocery business you have to 
consider gross and net. You have to have one before you have the 
other. If you had price-fixing to get the net down, they couldn't 

Mr. Osmers. I envisage a price-fixing situation that would fix the 
wholesale as well as retail prices, and the margin would be the same. 
You would operate competitively, using the same margin. 

Mr. Gray. Price-fixing on two or three items would be a little differ- 
ent from general price-fixing. You can put a ceiling on eggs, but when 
you have two or three thousand items in a grocery store, the problem 
becomes enormous. 

Mr. Osmers. It would be difficult, but from the standpoint of the 
Nation as a whole, it would be infinitely less difficult than undergoing 
the horrors of inflation. 

Mr. Gray. We would rather have you fix the competitive situation 
than prices. It might be a little better for us. There has been a 
highly competitive situation, with this upward price trend, which has 
not been so good for the grocery business. 

Mr. Osmers. Is there a great deal of discussion in your business 
about loss leaders ? 

Mr. Gray. I think most grocery stores do use loss leaders. 

Mr. Osmers. Has there ever been any State attempt to eliminate 

Mr. Gray. We have a State law here, but unfortunately the legis- 
lature, when it passed the law. didn't put any penalty on violations. 
We have had price wars, in Omaha, intermittently in the last 2 or 3 or 
4 years, and I don't think it is any exaggeration to say that the loss 
has reached as high as $10,000 a day in the selling of groceries. 

Mr. Osmers. There are no penalties in the State law ( 

We enacted a law in New Jersey with penalties, but it was declared 

Mr. Gray. Thurman Arnold says that State laws are not en^ 


Mr. Osmers. I think he may be able to support that. 

The Chairman. Now that we have questioned each of you gentle- 
men in turn on matters within your respective fields, we should 
like to address some further questions to those who have already 
testified, and some, perhaps, to the panel as a whole. Mr. Osmers, do 
you have any further questions ? 

Mr. Osmers (to Mr. Anderson). You have mentioned the difficul- 
ties that you are meeting in getting steel and scrap for the manu- 
facture of farm implements. Do you carry any sizeable stock pile 
of those materials that will permit you to operate for any lengthy 

period ? 

Mr. Anderson. We try to keep a reasonable amount m stock. 

Mr. Osmers. How long would it permit you to run ? 

Mr. Anderson. There are so many items that we are nearly always 
out of some of them. It is hard to keep the pile up so that we are 
safe on all items. 

Mr. Osmers. Has your plant been surveyed by the Government as 
to the possibility of converting it to defense work? 

Mr. Anderson. Yes; several men have been there. I don't recall 
just who they were. 

Mr. Osmers. What has been the result of those surveys? 

Mr. Anderson. We have never heard anything further from them. 

Mr. Osmers. I believe you said that you make grinding machinery. 

Mr. Anderson. Yes ; we do. . . 

Mr. Osmers. Is that an item that is likely to remain on a priority 
list right on through the defense emergency ? 

Mr. Anderson. I would say it is, because it conserves feed of all 
kinds by grinding it. 

Mr. Osmers. But the Government itself has made no suggestion to 
you as to adapting the facilities that you have or changing or alter- 
ing them in some way to participate in direct defense contracts? 

Mr. Anderson. It has been suggested to me in Omaha that there 
may come a time when it will be well to think about changing over 
parts of the plant for defense industry. 

Mr. Osmers. I am inclined to the belief that the production of metal 
civilian goods is approaching a temporary stoppage in the United 
States, and I am just trying to determine whether the type of agricul- 
tural equipment that you make is of such an essential nature that the 
manufacture of it would continue. _ Otherwise I would say that civilian 
metal manufacturing is about on its last legs. 


Mr. Anderson. It is my understanding that agricultural imple- 
ments will be on the preferred list. 

Mr. Osmers. That has been the understanding. But the question is 
raised again by these new requests from the Army and Navy for 
further expansion and further development of the defense program. 
Two months ago we thought agricultural implements were on a pre- 
ferred list. Since then the President has requested Congress to appro- 
priate another $7,000,000,000 for Army material. The curtailment 
that will result as that expenditure is made has to come from 

Mr. Anderson. But agricultural implements directly affect food 
supply, and the Army and Navy has got to eat. So I don't see how 


you ran curtail materially the agricultural implement industry and 
still keep up the food supply. 

Mr. Osmers. We are in effect doing that. If it is difficult or im- 
possible to get certain items, whether it is desirable or not, you are in 
effect being deprived 

Mr. Anderson. I have said we have had difficulty, but we have not 
as yet suffered a shortage. 

Mr. Osmers. You haven't had to close down. 

Mi'. ANDERSON. We haven't had to close down and our production at 
this time is actually more instead of less than a year ago. But we are 
right on the verge all the time. It keeps us under a nervous strain to 
keep on without knowing whether we will be finished next or not. 

Mr. Osmers. I imagine it would. 

I would like to ask Mr. Einsel a question. Mr. Einsel, you have 
described some of the difficulties and some of the price differentials 
that seem to obtain in the bidding on machinery for defense. Do you 
believe that the Government would be aiding the program if it awarded 
contracts for defense without competitive bidding on a cost-plus basis? 

Mr. Einsel. Yes ; in certain items I can see no reason why that would 
not be practical. The prices are so well known, as to raw materials 
and average labor costs, that I don't see how the Government would be 
seriously handicapped in practicing that. 

Mr. Osmers. Let us set up a hypothetical case that would apply to 
your plant as well as to some of the other plants that have been 
mentioned. We have a Government official come in, let us say, sur- 
vey your equipment and give you a contract on a cost-plus basis. 
That would eliminate any profiteering on your part, and yet maintain 
something that I believe is very important — the morale of our civilian 
population. Is that correct? 

Mr. Einsel. I am sure we would welcome that, and would co- 
operate in every way we could. Our effort has been to aid in this 
emergency, first because we felt there was a serious need for produc- 
tion, and second, because we felt there would be a shortage of steel 
for civilian uses. 

Mr. Osmers. Then such a procedure would be useful in vour situa- 

Mr. Lainson. I think it would. The St. Louis Ordnance has set 
up a negotiated bid department, and also the Chicago Ordnance, but 
I don't think it has been extended to a lot of items that can be made 
in these shops that are not highly skilled or precision shops. 


Mr. Osmers. I am thinking of the isolated shop, located in a com- 
munity from which men cannot commute to some defense area. Ob- 
viously, if you were 20 miles from Omaha, and your men were dis- 
placed as a result of a shortage in materials, they would then proceed 
to secure employment in the Martin bomber plant, where many thou- 
sands of employees will be needed, and these men would not have to 
leave their homes. They would continue to trade in the same food 
stores and continue all their normal activities. But in towns such 
as Hastings it would seem to be desirable to have the Government 
negotiate contracts according to the machinery available. 

Mr. Lainson. That proposal has angles that are difficult to put into 
practice, but I understand that the Tri-Cities — Moline, Davenport, 
and Kock Island — have very few, if any, actual defense orders in 


that area, yet they are not needed because the Rock Island Arsenal 
personnel is going up and down the streets of those towns and rilling 
the shops up. Our contract was very small, but it is surprising how 
we had to draw on other facilities in town. We had a shop or two 
in town do some work we needed. We were swamped and bought 
what we could from other shops. If that were practiced on a larger 
scale, if we had one big contract to fill, it seems to me it would take 
care of many of our shops here. 

Mr. Osmers. That is the way it works. The committee was told 
that at Chrysler Arsenal they had 800 contractors working on pro- 
duction of a tank, supplying parts all the way from a 2-cent item to 
one costing $500. Do you anticipate that the bomber plant at Omaha 
will need subcontracting in which you might be able to participate? 

Mr. Lainson. Not as far as I know. We have made no attempt to 
solicit any business from them. The possibility we are concerned 
with is that the good laborers we have might be attracted there. 

Mr. Osmers. I certainly think they will be. 

Mr. Lainson. The fact is that we have become, in effect, training 
schools. The smaller manufacturer has become the training school for 
the larger manufacturer. It is a matter that has bothered me more 
in the last 60 days than at any other time because the process is gaining 
in momentum. For example, there were no automatic screw-machine 
operators in this part of the country. The State employment office has 
orders for 50 of them now. I think there were only some 25 or 30 in the 
whole State of Nebraska before the defense program started. So, 
we took men from country garages, who had some knowledge of 
mechanics, and made operators out of them. Most of the men whom 
we originally trained have gone. They thought they were skilled 
mechanics after 3 or 4 months of training. 

Here is what actually happened in one case. We were paying one 
of these men 55 cents an hour. He was attracted to Kansas City, where 
he was offered 97 cents an hour to begin with. He was down there, 
worked 2 weeks, and was discharged because he wasn't a 97-cent man. 
He simply couldn't fill the bill. So, he is back in Hastings now. We 
have filled his job. We have no job for him. A number of situations 
like that have developed, involving the men we have trained, but our 
old men are staying with us. The new men, after a period of 3 or 4 
months, think they have learned it all, and leave for other jobs. 

Mr. Osmers. I think Mr. Johnson made a very interesting point in 
stating that the real future of this State lies in an agricultural 
economy, and the temporary benefits of defense contracts may be out- 
weighed by depression and other difficulties after the emergency. 

Mr. Lainson. This man that left us — just to show you how expensive 
it is to train men of that kind — and the day before he left he ruined 
$1,500 worth of equipment simply because he was not skilled, 

Mr. Osmers. Did he feel that qualified him to take a higher job? 

Mr. Lainson. Apparently. 

Mr. Osmers. I have nothing further to ask. 

precision machinery 

Mr. Sparkman. Along that same line, Mr. Lainson, you said some- 
thing about the necessity of installing precision machinery for the 
order that you already have. Do you install that yourself or does the 
Government install it ? 

Mr. Lainson. We install it. 

S2S \ ll.\s l i.ncs BEARINGS 

Mr. Sparkman. After you have finished that contract, will that 
machinery be usable i 

Mr.LATNSON. Oh,yes. It is standard machinery. 

Mr. Sparkman. Suppose you don't get another similar contract. 
Will you have any use for that machinery \ 

Mr. Laixson. We may. However, because it is so valuable in the 
present market, we would probably not keep it. 

Mr. Spabkman. lint suppose this defense program should end. 

Then you may have to keep it. Would it be a dead load? 

Mr. Latnsqn. It would be pretty much dead, and pretty much of a 
load, because it is very valuable machinery. 

Mr. Osmebs. I think it is fair to assume, taking that as a laboratory 
case, that at the conclusion of the emergency that type of precision 
work is very likely to go back to the shops that have traditionally per- 
formed it, and overproduction of that type of machinery at the present 
time will make second-hand resale values little or nothing. Thus pre- 
cision machinery, after the war, may be a drug on the market. 

Mr. Lainson. We would prefer to sell these particular machines that 
we are operating; however, we have had 10 of them in our factory 
before and we have only bought a few new ones, so we normally could 
use them in our own work. Of course, if this defense work continues, 
there would be use for them elsewhere and we would sell them if we 
didn't get another contract. 

Mr. Osmers. In figuring your contract, do you figure the new ma- 
chinery in your costs? 

Mr. Lainson. Yes ; it is written into the contract. 

Mr. Sparkman. Mr. Gray, in your statement discussing the problem 
of people moving out, as I understand it, you differentiate between two 
kinds of out-migrants. One is the farmers who move away because 
of depressed conditions. 

Mr. Gray. A good many of them. 


Mr. Sparkman. But the movement you are concerned with now is 
principally the other class, the boys and girls who are moving into 
civil service and skilled work. 

Mr. Gray. To the west coast and other parts of the country. It is 
almost impossible to keep a full complement of clerks and butchers. 
They keep leaving all the time. 

Mr. Sparkman. You feel the effect of that out-migration in your 
business. You feel it not only in the shortage of help in your stores, 
but also in the decline in total numbers to be served by your business. 

Mr. Gray. That is right. 

Mr. Sparkman. Now, these farmers who have moved off, are they 
moving off submarginal lands or lands hit by the drought ? 

Mr. Gray. They are not leaving the irrigated sections. They are 
leaving the hill lands and the dry-land farms. 

Mr. Sparkman. What about the various Government relief agencies, 
such as Farm Security and W. P. A.? Are they helping people to 
remain on their farms? 

Mr. Gray. Those farmers wouldn't be there today if it hadn't been 
for those agencies in the last 10 years. 

Mr. Sparkman. They did help minimize the out-migration to some 

Mr. Gray. I would say they have saved this area. 


Mr. Arnold. I have an observation which I should like to address to 
Mr. Seaton, as moderator of this panel. I should like to ask him if 
he doesn't believe as I do that subcontracting is difficult in this area 
because you are so far from raw materials, and the freight in and the 
freight out doesn't permit you to get the contracts. Because of that 
inequality, you would probably still lose those skilled men to industries 
that can pay higher wages, even if you could get plenty of subcontract- 
ing. Therefore it seems to me this area needs a defense plant to hold 
your most skilled labor, and one that could be converted, after the 
emergency, to the making of plastics or something like that which 
would utilize materials that you grow here on your land. Is that 
correct ? 


Mr. Seaton. I think that is a question that one of these other gentle- 
men may care to answer. However, I can say I rather agree with the 
latter part of your assertions, sir, but I question very much whether 
the major difficulty, so far as defense work is concerned, is our 
remoteness from the markets of raw materials and manufactured 
articles. I think the magnitude of the defense job with which the 
Government is confronted is responsible for our difficulty in getting 
orders, rather than our remoteness from the markets. If our manu- 
facturers had sufficient time on these bids, and could get the materials 
they are able to get under normal circumstances, they could do the 
job. And in a time like this somebody in the Government should 
make that possible, if we are to believe that this Government needs 
more manufactured implements of war than it can get now. Don't 
you agree with that, Mr. Lainson ? 

Mr. Lainson. Yes. 

Mr. Seaton. As long as this country needs the production of manu- 
factured articles, and as long as we have available some production 
capacity, there must be some way it can be handled so that it gets 
into the defense program. 

Mr. Sparkman. As long as you stay on a competitive basis, isn't it 
true that you are not going to get that kind of assistance until that 
more favored manufacturer has a backlog built up to such an extent 
that he doesn't desire to bid for more? 

Mr. Seaton. From an economic point of view that might be true. 
However, if we are trying to win a war, I don't think we can expect 
to weigh everything in the scales of competition and base all our de- 
cisions on how much each particular manufactured article is going 
to cost. 

Mr. Sparkman. I agree with you. In a necessity like this, we can- 
not afford to let ourselves be hamstrung to a competitive-bidding basis. 

Mr. Osmers. I think our procedure is wrong along certain lines. 
Throughout the United States, excepting in this one part of the coun- 
try, you will see one of the greatest programs of plant expansion you 
have ever seen. To build a modern industrial plant requires steel and 
materials that are literally the sinews of war. I think that it is ridicu- 
lous for the Government to sanction a program of plant expansion, 
when plants such as those represented at this hearing today are on the 
verge of closing, and communities are being depleted through inability 
to get materials, while the very materials that you need to operate your 
business and make defense weapons are going into the construction 
of new plants in other parts of the country. 


That, in my opinion, is a policy that should be stopped as early as 
possible. Within my own district in New Jersey, a highly indus- 
trial district, we have the same situation. They will close one plant, 
and 5 miles away they will build an addition to a new plant. That 
doesn't make sense. And that is why I think the Government should 
come out to these plants and appraise them, and try to keep America 
together, rather than trying to get the whole country rolling along on 
wheels. After this war is over, the human misery that will have been 
caused by excessive dislocation will be immeasurable. We can't even 
guess at it. So long as plants in the State of Nebraska which are able 
to do defense work can't get defense work, it is foolish to put additions 
to plants in New Jersey, California, or anywhere else and rip your 
people up by the roots and take them to places where there are no 
housing and sanitary facilities. 

Mr. Seaton. I think we would agree with that. 

Mr. Lainson. This is especially important when you realize that, 
after all, we have just as fine industrial buildings out here as you can 
find anywhere in the country. Mr. Johnson has testified to the amount 
of power we have available. And there is no question that the location 
is satisfactory geographically. 

Mr. Osmers. I am not offering an argument to favor construction 
of new plants. We are going to have to build some tank arsenals. But 
we know, too, that there is a limit to that. A lot of these automobile 
plants can be converted into tank arsenals. 

The Chairman. I have a couple of questions. Mr. Johnson, do you 
have any difficulty in getting merchandise to sell ? 

Mr. Johnson. We do in a few lines — rubber goods, overshoes, and 
things of that sort. 

The Chairman. Mr. Gray, to what do you attribute the rise in the 
cost of groceries? Has it followed along with the rise in prices paid 
to the farmer ? 


Mr. Gray. Partially. I have talked to my associates about that a 
great deal. The cost of tin and the manufacturing costs — labor 
costs — have gone up tremendously, and consequently prices go up. 

Farm commodities also have gone up. For example, last Satur- 
day we were paying 33 or 34 cents a dozen for eggs. That is quite 
a price in this territory. Consequently the price to the consumer goes 
up. The cost of canning has risen and to that we attribute the higher 
cost of canned goods. 

The Chairman. Is the main factor there the higher cost of mate- 
rials or the rise in the farm and labor costs ? 

Mr. Gray. The farmer is getting a much better price for his mer- 
chandise. Beef and pork in our markets are both up because of the 
fact that the farmers are being paid more for those items. 

The Chairman. Out of every five people in the United States, only 
one raises food. In those areas made up largely of consumers, there is 
a feeling that because grocery bills have gone up, the farmers have had 
a great increase in their prices. But are not those farm prices only 
one of the factors in the increase in food prices? And is it not true 
that they are not the chief factor? 

Mr. Gray. Higher prices to the farmer are not the only factor ; they 
are not even the chief factor. If you reduce the price of a can of 
peaches in the orchard, it might be 3 or 4 cents. But in the retail- 


ers' hands it is 25 cents, which includes the labor and tin costs. All 
those factors make the price of canned peaches 25 cents per can. 


Mr. Anderson. I would like to suggest if some plan could be worked 
out where these small manufacturers such as ourselves could be as- 
sured of getting our materials right along, we'd be pretty happy 
without any defense contracts and we'd go right ahead manufacturing 
the line of machinery which we are manufacturing and which our 
large competitors are going to be compelled to cut down on because 
of their heavy defense contracts. 

The Chairman. In other words, you feel that the interest of the 
whole country would be served by seeing that small manufacturers 
have materials for civilian needs, perhaps at a preference over the 
larger concerns who are engaged in big defense contracts ? 

Mr. Anderson. Yes; by giving us materials which might otherwise 
go to those manufacturers who have higher priority ratings than we 
now have. 

The Chairman. I think we should keep it in mind that profit is not 
the purpose of the defense program. Nevertheless, to distribute the 
defense work, to a certain extent, is good for the entire United States. 
Now, while it might cost the Government a little bit more to come in 
and see what you can do and negotiate some contracts, there will be 
subsequent saving in housing, new sewer systems, and water plants 
and schools in the communities they are now building up, such as in 
southern California and elsewhere, as well as in preserving the stability 
of our American life. 

Mr. Sparkman. Plus the relief loads after it is over. 

Mr. Einsel. I would like to enlarge on the thought Mr. Anderson 
expressed, which affects me personally in my business. This may sound 
strange but it is true : Every sheet of steel that we use in any product 
that we are manufacturing— oil tanks, grain bins, hog feeders, mar- 
quees for buildings — we have no knowledge of when that piece of 
material can be replaced in the supply of our plant or of how long 
, we can keep operating. 

The Chairman. And that information is discussed among your em- 
ployees. And that fear prompts them to move, sometimes, and get 
a job elsewhere. 

Mr. Einsel. And to top that, it seriously affects their efficiency in 
doing their day's work, because they are afraid their jobs may not 

The Chairman. As a matter of fact, other branches of the Govern- 
ment, such as the Department of Agriculture, are sending representa- 
tives in there, urging increased production along many lines. 

Mr. Johnson. I know they are encouraging increased output of dairy 

Mr. Einsel. We are ready to cooperate if there is a war to be won. 
So far as profit is concerned, we have gone on for so many years with- 
out profits that it wouldn't make much difference. 


Mr. Seaton. I think we are all agreed that the future of our territory 
is dependent upon agriculture. As we have tried to show, the deplorable 
part is that had this defense crisis not arisen, we would have taken 



care of our problems in a pretty fair fashion until irrigation projects 
got underway. Now we are faced with another difficulty , so that today 
we feel it is necessary to have sonic defense plants located in this area. 
As Mr. Arnold mentioned, if we can do something to hold these people 
here until we can get our irrigation and other projects underway, we 
will be ready to ride out the storm later and keep people off bread-lines. 
But if we lose more and more of our population and don't get defense 
work, we won't have any population to do business with. Thai isn't 
talking through our hats. That is a matter of fact, as you can see 
from the information we have submitted. 

The Chairman. I think that concludes that panel. Gentlemen, we 
thank you very much. 

Our next witness is Dr. Reeves. 


The Chairman. Dr. Reeves, Congressman Arnold will interrogate 

Mr. Arnold. Will you state your name, address, and occupation for 
the committee? 

Dr. Reeves. A. E. Reeves, Farnum, Nebr., physician-surgeon. 

Mr. Arnold. Where is Farnum located ? 

Dr. Reeves. About 100 miles southwest of here. It is in the south- 
west part of the State. 

Mr. Arnold. Will you describe for the committee the agricultural 
conditions in your part of Nebraska ? 

Dr. Reeves. We have just gone through a terrible drought for the 
past 7 or 8 years, and naturally we have lots of vacant land. Lots of 
families have left our section of the country. 

Mr. Arnold. Can this land where there are so many vacant homes 
be irrigated ? 

Dr. Reeves. Those are dry farms. 

Mr. Arnold. Are there a number of stranded communities in this 

Dr. Reeves. The entire southwest part of the State, I believe, from 
Hastings west, is in the same fix. 

Mr. Arnold. Are just the young people moving away or entire 

Dr. Reeves. They have all gone. 

Mr. Arnold. Are not a great many of your young people going to 
California to secure defense employment ? 

Dr. Reeves. They are going to California and Washington for civil- 
service work. 

Mr. Arnold. Has the farm program helped you in that area ? 

Dr. Reeves. Yes; we couldn't have kept going had it not been for the 
farm program. 

Mr. Arnold. Have you any suggestions for improving the farm pro- 
gram so they would correct some of the difficulties yon have described 
in this paper? 

Dr. Reeves. I don't have any suggestions on the program itself. I 
could, however, suggest some methods for getting the program before 
the people in a better way than it is being done at present. The tenant- 
loan proposition to buy these farms should be handled from a personal 
point of view rather than trying to handle it in a public manner. If 
the present farm-loan proposition was put up to the farmer himself 


rather than putting it up to him at a public meeting it would meet with 
much more success. 

Mr. Arnold. Have you had the farm-purchase program put in effect 
in your territory ? 

Dr. Reeves. It has been tried, and I think two or three cases have 
been put in effect, but through a public meeting. 

Mr. Arnold. Do you think these farms can be purchased and made 
profitable again ? You say that you have lost these tenants and now 
the farms are vacant. Can they be made to pay again ? 

Dr. Reeves. I think so. 

Mr. Arnold. Does it depend upon the improved weather conditions 
that you anticipate ? 


Dr. Reeves. Yes. I believe our most substantial farmers are still 
in the area concerned but they have lost their land and live on rented 
farms. Seventy percent of our population live on rented farms. 

Mr. Arnold. This committee went before the Bureau of the Budget 
last week and urged a continuance of the Farm Bureau plan and an 
appropriation adequate to carry it on. Do you still feel that you have 
a buyers' market out there — that the land can be purchased at a reason- 
able price? 

Dr. Reeves. The land is very reasonable and can be purchased at a 
worth-while .value. 

Mr. Arnold. That isn't true in some areas of the country and the 
Budget Director pointed that out. But I made the statement to the 
Budget Director that in southern Illinois and other areas of the coun- 
try there were opportunities to buy farms at a price favorable to the 
purchaser. Your entire area is apparently of that kind. 

Dr. Reeves. Yes, indeed, it is. 

Mr. Arnold. In other words, where conditions are favorable, the 
program is intensified and is discarded in sections of the country where 
the land is too high. 

Your city has 350 to 500 in population. Do you have some facilities 
out there that would permit your garages to go into defense produc- 
tion on a subcontracting basis ? 

Dr. Reeves. We have two garages; one, that was built in boom 
times, is a very beautiful building suitable for most any kind of man- 
ufacturing. They have considerable equipment; lathes, drills, and 
specially qualified mechanics to run them. 

Mr. Arnold. Are there still skilled men there ? 

Dr. Reeves. Yes, sir. They are older men who have their invest- 
ment there and can't leave. I believe we have five or six skilled iron 
workers and electrical workers who are as skilled as any in the country. 
They are men who are too old to get into any other industry in Cali- 
fornia or anywhere else. 

Mr. Arnold. They are not really old, but they don't want to move. 

Dr. Reeves. They are from 30 to 50 years of age. 

Mr. Arnold. Are any other towns in that area in the same position ? 

Dr. Reeves. I think there are several other towns with that situa.- 

Mr. Arnold. What your area needs is exactly what has been told 
the committee by this panel. The Government should send produc- 
tion engineers into an area and so simplify the method of bidding 
that the small manufacturers can do some defense work. 


Dr. Reeves. I believe that is what we need. 

Mr. Arnold. In order to get the full production of defense mate- 
rials the Government is going to have to get closer to the manufacturers 
and make it much simpler for them to get defense contracts. 

Dr. Reeves. We are most interested in getting these men back on 
the land and working again— getting these men back on their own 
farms. That would take personal contact. The Federal land bank 
had hundreds of farms around there. They had their man go right 
out and dispose of the land. Unfortunately, most of the land went to 
speculators rather than to those parties who had formerly owned the 
land and lost it. 

Mr. Arnold. Of course, the Federal land bank isn't the Federal Gov- 

Dr. Reeves. I understand that. 

Mr. Arnold. You don't have private lending facilities to enable 
these men to finance the purchase of farms? 

Dr. Reeves. No. 

Mr. Arnold. What you need is an intensification of the loan pro- 
gram under the Department of Agriculture. 

Dr. Reeves. I believe the loan program is sufficient if we just had it 
put up to our people. 

Mr. Arnold. And if the Government were willing to permit an en- 
largement of that program in that area. 

Dr. Reeves. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. Have not the Nebraska people improved in their 
ability to overcome the drought, and is not dry farming more success- 
ful than it was some years ago ? 

Dr. Reeves. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. Dr. Reeves, we are very grateful for your appear- 
ance here. The committee will stand adjourned for an hour. 



afternoon session 

House of Representatives, 
Select Committee Investigating 

National Defense Migration, 

Washington, D. C. 
The committee met at 1 : 15 p. m. in the Post Office Building, Hast- 
ings, Nebr., Hon. Carl T. Curtis, presiding in the absence of the com- 
mittee chairman, Representative John H. Tolan, of California. 

Present were: Representatives Carl T. Curtis (acting chairman), of 
Nebraska ; Laurence F. Arnold, of Illinois ; Frank C. Osmers, Jr., of 
New Jersey ; and John J. Sparkman, of Alabama. 

Also present : Dr. Robert K. Lamb, staff director ; Francis X. Riley, 
field investigator ; and Mrs. L. McEnroe, field secretary. 

The Chairman. We may not have opportunity to hear everyone who 
would like to testify. However, we shall call on all those who have 
been requested to make prepared statements. I want again to an- 
nounce that our record will be open for 10 days if anyone wishes to 
submit additional written material after the close of the hearing. 
Our first witness this afternoon is Mr. Glantz. 


The Chairman. Will you please give your name to the reporter? 

Mr. Glantz. L. B. Glantz. 

The Chairman. And you live in Minden? 

Mr. Glantz. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. How big a place is that? 

Mr. Glantz. One thousand eight hundred and thirty-four people. 

The Chairman. And it is one of the rural county seats of the farm 
country of Nebraska? 

Mr. Glantz. Yes. 

The Chairman. The statement which you have prepared for the 
committee will be included in the record. 

(The statement referred to above is as follows:) 


This is a brief statement of conditions in Minden and in Kearney County, Nebr., 
as to population, migration, products, labor, and material. 

Kearney County is essentially and almost exclusively agricultural. Minden 
has one publishing house of some importance, and a tool-manufacturing plant 

60396 — 42 — pt. 21 6 


owned and operated by the writer of this report. Except these two businesses, 
the only business In the towns is such ms is needed to serve the agricultural-trade 

A pretty gOOd crop was raised in the COUnty this year and prices are good. 
Prior to this year crop conditions bave been very bad for 7 or g years. During 

that period a Large percentage of farm owners lost their farms by foreclosure of 

mortgages. Prior to that time the percentage of owner-operated farms was large, 
and now it is small. During that period the population of the county has de- 
creased from over 9,000 to less than 7,000. All of the decrease has been from 

the farms. The population id' the towns has stayed about the same. The farmers 
who have gone are mostly the younger or middle aged farmers. The average size 
of the farm unit has greatly increased. .Most of the men now actually operating 
the farms are well past 50 years of age. There is practically no farm labor avail- 
ab e, and farmers are having some difficulty getting their work done. Most of 
the farmers who have gone migrated to some of the Western States. Practically 
all of the younger men have left the county. Some of them are in agricultural 
business in other States, but most of them have employment in airplane or 
munition factories or in the building of some other trade. 


Prior to 10 years ago this county was highly productive. With reasonable rain- 
fall, together with development of irrigation, it will again be highly productive 
and will support a dense population. Some irrigation was done the past year 
from the tricounty (central Nebraska public power and irrigation district), and 
next year and the years following this will be greatly increased. Under the 
present Nebraska law, about two-thirds of the county cannot be irrigated from 
this system because it is not in the Platte Valley watershed. As soon as the tri- 
county has plenty of water available and the law is changed, about two-thirds to 
three-fourths of the farm land in the county can be irrigated from this district. 
This will increase tremendously the productivity of the county and will greatly 
increase the population which the county will require and support. 

Some experimenting has been done at pump irrigation. We think that within 
a short time we will be able to develop pump irrigation to the point where it will 
be profitable. This, again, will increase our productivity and will also increase 
the necessary number of farm operators. We are of the opinion that both tri- 
county irrigation and pump irrigation should be increased and assisted in every 
way possible, to the end that the area will become highly productive of agricul- 
tural products and will support a dense population. 

There is a great deal of good land in the county that can never be irrigated 
except by pump irrigation. A big hindrance to the development of pump irri- 
gation at this time is difficulty of financing. If the Government could make pos- 
sible easier long-term financing of deep-well irrigation, it would hasten this devel- 
opment here. As an experiment and demonstration of what can be done with 
deep-w r ell pump irrigation, the city of Minden has recently installed a thousand- 
gallon pump and during the past season furnished water to two nearby farmers. 
Due to lack of proper preparation this season has not been a fair test, but, in spite 
of that, we have obtained fairly good results. We expect in another year to make 
a showing with this project which will really demonstrate the feasibility of this 
kind of irrigation. 

A serious problem in the next few years will be where to get the men to operate 
the farms. As already stated, most of the present farm operators are older men 
and will soon be through so far as active farming is concerned. The young men 
bave gone to get employment or business in other places and there is no one here 
now to take the place of the old farmers who will be dropping out, or to supply 
the need for a greatly increased number of farmers which intensive cultivation 
under irrigation will require. Naturally, the development of irrigation, with the 
resulting assurance of profitable farming, will be an attraction to young men, and 
our hope is that it will be sufficiently attractive to bring back or bring in enough 
young men to supply the need. 

Another thing that ought to be mentioned in connection with agriculture is the 
loss and depreciation of farm Improvements. During the past HI years painting 
and repair of farm buildings has been almost totally neglected. On a good many 
farms, improvements have been allowed to depreciate to the point where they are 
practically not habitable and on others the improvements have been taken away 
entirely, [f irrigation and intensive farming develop, the farm unit will neces- 
sarily be smaller than it ever was, and this will require a larger number of farm 
operators than we ever bad before. If the county becomes productive and 
thickly settled, as it reasonably should do, it will require a very considerable 


amount of new farm buildings and a great deal of repair and remodeling of the 
old ones. 

The depletion of rural population has already resulted in closing a good number 
of rural schools and other rural schools operating have very few pupils. All of 
the districts have very good buildings and equipment and if the population 
comes back the schools will pretty well be able to handle it. 

If some good defense project such as a munition loading plant, a cantonment, 
or other project which would employ a large number of men could be estab- 
lished in this county there would be a good chance that when the defense 
program stops a large number of the men employed on the project could be 
used in the intensive farming program which we hope to have by that time. 
If such a project were established in this county it would also bring back to the 
county most of our young men who are now employed somewhere else. The 
county has plenty of excellent location for any such project. Across the north 
part of the county is a fairly broad strip of unproductive land which is of no 
value except for pasture. There is close access to two main line railroads, 
abundant cheap electric power, natural gas, and paved highway. The water 
supply is abundant and of the best quality. It is one of the finest locations that 
could be found anywhere for such a project and there would be a good oppor- 
tunity here for workers employed on the project or a large number of them 
to remain as permanent residents of the county in agricultural pursuits. 

As already indicated there is not a great deal of manufacturing done in this 
community. The present conditions in manufacturing especially as affected by 
the defense program are described in the following statement of the business 
owned and operated by the writer of this report. 


Defense work for the small manufacturer in Nebraska has been a great 
disappointment. I am probably as familiar or perhaps more familiar with this 
situation than other small manufacturers since I assisted in the beginning to 
help to organize these small institutions. At one time we succeeded in getting 
together about 100 small manufacturers and machine shop owners. Since we did 
not succeed in getting any defense work most of them gave up and lost interest. 
At the last meeting of this kind held at Kearney, Nebr., there were only 5 present. 

The small manufacturer and machine shop owner is handicapped because he 
does not have the right type of machinery to produce items of a defense nature. 
Contracts seem to be awarded to those who have the equipment. Since the 
small businessman is not able to get a contract under this arrangement it is 
also impossible for him to buy new machinery because he has no priority number 
as he has not been able to get any defense contract. 

I attended the defense clinic in Kansas City the 7th and 8th of November. 
There were not very many manufacturers and machine shop owners from 
Nebraska present. The largest percent of the prime contractors were looking 
for someone who already had the necessary equipment and were not much 
interested in anyone who was willing to purchase equipment to produce items 
for defense. I signed up requisitions on blueprints with different manufacturers 
but to date have not received any. 

I have made many trips to the Office of Production Management office in 
Omaha. I have always received courteous and willing help from Mr. Walker 
and Mr. Faucett but somehow a contract on defense work has not materialized. 
During my search for defense work I have traveled more than 6.000 miles arid 
spent several hundred dollars. 

We operate a tool manufacturing plant under the firm name of Glantz Manu- 
facturing Co.. of which I. L. B. Glantz. am owner. We manufacture motor 
maintenance tools. The Quartermaster Depot and the Ordnance Department 
have set up specifications on some of our tools. We have therefore been suc- 
cessful in selling the Quartermaster and Ordnance Departments several orders 
for tools some of which have had an A-1 priority rating. We have not had any 
difficulty in getting material for any of these Government orders. We have 
not had much difficulty in receiving material for any of our tools. 

It is my opinion that it is going to he difficult to farm out defense contract 
work to the small manufacturer or machine shop owner on a competitive bid- 
ding basis since he in nil probability is not familiar with the type of work he 
would he colled on to do. On items on which the Government has accepted 
bids there should be an established price or a suggested price. The largest percent 
of those with whom I have come in contact are afraid to submit bids because 
they have limited amount of capital and therefore feel they cannot afford to take 
too big a chance. 


Regarding the labor situation on defense work I do not think I would have 
difficulty in getting additional help as I have received information from a number 
who have left here but want to return as soon as defense work is available here. 

I am offering the above report from information 1 have gathered in my con- 
tacts in trying to gel defense work. 

Attending a conference to prepare this report were the mayor and city attorney 
of Minden, two members of the county board, the county agricultural agent, the 
Farm Security Administration manager, one dirt fanner, and two bankers. 

To briefly summarize, the exodus of farm population lias been serious; the 
young men are nearly all gone ; the farm unit lias become too large ; the number of 
owner-opera led farms lias become too small. The needs are rapid development or 
irrigation, better methods of financing pump irrigation, and the location of a good- 
sized defense project or cantonment in the county. 


The Chairman. What is your business, Mr. Glantz? 

Mr. Glantz. I operate a tool-manufacturing plant. 

The Chairman. What kind of tools do you manufacture? 

Mr. Glantz. We manufacture motor-maintenance tools. 

The Chairman. Do you sell these tools direct or through jobbers and 

Mr. Glantz. We sell some to manufacturers and the balance to 

The Chairman. What tools are your principal items ? 

Mr. Glantz. We manufacture various types of piston-ring com- 
pressors, valve lifters, wrenches, and ground clamps, and we have 
manufactured a few garden tools. 

The Chairman. Who are some of your principal customers ? 

Mr. Glantz. Our largest outlets are the Western Auto Supply, 
Montgomery Ward, and the Snap Tool Co. We have probably 12 or 
15 smaller agents. 

The Chairman. Over what territory are these tools shipped ? 

Mr. Glantz. We cover the entire United States and part of Canada, 
and before the war started we were getting quite a little export busi- 

The Chairman. Could you give the committee an estimate of the 
number of tools you make a year? 

Mr. Glantz. Just guessing, probably 100,000 units. 

The Chairman. Mr. Glantz, what has been the situation in your 
town since the development of the defense program ? What has been 
the local effect up to date? What is it doing to your population and 
your supply of skilled workers ? 

Mr. Glantz. Defense work elsewhere has taken out a large propor- 
tion of our young men. I think that is chiefly because they can receive 
better pay elsewhere. In fact, we have recently begun employing men 
50 to 60 years of age. 

The Chairman. Have many people moved away? 

Mr. Glantz. Yes. I can give figures on the city, based on the num- 
ber of resident meter users of the municipal water and litrht plant. 
In 1939 we had 516 resident users; in 1940 we had 522, and in 1941 
we have 498. 

The Chairman. This morning some Hastings manufacturers were 
heard. They not only told of their problems in manufacturing, but 
offered some solution for the handling of defense orders, and I am 


sure you have a contribution to make also. Do you have any defense 
work in your plant at this time ? Any contracts ? 

Mr. Glantz. Not at the present time. We have had several from 
the Army on our own items, but none on a new product. 

The Chairman. I wish you would tell this committee about any 
effort you may have made to get defense work, and the difficulties you 
have run into, as a small manufacturer. I think we should have it in 
the record. Go back to your first efforts and proceed as you like. 


Mr. Glantz. I am afraid if we had to go back to that, we wouldn't 
be through this afternoon. It is a long story. There were several 
of us who decided that we would try to organize the small manufac- 
turers and machine shop owners in the central part of Nebraska, and 
we had a little meeting at Kearney, at which half a dozen were present. 
We then set out to get all these men together to try to operate as a 
unit. We succeeded at one time in getting together at Grand Island 
more than 100 small manufacturers and machine shop owners. Since 
we didn't have any luck in getting a contract, at the last meeting there 
were only 5 present. The rest had lost interest. 

I don't think it is possible for a small manufacturer to get into 
defense work — as a small manufacturer. I was down to Kansas City 
a few weeks ago, to attend the exposition held down there, where a 
display was set up for prime contractors who had items to offer. 1 Some 
of the items that we saw out there were very difficult to make. Without 
special machinery or equipment, it would be impossible. 

But the big handicap to me seems to be that there is not enough time 
given. These reports come out, telling that the Government is going 
to advertise for bids. Sometimes, after we received the bids, the 
interval is only 4 or 5 days until the bid is opened. In order to 
be able to submit a bid, it is necessary to contact those who can furnish 
the material, determine prices, and arrange for delivery dates. Some 
of these happen to be steel mills, and they are somewhat slow in get- 
ting their information out; and for that reason, it is almost impossible 
to get a bid in. It has been difficult even on our own items where 
bids have been sent out. In one, a few weeks ago, we had only 3 days 
to get the bid in to them. 

The Chairman. Where was that from ? 

Mr. Glantz. Haliburton, Nebr. 

The Chairman. And from the time the bid entered your hands to 
the closing time, you had only 3 days? 

Mr. Glantz. Yes. 

The Chairman. Is that what they usually run, or is that an 
unusually short time? 

Mr. Glantz. I don't know. I believe I have a bid in the papers here. 
Do you want me to leave it? 

The Chairman. Just read off 2 or 3 items. 

Mr. Glantz. I think I received this one on November 18. There 
was one item here that I felt that we could possibly handle — a machin- 
ist's tool chest. That bid was to be opened only from the 18th to the 

The Chairman. When you say this bid was dated the 18th, you are 
referring to the circular sent out by the Omaha office of O. P. M.? 

Mr. Glantz. I received it on November 18. 

1 Reference is to the Midwest Defense Clinic, held in Kansas City on November 7 and 8, 
under the direction of the Contract Division of the Office of Production Management. 


The Chairman. And where was thai bid to be 9 days later? 

Mr. ( rLANTZ. In Jersey City. 

The Chairman. Mr. Glantz, as you have received those announce- 
ments of Government requests for bids. 1ms it been your observation 
that there were items on there that your plant or other small plants 
could have bandied if they had had sufficient time to prepare their 

Mr. Glantz. Yes; I have received some. In fact, I have one here, 
an item that I feel could be handled in almost any machine shop. The 
requirements were 50,000 a month. There were 2,000,000 in this order. 
That is a subcontract. 

The Chairman. What is the name of the item? What sort of thing 
is it? 

Mr. Glantz. That part has been cut out. But it is a plug for an 
incendiary bomb. Now, the difficulty with that is that it will have to 
be rolled especially. 

The Chairman. You mean at the mill ? 

Mr. Glantz. And we haven't been able to get anywhere at the mill. 
So we will have to let that slide. 

The Chairman. If that bid were open long enough to get the item 
back from the mill, could your shop and other shops handle it '. 

Mr. Glantz. I think three or four machine shops could handle it. 


The Chairman. Mr. Glantz, you said that you went down to Kansas 
City to the defense clinic. That is about 250 miles down there. 

Mr. Glantz. Somewhere around that. 

The Chairman. And it takes several days. You can't ride there 
and come back the same day. 

Mr. Glantz. I stayed there 2 days. 

The Chairman. What other trips have you made to get defense 
contracts? Have you visited the O. P. M. office in Omaha I 

Mr. Glantz. I have been there 15 or 20 times. 

The Chairman. And that is 200 miles from your home town. 

Mr. Glantz. And I made several trips to the Cushman Motor 
Works at Lincoln. They had some blueprints. I made three trips 
to Kansas City and two to Chicago. 

The Chairman. And to date you have no contract ? 

Mr. Glantz. No. 

The Chairman. Is there any other criticism you would care to 
make of the procedure, besides this time element ? Are there any 
suggestions ? 

Mr. Glantz. I think if the small manufacturers were on an equal 
financial footing with the larger ones, they would all get work. Most 
of these items that come out can't be handled without new equip- 
ment, and if we were given the same breaks as the larger manufacturers, 
there would be a lot of work for us now. 

The Chairman. And that new equipment would not be any greater 
additional investment proportionately than they are making for the 
larger manufacturers? 

Mr. Glantz. It should be less. In the town of Minden, we have a 
building that could house a rather large project and we bave housing 
facilities. We have everything there to take care of the added people 
who would work on such a project. 


The Chairman. How long have you been in the machinist business? 

Mr. Glantz. All my life. 

The Chairman. Where did you first work in it? 

Mr. Glantz. I first worked in Havelock, Nebr. 

The Chairman. On the railroad there ? 

Mr. Glantz. In the railroad shops, yes. 

The Chairman. And prior to that time you had done considerable 
experimenting with engines and the like ? 

Mr. Glantz. Yes. 

The Chairman. What service did you render in the last war? 

Mr. Glantz. I enlisted as a machinist. I served as chief machinist, 
the last year and a half of the war. 

The Chairman. What training did you receive? 

Mr. Glantz. I was given a special course at Columbia University. 

The Chairman. And since the close of the last war you have been 
directly engaged in the same line of activity ? 

Mr. Glantz. Yes; I ran a machine shop until about 10 or 12 years 
ago, and then I began manufacturing. 

The Chairman. Mr. Glantz, it may be interesting to you to know 
that this morning the witnesses cited this time element as one of the 
things that was hindering them. I would like to have your idea on this 
proposition. If the Federal Government could spend a little more 
time in getting the small manufacturers started by making production 
engineers available to them with authority to enter into negotiated con- 
tracts — in other words, to agree on something that would fit the in- 
dividual firm — do you think the small plants could come into a greater 
part in this defense program ? 

small business wants to help 

Mr. Glantz. Yes; I think so. My contacts with the small manu- 
facturers and machine shop owners show that they wanted to get in 
and help. They felt it was their duty to do so. I think they were 
more concerned about that than about the dollar-and-cent aspect. 

The Chairman. In addition to these 15 or 20 trips to Omaha, and 
your trips to Kansas City and Chicago, you have spent time both 
during and after business hours studying various specifications? 

Mr. Glantz. I have become pretty well familiar with them. 

The Chairman. If some plan could be devised whereby someone 
with authority to speak and act for the Government could give you 
sufficient time to demonstrate what you could do, and negotiate a con- 
tract to that end, that would be the solution for you, as a small manu- 
facturer, wouldn't it ? 

Mr. Glantz. I think it would be a great help. The trouble is that 
this defense work is so new to the average small businessman that it is 
really difficult even to send in a bid. It would be a real help if such 
a service could be rendered to the small manufacturer and machine 
shop owner. 

The Chairman. And while it would be a greater expense to the 
Federal Government on some items, it would save considerably on hous- 
ing programs and installation of water and sewer facilities. 

Mr. Osmers. I believe that men with authority to give contracts and 
trial orders should be going around the country and inspecting these 
plants and getting them started. One of the great failures of the 

§298 Hastings in;.\ kings 

defense program so far has been that no one has had sufficient authority 
to do business and go to all these different places. 

The Chairman. I think you have given to the committee a most 
valuable statement, Mr. ( tlantz, because it shows the effort on the part 
of a small manufacturer, and what (he Government has failed to do in 
that regard. That will be all. 


The Chairman. Mr. Ryan, Mr. Osmers will interrogate you. 

Mr. Osmers. Mr. Ryan, will you give your name and address and 
occupation to the reporter? 

Mr. Ryan. My name is E. I*. Ryan, commissioner and traffic man- 
ager, Grand Island Chamber of Commerce. I have handed in a state- 
ment. I would like to hand in some maps now to accompany it. 

(Three of the six maps referred to above are held in committee files, 
owing to the impracticability of reproducing them. Mr. Ryan's state- 
ment, with the remaining three maps, follows:) 


My name is Edward P. Ryan of Grand Island, Nebr. I am commissioner- 
traffic manager of the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce, also traffic manager 
for the Nebraska Livestock Auction Association, secretary of the Central Nebraska 
Defense Council, secretary of the Allied Counties Nebraska Drought Area, chair- 
man of publicity and statistics committee of the Nebraska Development Asso- 
ciation. I am a native Nebraskan. I have resided here almost all of my life 
and in my line of work extending over a quarter of a century, I have been in 
more or less direct contact with agriculture, transportation matters, the wholesale, 
retail, and manufacturing business of the State, and have had cause during this 
period to study the trend of population. 

Nebraska is perhaps more agricultural than any other State in the Union. It, 
therefore, must depend upon the conservation of its basic resources, soil and 
water, for its existence. The drought, which we are now passing through and 
which has existed for some 7 years, has taken its toll by sharply decreasing our 
agricultural income. Crop failure after crop failure has caused a great number 
of our people to move from place to place in Nebraska and from the farms to the 
cities and also to move from the State. 


In 1930 Nebraska had a population of 1,377.963. The 1940 Census shows that 
our population decreased to 1,315,S34, a loss of 62,129 or 4.5 percent of the State's 

There are nine cities in the State having a population of 10,000 or more. Re- 
gardless of the movement from farms to town, most of these cities hardly held 
their own in population. The increase ranging from 3 to 8 percent, except in the 
case of Scottsbluff located in the western part of Nebraska in the irrigation dis- 
trict, which had a very fine increase of 3.592 or 42 percent over 1930. While on 
the other hand, 2 of the 9 cities, Hastings and Norfolk, showed a slight loss. 

Because Nebraska is an agricultural State, our population is unevenly divided. 
Approximately 50 percent of our people are located in the east one-fourth of the 
State, 72 percent in the east one-third. The Sixteenth Census of the United 
States 1D40 shows that as a whole Nebraska's loss in population was 4.5 percent. 
While the urban population increased 5.8 percent, there was a substantial loss 
in the rural population of 10.1 percent. While there was a slight gain in 1G of the 
93 counties of the State, there was a loss in the other 77 counties. 




Hall County, in which Grand Island is located, is in the heart of the designated 
drought area, which comprises some 45 counties in the south and central part 
of the State. The loss of population in this area was 60,063 or 96.7 percent of 
the entire State's loss. The seriousness of the situation can be realized by citing 
the loss in some of these counties; for example, Custer had a loss of 3,598; 
Howard, 1,598 ; Greely, 1,597 ; and Clay, 3,125. The percentage loss in rural pop- 
ulation is as follows : Custer, 16.4 ; Howard, 15.9 ; Greeley, 18.9 ; and Clay, 23. 


The drought has made it almost impossible to produce crops and has had 
serious effect upon the production of livestock. Representative of the situation 
can be cited by quoting the records using the central district comprising, the 
counties of Custer, Valley, Greeley, Sherman, Howard, Dawson, Buffalo, and 
Hall. While these counties are located in the center of Nebraska, they are also 
in the designated drought area. In 1932 this area produced 16.9 bushels of 
corn per acre; in 1933, 21.6; in 1934 this dropped to 1.9; 1937, 6.2; 1938, 9. 
While the average for the State during that year was 14.5 bushels per acre. 
Referring to livestock, in 1932 this area produced 6S7,340 hogs contrasted with 
209,070 in 1935. This production was again reduced in 1938 to 150,960, hardly 25 
percent of that produced in 1932. Referring to production of cattle, in 1932 
this area produced 380,200 head. This was reduced to 292,220 in 1935 and 
increased slightly in 1938 to 313,660, some 67,000 less than in 1932. 


On seeking information relative to farm population and conditions, we have 
interviewed the offices of county agricultural agents and the Agricultural Con- 
servation Association and based upon general knowledge we are convinced that 
farmers are gradually leaving the country. The report for Hall County shows 66 
vacant farm homes, and 267 persons departed in the past 2 years with 65 persons 
expecting to leave this area in the very near future. Buffalo County reports 
that they have over 334 homes that are vacant or abandoned. It has, in gen- 
eral, been conceded that mechanical agriculture has taught most of the farm 
population how to handle, care for, and repair machinery — experience which 
constitutes the finest foundation in mechanical training and makes of farm labor 
a source of potentially skilled workmen for industry. Furthermore, there are 
large numbers of persons so trained who have been displaced by the increased 
use of machinery on farms and by drought conditions of recent years. Many 
farm-reared boys and girls have had to seek employment elsewhere but their 
homes are still in this area and they, no doubt, would welcome the opportunity 
to return to jobs here. 

We have heard it mentioned frequently that the young farmers that have gone 
to the Pacific coast to get a position in airplane factories, after being there 2 
or 3 months write home to their parents and ask that they come to California 
to live, as they make as much in 2 or 3 months as the entire family did on the 
farm during a year. 


The people in the city depend almost entirely on agriculture and when agri- 
culture suffers, it naturally follows that it affects those living in the cities and 
towns. Grand Island is the third city in size in population. It is a retail trade 
center as well as being an important jobbing and distribution point. It is also 
an important grain and livestock center, 2 of the largest livestock auction 
markets in the country are located here. Grand Island has some 20 manufacturing 
establishments employing around 175 to 200 people. Two years ago they employed 
over 250 people. On making a check with our State employment office of the 
loss of population for the past year and based on other tests, we feel that over 
200 young people left the city and approximately 150 skilled workers. It has 
been estimated that the total loss would exceed 1,500 persons. We have the 
names of over 758 people that have left and the point of their destination. We 
are satisfied from our study that the trend is toward a continuous loss of 


BOlfBEB I'l.X.NIS \l OMAHA \M) S\\ll<«) 

While we have do objection to the Government establishing bomber plants in 
eastern Nebraska, we do tear thai this will have a tendency t<> add to our labor 
troubles. It serins in lie the prevailing opinion thai these two plants arc hound 
to draw heavily 00 our population, which will not only affecl our cities and 
towns but our farming country as well. These direel Influences are matters 
that must be given consideration because it should be clear thai our people in 
this area, realising our present situation and with the future not so bright, 

are bound to be Influenced by Immediate and good paying Jobs. 


Today we have in Nebraska what you might call a dual system of markets for 
UvestOCk We have what is known as the large terminal markets where a farmer 
or livestock producer may ship his livestock to a commission linn and they, in 
general, sell to packer buyers. The other method is where a farmer or livestock 
producer brings his livestock to what is known as livestock auction markets, 
where the livestock is sold to the highest bidder and everyone present hears the 
bid and knows what it is. It is different than when selling on a terminal market 
where it is what you might call a silent bid. 

There are some 125 livestock auction markets throughout the State of Nebraska. 
Sales are held at these markets generally once or twice a week. These markets 
are a wonderful thing for the farmer, particularly the one who only feeds a few 
head of livestock at a time. He sells when the market is high and buys when it 
is low. He generally transports his few head of livestock in a small trailer behind 
his automobile. If it were not for these home markets, it is doubtful whether these 
fanners would be able to handle any livestock at all and which is one of the 
factors why they are able to stay on their farms during this drought period. 
There is a bill before Congress now, S. 1199, introduced by Senator Gillette, which, 
if passed, in our opinion, would have the effect of destroying this system of mar- 
keting. We favor the freedom of marketing for livestock. 


Both rail and truck transportation is highly important to the farmer of this 
area. There are many places where it is impossible for a semitrailer truck to go 
to the farms and ranches. It is necessary to take a small truck to haul the live- 
stock to the highway and then transfer it to the larger truck. A better developed 
system of roads in the farm area would result in much benefit to the farmer. 
The railroads in this State are beginning to file applications with the Interstate 
Commerce Commission asking for permission to abandon certain branch lines. 
There is an application now pending for the discontinuance of Chicago & North 
Western branch line between Hastings and Linwood, a distance of approximately 
122 miles. The Burlington Railroad has an application filed to discontinue its 
tracks from Prague to Schuyler. They have already taken up their track between 
Greeley and Ericson. The discontinuance of railroad service is, what you might 
say, the taking away of dependable transportation service, which is used exten- 
sively in the movement of seasonable crops and at the time livestock is fattened 
and ready for market. Unless good permanent roads are built and kept open the 
year round during all kinds of weather, it is bound to result in injury to the 
farmers of this State. 


It is generally conceded in this State that the Platte Valley is the best area for 
well-pump irrigation where there is a dependable supply of underground water. 
Farmers that have suitable land for irrigation in a number of cases are unable to 
raise sufficient funds for the equipment. Long-time low-interest loans by the 
Government would be of material benefit. It is apparent that there should be 
some agency to supervise the farmers for 2 or 3 years after they have a pump 
installed on their farms so as to educate them to the proper method of irrigation. 



The people in general are wondering why the Government doesn't relieve this 
situation by establishing some defense project in this area to absorb our surplus 
labor and which, no doubt, would be an influence to those that have left to return 
to their former homes. It is also contended that in order to hold what mechanics 
there are left and to assist the small manufacturer same method should be 
worked out so they could receive under subcontracts. That direct contract with 
the small manufacturer is necessary because of his limited means and the lack 
of understanding in procuring subcontracts. The present long-range method of 
contacting the small manufacturer is not working out in this territory. 






Hastings [ii:.\rincs 



Mr. Osmers. I have read your statement rather carefully and there 
were some things I would like to have you enlarge upon for the com- 
mittee. You have had a great deal of experience in the transportation 
problem. I wonder if you would tell us what has happened during 
the last 10 years to the hauling of freight by rail. 


Mr. Ryan. In the past 10 years truck competition has entered the 
field of transportation and has made great inroads upon rail trans- 
portation. In our State, at peak we had about 60,000 trucks in the 
cities and about the same number on the farms. The farmers 
naturally began to truck their own commodities to market as much 
as they could. Some State regulations were passed which prevented a 
great number of them from hauling. I think in the last 3 or 4 years 
there are perhaps 25 percent or more who have ceased hauling from 
farm to market. The railroads naturally have had to curtail transpor- 
tation. If conditions keep up the chances are that we are going to 
lose the majority of our branch-line railroads in this State. Already 
we have lost the Greeley-Ericson Line and the Omaha Road near 
Sioux City. There is an application now filed by the Chicago & 
North Western Railroad to take 122 miles of track out between 
Hastings and Fremont. The Burlington has filed an application 
with the Interstate Commerce Commission to take up its line from 
Prague to Schuyler, and part of the old K. C. & O. Line has already 
been taken up. The necessity of rail transportation is apparent in an 
agricultural State of this kind. We have in Nebraska what we call 
seasonal marketing. Heavy feeding of livestock is generally done 
during the winter season. When a farmer has his livestock ready for 
market he has to sell them. Rail transportation, dependable night 
and day, winter and summer, is important in order to get the live- 
stock to market. When we face the situation it becomes apparent 
that we will have to turn to truck transportation. Good permanent 
farm-to-market roads become a necessity. In hauling livestock from 
the farms and ranches of central Nebraska large semitrailers are 
used. The trailer must stay on good permanent roads. It is neces- 
sary that a smaller truck transfer the livestock from the trailer to a 
larger truck. This heavy overhead must be borne by the producer of 
livestock. I feel that some thought should be given to that situation. 
I am not criticizing the railroads ; it is a matter of economy for them 
to discontinue certain branch lines. At the same time we in the State 
of Nebraska will be losing a most vital means of dependable trans- 

Mr. Osmers. I think it is pretty well established in the public mind 
that railroad trackage that does not carry itself cannot continue in ex- 
istence. Of course, the fact that these railroads have made applications 
to take up the tracks, is a sort of last step taken after the service has 
been discontinued. 

Mr. Ryan. That is true. 

Mr. Osmers. But do you see any solution to the problem in either 
public or private endeavor? 

Mr. Ryan. We are primarily an agricultural State. The problem 
here is the economical transportation of the agricultural products 
which we raise. Our products are not all consumed in the State of 


Nebraska, our density of population being only 17.2 to the square mile. 
They must be hauled to Large consuming centers where there is a dense 
population. It appears to me % tha1 we should devote more thought to 
tarm-to-markel transportation than simply to the tourist trade. We 
have in this State the Lincoln Highway which goes from coast to coast, 
paved fchroughoul the State We also have Highway No. 6 paved all 
the way through the State, No. 20 to the north, and No. 3 to the south. 
The fanner has very (vw north and south roads for short hauls to these 
permanent highways. Farming is like any other business. You can 
only carry a certain overhead; above that you have to cease operating. 


Mr. Osmers. What effect has this curtailment of railroad service had 
upon the various towns in the State? 

Mr. Ryan. In the hauling of their heavy commodities — lumber, coal, 
bricks, cement, lime, and what not — it has this effect: It transfers their 
buying and selling to the larger centers, whereas heretofore thay have 
marketed their products in their own cities and towns. That has- led 
to a curtailment of retail trade in the smaller communities. It is 
changing the marketing situation. 

Mr. Osmers. What changes have you observed in cattle raising in 
the last 10 years in Nebraska? 

Mr. Ryan. Before we had railroads in this State — and that hasn't 
been so many years ago — wagon transportation was used. Later, the 
railroads came, and that was really a blessing to the farmer. In han- 
dling livestock the natural points were the large markets along the 
Missouri River: Kansas City, St. Joe, Omaha, and Sioux City. A 
farmer would go in from the interior and buy some stockers and 
feeders on the Omaha market. He would ship them back out, fatten 
the stock and ship them back in again. He had three transportation 
charges, three yardage and three insurance charges. Here in the in- 
terior we now have the auction -market system of selling livestock. 

Mr. Osmers. Is there not a bill before Congress to curtail that sys- 

Mr. Ryan. Senator Gillette, of Iowa, has introduced in Congress 
bill 1199, which would have the effect of closing up most, if not all, of 
our livestock-auction markets. Under that bill a farmer could not sell 
his own livestock on his own farm to a packer-buyer even if he wanted 

He could not take it to the local market and sell that livestock even 
at auction through the operator there to a packer-buyer, even if the 
packer-buyer said he wanted to pay a dollar per hundred more. It 
would take the competition out of that market. 

Mr. Osmers. What does the bill propose to do? 

Mr. Ryan. It proposes this: To amend the Packer and Stockyards 
Act. wherein it would be unlawful for a packer-buyer to purchase live- 
stock at a market where they didn't have a packing plant; we have 
just about two or three packing plants in the interior of the State of 

Mr. Osmers. Do you know what purpose Senator Gillette might 
have in mind in proposing this legislation? 

Mr. Ryan. I have my ideas. 

Mr. Osmers. Wouldn't the removal of competition from the sale of 
his livestock in effect reduce the price received by the farmer, and also 
cause many excessive shipping charges before he could sell his stock? 


Mr Ryan. It certainly would. I can't see how it can do anything 
else but deny the farmer his Tight to sell on any market he desires. 
Here is what happened in this State : I think you will find that the 
majority of sales on the interior livestock-auction markets are from the 
smaller farmers who raise from six to seven head of livestock. Such 
a farmer might have a couple hundred bushels of corn. He would 
fatten his livestock and then sell them. He manages to keep on going, 
and that is one of the main reasons why farmers m this part of the 
country have been able to stay on the farm as long as they have. Per- 
haps 60 to 65 percent of the dealing on these interior markets are from 
farmers of this kind. . 

Mr. Osmers. Are there any abuses in connection with the auction 
system that the committee should know about ? 


Mr. Ryan. The auction system works this way : If I were a farmer 
and shipped a car of livestock to a terminal market, I would consign 
to a commission merchant. He calls in the packer-buyer. They look 
at the livestock, and the packer-buyer asks how much he wants for 
them. He doesn't bid. The commission man tells him the price, and 
if it isn't satisfactory, he tries some other packer-buyer. Now, in the 
interior we have packer-buyers— private speculators, auction market 
operators themselves— all bidding at auction where everybody hears 
the bid. If a farmer isn't satisfied with the bid, after the livestock is 
sold he stands up and says, "No sale." 

Mr. Osmers. He has the privilege of withdrawing the cattle i 

Mr. Ryan. Yes. Not 6 weeks ago I was out at Ogallala where a 
farmer said "No sale." He said, "You are selling both head of live- 
stock together, and I want them sold separately." But when you are 
200 miles from a terminal market you must accept the price they sell 
your livestock for. Here they can load them right back in the car and 
take them back home. 

Mr. Osmers. Taking all of the testimony that you have given us and 
applying it to the subject of migration what would you say the effects 
on migration would be if they eliminated the auction feature from cat- 
tle selling ? Would it cause people to stay in Nebraska or to move out ? 

Mr. Ryan. I am afraid you would have 25 or 30 percent moving out 
right now if you denied them that privilege. 

Mr. Osmers. In your opinion, Mr. Ryan, what is the solution to the 
problem of keeping people in Nebraska, or what solutions are there? 

Mr. Ryan. During the last 10 years some 62,000 persons have left our 
State and are continuing to move away; 77 counties out of our 93 
counties have lost population. 

In the drought area, which consists of 45 counties, over 60,000 people 
have left ; 96.7 percent of the entire State loss occurred right in this 
drought area. The eastern one-third of the State raises 50 per- 
cent of the hogs and 50 percent of the corn which they feed to 
the hogs and they are close to the Missouri River markets. Our 
wheat and cattle are equally divided, and the dividing line goes 
down the middle of our State. The eastern fourth of our State 
doesn't need much help. When you begin to leave the eastern part 
of the State the population falls off to a point where we have five 
counties with a population of density of less than two persons 
per square mile. When you reach Scottsbluff the situation is en- 
tirely different. There tliey have irrigation and an increased pop* 
illation and the people are really happy. But the situation in 

60396 — 42— pt. 21 7 


other sections is entirely different. I went pheasant hunting with 
a friend and we drove around on the border of Hall County and 
into Buffalo County. We counted more vacant farm houses than oc- 
cupied ones and We saw one very fine brick house and looked in. It 
bad new floors. It was a vvvy line little building. I would like it 
for my own home in Grand Island. We wondered why that fellow 
had left. We arrived at the conclusion that the young fellow, like 
many other young residents of this territory, had left the scene Cor 
good. Perhaps he was, let us say, a mechanic, one of the many who 
of necessity had learned how to repair a tractor. Perhaps, like many 
such, he had gone to the coast, or to Wichita, to work in an airplane 
factory, because he found he could make as much in 2 or 3 months 
there as in 2 years on the farm. The buildings here were weather 
beaten from the dust storms and some of the plaster was falling from 
the ceiling, and in some of those places you could see oats and corn in 
small quantities in various rooms. We saw a little sorghum here, 
there, and everywhere. We inquired about this section and the 
county agent said that there were 344 homes in Buffalo County which 
had been deserted. There are CO in my own county, Hall County. 

Mr. Osmers. To whom does that land revert ? 

Mr. Ryan. I have an idea that this is what happens. I think per- 
haps the Government has done what it could through various loans. 
Perhaps that young fellow was the son of a pioneer and stayed there 
just because his old dad sold the idea to him, and I suppose the insur- 
ance companies owned the majority of the land out there; I don't 
know. We haven't checked on that but we do know from inquiring 
at the banks that we are having more sales in our territory tn&n we 
have had in 2 years. But whoever owns the land should be encour- 
aged to put some nails in the sides of these houses to hold them 
together. There is a pitiful destruction going on of property and 
homes that could be occupied. 

Mr. Osmers. Is it your opinion that the farms you examined could 
now be profitably operated? 

Mr. Ryan. They most certainly could. We have the United States 
Monitoring Station located on the so-called Sand Ridge 6 miles from 
Grand Island. They have about 60 acres. They have the most 
beautiful lawn you ever saw and the most beautiful trees because they 
use plenty of water. We can grow anything under the sun, if we 
can get the water. That is all we need. 


Mr. Osmers. Do you think that irrigation is the basic solution of 
your agricultural problem in the dry portion of Nebraska? 

Mr. Ryan. I think it is. I have gained this from direct observa- 
tion. I went out to Dr. Watson's farm 6 miles west of Grand 
Island, where he irrigated for 5 years. Each year he had suffered 
a loss so he wanted to understand how to irrigate. Dr. Watson hired 
a new tenant who knew how to irrigate. Dr. Watson went out after- 
ward and asked, "Where is the water?" He said, "It is on the field. 1 ' 
The Doctor said, "There isn't any water standing around." The 
tenant answered, "That isn't the way to irrigate. Water don't stand 
around. You take a spade and follow me." Mother Earth was as 
damp and as wet as she could be. It is a matter of education and a 
lot of hard work. 

Mr. Osmers. Do you think it will require financial assistance from 
the Government to get these new irrigation farms on a profitable basis ? 


Mr Ryan. I think that would hurry it considerably. Four years 
ago our chamber of commerce discussed pump irrigation in our county. 
They were very dubious about well-pump irrigation. We had always 
depended on the water of the Platte River. Finally the farmer began 
to put down a few pumps; first one farmer proved he could do it, and 
then another, and today we have about 350 wells in Hall County. But 
there are perhaps a thousand more farms suitable for well-pump irri- 
gation if the Government would give some assistance, in the form of 
long-time loans repaying nothing at all for the first 2 or 3 years. In 
that way I think you can make a rosebed of our State. 

Mr Osmers. Is there an imple underground water supply ? 

Mr. Ryan. There is no question about that. And where we don t 
have we shouldn't try well-pump irrigation. 

Mr. Osmers. That is all I have, Mr. Curtis. 

The Chairman. How about you, Mr. Arnold ? 

Mr. Arnold. I think Mr. Ryan has covered the subject very 

thoroughly. . _ 

The Chairman. I have a question or two. In connection with finan- 
cial assistance on wells for pump irrigation, if the F. H. A. loan ex- 
tended over a longer period than 3 years, it would help considerably, 

would it not ? 

Mr. Ryan. Yes ; I think it would. If I am on a farm and 1 have 
been burned out year after year, and I hardly have enough to keep me 
on there, I don't have a $10 bill to put down for anything. I can't get 
credit, and I can't get a thing. This is where the strong arm of the 
Government comes in and helps farmers to get on their feet. I remem- 
ber when Congressman Shallenberger said : "Never will my State ask 
for help." And I remember when the Congressman came back and 
almost had tears in his eyes because he had to go in and beg for help. 
We are not begging. We expect to pay back what we have been get- 
ting in the past years. We have done the best we could out here. We 
have given our all, and that is all we can give. 

The Chairman. I agree with you, Mr. Ryan. You were here this 
morning and heard Dr. Creighton mention the aviation possibilities 
of this territory ? 

Mr. Ryan. Yes ; I have a note on that. 


The Chairman. Your city has undergone quite a sacrifice for the 
expansion of aviation. Just what are your airport facilities? 

Mr. Ryan. We have an airport a mile square as level as that table 
and 800 acres under option now. We are proud to have a 24-hour 
field, and Hastings sends its boys over to us to get night flying. We 
are on the transcontinental highway. We are one of the 19 scheduled 
points on it. Here is a peculiar thing showing how the Government, 
like the rest of us, is not infallible. They took a contract with our 
municipal field about 6 months ago for us to furnish 10,000 gallons 
of gasoline for bomber use. North Platte is 137 miles west. As com- 
pared with our 10,000 gallons, the new contract calls for 50,000 gallons 
with the option of increasing it by 50 percent. We have had 150 
bombers in the last 8 months stopping on our field to gasoline up and 
take off. We do think that this is proof absolutely that we are pecu- 
liarly adapted for aviation. We have had 3 different schools during 
3 different years, and we have not had any accidents or forced land- 
ings. We have a perfect record in our schools. 


The CinniMAN. Judging from your own observation and what you 
read as to the experience of aviation elsewhere, you join with the 

other witnesses in the belief that the level country of the Great Plains, 
the clear atmosphere, and so forth, have a contribution to make to 
aviation that has not been developed by the Federal Government? 

Mi-. Ryan. I think it has been absolutely overlooked. I think we 
have a perfect set ni» for a tactical school righl here in the interior 
on most any of these fields. It isn't uncommon for your eastern trans- 
continental' plane to stop at Grand Island if it cannot stop at Omaha 
on account of had weather. 

The Chairman. Just where the defense plants in this area are lo- 
cated is an important thing, even though they may be temporary. 
The better the land they take, the more human dislocation results: the 
more land owners and' tenants and towns are handicapped. 

Mr. Ryan. I think that is true. 

The Chairman. What portion of Nebraska do you think can offer 
the same facilities for defense plants in the way of transportation, 
highways, railroads, power and so forth and at the same time offer 
submarginal land which will not be as costly for the Government and 
create as much human dislocation ? 


Mr. Ryan. We made a study of that and we found that Omaha and 
Lincoln each received a defense plant. One of them is called the 
Wahoo bomber plant. That added to our troubles. We thought 
that would be our finish, that these defense plants would take what 
was left of our younger people. We began then to appeal, even to 
Omaha and Lincoln, and we went to their defense committees and 
asked them to help us get some defense work to save us right here in 
the interior. After listening to our story they agreed that we should 
have some assistance. We said : "If it is logic for the first and second 
towns in population in Nebraska to get defense work, it is logic for 
the third and fourth and other towns also." With all those factors in 
mind we decided on a point between Hastings and Grand Island 
which is about as fine a spot as you can get anywhere. 

Mr. Arnold. Mr. Ryan, you have been very much interested in go- 
ing out into the rural areas and noting what they needed. Have you 
noticed anything that the Government programs have done that has 
helped the country here? 

Mr. Ryan. Oh, yes. I think the farm program and the encourage- 
ment of small loans and of extended loans has kept a lot of livestock 
on the farms. The shelter bill has also been very helpful. 

Mr. Arnold. What about the rehabilitation loans? 

Mr. Ryan. They are a help, but they don't help the man who is 
down deep and sinking. 

Mr. Arnold. Those rehabilitation loans restock a farm and put a 
farmer on his feet but when they raise crops the drought takes away 
the benefit. 

Mr. Ryan. Yes. In central Nebraska counties in good years we 
average 22.9 bushels of corn to the acre. One year it was 1.9 bushels. 
Now we are at about 8. It doesn't even pay to crop it but the man 
is working 24 hours a day. He hasn't anything else to do. 

Mr. Arnold. But in favorable seasons this farm program, if applied 
here as in other parts, would have been of immense benefit. 

Mr. Ryan. Yes. 


Mr. Arnold. Has W. P. A. helped some? 

Air. Ryan. Oh, yes. We would have starved to death if we didn t 
have the W. P. A. out here. 

The Chairman. At this point I want the reporter to copy into the 
record an article appearing in the Omaha World Herald. 

(The article referred to above is as follows :) 

Defense Jobs Lure Hordes to California 1 


San Francisco, Calif., November 23 (U. P.).— As a result of the vast na- 
tional-defense industries now located in the State, California is on the receiving 
end of the largest migration of job seekers in the history of the State. 

As against an influx of 80,000 during the gold rush days of 1849 and the 
65 746 who came seeking agricultural jobs in 1937, State employment officiate 
estimate that 135,000 workers from the East have poured into the San Francisco 
Bay region, Los Angeles, and San Diego this year. 

The workers are those who believe they have enough knowledge of some tech- 
nical craft or trade to find a place in defense industries. 


Curiously, the great bulk of them come from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, 
and other States of the Dust Bowl, which furnished most of the agricultural 
"Oakies and Arkies" of the 1937 migration. 

So great is the present influx that State officials admit they have not been 
able to keep accurate figures. 

Border stations have counted 85,452 persons "in need of manual employment 
who drove automobiles into the State during the first 9 months of the year 
They have, however, no check on those that have come by other means of 
transportation. . 

For the moment, State authorities are not worrying much about the influx, 
as the great bulk of the workers seem to get jobs, but they are worrying about 
what will happen when the emergency ends, and industry goes back on a normal 
peacetime basis. 


During the latter part of the 1939-41 biennium the State was still paying 
$77,000,000 annual unemployment relief— partly a hang-over from the 1937 agri- 
cultural migration. 

California still has an unemployment problem of its own and there are many 
skilled workers residing in the State who still are idle. 

Another problem, State officials point out, is that with the speeding up of the 
national-defense industries, new machinery is being constantly introduced that 
reduces the number of jobs, great as this may be at present. 

On the brighter side of the ledger, however, no secret is made of the fact that 
the State is prospering by the defense program. 

Finance officials are predicting that the State will go on a cash basis next 
July for the first time in a decade. 

The Chairman. Our next witnesses are Mr. and Mrs. Marymee. 

The Chairman. Congressman Arnold will interrogate you. 

Mr. Arnold. Will you give your name and address and occupation, 
for the record? 

Mr. Marymee. Elmer Marymee, Bladen, Nebr., farmer, and this is 
Mrs. Marymee. 

Mr. Arnold. How long have you lived in this section of the country ? 

Mr. Marymee. Well, sir, about 45 years or better, down near Bladen. 

1 From Omaha World Herald, Monday, November 24, 1941. 


Mr. Aknold. That is Dearly all your life? 

Mr. Marymee. Yes. sir. I am 49. 

Mr. Aknold. How long have you lived at your present address? 

Mr. Marymee. Since 19:20. My folks lived there before that. I was 
practically raised there. 

Mr. Arnold. Did you purchase the land on which you live or did the 
family have it before you? 

Mr". Marymee. My father really bought it, but my father died in 
1913, and I stayed with my mother and took charge until 1917. Then 
the farm was rented out for 3 years. There was a mortgage against 
the land which was foreclosed in 1937. 

Mr. Arnold. How long have your family farmed this particular 
piece of land? 

Mr. Marymee. I believe since 1909 or 1907. 

Mr. Arnold. Do you now own the land? 

Mr. Marymee. No, sir; rent. 

Mr. Arnold. You never did own it yourself ? 

Mr. Marymee. No, sir. 

Mr. Arnold. But you farmed it during the time your mother had it? 

Mr. Marymee. Yes; I did. 

Mrs. Marymee. We lived there ever since 1920. Mr. Marymee's 
mother moved to town in 1917. When I got married I moved there 
in 1920. 

Mr. Arnold. Do you still live on that farm? 

Mr. Marymee. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Arnold. You pay rent? 

Mr. Marymee. $40 a year cash rent. 

Mr. Arnold. Any grain rent? 

Mr. Marymee. A third. 

Mr. Arnold. Have you always paid that rent in full for all the time 
you have rented it? 

Mr. Marymee. No, sir. Only the first few years, when things were 
pretty prosperous. Since 1934 I couldn't pay for several years. 

Mr. Arnold. They let you live there and you paid your grain and 
whatever small payment you could? 

Mr. Marymee. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Arnold. What was the principal cause of your losing crops? 

Mr. Marymee. Drought. 

Mr. Arnold. Can't your farm be irrigated? 

Mr. Marymee. It probably could be irrigated, most of it, but the 
cost would be very high there. On a farm a mile and a quarter south of 
me the man who owned it put a deep irrigation well in, but the cost was 
so excessive that he had to quit. He died then and the farm was turned 
over to some of his heirs and they couldn't keep the place that way, so 
they sold the pump out of the well and farmed there without any 

Mr. Arnold. Have you ever had any assistance from the Govern- 
ment ? 

Mr. Marymee. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Arnold. In what form? 

Mr. Marymee. We didn't raise nothing in '34, sir, and I worked on 
the dams in F. E. K. A., and had help from the Resettlement and 
through Mr. Lindgren's office. 


Mr. Arnold. You had a Farm Security loan? 

Mr. Marymee. Yes, sir. I have now. 

Mr. Arnold. To restock? 

Mr. Marymee. But the first 2 years or 3 I didn't. I tried to get 
along but couldn't make it. 

Mr. Arnold. You could have but for the drouth ? 

Mr. Marymee. I was pretty much in debt and the bottom went out 
of everything. 

Mr. Arnold. Are you getting any assistance from the Government 
now, in any form? 

Mr. Marymee. No, sir. We have had no grant since May. We are 
making it from our own cattle, chickens, and hogs. The Farm Se- 
curity has lent us money to buy feed and provided grants during the 
winter for food and clothing, and hospital expenses. We couldn't 
have stayed but for their help. 

Mr. Arnold. You have a pretty good crop this year ? 

Mr. Marymee. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Arnold. Do you believe that out of the piece of land you are 
on, with good crops you will be able to pay off your Farm Security 
loan ? 

Mr. Marymee. Well, if I continue for several years, that is 2 or 3 
years in succession, I could do that all right if the prices keep up, sir, 
but if they go down cheap again, it would be pretty hard to do that 
and keep my family. 

Mr. Arnold. How many children do you have? 

Mr. Marymee. Six, four at home. The oldest is 21, teaching school 
and starved his way through college, and the other boy is working in 
a defense plant in Denver. He is 20. The older boy at home is in 
junior high school. He is 15. The other is in the ninth grade. He 
is 14. The girl is 12 and she is in the eighth grade. The youngest 
is 8 and she is in the fourth grade. 

children leave farms 

Mr. Arnold. When did your oldest boy leave? You say he went 
through college through his own efforts? 

Mr. Marymee. His own efforts and my help and the help of Resettle- 

Mr. Arnold. When did he leave? 

Mr. Marymee. He graduated when he was 16 and he worked prac- 
tically through his college. He scrubbed floors and did anything he 

Mrs. Marymee. If it wasn't for a good friend at Kearney he would 
never have made it. One friend did his laundry all those years and 
never took a cent. 

Mr. Marymee. He is principal of a school now. 

Mr. Arnold. He didn't have any desire to stay on a farm ? 

Mr. Marymee. He could see the life, the way it looked, and he had 
a desire to get an education. 

Mr. Arnold. Did your second boy leave for the same reason ? 

Mr. Marymee. No work in the country. 

Mr. Arnold. When did he leave? 

Mr. Marymee. In 1939. 

Mr. Arnold. Two years ago ? 

Mr. Marymee. He got a little work in Denver and he had a job in 
a defense plant making defense products in Denver. 


HASTINGS iii:akin<:s 

Mr. Ai.-noi.i). Do you think he will ever return to fanning? 

Mr. Mabymee. I doubt it very much, sir. 

Mr. Arnold. Do you intend to keep your other boys on the farm? 

Mr. Mabymee. No, sir. If (hey can locate jobs I will let them go. 

Mr. Ai;Nni i). They are 15 and 14? 

Mr. M urtmee. Thoy will be 16 and 15. 

Mr. Abnold. What, in your opinion, is the outlook for the small 

Mr. Mabymee. I just farm 160 acres, with horses and a few cows. I 
could keep my wife and I and one or two children with what income 
we have now. without any debts. But to keep children who are grow- 
ing up, and the extra expense of high school, music lessons— I have a 
girl who wants to try to teach. We have to give her music lessons. 
A 1 1 that costs money, and I can't see nothing ahead for the younger 

Mr. Arnold. Do you ever attempt to raise livestock during the period 
of poor crops? 

Mr. Mabymee. Yes, sir. My children herded them over the country 
whenever they could. We tried to keep milk cows, but we couldn't 
doit. . 

Mr. Arnold. Your experience wasn't very satisfactory with livestock 
during the times when you weren't raising crops? 

Mr. Mabymee. The Farm Security helped us what they could. I 
had gotten a $200 loan to give feed on. It would have taken $500 or 
$600 to feed them right. 

Mr. Arnold. Would that have paid? 

Mr. Mabymee. No, it would not have paid to keep the livestock. 

Mr. Arnold. Have you ever considered getting a defense job? 

Mr. Mabymee. If I could get a job I would go to work in the morning. 

Mr. Arnold. Do you have any skill or occupation other than that 
of a farmer ? 

Mr. Mabymee. I worked around machinery and tractors and I think 
I could soon catch on pretty easily. 

Mr. Abnold. If you were able to get a job and save some money, 
would you put that into farming later? 

Mr. Mabymee. I don't know. I believe if I could get a job and 
draw wages, I would keep my family that way for a while. I would 
do the best I could. 

Mr. Abnold. In other words, your experience on a farm that is not 
irrigated hasn't been satisfactory? 

Mr. Mabymee. No, sir. I just farm one-quarter and that doesn't 
give me much of an income. What I would like to have is a half- 
section of good land, 50 or 60 acres of pasture. 

Mr. Abnold. Do you think you could stay out of debt? 

Mr. Mabymee. I believe I could if I were out of it in the first place, 

Mr. Abnold. From your experience with your own family, what do 
you think has caused this migration from Nebraska during these 
drought years? 

Mr. Mabymee. I have studied that. My boy worked about a week 
to 10 days in the harvest fields. That runs from $2 to $3 a clay. There 
has been no corn husking, except this fall, for several years. The 
rest of the time the boys have nothing to do. 


Mr Arnold. If your machine shops here could get defense con- 
tracts, or if a defense plant were set up in this area, your boys would 
as soon come here and work as go to Denver or California ? 

Mr. Marymee. I believe they'd rather be here with their friends and 

nearer home. 

The Chairman. Mr. Marvmee, you have been called because your 
case is representative of many others. We appreciate the opportunity 
to have your story for our record. We want to thank you for coming. 

Mr. Will Maupin has been here since early morning, and he would 
like about 2 minutes. We shall hear him at this time. Mr. Maupin, 
will you give your name and address for the record? 


Mr. Maupin. My name is Will Maupin. I am the editor and pub- 
lisher of the Clay County Sun. We do all kinds of printing, book- 
binding, rule work, exhibits, lithographing. We have a permanent 
weekly pay roll of seven, six of whom are paid every Saturday, and 
the other takes his chances. I come from a county that 15 years ago 
was the leading pure-breed cattle county in Nebraska. We have had 
9 successive years of drought until this year, when we raised the first 
crop in 10 years, practically. _ 

We used to have a great manufacturing industry in Clay Center. 
That has disappeared. It was an incubator factory, but the mail- 
order factories have put it out of business. 

We are not so much interested in getting defense industry, although 
we have the location, buildings, and some production tools. The sal- 
vation of our particular section of the country lies in giving our farm- 
ers long-time loans for well-irrigation. If you will give us the well- 
irrigation and time enough to pay for it out of crop production, all 
these other sections can have all the subcontracting industry they 
please. That is all we want. 

I will be pleased to answer any questions which the committee might 
care to ask me. 

Mr. Osmers. What does an average well cost ? 

Mr. Maupin. The man who digs the wells could answer that better 
than I can. This is the proposition he makes to our farmers: If 
the farmer will put up $50 for a test well to prove that water is avail- 
able, he will put in the well and pump and everything except the 
contouring of the land for $3,000, and the $50 paid for the test well 
is included in the estimate. He will take his first down payment out 
of the first crop raised under irrigation. But the farmer must have 
some means of carrying on in the meantime. A well will cost be- 
tween $2,700 and $3,000 in my section of the country and they can 
irrigate from 40 to 60 acres from a 1,300-gallon well. 

Mr. Sparkman. How much will it cost to contour your land? 

Mr. Maupin. It costs very little because our land is very level, 
with a slight slope toward the Little Blue River. 

The Chairman. I notice by the map that Mr. Ryan submitted 1 
that Clay County had a loss of 23 percent of its population. 

1 See p. 8304. 


Mr. M.\uriN. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. Thank you very much, Mr. Maupin. Our next 
witness is Mr. Thomas. 


The Chairman. Mr. Thomas, will you please give your name, ad- 
dress, and occupation ? 

Mr. Thomas. Lloyd C. Thomas, Kearney, Nebr. ; president of the 
Nebraska Development Association and vice president of the Cen- 
tral Nebraska Defense Council. 

Mr. Sparkman. Mr. Thomas, a while ago we were given copies of 
your prepared statement. I have read it carefully, and of course 
the statement will be placed in its entirety in the record. 

(The statement referred to above is as follows:) 


Movement of People 

1. history of changing economy 

(a) I was born in Elwood, county seat of Gosper County, in southwestern Ne- 
braska, over 52 years ago. From the time of my first recollections, I can remem- 
ber that this area was thickly populated as a farm area, most of those residing on 
the farms being homesteaders, as was my father and grandfather, the average 
farm size being from 160 to 320 acres. 

Living conditions were more or less primitive at that time, most of the homes 
and farm buildings being of sod, and the food consumed being largely raised on 
the farms. Fuel for heating and cooking was limited, and I can remember my 
daily chore of gathering "buffalochips" in the pastures for fuel. Such food items 
as sugar were luxuries and only enjoyed at rare intervals. 

I can remember the drought of 1893, even though only a small boy at the time. 
Food was scarce and clothing even more scarce. But at that time and under those 
conditions, there was not the benefit of Government, State, or county relief, inso- 
far as I can remember. More prosperous areas in the East and Middle West, such 
as Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, were helpful by sending carloads of foods and 
clothing (mostly cast-off clothing), which were distributed by ministers and other 
public-spirited citizens. My father was a minister and distributed much to needy 

It was quite true that many homesteaders "proved up" on their claims and mi- 
grated to other States. However — and it may have been because of my youth — I 
was not conscious of the migration from the country that we have been experienc- 
ing in this part of Nebraska during recent years. 

As the figures show, there has been a drastic migration from central and south- 
ern Nebraska during the past 8 to 10 years. The vacant farm buildings show this 
clearly. In my opinion, the long and continued drought has been largely responsi- 
ble for this migration, up to the last year. It has been accelerated during the last 
year by the opportunities for employment at high wages in defense plants in other 
sections of the United States. 

(b) Naturally, the migration of farmers from the area has had its effect on the 
villages and towns throughout the area. This is strongly evidenced by the vacant 
stores and office buildings in these towns and villages. 


(a) All classes of industry in the area have suffered during this period of 
drought and migration. Those who have migrated have been lost as customers; 
those who have remained have had much less to spend — many of tliem being 
reduced to the purchase of the bare necessities of life — and less of them. 


This disastrous effect has been apparent on particularly the small retailer, the 
independent with limited capital and resources, much more than on the chain 
store with more capital and resources. It has shown its effect on the wholesale 
houses of the area, most of whom supply the independent retailer with his goods. 
It has also shown its effect on the manufacturers of the area, most of whom make 
goods and produce products to be sold and consumed in the area. 

(&) Retail business, particularly the independent, as stated above, has suffered 
greatly, and a large percentage of retailers have been forced to go out of business 
and migrate elsewhere. The depression has not been felt in only one or two 
lines of business but in all lines — in the oil and gas business, the barber shop, 
the hardware, the bank, the harness business, the implement business, and all 

(c) Farm failures and foreclosures have been numerous and widespread, as 
the figures will show. Not so many in the early years of the drought as (luring 
the latter years, as it was but natural that the farmer and landowner held on 
just as long as they could possibly do so, until forced out by foreclosure or lack 
of food to eat. 


(a) There is a great economic opportunity under the defense program for the 
rehabilitation of the area — providing our small plants and factories can secure 
subcontracts for the making of defense materials, and providing a defense plant 
that will employ several thousand people can be located in the area. 

The effect of this would be to provide labor and employment for the employees 
of the small factories that are shutting down because of lack of materials for 
peacetime-products production, and because a defense plant would provide em- 
ployment for those who are gradually but surely migrating to the areas that have 
been provided with defense plants. 

(6) There are 1,060 plants and factories in the State of Nebraska. A con- 
siderable portion of these are located in this area. Some of the smaller towns 
have only 1 plant, but that plant is the backbone of employment for the town. 
Because of their inability to secure the necessary materials for the making of 
peacetime products, and because they have mostly been unable to secure subcon- 
tracts for the making of defense materials, they have either shut down or ar« 
shutting down at a rapid rate, throwing their employees out of work and driving 
their owners out of business. 


(a) The permanent, definite cure for crop failure due to drought is irrigation. 
Approximately 500,000 acres of land are under irrigation (or soon to come under 
irrigation) from the streams and storage reservoirs in central, southern, and west- 
ern Nebraska at the present time. This territory includes the Loup Valley dis- 
tricts, the Platte Valley, and the Tri-County area south of the Platte. Additional 
lands cannot be brought under irrigation from this source of water supply, due to 
the fact that all of the available water is now used for this acreage. 

(b) There is available, however, an almost unlimited supply of water for irri- 
gation purposes in the underground reservoirs that cover most of this area and a 
considerable portion of the State. We are told that there is 500,000,000 acre-feet 
of water in storage under lands that are suitable for irrigation and farming. 
Enough water to cover the State of Nebraska to a depth of 20 feet if drawn to 
the surface. 

Pump irrigation has proven itself successful at depths to water of up to 150 
feet or more. In fact there are wells in Box Butte County, in the panhandle of 
Nebraska, ranging up to 452 feet for the deepest irrigation well. I would say 
that there is a million or more acres with underground water supplies at reason- 
able depths in this area that could be profitably farmed with pump irrigation. 

Most of the farmers who own and farm this land are anxious to secure pump 
irrigation, but lack the funds with which to drill and equip their wells. Financing 
is limited and money can only be secured for the purpose on a short-time basis — 
not over 3 years. If the Government would provide the funds on a long-time 
basis, at low interest rates, to be repaid out of crop returns, this million acres or 
more could be brought under irrigation in a comparatively short time. 

This help in putting these lands under irrigation would mean that not only 
would the farmer still existing and holding on to his farm be made permanent and 
prosperous, but the size of the farms would decrease — and instead of 320 acies or 


more per farm, the size would decrease to probably 80 acres, providing 4 farm 
homes where there now is 1. 

The Republican River Valley storage project would bring under river irriga- 
tion many thousands of acres of fertile lands in southern Nebraska, and there is 
water available in that river for irrigation purposes. 

(c) The small factory and machine plant could survive or be revived if sub- 
contracts for the making of defense materials could be provided them — at the 
present time it is a difficult task to get such orders and many of the small plants 
throw up their hands when they find that they face such a mass of red tape and 
detail and the problem of financing their operations. 

Most of these plants make products intended for use in agricultural activities. 
They should be given effective priorities for the comparatively small amount of 
materials they require to make the products needed — such as irrigation-well 
equipment, etc. 

(d) I am of the opinion that the defense plant employing several thousand 
people, such as a small-arms plant, would stop migration from the area to other 
points where such plants are in operation, if the same was established and built 
and put into operation soon at a central point in the area. Labor that has 
migrated to other localities would soon start to return to its home, if work was 
provided by such a plant. 

Proposals and site surveys for such a plant or plants have been submitted by 
the Nebraska Development Association and the Central Nebraska Defense Council. 

(e) For permanent recovery and stabilized conditions in the area it is going to 
be necessary to secure factories and plants in the area that will make use of the 
agricultural products and surpluses of such products. 

These plants could be in the nature of beet-sugar factories, industrial-alcohol 
plants, canning factories, poultry and egg processing plants, plastic plants, and 
others of a nature that will provide a permanent and profitable market and outlet 
for the agricultural output that will come with irrigation. At the present time 
there is great need of such industries and plants in this area, and Government 
help and aid is needed in establishing, to the end that migration from the area 
may be stopped, and for the prosperity and betterment of those who have 

The Government agricultural program has been of much aid and help to the 
farming business in the area. Without it the area would be in much worse shape 
than it is today. It should be continued. However, you cannot get loans on 
crops if you don't grow the crops; the laborer and farmer cannot live if he does 
not have an income sufficient to maintain him and his family; the storekeeper 
and merchant cannot stay in business if his customers have no money with which 
to patronize him and buy his goods. 


Mr. Sparkman. I notice that much of the information that you bring 
out in your paper, particularly that part relating to production, was 
covered by the panel of Hastings businessmen this morning, and your 
statement and theirs are not in conflict. Let me ask you about your 
own locality. What is happening to Kearney under the defense 
program ? 

Mr. Thomas. The city itself ? 

Mr. Sparkman. And the surrounding territory. 

Mr. Thomas. Kearney is the county seat of Buffalo County. I can- 
not give you the exact number of factories and plants in the city of 
Kearney, but the number is small — probably 7 or 8, not over 10, of 
different sizes. None of those plants up to date has received any de- 
fense orders or subcontracts. One plant, a machine shop, quite modern 
and in a new building, lost 5 employees out of 7 at the end of 1 week 
recently. Those employees all left in a body to work in some defense 
plant in Washington or Oregon. That is a typical example. Up to 
date no defense orders or subcontracts have been secured by any of the 
plants, although we had hoped for them. 


Mr. Sparkman. Would you say that this moving away of people is 
offset by an influx from any other section ? 

Mr. Thomas. Not to date ; no. There has been a net loss in popu- 
lation and workers. 

Mr. Sparkman. What occupations were the hardest hit? 

Mr. Thomas. In the city of Kearney I would say that the plants such 
as this machine shop that I mentioned have been the hardest hit. Prac- 
tically all lines of business have been hit, however. 

Mr. Sparkman. Has the civil service drawn away many workers? 

Mr. Thomas. There is a certain amount of migration on account of 
that all the time. 

Mr. Sparkman. Has it been speeded up during the defense program ? 

Mr. Thomas. Considerably; yes. 

Mr. Sparkman. Someone testifying before us this morning — I be- 
lieve it was in that same panel of businessmen — brought out the fact 
that in recent years there had been a movement of people away from 
the farms because of depressed conditions, and the effects of that move- 
ment had been accentuated by the movement of these young people, 
mechanics going to defense industries, boys and girls taking civil- 
service jobs. I presume that condition prevails in your county as well. 

Mr. Thomas. Decidedly so. Of course, the drought in the nonirri- 
gated sections has been a factor responsible for a great deal of it. 


Mr. Sparkman. To what degree has the Central Nebraska Defense 
Council been organized, and what has it been doing? 

Mr. Thomas. This council has representatives from the Chambers 
of Commerce of Kearney, Grand Island, and Hastings. The purpose 
of its organization was to consolidate the effort of these three cities in 
securing, first, a defense plant or plants for this area, and second, con- 
tracts and subcontracts for the plants and factories now in this area. 

Mr. Sparkman. In seeking these defense plants, have you kept in 
mind the fact that if they came in they would most likely be tempo- 
rary ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Sparkman. And have you thought about the possibilities after 
this program is over? 

Mr. Thomas. Quite keenly ; but in the meantime we have been seek- 
ing something that will stop the present migration away from our 
territory and toward other parts of the country. 

Mr. Sparkman. Then you recognize the benefits of stabilization, of 
holding the people here, while the program is being stepped up in 
other parts of the country. 

Mr. Thomas. We look at the defense industry as a stop-gap, if you 
want to call it that, possibly for 2, 3, or 4, or 5 years. In the meantime 
we can get development along the line of pump irrigation and storage 
reservoirs, and also can get into this part of Nebraska plants that might 
be called chemurgic plants, utilizing the excess of agricultural prod- 
ucts and also utilizing agricultural products which today don't find a 

The Chairman. Mr. Thomas, did you hear Mr. Glantz's testimony? 

Mr. Thomas. I heard a portion of it. 

The Chairman. Under' the present set-up, small manufacturing 
plants in Nebraska have not got defense contracts, and many of them 
have spent considerable of their time and money in efforts to get such 


Mr. Thomas. Our Nebraska Development Association has been en- 
deavoring to get contracts and subcontracts For these plants. 

The Chairman. In Mr. Glantz's testimony, and in the panel this 
morning, several suggestions were made, but I have two particularly 

in mind. One is that the time allowed for getting bids in is too 
short for those plants in the interior of our country. Is that true? 

Mr. Thomas. Entirely so. It is impossible for one of our plants 
with its ordinarily small organization even to digest the particulars, 
or to get the blueprints and other specifications in time to wire a bid 
on many jobs. 

The Chairman. And do you think that it would be in the interest 
of national defense if production engineers were made available on 
the part of the Government to work out what a given plant or a given 
territory can best do, and negotiate contracts with these plants, even 
though it may cost a little more to do so? 

Mr. Thomas. First, I would say decidedly so. Second, we are told 
by the Army that we have 1,060 plants of all sizes and kinds in 
Nebraska, and I don't think over 60 of those have received orders. 
Now, I think 99 percent are anxious to get that business. First, I 
believe detailed surveys ought to be made by Government representa- 
tives, so that they will know just what this plant and that plant can 
do, and the plants should be given the help necessary in ascertaining 
whether they can handle the particular jobs that are pointed toward 
them ; second, they should be given assistance in securing the financial 
backing that is necessary; and third, priority orders should be as- 
sured to them. A considerable portion of these 1,060 plants and 
factories in Nebraska, while they are small individually, in the 
aggregate could turn out a lot of defense material. One good ex- 
ample is the wonderful machine shop of Mr. Glantz in Minden. 

The Chairman. What is your opinion of the irrigation that is being 
undertaken in the territory? 


Mr. Thomas. I don't think we have to worry about the farms that 
are irrigated from storage reservoirs or rivers, because of the fact that 
the tri-county project, the big irrigation and power project, has ex- 
perts who are helping the farmer to handle irrigation in the proper 
way. But I believe it is going to be necessary for the Government, 
through county agricultural agents, to help other farmers as they get 
their pump irrigation plants. 

In the shallow-water districts it is possible to put in an irrigation 
well for as low as $600, and I have been told the Rural Electrification 
Administration is putting in and selling wells on 5-year terms for as 
low as $600 and up. That is for shallow wells, of course. 

But it is possible to irrigate from wells that run to 150 feet or more 
in depth, and although that costs more money it is being done. It 
costs S3.000 a well to do that. 

I think the biggest thing that can be done for this country, outside 
of temporary employment in defense plants in the area, is to assist 
these dry-land farmers to get pump irrigation through long-time 

The Chairman. Do you concur with the other witnesses in the belief 
that the armed services have not fully explored the possibilities of this 
area for various aviation activity and training schools? 

Mr. Thomas. Congressman Curtis, I was in Washington either last 
April or May, and at that time we talked with officials in various 


Government departments regarding training schools for aviators in 
this area. I was told that no training schools were to be put north 
of a certain degree of latitude because of weather conditions. I 
countered with the argument that if they came to fighting, they might 
be fighting in bad-weather localities and even in this part of the 
country. If that were true, because of the facilities we have and the 
comparatively level country, it should be a logical point for develop- 
ment of different branches of the air services. 

The Chairman. Foggy weather is almost unknown here, and va- 
rious training schools that the colleges have had have been carried 
on all winter. 

Mr. Thomas. Yes ; there has been no loss of time in conducting those 
training schools, I understand. 

The Chairman. Thank you very much, Mr. Thomas. We will now 
hear from the Nebraska School of Agriculture. 


The Chairman. Will you give your name and address ? 

Mr. Douthit. H. K. Douthit, superintendent of the Nebraska 
School of Agriculture, Curtis, Nebr. 

The Chairman. We have arranged an inspection trip, and I think 
the cars are scheduled to leave here at 3 : 30. We may therefore have 
to limit testimony somewhat to finish in time. Mr. Douthit, your 
paper will be entered as a part of the record. 

(The paper referred to is as follows:) 


Effect of Migration on the Agricultural Future of Southwestern 


There are several factors that have caused many people to leave the farms 
and towns in southwestern Nebraska. These factors have affected and will 
affect further the agricultural stability of this region to a serious point if steps 
are not taken to counteract this detrimental downward trend. 

One of the main factors bringing this about has been the series of drought 
years experienced during the past eight seasons. Farmers who were trying to 
establish themselves on farms with limited capital were forced to leave wl.en 
each succeeding year they produced very few farm commodities necessary for 
carrying on their farm operations. When their reserves were gone and they 
had exhausted all of their available credit, there was no other alternative for 
them but to migi-ate to sections where they would have a better chance to feed, 
clothe, and educate their families in keeping with the average American 

Migration due to this cause has been somewhat halted during the past year 
as a result of a fairly good crop season. Another migratory movement, how- 
ever, has to some extent replaced the one caused by the drought years. This 
has been the migration of young single people from the farms and ranches to 
the armed forces or to various types of industrial factories associated with the 
national-defense program. Some of these people, young men in particular, have 
gone into these lines of endeavor at wages far above those open to them as hired 
farm hands or as beginning farm operators. 

The combination of these two migratory causes has placed the farming business 
in this area on a precarious basis. It means that the farms in this southwestern 
area, and possibly in other comparable rural sections, are being operated by com- 
paratively older people. This implies that as time goes on they will be able to 
do much less work. When farms are vacated for one reason or another, they are 
not being taken by what would be in other times a normal influx of young people. 



In fact, in making a hasty survey In Frontier County it was found that very few 
newly married couples haw started up In the business of farming during the last 

decade What happens is thai these u :cupied farms fail Into the hands of 

insurance companies and large landowners and often arc being farmed by neigh- 
bors who are men ranging between 60 and «o years of age. 

In a conference With StudentB WhO are in at tendance at the Nebraska School Of 

Agriculture, the following reasons were given why young people were not plan- 
ning to return to the f aims as actuai farm operators: 

1 Farming in southwestern Nebraska has no security.— They calculated this 

way If Bill Smith, who has spent his life in trying to make a success of farming, 
COUld not make a go of it, how could they exped to he successful? Above all, 
young people want to be successful and they hesitate' to launch into an enterprise 
thai gives them few chances to succeed. 

2 The standard of living on the farms /'« too low.— They want to work where 
they can have a modern home with a reasonable number of conveniences enjoyed 
by the average American. 

3 'Hi, re is no way to (/it started.— They lack funds tor a down payment All 
they have is youth, enthusiasm, and a will to win; but apparently, they say, this 
is not the right kind of collateral required. 

Consequently, they come to the conclusion there is nothing else tor them to do 
but to leave the' farms and seek employment elsewhere. When these young people 
become established in another occupation, they seldom, if ever, return to the work 
they knew the most about originally. 

With these facts before us, we should try to visualize what effect this trend 
will have upon the productivity of the hind in this area during the immediate 
years ahead When one observes that in Frontier County during the last 10 years 
the population as a whole has decreased 20 percent, while the rural school enroll- 
ment has dropped 50 percent, it is apparent that in time the scarcity of children on 
the farms will bring our farm operations to a near standstill. One of the likely 
reasons for fewer children being born on farms is that there have been very few 
young couples starting up as farm operators during the last 15-year period. 

The solution for the problem then revolves around an attempt to get young 
people interested in becoming operating tillers of the soil. In order to do this 
successfully, some system making available long-time credit to these young people, 
even though they have no liquid assets but have youth, proper training, and 
character should be worked out. Old, tumbled-down farm buildings must give way 
to modern farm homes which are comparable to those found in the cities, and 
which oftentimes attract young farm people from their natural habitat. 

Rural youth wishing to avail themselves of these up-to-date, attractive farm 
lav-outs should undergo intensive training in how to make the most of farm 
operations within their chosen area. Naturally, in some sections certain farming 
methods or types of farming are more advisable than in others. For example, 
the production of turkeys in southwestern Nebraska should prove advantageous 
because of the ideal climatic conditions. It is just as necessary to give intensive 
training to a boy to operate a $10,000 farm successfully as it is to give training 
to' a boy to operate effectively a $1,000 lathe in a bomber factory. 

One Of the difficulties often mentioned in connection with agricultural training 
through 4 II Club work, training through Smith-Hughes agricultural courses, and 
in connection with the Nebraska School of Agriculture is that students are being 
trained to do a type of agricultural work in which they cannot get started for 
themselves because of insufficient financing facilities. There is unquestionably a 
great waste in this practice. A boy who trains to become a dentist almost in- 
variably before he graduates has made arrangements to set himself up in a 
dentist's office. The gap between the training and getting started in the business 
of fanning for which the student has been trained has had very little bridging. 
Consequently, our farms are not being repopulated with enough young people to 
perpetuate a farming population that will continue to carry on the production of 
food sufficiently to meet the national-defense demands and the demands that are 
bound to come' when the post-war period is reached. 

The conclusions and recommendations therefore are to repopulate our farms 

witli voung people bv : , ., _>, 

1 Continuing to and amplifying the education of rural young people througfl 
various agricultural types of education such as 4-II Clubs, Smith-Hughes agricul- 
tural school departments, adding more vocational courses in smaller high schools, 
increasing attendance in agricultural schools and colleges eo those youth who en- 
gage in farming will follow the most approved and profitable methods. 


2. Setting up some kind of a long-time loan system for youth who have no 
assets other than their probability of 40 or 50 years of active life ahead. 

3. Raising the standard of living on farms by building attractive farm homes 
and buildings in which modern conveniences including electricity are available. 

4. Instituting a system that will comfortably tide the beginning farm operators 
over adverse years caused by drought, etc., thus providing them with the security 
that the average young person seeks in the city. 

It therefore seems apparent that such a program is the only way the rapid 
decay of our rural schools, the small-town businesses that maintain our high 
schools, and churches will be stopped. Surely the decline cannot continue in- 
definitely without undermining our whole agricultural system. Since agricul- 
ture is basic to our very existence, it must be maintained on a high level at all 
costs. Many other countries where agriculture was allowed to decay and de- 
teriorate into a peasant type have crumbled. The American people surely cannot 
afford to sit idly by and see this condition exist here especially in this day of 
enlightenment and ability to plan wisely. 

If some influential group with power to act does not take note of this down- 
ward trend and take steps to correct it, most assuredly in 15 or 20 years these 
rural sections will be producing far under their potential capabilities to the 
detriment of our national welfare. 


The Chairman. When was the Nebraska School of Agriculture 
established ? 

Mr. Douthit. It was established by the State legislature in 1911 
and started in 1913. 

The Chairman. I wish you would describe this school, its organi- 
zation, the scope of its instruction, and the nature of its student body. 

Mr. Douthit. The Nebraska School of Agriculture is a division of 
the University of Nebraska, serving the farm boys and girls in south- 
western Nebraska. It was established as a sort of political football at 
that time. The Democrats were out and wanted in, and they told the 
people out there if they passed this act they promised to establish a 
school in that section in case they got in. They got in, and they had 
to make good their promise. They established the Nebraska School of 

At that time several schools over the country were established in that 
way. A little later on, the Smith-Hughes Act made it possible to take 
agricultural education into various high schools. There were very 
few other schools established after that, and many of them that had 
been established died a natural death. 

The Nebraska School of Agriculture, through one way or another, 
managed to keep alive during this particular time. We have a student 
body of 400 boys and girls from 29 Nebraska counties. The boys re- 
ceive agricultural training and the girls get home-economics training 
and theory, so that they can go back to the farms and practice the 
things they have learned. However, that hasn't been the case with al7 
of them. 

The Chairman. How many former students do you have? 

Mr. Douthit. We have about a thousand graduates. 

The Chairman. Do you know about how many of those are actually 
in farming now? 

Mr. Douthit. I judge about 20 percent of the entire number are 
actually farm operators. 

The Chairman. Of course, this thousand includes the girls. 

60.396 — 12 — pt. 21 8 


Mr. Douthit. That is right. 

The Chaibman. By 20 percenl you just mean the. heads of house- 
holds, do you not? 

Mr. Douthit. Some of (hem may be working with dad or with 
their neighbors. 

The Chairman. Of these thousand graduates, liow many are 
women \ 

Mr. J>oi iiiit. Our enrollment usually runs CO percent men and 40 
percenl girls. 

The Chairman. So out of GOO men graduates you have at least 200 
who arc farm operators themselves. 

Mr. Douthit. I would say about that. 

The Chairman. And how many are on the farm? 

Mr. Douthit. Many are working in allied lines of agriculture — 
feed companies, hatcheries, and places of that type. I judge that 
probably 10 percent are working for somebody else. 

The Chairman. How does that compare to the College of Agri- 
culture at Lincoln? 

Mr. Douthit. I think the proportion is quite a little higher than 
that of the College of Agriculture. I haven't any figures. Very, 
very seldom do you find graduates of the College of Agriculture go- 
ing back to the farm as operators. I wish more of our students did 

The Chairman. One out of every three of your boys becomes an 
actual operator? 

Mr. Douthit. Approximately. I would have to check, but I judge 
somewhere about that. 

Mr. Sparkman. What about your county agents? 

Mr. Douthit. Home-extension operation agents are college gradu- 
ates. Our students are of the high-school level. They come to our 
schools out of the eighth grade. There are no college students 
whatever. The theory is that they are not qualified to do these other 
types of work and will go back to the farms as operators. As I have 
set forth, there are reasons why they haven't gone back. 


The Chairman. What do you offer in the way of shop work? 

Mr. Douthit. We have a very detailed group of courses in me- 
chanical work, woodworking, and that sort of thing, and the young- 
sters have utilized those skills in other ways, by going into defense 
industries and working their w T ay up in the armed forces. They 
have capitalized on the work that is given, but probably not directly 
in connection with agriculture. 

The Chairman. I was interested in an illustration from your 
school of the way you use material for repair purposes in teaching 
the boys. For example, when you need a small piece of tin, where 
do you get it? 

Mr. Douthit. We feed about 175 boys and girls 3 times a day, 
and we buy the canned goods in No. 10 cans, and usually utilize all 
the tin from those cans in our tin shop. 

The Chairman. In other words, you create problems calling for the 
same sort of ingenuity and resourcefulness that they will have to show 
in working on the farm? 


Mr. Douthit. That is true. I think we do a fine job in training the 
youngster, but we go just so far and then strike a stone wall. The 
youngster has no way to get started in the business of farming. I 
brought that out in my report. These boys have invariably told me 
that they were interested in farms and ranches, and they would like to 
go out and put in practice the things they had learned, but they came 
up against the fact that they had no collateral, no down payment. 
There was no way for them to get started, and so there wasn't anything 
for them to do but to turn to other types of employment. That is why 
a lot of these youngsters have not gone back to the farms. 

There are other reasons, too, as I see it. One of them is that farming 
in our section hasn't shown any degree of security. During the 8 or 9 
years that they have been growing up, those boys who are now 17 
years of age haven't known a good crop condition. Their parents have 
drilled them to go and get an education so they would not have to go 
through that themselves. In an institution such as we have, we have 
tried to upset that viewpoint, but the obstacles in the way of getting 
started have been too large. That is a serious situation. 

The Chairman. Do you have any suggestion to make on how a farm- 
financing plan might be worked out to fit the need of this particular 
group you are talking about, your graduates ? 

Mr. Douthit. I have a very definite view on that. We have had a 
drop of 20 percent in school enrollment in our county as a whole, but 
we have had a drop in the rural-school enrollment in our county of 
50 percent. That means that in our county we have 825 farm families 
and only 303 of them have children of school age. I am thinking 
ahead, not just of the present. If that trend continues, and we have 
fewer and fewer youngsters on those farms, what is going to be the 
situation in 15 or 20 years out there in southwestern Nebraska ? We 
are not going out to get people without any farm experience, and 
expect to bring them here. We will have to depend on repopulating 
our section with younger people. The people who are out there are 
older people, and as time goes on they are going to do less and less work. 
My theory is that we must repopulate our rural communities with 
young, married, vigorous, enthusiastic, ambitious people. 


You may ask how that is to be done. I have talked to a good many 
of those boys and I have asked them that very thing, and they have 
said, "Give us the standard of living that people enjoy in the cities, 
and give us a degree of security out on those farms and figure out a 
long-time loan system so that we can pay back over a period of 30 or 
40 years, and we will go back to the farm and we will do a good job of 
farming because we have the training and youth and enthusiasm to do 
the job." I know that it so. 

Mr. Arnold. Do you have improved roads in your section ? 

Mr. Douthit. Very definitely. Most of them are gravel, and even the 
farm-to-market roads are fairly well improved. 

Mr. Arnold. We find that is a factor in keeping the youngsters on 
the farms. You can't put them in the mud. 

The Chairman. We don't have mud. 

Mr. Douthit. They won't live in a tumble-down shack 30 or 40 years 
old when they can go into the cities and get modern bungalows with 
all conveniences. In this whole section you won't find a single new 
bungalow like the ones in Hastings, Grand Island, or Kearney. These 
young people will not go out under those conditions. 


The Chairman. You made reference to a plan by which they could 
successfully buy a farm over a long period of time. Do you care to 
elaborate on that? 

Mr. Douthtt. There are several factors that would cuter into such 
a plan. I think the education of the youngster is a vital factor. If 
he has the proper training, and has 40 years ahead of him, even though 
he lias not secured collateral to put down on a farm — livestock, ma- 
chinery, and things of thai kind — it looks to me as if that young man 
would be a better bet than a man who is 50 or 55 years of age and has 
some collateral to put down on the farm. Even though you may say 
you are harnessing the young man with a long-time debt, he has 40 
years to live, and if he lives comfortably on that farm for that length 
of time, and accumulates his farm and other possessions by the end of 
that time, that is about all that any of us ever get out of life, and more 
than a lot of people get. 

The Chairman. From the standpoint of this group of young farmers 
just starting out, have land prices been too high, do you think? 

Mr. DouTHiT. No; I don't think so. I think we have been thinking 
too much of making a profit over a 5- or 10-year period, whereas the 
lifetime of a farmer extends over 40 years. I can't see that it is such 
a serious matter if a farmer should lose money over a few years. But 
if you put it on a long-time basis, say, 30 or 40 years, it should pay. 
If 'it can't, we had better take this whole southwest area and let the 
Government have it for a bombing-practice area. Most people have 
faith in their projects over a long period of time, and that is the basis 
upon which I think it should be placed. 

The Chairman. Have you noticed any direct changes or effects of 
the defense program on your school? 


Mr. Douthit. No; I can't see that it has affected our school in any 
way. We have lost no large number of students due to defense. We 
have lost more of them to the armed forces than we have to defense 

I am thinking about these boys when they come back from the armed 
forces. What are we going to do with them then ? Are they going 
to be given a chance to set up in the business of farming, even though 
they have no collateral ? Or are we just going to let them shift for 
themselves or go into the cities? 

The Chairman. Do you find that there is any connection between 
the decline in population and the quality and type of educational 
facilities available to students before they come to you? 

Mr. Douthit. The students who come to us come out of rural com- 
munities, and in a lot of those districts there are only one or two or 
three voungsters in a rural school. Naturally those districts have 
not been willing to pay their teachers a very high salary. Also pos- 
sibly because of the lack of competition, these youngsters have not had 
an opportunity that they would have had in larger schools. 

The Chairman. Your' students are a little older than the usual high- 
school students, are they not? 

Mr. Douthit. No, sir. I think they are just exactly the same age 
as the youngsters in ordinary high school. They come to us after 
they have completed the eighth grade. 


The Chairman. Then the boys you have lost to the armed forces 
apparently have been boys who have enlisted. Your student body 
does not run to 21 years of age, where they would be In the draft. 

Mr. Douthit. We graduate them at 18. 

The Chairman. Is there anything further that you would like to 
say in connection with the future of agriculture in Nebraska ? 

Mr. Douthit. I think if you will look up the record you will find that 
there is a bill in Congress at the present time to appropriate money 
for the furtherance of 4-H Club work and to take care of the rural 
youth of our country, that being the group who have finished 4-H 
Club work and the" Smith-Hughes Schools, and are more or less 
drifting out there on the farms as farm hands. 

I think there should definitely be some kind of program that has for 
its purpose the starting of these young people in the business of farm- 
ing, and I believe, with the proper knowledge and enthusiasm, that 
those young people can make a go of it out in this section if given 
plenty of time. 

The Chairman. If your farmer-students have been fortunate enough 
to become farm operators, are they usually successful ? 

Mr. Douthit. Yes. Those who have had the assistance of a father 
or a relative have been very successful, particularly those who have 
clung to well-balanced programs following livestock production lines, 
and are keeping up their pastures and producing forage crops. But 
we have lost a good many of them who would have made mighty fine 
farmers if they had had financial assistance of some sort to get started. 

The Chairman. And when they leave the farm and become a part of 
the labor supply, even if they get jobs they will sooner or later add 
to the total number of unemployed, will they not? 

Mr. Douthit. Yes. And very few of them ever come back if they 
can keep from it, once they get a taste of city life. 

The Chairman. Thank you very much. 

Our next witness is Dr. Schroeder. 



The Chairman. Will you please give your name and address? 

Dr. Schroeder. Martin Schroeder, Lincoln, Nebr. 

The Chairman. What is your work or profession? 

Dr. Schroeder. I am rural work representative of the Board of 
American Missions of the United Lutheran Churches in America. 

The Chairman. You are a minister? 

Dr. Schroeder. Yes; I am. 

The Chairman. How long have you been in the ministry? 

Dr. Schroeder. Twenty-four years. 

The Chairman. How long in Nebraska? 

Dr. Schroeder. The same time. 

The Chairman. We understand, Dr. Schroeder, that you have re- 
cently made various studies concerning the condition of the rural 
churches. Will you tell us about those studies and about any action 
that has been taken as a result of them ? 

Dr. Schroeder. In a general way, recent developments have aggra- 
vated a situation which has been in existence for the last 30 years— 
that is, the downward trend of our population. It became worse in 
the days of the post-war period, and still worse during the drought 
years. Now it is really a fourth phase we are facing, with, the defense 


developments. The depopulation of the country that has been taking 
place since 1917 has been increasing right along, and has now come 
to a point where it looks like a disaster for the country. We have 
observed thai many absentee landowners like to see their workers with- 
out children of grade-school age. 


The Chairman. Why is that? 

Dr. Schroeder. It seems that, when there are no children of school 
age, there is no need for a teacher or a school; and, when there is no 
scnool in the district, taxes are smaller, and less taxes the more 
profit. The absentee landowner is not in business for anybody's health. 
He wants to get profit. What we heard just a little while ago— that 
825 farm families had only 303 children— is just a confirmation of that 
which we have been observing. 

Now, there is, of course, this shortage of farm labor, but there is 
a worse shortage in regard to a church supply. There are very few 
ministers available, and what is still worse, perhaps, is that these 
districts do not have enough local physicians. The medical care in 
about one-half of Nebraska is not what it ought to be. 

The Chairman. Is that a constant condition, or has it been created 
by the need for doctors in the Army ? 

Dr. Schroeder. The tendency has been aggravated by the defense 
program, but it has been observed before that. I have gone back as 
far as 1906, at which time doctors were already gravitating toward the 
cities. Forty percent of the physicians of Nebraska are in Omaha 
and Lincoln, but these cities have only 25 percent of the population. 
And that 40 percent are mainly the younger physicians. There are 
five counties where there are no physicians whatever. There are 
certain districts where people have to travel 150 miles for medical 
aid. That is up in the northwestern district, east of the Scottsbluff 

The Chairman. In the cattle area, where there are no towns and no 


Dr. Schroeder. Where there are people living who need medical 
care and it is not available. That is only part of the story. There is 
likewise a movement of population to centers of population, where there 
is money. The report of one of the previous witnesses mentioned that 
there is an unbalancing of the age groups which are still living in 
the country. In most rural districts we find children, we find old 
people, but we do not find sturdy middle age. Those people move away. 

The Chairman. Is that observation based upon surveys made since 
the defense program came into existence ? 

Dr. Schroeder. No ; that is old. 

The Chairman. The defense program has affected the younger 
people, hasn't it ? 

Dr. Schroeder. It has made the situation worse. 

The Chairman. Do you believe that the developments in the past 
two decades, such as automobiles and roads, have in any way affected 
the existence of the rural church ? 

Dr. Schroeder. I don't think so. 



The Chairman. How do you account for the shortage in ministers ? 

Dr. Schroeder. The economic considerations make it next to im- 
possible for farmers who are perhaps tenants or farm owners with low 
incomes to maintain an expensive voluntary organization, so they 
simply let the minister go. I have observed this in the State of Penn- 
sylvania, where after each depression the vacancies — and 80 percent 
of the churches are Lutheran — grew up to 15 and 20 percent of the 
total number of congregations. I have noticed something similar here 
in Nebraska, and I have studied it from 1890 to 1940. 

The Chairman. And you would say it is economic forces and eco- 
nomic handicaps rather than the so-called luxuries of life that are 
bringing this about ? 

Dr. Schroeder. The luxuries of life have nothing to do with the 
church anywhere. 

The Chairman. You said there was a shortage of ministers. Aren't 
they available from the schools? Or is it that the churches cannot 
maintain them? 

Dr. Schroeder. The churches cannot maintain them. I would give 
as a reason — and again I refer to the splendid testimony that came 
just before me — the fact that the farmers themselves and the schools 
of the State, whether State university or normal schools or church- 
related schools, are training our boys and girls away from the farms. 
The parents, who live on the farms, don't want to see their children 
have the same hardships that they had. 

The Chairman. You think there has been overemphasis, then, on 
the part of parents saying : "We want to give you the opportunity of 
an education so you won't have to farm." 

Dr. Schroeder. And the schools have not had sense enough to see 
the mistake of that advice. They go out and gather the children into 
the colleges and hold up before them the urban ideal of perfection. 
The country is something to be shunned and avoided. They are told 
to go where the lights are and streetcars are running. 

The Chairman. In that connection I want to say the witness who 
just preceded you represents an institution that has been teaching the 
contrary of that, and doing it in a most splendid manner. I think 
that the Nebraska School of Agriculture is one of the finest institu- 
tions in the State. 



Dr. Schroeder. That gentleman spoke about the stone wall beyond 
which the school cannot go, but a stone wall which some of the other 
institutions do not recognize. They just walk around it. We have 
the Department of Agriculture in Washington, we have our State 
colleges. They are doing their level best to keep more of the young 
people on the farms, but it is these other elements which cross their 
intentions. So that I may not be misunderstood, these schools are 
doing their level best. So far as the churches are concerned, they do 
not see eye to eye with these institutions. They see their missionary 
program either in the foreign countries or in the city. The rural 
church is a stepchild among the denominations. Again I make excep- 
tions : In the Catholic Church, the Mennonites, and the Church of the 


Brethren, the rural chinch and its problems are recognized. It is the 
other denominations that are not taking it seriously. It is a step- 
child ; that is all. , . . . . . 
The Chairman. Are any of (he other denominations beginning to 

approach the problem? . , * 

Dr. Schroeder. They are, bu1 in a half-hearted way. It is the indi- 
viduals within the denominations who are in it heart and soul, but the 
headquarters, the administrations of the denominations cannot see eye 
1 1 » eve with these individuals. That holds true in the Federal Council 
< ) l Churches of America. They have a committee on the rural church, 
but as I said before, it is a stepchild even in that organization. 

The Chairman. Ministers with more training and more opportunity 
have been called to city churches. Isn't that true? 

Dr Schroeder. They look to the city church as the ideal 

The Chairman. And their best leadership hasn't centered around 
the problem of the rural church. 

Dr. Schroeder. By and large they say this : "What has the country 
to offer us? Shall we throw away our talents?" 

It is the type of education which we give to our young people which 
makes them dislike the country. 

The Chairman. Reverend Schroeder, have you been here all day' 

Dr. Schroeder. I have been here since noon. 

The Chairman. You have an idea of what we are driving at here, 
in connection with the Government program generally, and particu- 
larly defense. Do you have any suggestions or recommendations that 
you would like to make to this committee to carry back, to the 
Congress? . . . 

Dr Schroeder. Yes; as I said a little while ago, there is a great 
number of individuals who are heart and soul in this work to do their 
best for the rural ministry and the rural church, and the Department 01 
Agriculture and the State colleges are trying to work hand in hand with 
the local churches, and they realize that the rural church is one ot the 
dvnamic forces that is left to organize the neighborhoods and com- 
munities into some sort of expression of the ideal life. So far as indi- 
viduals are concerned, they work with the Department of Agriculture 
and the State colleges, but it is the leadership in the different denomi- 
nations which is not seeing that way, and if there would be a way that 
the Government could induce the denominations to pay as much atten- 
tion to the sparsely settled districts and to the dispossessed m the rural 
districts as they do to the dispossessed in foreign countries we would 
get somewhere. . 

The Chairman. Of course, the Government can't tell the denomina- 
tions what they are going to do. 


Dr Schroeder. We direct the courses of study and make certain 
requirements which a person should meet if he is to attend college. 
The testimony here has brought out that the Curtis School of Agricul- 
ture is teaching the youth for the life of that section of Nebraska where 
they come from. Every school should have that objective. It you 
t ake the catalogs of our schools and colleges, how many courses are there 
to lead children back to the rural communities where they may provide 
the leadership which the country needs? They always go out and tell 


the young people to go to the cities and simply leave the country with- 
out that good material, some of which ought to go back there. 

Let me state it this way : Any farmer who wants to get use out of his 
land must return to the soil some of the strength by fertilizing or by 
crop rotation. We have taken crops of the young people in our coun- 
try year after year, generation after generation, and not returned the 
protection needed to fertilize that human soil. It is an erosion which is 
worse than any soil erosion that I know of. We talk much about the 
5-percent soil erosion of the land in Nebraska, but there is a 25-percent 
human erosion that we talk little about. It is the schools that are 
responsible for that. I believe we would not be going too far to ask the 
Government to see that those schools will fit themselves into the situa- 
tion where they claim to be educators. 

The Chairman. We thank you very much, Dr. Schroeder, for your 
presence here, and the committee would be glad to receive from you 
a formal statement to be inserted in the record. 

(The following statement was received subsequent to the hearing.) 

Board of American Missions, 
United Lutheran Church in America, 

Lincoln, Nebr., November 26, 19^1. 
Hon. John H. Tolan, 

Chairman, Committee on Defense Migration, 

House Office Building, Washington, D. C. 
My Dear Mr. Tolan : In connection with your committee hearing at Hastings, 
Nebr., investigating national defense migration, I was requested to submit a 
formal statement covering my observations in regard to the effects of the 
defense program upon the rural community and in how far the church is in- 
volved in preserving or establishing wholesome conditions for the rural popula- 
tion. These comprehensive questions have to be approached along the line the 
inquiries were addressed to me during the hearing, which I shall try to follow. 

I. has defense migration in any way affected the stability of the rural 


The rural church situation is one which has been more or less precarious ever 
since the turn of the century, owing to the increased labor attractions of the 
city on the one hand and the machination of farm labor on the other. This 
has taken from the rural communities its youth beyond high-school age, leaving 
the farm in many instances to the aging generation or what there is of minor 

Another epochal set-back came with fortunes and misfortunes of the post-war 
period during the 1920's with its increasing shift from operator-ownership to 
tenancy. This trend seemed to have slowed down during the past few years, 
owing to Government assistance in rehabilitating worthy and deserving farmers. 
The defense program has called a halt to this development and the losses to 
the rural churches are again very marked. Churches which once upon a time 
were fully self-sufficient in their existence and strong supports for the church's 
missionary and educational endeavor, in fact, its very backbone in many cases. 
are now so disrupted that their continuation is gravely doubted. 

The attractions which country life once had are mostly gone, in spite of the 
modernization of the farm in so many instances. To strengthen the newly recog- 
nized and developing attractions of American farm life is a task in which Gov- 
ernment and the church can cooperate, as indeed it has already been successfully 
demonstrated through such instances as the homestead project at Granger. Iowa ; 
the rural-life courses for church workers at various State colleges; and the 
research and extension facilities of the United States Department of Agriculture 
and its branches. 

Under the present circumstances, the depopulation of the rural districts is not 
only seen in the shortage of youthful farm labor but also in the inability to secure 
doctors and ministers in sufficient numbers and qualification to care for the 
physical and spiritual needs in the sparsely populated areas. The reason is mostly 


;iu economic one. The search Cor material security is too urgent an element than 
thai ii could be Ignored by private individuals or enterprises unaided by central- 
ized authority and means. 

Lei it be said here thai farm subsidies, though primarily meant for agricultural 
readjustments Id the aarrower sense, were of Immeasurable great benenl to those 
who served the farmer in professional ways, such as the doctor and the minister. 
Before thai assistance had become available, many churches were on the verge of 

dissolution but recovered ler the general Federal assistance plan. 

A study Of shifts among rural pastors over a period of 50 years has shown that 
the man serving the rural parish is the lirsl among the clergy to feel the effects of 
economic reverses, ami who must Leave his charge paslorless for want of support. 
Inadequate resources, a condition which is seldom known to the urban community, 
in men, money, and equipment, make the rural church susceptible to easy disso- 
lution. Saying this, immediately the question arises, Is the rural church really 
such an essential factor in adjusting farm-labor migration? The answer to tbis 
question is necessary to point out its strategic position in the Nation's social and 
economic life. 


1. The open country is the only place from which our Nation derives its net 
increase in population with greater certainty than from any other region, except 
for the smaller towns. Urban areas do not reproduce themselves. It is this net 
increase from which leadersbip is continuously drawn and which, consequently, 
will shape America's destiny. Erosion among the country's population will prove 
much more serious than any erosion of the soil upon which these people live. It is 
here where the church fulfills a national task for which she needs understanding 
on the part of those who likewise have the Nation's welfare at heart, so that both 
may cooperate in preserving the benefits derived from favorable farm-home 
family life. 

2. The country church is the last institution left which is able by its very nature 
to fortify the American family, the foundation of national welfare, where it is 
admittedly the most wholesome, that is, on the farm. With the gradual abolition 
of the small district school in favor of consolidation in towns or distant places, 
this once centralizing agency of neighborhood and rural communities is being 
removed, leaving tbe church as the last spiritual strongbold to teach the American 
way of life in rural isolation. 


Apart from the Catholics, the Church of the Brethren, the Mennonites, and such 
communions which are historically rural, the Protestant churches have not yet 
exerted their full strength in behalf of their rural adherents or the unchurched 
rural masses in general which have been estimated at 30,000,000. The rural 
church, so it appears, is the stepchild in their family of congregations. 

However, among these groups there are many individuals and voluntary or 
official organizations which are doing their utmost to stabilize country life through 
ministerial services, leading among which are the members of the town and 
country committee of the Home Missions Council of North America, the American 
Country Life Association, and numerous agricultural State and Federal officials. 

A serious drawback to rural work by the churches is the tendency on the part 
of colleges and universities (except those which exist primarily for agricultural 
purposes) to take the youths of the countryside and direct their idealism to urban 
life, with few of their number ever returning to the place they came from to serve 
as civic or religious leaders. This has led to a human erosion which only govern- 
mental insight will be able to stop. 



1. Two postulates must be accepted before a plan can be devised: 
(a) The church must recognize its strength as a social and economic dynamic 
by stressing Biblical ideals of community living. The Mormons have done this 
successfully and thereby demonstrated the practicability of such policy, though 
modern Protestantism has greatly evaded the subject as being outside the field 
of religious responsibility. Whatever efforts have been put forth, they are insig- 
ni tic-ant in comparison to other endeavors of the church, as, for instance, foreign 



(6) It must also be recognized that, while there is a strict separation of 
church and state in our country in matters of administration, we can no more 
separate religion from our national existence as we can keep apart religion and 
conscientious citizenship in the individual life. The two are so closely bound up 
with each other in everyday life and conduct that a common-sense collaboration 
of the two should be the natural thing, particularly in the country where church 
leadership is by comparison far more prominent and important, wherever it 
exists, than in the urban centers where leadership is shared by the many. In 
general, the power of religious conviction in civic life must be admitted and wisely 

2. The church and its ministry can be of immeasurable service in the attain- 
ment of State objectives by cooperating with Government agencies, encouraging 
farm ownership, and improvement of community services of various kinds, par- 
ticularly those that are promoted by the extension services of State colleges in 
cooperation with the Department of Agriculture. For reasons stated above, the 
church is the only remaining means to bring the community together for mutual 
spiritual advancement and direct its realization. 


1. By encouraging pastors to assume a community point of view and, in the 
national interest, to take an active part in the achievement of economic welfare 
among their charges by stressing the importance of work, thrift, freedom from 
avoidable debt, individual responsibility, and the benefits of local group coopera- 
tion. In other words, the rural pastor should see his opportunity by lowering 
the number of Government wards, by whatever name they may go. 

2. By demanding of secondary schools to train the youth of the country in keep- 
ing with the needs of the region in which such schools are located instead of 
training them away from the soil. Curriculums should include required country- 
life courses. Church-related schools are in need of such compulsion to observe 
regional requirements as much as other schools who have robbed the land of its 
good blood for no other reason than to swell the enrollment. Most of our higher 
education today is antirural, except as pointed out before. The State could 
correct this evil, and the church can help. 

3. In the carrying out of plans to colonize the now scattered migrant popula- 
tion it is known that such colonization must be on the basis of the homogeneous 
nature of the settlers if it is to last. Among the binding elements of people, 
their common religious background is one of the strongest. Here it is where the 
church can assist the State as nothing else can — to gather the new rural communi- 
ties around a common church. 

4. In stemming the migratory dissolution of American country life the church 
needs the State, and the State needs the church to safeguard the home. A sensible 
cooperation without dictation on either part will go far to bring back to the land 
a settled and industrious people determined to make American farm life the 
best in all the world. 

An ordered preservation and rebuilding of life in the small communities and 
the open countryside is essential to a world struggling toward a better day. It 
is the first steppingstone in the ascending democratic way of life. 
Respectfully yours, 

Martin Schroeder. 


The Chairman. Dr. Christensen, will you give your full name and 
address for the record ? 

Dr. Christensen. Leo M. Christensen, University of Nebraska, at 

The Chatrman. What work are you assigned at this time ? 

Dr. Christensen. I am here on a special assignment in charge of 
the chemurgy project at the university, which was set up on Sep- 
tember 1. 

The Chairman. Set up by the Legislature of Nebraska ? 


Dr. Christens] n. Yes. The legislature made, a special appropria- 
tion («> study and determine the possibilities of bringing chemurgie 
industries into the Stale. 

The Chairh \n. 1 I<>w long has that set-np been in operation? 

l>r. Christensen. It began on September 1. 

Tlic Chairman. Have you gone far enough to reach any conclu- 
sions ! 

Dr. Christensen. We have gone far enough to see that there are 
many possibilities connected with the defense program, because the 
defense program will make a heavy demand on the farm products 
which we have available for certain chemurgie industries. 

The Chairman. Will the chemurgie industries have convertible 
value after defense is over? 

Dr. Christensen. Yes; definitely. 

The Chairman. We would appreciate it very much if you would 
prepare a statement dealing with farm chemurgy in its relation to de- 
fense and postdefense, and with Nebraska's efforts in that field. Our 
record will be open for 10 days if you wish to submit such a statement. 

Dr. Christensen. I will be very glad to prepare such a statement. 

The Chairman. Thank you very much. 

(The statement referred to above, received by the committee subse- 
quent to the hearing, is as follows:) 


The ideal defense industry for Nebraska is one that at the end of the emergency 
can be turned to the production of commodities for a peacetime economy. Because 
Nebraska has little in the way of mineral wealth, it is inevitable that such an in- 
dustry must be based upon the use of farm crops, which our new irrigation facili- 
ties are making more and more plentiful. Thus, such an industry is doubly useful, 
supplying new markets for farm crops as well as providing new pay rolls. 

There are many ways of putting this desirable program into operation. The 
implements and techniques of modern war are greatly dependent upon chemicat 
industry, and the new defense industries needed and planned are largely of this 
type. Chemical factories are remarkably flexible and may readily be transformed 
from one operation to another. Thus it is not especially difficult to plan a program 
that will perform a most important service for defense and, at the same time, find 
ready application in the post-war economy. 


An example may be found in the case of the manufacture of smokeless powder, 
and since there has been quite a lot of recent discussion about establishing such a 
factory in Nebraska, it is pertinent to consider how it might be developed to pro- 
vide an important peacetime utilization that can furnish permanent employment 
for men both on farms and in factories. 

The manufacture of smokeless powder requires cellulose, ethyl alcohol, sulfuric 
acid, nitric acid, and a few other raw materials. Of these, ethyl alcohol and 
cellulose are derivable from present or possible Nebraska farm crops. If these are 
shipped from outside, then the State has only a temporary industry, but if they 
are produced here, there is the basis for a permanent industry as well as a stand-by 
powder plant. 

Both cellulose and ethyl alcohol are important raw materials or intermediates in 
peacetime operations of chemical industry. Both have in the past been made 
largely from imported raw materials and the normal demand for both has been 
increasing and will undoubtedly increase greatly in the future. Both are now 
available in inadequate amounts. Of especial importance is the fact that recent 
research has shown how they may be made at a cost well below (hat using the 
past sources of supply. That is, a domestic production initiated now can readily 
hold its own in the post-war economy, a fact that can easily be demonstrated. 



One of the presently important plastics is cellulose acetate, made from cellulose 
and acetic acid, which is easily made from ethyl alcohol by a simple process. Ethyl 
cellulose is a new plastic that will certainly find wide application. It is made from 
ethyl alcohol and cellulose, and also requires sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric 
acid, which are made from salt by the use of electrical energy. We have the 
electric power now and large salt deposits are nearby. Nebraska has an es- 
pecially fine water supply for chemical operation. 


The history of chemical industry shows clearly that new developments flow 
steadily from a going business. Thus, with two such basically important interme- 
diates as cellulose and ethyl alcohol in production, a great variety of other prod- 
ucts may be expected. One of our present very large chemical manufacturers was, 
before 191S, almost solely a powder manufacturer. 

With the greatly improved crop varieties, better farm machinery, sounder land- 
use practices, and dependable irrigation facilities, it is logical to expect that Ne- 
braska agriculture will steadily improve in productivity. Couple this with an 
industrial development that uses these crops and which will maintain city pay 
rolls and you will have done much toward providing the basis for an enduring 
prosperity, not just for the present population but for many new workers on farm 
and in factory as well. 

It is not possible at present to make specific recommendations because it is not 
known how large the smokeless-powder plant will be. Discussions have men- 
tioned a plant that would require 20,000 gallons of alcohol per day. This 
should be supplied from two alcohol plants, which would cost $1,000,000. They 
would use, per year, 70,000 tons of grain, for which the farmers would receive 
about $1. 50U, 000. The two plants would employ directly 120 men. This does 
not include the farm labor or the labor required in indirect activities such as 
transportation. Approximately 70,000 acres would be required to produce the 
raw material used, so that the farm labor would be 5 to 10 times that used 
directly in the factory. 


At present, no money would be needed for sales development, so that the only 
working capital needed would be that to carry plant operations for 30 to 60 days, 
depending upon the credit basis on which the alcohol was sold, or $50,000 to 
$100,000 for the two plants. 

We are not in a position to make an estimate for the cellulose production, but 
probably it would be similar to the alcohol development in most respects. 

The Nebraska chemurgy project was set up as a result of a special appropriation 
by the legislature. Work was started on September 1, 1941. The object is to 
make surveys and conduct research looking toward the establishment of industrial 
markets for Nebraska farm crops. One project includes field testing of a wide 
variety of crops that are of interest for such uses, and many callulose-yielding 
crops will be tested, and methods for recovery of the cellulose from them will 
be developed. Another is concerned with the production of ethyl alcohol, butyl 
alcohol, and acetone from the present grain crops, with particular attention to 
grain sorghums and barley. This project is, therefore, in a position to supply 
the information needed for a development such as that described above. 

There is voluminous technical literature, but the layman will find Christy 
Borth's Pioneers of Plenty, Bobbs-Merrill, especially useful as an introduction 
to this field. 

Mr. Curtis. This completes the list of witnesses that has been called. 
Mr. C. G. Binclerup, of Minclen, Nebr., is present and has sent up to 
the desk a written request that he be allowed to testify. Mr. Binclerup, 
you may come forward and proceed. Please give the reporter your 
full name, and I wish to inform you that if you care to revise your 
statement and submit a written paper any time within the next 10 
days, it will be received. You may proceed. 


(At this point Mr. Binderup took the stand. The reporter found 
it impossible, however, to obtain a sufficient continuity to make a tran- 
scription of the testimony. No written statement was received subse- 
quent to the hearings. — Ed.) 

Mr. Riley. Mr. Chairman, at this time I should like to offer for the 
record six prepared statements received from sources not represented 
in the testimony at this hearing. 

The Chairman. That will be permitted. 

Mr. Hi ley. The six papers will be entered in the form of exhibits 
fr< m the following sources: 

Mr. John A. Coover, chief of the Nebraska State Employment Serv- 
ice ; Mr. Harry A. Burke, superintendent of schools of Kearney, Nebr. ; 
Mr. Frank A. Anderson, president of the Chamber of Commerce of 
Holdrege, Nebr. ; and the A. H. Jones Co., of Hastings. A sixth ex- 
hibit, for which we are reserving an exhibit number, will be received in 
a few days from Mr. Roy M. Brewer, president of the Nebraska State 
Federation of Labor. 

The Chairman. The hearing will stand adjourned. 

(Whereupon, the committee adjourned, subject to the call of the 


Exhibit 1. — Labor Recruitment in Nebraska 


The Nebraska State Employment Service, through its 18 local offices in the State 
of Nebraska, had an active file total of 43,015 peresons who were available for 
work and seeking work, as of November 1, 1941. Of this total, 31,645 were men 
and 11,370 were women. The distribution of these peresons by the 18 employ- 
ment service offices in the State is indicated below. 

Nebraska State 


Service local office 






Nebraska State 


Service local office 






























19, 093 









13, 393 




1 031 





Nebraska City 

Falls City 


Fremont... ._ 

North Platte 




Grand Island 





The total active file of persons seeking employment through the Nebraska 
State Employment Service for each of the calendar months of 1941 is shown 
below : 






45, 900 
48, 086 
50, 997 
49, 552 


37, 379 
39, 079 
40, 458 


10, 539 




October.. _ 


46, 337 
44, 770 


35, 769 
34, 051 
32, 741 


10, 554 
10, 969 

It should be noted that the active file does not include all persons who are 
employed and who are available for job openings. It should also be noted that 
a certain proportion of persons seeking work through the State employment 
service are employed. These persons desire to secure different employment. 

A report as of October 18, 1941, shows that approximately 2,000 persons are 
available in the active file of the State employment service for selected skilled 
and professional occupations which are considered essential to national defense. 
Again, it should be pointed out that this does not include all unemployed work- 
ers who are available for employment in these selected occupations. 

During the first 10 months of 1941, a total number of 36,041 placements were 
made through the Nebraska State Employment Service. This, compared with the 
total of 29,443 made during the same period of the year 1940, or an increase of 
6,608 placements — a percentage increase of approximately 23 percent. This in- 
crease is attributed to an increased use of the service by employers, as well as 
a general increase in the level of employment in the State. Placements of per- 
sons in employment outside the State also accounted for some of the increase in 
the total volume of placements made thus far during the calendar year 1941. 




In connection with migration oul of the State of Nebraska we estimate that 

.„ ' ,xi ■ ately 13T0OO workers left the State either to take obs n other States 

STseS mpToynSenl opportunities In other States This estimated volume 

,,.- ouMnieration covers the 12-inonth period ending November L, 1941, and is 

exclusive o ^seasonS labor requirements in connection with the harvestog and 

nrnrPMlL of agricultural crops, included in the out-migration estimate are 

Siding ^teaL^wSkers who migrated to construction projects Located out of 

S State " is expected thai mosl of these woikers will eventually return to 

Nebraska Many will return earlier if employmenl opportunities are available 

m the iiatt The out-migration also Includes a large Dumber of young single 

,. vh, 1 -n, migrated primarily to the wesl and easl coasts for employment in 

',,<,,.: In connection with this group of migrants, we believe that 

i, ■ l\. 'will return to Nebraska if and when employmen opportunities 

', ,, vw i, is characteristic for labor to be attached to a given 

''"V", 1 " faV a giveTemployer, we .in ool think this attachmenl can 

teS e'i 1 h' i.: of less S27to6 years. With the uncertainties of defense 

n ;;;! , ; n :;; t " i :; i . '„„,, m igran1 workers and the difficult . hving «^*™e* 

,.,„ ,„.ivii in the industrial areas, we believe thai migration is 0. suuiauy Nebraska workers who migrated Into other areas. 

In connection with total in-migration as well as migration™ mtneo u 

requirements may exceed the available supply. 


Rented to the total demand made on our labor force in Nebraska is the 
•m I „i frr m ih. Stat : a total of 6,936 men who were inducted into 

v, vv ., m i related service, and officers who have been called into tiaining. ine 
figS of 6936 does include, however, some men who have returned from the 

'^tS'^SlSSS^ workers have migrated from .Nebraska In 

,Up first nlaceemnl«.vn...nt opportunities have not been available to hold the 

workers i n the S^ateVfense 'contracts have not been available in the volume 

e-'n-v to provide job opportunities for our reservoir of unemployed labor. 

ofdrought: and generai agricultural depression have also contributed to the 
movement of workers from the State. 


During the past 6 to 8 months, nationally known employers have recruited 

workS^from our Nebraska labor market. These employers have worked in 

-• 1 case thnmgh the Nebraska State Employment Service, and toeir recruiting 

ograms were undertaken through the employment service. Points of interview 

' x es ablisled throughout the State, and pooled-interview methods were used 

•ecru la lor lasted below are companies which recruited workers on an 

..,,, iVe basis throughout the State, using the facilities of the Nebraska State 

Empfoyment Service. The estimated number of workers placed with each of 

the respective companies is also listed: Approximate 

Name of company _. 

Lockheed Aircrafl Corporation {;5 

du Ponl de Nemours & Co >?() 

Consolidated Aircraft Corporation ' 15 

John Deere Tractor Co 



During November 1941, Boeing Aircraft Co. will recruit labor from Nebraska 
through the pooled-interview method. This company is seeking highly skilled 
and professional workers for employment in their aircraft factories. It is ex- 
pected that other large employers holding defense contracts will recruit labor in 
Nebraska for their out-State plants. 

Large aircraft manufacturing companies have also utilized trainees from com- 
mercial training schools to meet their labor requirements. Lincoln Flying School, 
Morton Aircraft, and Frye Aircraft of Omaha have been able to refer their 
graduates to employment in aircraft companies. 

Effective utilization of the local supply of labor, particularly in connection 
with the production requirements of the Martin bomber plant, requires training 
of various types to qualify workers to the level of needed skills. To achieve this 
level, preemployment training is being undertaken through the defense training 
courses sponsored by the vocational education department of the State. In addi- 
tion, a program of up-grading within the plant will be required. 

Training facilities of the vocational education department have been used 
during the past year and a half for preemployment and refresher purposes. A 
large proportion of the trainees who have completed these courses have secured 
employment in defense industries in other States. 

With respect to training courses which are offered at the present time in 
Nebraska, we are listing below the location, the name of the course, and the 
number of trainees for each training project. 


Name of course 

Number of 

Beatrice . 

Aircraft sheet metal . 





do ._ 






Acetylene and electric welding 


Aircraft sheet metal . 


Machine shop 






do.... _ 


General and electric welding 



Acetvlene welding.. ... 

Nebraska State Teachers School 

Automotive electricity 




Production machine tool operating 




Nebraska Citv 

Aircraft sheet metal . 





North Platte 






















. .do 


Machine shop 


Two specific defense-training agreements have been worked out with defense 
employers. A power sewing-machine course is being started very shortly to sup- 
ply power sewing-machine operators. Defense training courses in the city of 
Omaha, sponsored by the department of vocational education, were planned to 
meet specifically the requirements of the Martin bomber plant which is located in 
that area. 

While Nebraska has lost a portion of its labor supply to defense industries in 
other States, a relatively large supply is still available in the semiskilled and 
unskilled classifications. There are shortages in certain highly skilled occupa- 
tions. These shortages, however, are Nation-wide in character and are not 
limited to the Nebraska labor market. 

In connection with the construction of the bomb loading plant at Wahoo, Nebr., 
it is anticipated that no difficulties will be encountered in furnishing the required 
labor force. Also, the semiskilled and unskilled labor requirements for produc- 
tion in both the Martin bomber plant at Omaha and the Walioo bomb-loading 
plant can be adequately supplied from local sources. Certain classes of skilled 
and professional workers required for the operation of these plants will have 
to be recruited from sources outside the State. 
60396 — 42— pt. 21 9 


Exhibit 2.— Migration from Nebraska, as Seen from the Viewpoint 

of Labor 



The migration <>f labor from Nebraaka, December 1, 1941, is a subject to which 
I have giver, B greal flea! of thought Fundamentally there are two basic reasons 
why workers are Leaving Nebraska. The firs! is thai some of them cannot get 
jobs here and the other is thai many of I hem cannol gel jobs at a decent standard 
of living. For who cannot gel jobs of any kind the problem goes back 
to the farm problem about which you heard so much testimony, but I will give you 
Siefly now my opinions with regard to the farm situation in Nebraska for what 

mav be worth to you. First of all it might be well to say that I was born and 
raised in Nebraska and have lived here all my life. My paternal grandfather 
homesteaded in Hall County near Cairo and my maternal grandfather home- 
's tc'a, led in Greeley County near Scotia, and I have never had to consider any 
problems except from a Nebraska viewpoint. 


I think that in considering the basic farm problem in Nebraska it would have to 
be recoeni/ed that the economy of this State was shaped, for the most part, between 
Seyeara of 1900^25 A the turn of the century Nebraska was still pretty much 
a pioneer State, but 25 vears later it had taken its place among the other States of 
til? UnTon as substantial agricultural community. I think the records will show 
Sat during this period of 25 years Nebraska went through a period of above 
norma 1 r a nfn This has had the effect of encouraging the farmers to plant 

r h were not properlv adapted to continued cultivation in this State over a 
£ng period Tof years In 1934 we had a severe drought, which was more or less 
Nationwide However, in Nebraska this year of drought was followed by a num- 
ber of Subsequently very dry years. The moisture in the deep subsoil which 
Nebraska has was iS* replenished through this period of years, and as a result the 
crops which had previously yielded a substantial return on our Nebraska farms 
did not vied that return during the years from 1924 until the present year of 
1941 It seems to me that this is going to be a more or less normal condition in 
our State and that any future planning should be on the basis of a careful study of 

the cycles of recurring wet and dry periods. 


Now naturally this drought situation which has lasted 8 years has had a serious 
effect upcm the economy of the State. With a few exceptions all of the communi- 
ties in Nebraska are trading centers which live for the most part on the agricul- 
ura economy of the Statefand when the income of these farmers was substan- 
tially reduced trading centers suffered, work became scarce, and men began to 
seS employment elsewhere. When the defense program started Nebraska , did not 
have as much direct participation in this defense program as some of the other 
State- b ut think it important that you bear in mind that the defense program 
has not in any way lessened the employment opportunities of the State but has 
hiralv increased them. The largest employers of our State are the railroads, 
oideSovment has increased substantially since the defense program, 
so that men^reSng the State of Nebraska not necessarily because there are 
lewer opportimities than there have been in the past but because additional oppor- 
tunmes ar^ ope ning up elsewhere and many times at much better wages than they 
can receive in Nebrlska, which brings me to the second reason why men are leaving 


I have stated, and have never been successfully contradicted, that the wages in 
Nebraska nave been the lowest of any State in the northern tier of States I 
don't tbink this statement can be successfully contradicted, which just about an- 
swers the question of why men are leaving for better jobs. The reason why the 
wTges have become so low in Nebraska, of course, is partly due to the drought 


situation on our farms. But, of course, these industrial plants which exist in 
Nebraska cannot justifiably claim the drought as the reason for their low wages 
their real reason being that they can make more money, they think, by paying less 
wages; and up to now they have been successful in getting away with that 
type of program. J 


A very important factor in this problem of wage rates in Nebraska is the lack of 
unionization. Up until 1937, when I, as president of the State Federation of 
Labor, began a program of organization for this State, there were practically 
no unions of any importance outside of Omaha and Lincoln. Now we have 
central bodies in nine of the key cities of the State and in every center of anv 
importance organizational activity is being carried on. This has improved the 
wage conditions somewhat, but naturally it is going to take time to change the 
situation on a broad base, which is the only way it can be effectively done 
The lack of unionization can be traced, I think, primarily to the activities 
of the former Businessmen's Association of Omaha, which back in 1921 was suc- 
cessful in placing on the statute books of Nebraska a law known as the anti- 
picketing law. Over the 20 years which this law was operative it strangled trade- 
union development in this State. As a result employers were able to take full 
advantage of the economic situation of the workers brought about by the general 
depression and the recurring drought in our agricultural communities. Subse- 
quently the employers launched an advertising campaign known as the white 
spot— a campaign which, while praised to the skies by the employers was 
deeply resented by the inarticulate masses of workers because the white-spot 
campaign m effect was telling to the world that employers could come to Ne- 
braska and obtain labor at low rates. This campaign, as well as other em- 
ployer efforts to discourage workers from bettering their conditions, ha ye cre- 
ated a state of mind on the part of the workers that has caused them to "ive 
up hope of ever getting decent working conditions in this State. 


The testimony of some of the Hastings employers before your committee was in 
my opinion rather ridiculous, in that they completely avoided the real reason the 
workers are leaving. The men who testified in Hastings that they were losing 
workers are losing them for only one reason, and that is because they have com- 
pletely disregarded the welfare of their employees. One of the employers who 
testified that he was losing employees, the representative of the Dutton-Lainson 
Lo., has been paying men working on the defense work as low as 30 cents an hour 
for a 40-hour week, or a total weekly wage of $12, less social-security tax. These 
employees are grossly intimidated and are fearful of making any effort to better 
their conditions by organization, as I have in my files anonymous communications 
from one of the employees of this plant with a list of the names of those who 
want to join but are afraid to come to a meeting, giving me instructions as to 
how to contact them individually in their homes. Because of the attitude of such 
employers the workers of this State have lost hope of any decent working con- 
ditions m Nebraska, and they are looking elsewhere for employment The de- 
fense emergency has given them the opportunity that most of them have been 
waiting for for years, and the employers of this State might as well recognize as 
must your committee recognize, that they are not going to get employees to stay 
and work on defense work for the wages which Nebraska employers have been 
paying them, particularly in Hastings. Again I want to bring out that the psy- 
chology that is prevalent among the workers that they can't obtain decent working 
standards m Nebraska has been in a large way responsible for much of the migra- 
tion Our State has been very backward in the passing of proper legislation to 
protect the interests of the wage earners, again through the efforts of employers 
and all of these things add up to the fact, in the mind of the average worker of 
this State, that the sooner he can get out of Nebraska and get established else- 
where the better off he will be. I think that in appraising the situation your 
committee can and must take these matters into consideration if they are going to 
arrive at any proper conclusions. 


Exhibit 3. — School Enroij.mi nts IS Kearney, Nebr. 


The enrollments In the various schools tor the nasi 8 years, as of the close 
of the Becond week of school, are tabulated below: 








J 11 






































1 Kindergartens held at the college. 

Z ion Lutheran ... -- - - *L 

A. O. Thomas (exclusive of kindergartens) - - V: 

St. James -- X 

Seventh Day Adventist - - - - - * 

Total - — - - - 164 

Total enrollment nfKearney (including parochial schools) 2,011 

The table above reveals the obvious fact that there has been a loss in public- 
school enrollments in the city of 111 students, or 5.8 percent— the elementary 
schools showed a loss of 10 percent, the junior high school an increase of 3.5 per- 
cent, and the senior high school a loss of 8.5 percent. The junior and senior 
high schools may be said to be normal since the drop in enrollment in the high 
school was expected to follow the loss in elementary school enrollments which 
has occurred 'luring the past 10 years due to the lowered birth rates both in the 
State and the Nation. The junior high school received a large sixth grade from 
the elementary schools, a fact which accounts for both the loss on the lower level 
and the incre'ase in the junior high school. However, this was the hist time 
in 6 years that the enrollment in the elementary schools had changed to any 
marked degree. The most serious losses have occurred in the Bryant district 
where a loss of 29 students was registered, and in the Emerson district where 
32 students less were enrolled. The Kenwood enrollment is down 11 students 
and the Whittier school 6. The losses in the elementary school are entirely 
accounted for by the movement of families with large numbers of children living 
in the east side* of the city to work in the defense centers. The kindergarten 
enrollment for the city is 109 students as compared with 144 a year ago. The 
latter figure was almost normal for Kearney. In 1939 the kindergarten enroll- 
ment was 122. 

The conclusion to be drawn from the above data is that approximately 5 percent 
of the families having children in school have moved from Kearney since a year 
ago. The loss in population due to the defense activities, of course, is temporary 
and will be regained when normal conditions set in again. Another factor to be 
noted is that the bulk of the loss has occurred in the Emerson and Bryant dis- 
tricts. The decrease in Work Projects Administration activities and the removal 
of Work Projects Administration headquarters from Kearney to Hastings has 
been a contributing factor in this loss of enrollment. 


The school census has been brought up to date over the summer and every 
case of delinquency in attendance has been checked or accounted for. No 



special work permits have been granted. Only 5 students needed the attention 
of the truant officer because of their failure to enter school. The truant officer 
activities have been reduced markedly over the years, a factor due to the 
accuracy of the census, promptness on the part of administrative officers in 
checking absence, and the cooperative attitude of the police department and 
juvenile court headed by Judge Wilson. Eight years ago some 75 students 
needed the attention of the truant officer or the county court in order to brine 
them in to school. 

In connection with the census it should be reported that the drop in enroll- 
ment was reflected by the census completed last June. A year ago the census 
was 2,912 and this year the official census was 2,734. This loss of 178 was a 
forerunner of the lowered school enrollment. A fact of unusual interest is that 
the largest number of 21-year-old people ever recorded in the history of the city 
was removed from the census this year. A total of 223 people became 21 years 
of age this year as compared with 149 the previous year. 

The board of education is again reminded that the method of keeping the 
census up to date daily in the central office makes a very accurate instrument 
by which to diagnose any changes in the city's population. The central office 
brings the census up to date each Saturday morning. Its accuracy has been 
improved to the extent that it is now practically 100 percent reliable 


The enrollments of high school nonresidents during the past decade are as 
follows : 



1936 144 

1935 ::::::: 138 

1934 118 

1933 128 

1932 12 6 

It is surprising to note how well the nonresident enrollment has stood up 
for the year. In other words, the board will suffer no loss of revenue from 
this source. 

Another interesting trend is the increasing number of elementary children 
enrolling in the Kearney schools because of the closing of their own schools 
in the country. Many rural parents have resisted the opening of their home 
schools because of the superior opportunities offered in the Kearney organiza- 


The following table derived from the school census indicates the income and 
outgo in the school system since May 31, 1941 : 

Incoming students during summer 1941 


Senior high school 

Junior high school 

Elementary schools (grades 1-^6) 

Elementary schools (kindergarten)... 

A. O. Thomas school (grades 1-8) 

A. O. Thomas school (kindergartens) 

St. James Parochial (grades 1-8) 

St. James Parochial (kindergarten).. 
Zion Lutheran 


New to 


in Kearney 





Analysis of losses and additions during summer 1941 








Illinois , 

Kansas ... 




New Mexico — 
North Carolina. 



(liru | 

Sour oe 

■ »rei on 

South Dakota.. -- 

Washing!"" - 

Washington, D. C 

\v jroming 

Other towns in Nebraska 

Rural (near Kearney) 

Kindergarten (not registered 

last spring... 

Missel in census (grade 1 
pupils who did not attend 
kindergarten) - 













It may be of interest to note that 176 students came to Kearny during the 
summer a. compared with 153 last year. The removals from the city total 204 as 
■ mmred with 157 last year. The enrollment figures indicate that an additional 
55 students had removed from the city previous to the closing of school last 
The above table also indicates the place to which families have ; moved. 
People have a tendency to stay in Nebraska if possible, but California and Colo- 
rado stil draw the bulk of Nebraska's population. For the first time in a number 
of yearf Kearney has definitely lost in the exchange which takes place between 

in wS the cTtyf^hSSa tendency to transfer to the Whittier School 
from other elementary districts. The movement from and to the parochial 
scnoolsto the public schools has remained constant over the years, although the 
parochial schools have suffered more because of loss in enrollment. 

Exhibit 4. — Benefits of Irrigation in Holdrege, Nebr. 



In 1940 a survey of the city of Holdrege, Nebr., and its trading area, was pre- 
pared entitled "A Municipal, Industrial, and Commercial Survey of the City of 
Holdrege, Nebr." The statistics were compiled to August 1, 1940. A copy of that 
survey is' herewith presented to this committee. 1 . n ,. . 

In a short space of time it is not possible to revise that survey in its entirety 
to bring it o date fn all of its particulars. However this committee probably 
is no interested in all of the details of the survey. Accordingly, therefore, we 
ha?e rechecked some of its portions and submit herewith up-to-da e sta £*;« i,P<m 
some of the parts in which we believe this committee does desire nfoiim on 

Holdrege is in a different position from a great majority of the municipal ties 
in Nebraska. It is true that the territory surrounding Holdrege is entirely agri- 
cultural and that Holdrege has no other resources than agricultural ones, and 
ft is a^so rue that the Holdrege trading area has suffered the same failure of 
agricultural crop .as other portions of Nebraska, but the shock of that blow has 
bfen greatly tempered by the income from the labor which has been furnished 
to its people bv the construction of the tricounty irrigation district, and by the 
money which has come into the channels of trade from those employed directly 
a^indTrSv by that project. The shock of that blow has also been tempered 
hv the hopes of our people that irrigation will not only restore this country to its 
fonnei r aff ltuSd^ductiveness but that the results will actually far surpass 
anything we have ever known. 

1 Held in committee files. 



The pet slogan of the central Nebraska (tricounty) public power and irrigation 
district for the last year or two has been "irrigate or migrate." Because the 
project is very new and was not scheduled to go into full operation until 1942, 
it has not greatly affected immigration into this terriory, but it has checked the 
migration of farmers from the area — an area which, as stated before, suffered 
heavily during the 10 preceding years from drought. As a result of experiment- 
ing with irrigation in 1940 and again in 1941, many farm owners feel that they 
will have to divide their holdings into smaller tracts as the irrigation increases, 
since irrigation calls for more intensified and diversified farming. This will 
tend to greatly increase the rural population. This has happened in other irri- 
gated sections and should occur here. The Holdrege Chamber of Commerce is 
awake to this situation and is doing what it can to educate farmers of other dry- 
land farming sections to the possibilities of this irrigated section, comprising as it 
does some 220,000 acres of irrigable land. Reference to the map attached to the 
survey shows that Holdredge lies strategically in the center of this irrigated 
district and naturally should greatly benefit from improved agricultural con- 

It is believed that irrigation will bring new crops to this section, such as 
alfalfa, sugar beets, commercial vegetables, soybeans, etc. With increased crops 
should come an increase in cattle, hogs, and sheep. The production of milk, 
butter, cheese, eggs, etc., should increase noticeably. If the increase in all of 
these items is sufficient, as we believe it will be, local processing plants will be 
needed to care for this production. This territory now has an abundance of 
pure, cold water, electrical power, railroad and highway transportation, and other 
facilities to care for any and all kinds of processing plants. 


As evidence of this faith in and hopes for the irrigation development, Holdrege 
has shown an increase of 100 people in its population during the past 10 years. 
This is not large but when the decrease in population of many Nebraska munic- 
ipalities is considered, it is very flattering. 

Also in Holdrege, rentals are higher than previously. A number of folks, who 
are employed by the project, have purchased homes in Holdrege. To manage 
the irrigation system, three field offices are maintained in the area and from 
that source a sizable pay roll is furnished to the Holdrege trading area. 

Because of the project, other enterprises are being attracted to this territory. 
Four contractors are now working in the area with land-leveling equipment. 
Hybrid seed corn companies and sugar manufacturers are keeping in close 
touch with the development of the area and are planning to operate in the 
irrigated section during 1942. 

We would like in this connection to impress upon this committee the thought 
that if sugar beets work out satisfactorily here, as we believe they should, that 
it may be necessary for Congress to amend its laws so as to permit the expanded 
development of sugar beets in this territory. 


Holdrege can report that during the past 12 months there has been constructed 
in the city 13 residences costing a total of $G8,900, or an average per residence 
of $5,300. There has also been constructed a motor court and restaurant cost- 
ing $25,000. There have been 6 major remodeling jobs, totaling $12,700, or an 
average for each residence of $2,117. 

The laboring people remaining in Holdrege have been busy. It has been 
somewhat difficult to secure labor as needed. The reason for this is that 80 
laborers have left here to secure work on defense projects of various kinds. 
An exact table of those leaving, showing occupations, ages, direction, etc., is 



herewith submitted through the courtesy of the Nebraska State Employment 
Service : 














West coast, Califor- 

East coast, New York- 

West coast, Oregon- 

Southeast, Arkansas- 
Kansas and -Mis- 





6 months 





60 cents per hour. 






$1.33 per hour. 
$30-$60 per week. 


$1 per hour. 


.. do -. 

$60 per week. 


. . .do 

.. .do-... 

$50 per week. 


$40 per week . 


Office manager 

Junior draftsman 

Junior rodman .. 

Civil engineer 


$45 per week. 




$30 per week. 
$200 per month. 



$300 per month. 


6 months 


90 cents per hour. 



80 cents per hour. 





75 cents per hour. 



do --.. 



80 cents per hour. 


Tractor operators 

$1.12!^ per hour. 

It is possible that a few of these have wandered back but the biggest portion 
have not. 

In the agricultural trading area it is reported that it is impossible to secure 
competent labor for the immediate task of picking corn. This situation is a 
result directly of the induction into the armed forces of the United States of 157 
men from Holdrege and Phelps County. On January 1 of this year Company A, 
One Hundred and Tenth Quartermaster Regiment, Thirty-fifth Division, made 
up entirely of men from Holdrege and surrounding territory, was mustered into 
service. Since then 50 men have enlisted, and 52 men have been drafted. At the 
same time, 4 men have been deferred from the draft because of being employed 
in defense industries. The table shows: 

Report as of November 10, 191/1 

Number of men in the National Guard 55 

Number of selectees accepted 52 

Number of enlisted men 50 

Number of men in defense industries 4 

In addition to the foregoing, there are the following 91 men covered by draft 
regulations, who will probably soon be withdrawn from our agricultural territory : 

Number of men in Class I-A 23 

Number of registrants in class tentative I-A 25 

Single registrants to be classified and will no doubt be placed in class 

tentative I-A 23 

Unless, therefore, outside farm operators and farm laborers move into this 
territory it probably will be impossible, because of less manpower, to materially 
increase the output of agricultural products as requested by the Secretary 
of Agriculture. 


Whether or not those who have left Holdrege and its trading area for jobs in 
defense industries and for service in the armed forces of the United States, are 
gone permanently or temporarily cannot be answered except one knows how 
long this so-called emergency shall last. The longer it lasts, the less likelihood 
there is of many of them returning. They will have made new contacts which 
will hold them. On the other hand, new and greater opportunities here will 
attract new artisans. We sincerely believe, as we wrote recently in the illustrated 
booklet of Holdrege, that a new era of progress for Holdrege is dawning, and 
there is opportunity here for those who have the foresight to grasp its possibil- 
ities. It is predicted that within 10 years Holdrege will grow from a city of 
3,360 people to 15,000 population. 


Irrigation will bring numerous new crops and more intensive agriculture. 
Increased production will abundantly sustain numbers of additional farmers. 
To serve tbeir needs, tradesmen, artisans, and laborers of all kinds will be re- 
quired. In addition will be tbe beneficial results of various processing plants 
whieb inevitably must come since cheap and unlimited electrical energy, natural 
gas, and pure water are available. There apparently is no limit to the pyramiding 
effects of this new, certain, and assured prosperity. 

Exhibit 5. — Automobile Sales in Western Nebraska 


The above-named firm is engaged in the selling of automobiles, wholesale in 
about 65 counties, western Nebraska, northwest Kansas, and eastern Wyoming, 
with retail establishments at Hastings and Alliance, Nebr. This company, with 
minor changes of interest, represents a continuity of operation in the auto- 
mobile business since 1905. We own our operating properties at Hastings and 
Alliance and over a period of years have improved and equipped these properties 
to handle a normal volume of business under normal conditions. We have an 
investment approximating $200,000, a present pay roll of about $60,000 annually, 
a fixed tax liability covering real estate and personal taxes, not including in- 
come and so-called social security taxes of about $3,000. We have a definite 
and continuing charge against our properties for depreciation, obsolescence, 
maintenance, and a considerable amount of insurance regardless of our volume 
of business. 

Our unit sales are approximately 18 percent retail and 82 percent wholesale. 
In the calendar year 1940 we sold 1,093 cars of which 600 were sold in the first 
6 months, comparing with 696 in the first 6 months of 1941. The 1941 increase 
was based on two circumstances, to each of which we give about equal weight. 
First, an improved economic and crop situation (the increase came in May and 
June) and second, the expectation of higher prices later in the year. Our recent 
sales have been as follows : 

mo 19U 

August , , 22 12 

September , v.— 73 71 

October B9 58 

November (partly estimated) 130 58 

In December of 1940 we delivered 104 cars whereas our factory allotment for 
December 1941 is 51 cars. It requires about 80 cars per month throughout the 
year to enable us to break even and our profits, if any, must come out of sales 
above that number. Our used-car sales are as follows : 

mo mi 

First 6 months 206 277 

Last 6 months (to November 26) 179 307 

We have on our pay roll at this time 44 people of whom 15 are automobile 
salesmen, 2 parts and accessories salesmen, 5 clerical, 12 mechanics, 3 executives, 
and the balance service and miscellaneous. We have dropped from our pay roll 
in recent months 2 car salesmen and 1 department manager. 

Incident to the war program, two of our mechanics went to Washington. One 
of them stayed and the other returned to Hastings and is employed locally. 
Also one of our young women went to Washington. Our record for maintaining 
a continuity of employment has somewhat minimized the apparent attractiveness 
of these outside jobs and we have been able to hold our force rather well. 
Our concern at this time is over our ability to continue our people on the pay 

Our complaint, if we are permitted to voice one, is that we feel that the cur- 
tailment of automobile production has been and promises to be more drastic 
than absolute necessity requires. It seems to be well authenticated that the 
War and Navy Departments are accumulating steel far beyond their immediate 
needs. Furthermore, there can be no doubt that the internal economy of the 
country is being subordinated to the maintenance of such artificial restrictions 
as the 40-hour week. 

It cannot have escaped the attention of your committee that this drastic reduc- 
tion in automobiles and light trucks adapted to farm and ranch use was made 


on the ground thai 1 1 » • - materia] wai needed for wax production. Recently, how- 
ever, on ;i complaint by the Congress of Industrial Organisations thai this was 
causing unemployment In Detroit, the War Department proposed to buy trucks 

tar in excess of its iiiiniedia le needs to relieve this particular unemployment. It 
should he obvious ihai this restriction program will cause vast unemployment 
over the Dnited states, and we respectfully submit that this situation should be 
a matter of just as much concern to the Congress as a temporary condition of 
unemployment affecting one union in Detroit. Our feeling is that a 40-percent 
reduction from previous volume would release a substantial amount of steel for 
war uses without destroying Hie structure of the automobile business and adding 
one more complication to the reconstruct ion problem that will face us when the 
war is over. The Income taxes paid by the automobile trade in the aggregate are 
substantial. A program that would operate to throw all of these out of the 
window should he approached with caution. 

Our second complaint is that this reduction of output has been most inequitably 
applied. Once again the interests of the big cities and the manufacturers have 
taken precedence over the country and the aggregate of many small businesses, 
which aggregate is not small business, the selling and servicing of the country's 
transportat ion. 

For example, we have before us as we write the permissible production figures 
for the month of February. The production of Chrysler cars, which represents 
about half of our Interest, Is cut 69 percent from last year. The production of 
Plymouth cars, which represents the other half of our interest, is cut 57 percent. 
The Chrysler cut is the largest in the industry and for no defensible reason if 
the interest of the dealer, the small businessman, and the interior of the country 
has any weight in reaching this decision. The permissible production of nil 
models made by General Motors and Ford is cut 59 percent and Chrysler 60 
percent, again the greatest reduction. Over against this. Studebaker production 
is cut only 22 percent, Hudson 16 percent, and Packard is given a permissible 
increase of 21 percent. Considering that the normal sale of automobiles might 
be reduced 25 percent from last year the dealers representing these lines are 
given permission to sell more cars than they possibly could sell under open com- 
petitive conditions. They are given an assured volume, considering the price 
advance, in excess of their volume a year previous. On what theory this radical 
discrimination is made we are at a loss to know 7 . Possibly because these manu- 
facturers under open competitive conditions are not able to make much money. 
If such is the case, it represents the glorification of the inefficient. The fact 
that Chrysler, General Motors, and Ford have a much higher public acceptance, 
that these manufacturers are able to build and sell more automobiles and make 
more money while they are doing it, should not subject their dealers to a drastic 
discrimination by the United States Government at a time when conditions are 
most difficult. 

There is one more element in this situation in which we are the victims, either 
of circumstances or of the failure on the part of the gentlemen who plan our 
economy to take all factors into account. We had a series of very bad years in 
this territory — deficient rainfall, excessive heat, and poor crops. 1940 was enough 
better to permit us to do about 80 percent of a normal operation hut the cars 
allocated to us for sale are based on a 3-year average, including 1938 and 1939, 
in which our business was only about 60 percent of the average of the 3 years 
prior to 1938. We live in a mercurial territory which is sometimes up but often 
down and our allocation of cars is based on 1 year in which we had a partial 
recovery and 2 years which were exceedingly subnormal. 

Our State has a motto — "Equality before the law." If a reduction in the 
number of automobiles produced is absolutely necessary or in the public interest, 
we should accept that situation and make the best of it. We contend that the 
reduction should be on the basis of equality applied alike to all manufacturers 
and their dealers. We contend that the interest of the dealers should be the 
basis on which the allocation is made. The manufacturer is not hurt. For every 
dollar of automobile business he loses he is being offered two or three dollars 
of war business. He has ample offset to his loss of automobile volume. The 
dealers have none. The dealers' investments, their fixed overhead, their pay 
rolls, all bear a definite relationship to the business they have done heretofore. 
There is no equitable reason why a Chrysler dealer should be cracked with a 
69-percenl reduction and a Packard dealer given a "_'l -percent increase. There 
is no equality before a law which gives the Hudson dealer si percent of the cars 
he had last year, which represents an increase in dollar volume considering the 


higher price, and then restricting a Plymouth dealer to 43 percent of his previous 

If we are to live under a planned economy the continuity of pay rolls all over 
the country should have just as much consideration in the allocation of steel and 
other production materials as the temporary condition of partial unemployment 
affecting one Detroit labor union. We are asking for no favors but we do make 
our plea for a square deal. 

Exhibit 6. — Manufacturing in Nebraska 



Our firm is engaged in the manufacture and distribution of farm water supplies ; 
farm implements ; and the wholesaling of plumbing and heating equipment ; and 
other items that are essential accessories to our manufactured products 

Our principal distribution is in the Middle Western States but our manufactured 
products are sold in all States of the Union and in the past decade our sales for 
export have increased to the point where they are an important part of our 


I consider the problem of migration as very serious to the welfare of our State. 
The 1940 United States census figures reveal a loss of 62,129 people in the State 
of Nebraska from 1930 to 1940, or a loss of 4.5 percent of our 1930 population. 
This loss was in spite of the natural increase for the State of 108,327 births over 
deaths — this decline being the first since Nebraska was admitted to statehood. I 
feel that it is pertinent that the loss occurred in the farm population which de- 
creased by 87,123 or 14.9 percent. The rural nonfarm population decreased 
40,047 or 1 percent, whereas the urban population, where our present Nebraska 
industries are located, show an increase of 28,041, or 5.8 percent. 


The loss in farm population was without question caused by the drought and 
unfavorable farm commodity prices. In the 10-year period, 1930 to 1940, the 
number of farms in Nebraska decreased from 129,458 to 121,062 — a loss of 8,396 
farmsteads — or 6.5 percent of the total. During the same period the value 
of farm land and buildings decreased from $2,495,203 to $1,137,S08— a loss of 
$1,357,395, or 54 percent, of the 1930 total. At the same time the value of farm 
machinery decreased from $150,925,108 to $97,645,085— a loss of $53,280,023, or 
35.3 percent. 

While some of the farms lost went back to grassland, the average Nebraska 
farm increased from 345 acres in 1930 to 391 acres in 1940. 

It is interesting to note that in spite of adverse conditions in the farm trade 
territories the Nebraska industries were able to hold or increase the population 
in the urban communities in which they are located. 


A most important factor indicated by the 1940 United States Census is the 
shift in age groups. In 1900 children under 5 years of age constituted 12.5 
percent of the State's population. In 1940 they amounted to only 7.9 percent. 
In 1900 those 5 to 19 years of age amounted to 34.8 percent of the population 
and in 1940 only 26.8 percent. The age group of 20 to 44 did not have much 
fluctuation, but the group of 45 to 65 increased from 13 percent of the popula- 
tion in 1900 to 21 percent in 1940: and the age group of 65 and over, increased 
from 3.2 percent to 8.1 percent. These figures indicate the bulk of the migration 
is of young people which will have a definite economic effect inasmuch as con- 
sumation of commodities by children and young people is much greater than 
that used by the aged. 

Migration during the past year has apparently included even a greater per- 
centage of young people which is certain to necessitate readjustments in both 
agriculture and industry. 



Complete figures on migration during the past 12 months are not available 
but the partial figures thai are available Indicate that the migration from 
Nebraska h;is been accelerated since the defense program of our country has 
come into oi>era{ion. 

As nearly as can lie determined, the loss in Beatrice and Gage County, for 
the pasi lli months, lias been 1,250 people. This figure includes 550 young men 
in the military service of our country — the balance workers and their families. 
The total includes 72.~> poung people and 25<> skilled workers. In our own busi- 
ness our labor turn-over has shown a marked increase. 


In 1937 our labor turn-over was 11.3 percent; in 1938, our labor turu-over was 
6.2 percent; in 1939, 7.5 percent; in 1940, 15.5 percent; in 1941, up to Nov. 1, 
20.5 percent 

Estimates furnished to me by the State of Nebraska, division of placement and 
unemployment insurance, indicate in the 12-month period, ending November 1, 
approximately 12,500 workers have left Nebraska for jobs in other States. I 
feel that it is safe to estimate that at least one-third of these workers had 
families, and on the basis of the Nebraska average of 3.8 persons per family, 
the total loss from migration of workers would be 24,148. In addition t> that 
loss, has been the loss of 2,000 active National Guards called up for service. 
None of these figures include men who have enlisted in various branches of 
the service — the number of which are not available. The total of these figures, 
which I believe conservative, is 33,084, or a loss for the 12-month period of over 
50 percent of the loss which occurred in the decade of 1930 to 1940. 


Industrial production in the State of Nebraska decreased from $294,095,463 
in 1931 to $273,524,581 in 1939— the latest year for which complete figures are 
available, and the number of wage earners in industrial plants, not including 
salaried employees or executives, declined from 23,522 in 1931 to 18,810 in 

The necessary diversion of raw materials from our established industries 
to defense industries is certain to cause a rapid reduction both in amount of 
production and number of wage earners employed. The resulting unemployment 
and the lure of employment in defense areas will tend to increase the rate of 
migration from Nebraska unless more defense contracts are placed in Nebraska 

Incomplete figures show that Nebraska concerns now have defense contracts 
in the amount of $196,630,860 (plus) with the bulk of that figure being in the 
contract with the Glenn L. Martin (Nebr. ) Co. for bombers. The amount of that 
contract being $166,261,527. Of necessity, much of that amount will be sub- 
contracted outside of the State. It is our understanding that the break-down of 
the contract is to be presented to you from another source. Included in the total 
figure is the $25,000,000 bomb loading plant for Wahoo, Nebr., and with excep- 
tion of only $267,017.76 in contracts secured by out-State manufacturers, all 
of the balance has been placed in Omaha and Lincoln, which will tend to shift 
population from out-State areas into Omaha and Lincoln. This shift, of course, 
will affect a hardship on out-State communities and manufacturers. 


The priority system, made necessary by the defense program, will make it 
increasingly difficult for most Nebraska manufacturers to receive materials 
as all resources not needed in actual defense work must be made available for 
essential items. Our particular business is part of the farm equipment industry. 
The Office of Production Management, in making their survey to determine essen- 
tial and nonessential items, recognized that the production of food and fiber is 
second in importance only to the actual production of implements of war, due to 
the fact that there is a shortage of labor on the farm and also the fact that the 
past decade has resulted in a marked decrease in value and condition of farm 
equipment so needed for production of foods and fiber. The Office of Produc- 
tion Management has expressed its intention of making an allocation of materials 


for the farm-equipment industry. The details for the allocation system have 
not as yet been worked out and, for that reason, it is imposisble for us to say 
just what effect it will have on our business for 1942. 

Until the last several months our business was not seriously affected by the pri- 
ority system for the reason that we had had satisfactory inventories which have 
been reduced to a minimum and, in some instances, completely exhausted. Inas- 
much as the products of our manufacture, especially the water-supply items, are 
of prime importance in the farm-equipment industry, we are very hopeful that the 
allocation of materials will allow us to proceed with very little, if any, reduction. 

Normally, 25 to 30 percent of our total sales volume represents items that we 
handle on a wholesale basis, but do not manufacture. The availability of many 
of these items will be reduced in the immediate future and, while there is no 
definite information available, I estimate that that part of our business will be 
reduced by 25 percent for 1942. For example — in reduction of sales of jobbing 
items, I wish to point out that the sales of pipe in our Beatrice and Omaha 
branches dropped 36 percent in October 1941 below the sales for Octobei 1910. 
This loss in volume was due to the inability of the mills to deliver pipe to us 
for the reason that their production is being consumed to a great extent by 
defense projects. 

You can readily realize the importance of valves and fittings in the water-supply 
line, and we have been notified by our sources of supply that we will be unable to 
secure such items in the future, excepting for specific jobs that carry a priority 
rating. Such rulings will have dire consequences in the plumbing industries in 
which I estimate 600 to 700 men are employed in this State. Inability to secure 
materials will place a big percentage of that number on the unemployed list, and 
it is natural to assume that they will migrate to defense areas where work in their 
trade is available. 

Until such time as the condition of shortage of material is relieved, many firms 
cannot expect to receive materials for manufacturing nonessential items. This 
can result only in the loss of employment and, in many instances, failure of the 
business unless firms can secure defense contracts. 

Nebraska manufacturers have received fine cooperation and help from Mr. A. W. 
Walker, manager of the Olfice of Production Management, Defense Contract Serv- 
ice, Omaha, Nebr., and Lt. Fred G. Arkoosh, in charge of the Omaha Ordnance 
Office. A continuance of this cooperation and favorable consideration from others 
connected with the placing of defense contracts must be had if Nebraska is to be 
able to conserve and enlarge her present industries to help prevent migration to 
already overcrowded defense areas. 


Absentee landowners: Page 

Attitude toward children 8328 

Adams County (see also Hastings): 

Crop and livestock valuation 8260 

Data on proposed location of defense plant 8239-8244 

Effect of drought 8220 

Irrigation 8227,8237 

Labor available 8260 

Population decreases 8252, 8259 

Population, farm statistics, and principal crops 8222-8224 

Taxes on property 8220 

Agricultural Adjustment Administration: 

Farm aid by 8228 

Agriculture (see also Chemurgy; Rural youth): 

Basic industry in Nebraska 8267, 8298 

Central Nebraska crops 8226 

Chemurgy in_ 8231,8232,8250 

Cost of pump irrigation 8315 

Crop distribution 8307 

Crop increase with irrigation 8228-8229 

Crop yield variations 8260 

Crops produced in Great Plains region 8226 

Economic benefits from irrigation 8235-8238 

Economic changes 8316, 8340 

Effect of defense program 822 1 

Effect of drought 8220, 8299 

Effect of irrigation on crop yields 8237 

Government aid to farmers 8284, 8288, 8310, 8312, 8318 

Irrigation as solution of problems of 8308, 8317 

Livestock marketing 8300, 8306-8307 

Long-range program for farm aid 8326 

Production of reservoir area acreages 8234-8235, 8245 

Rural youth, reasons for choice of nonfarm occupations _ _ 8322, 

Tenant farmer percentages 8289 

Airport facilities 8309 

Allison Motor Works: 

Labor sources 8232 

Allocations (see also Priorities) : 

Farm-equipment industry 8350 

Auction system for sale of livestock 8307 

Automobile sales, report on 8347-8349 

Bomber plants: 

Effect on labor movements 8300 

Brown-McDonald Co 8257,8258 

Buffalo County (see also Kearney): 

Farm population losses 8299, 8308 

Irrigation of 8227, 8237 


8354 index 

California: Page 

Annual unemployment relief payments 8311 

Migrants to 8311 

Central Nebraska. (See Great Plains region.) 

Centra] Nebraska Defense Council, Organization of 8319 

Chemurgy (see also Agriculture): 

Kih v 1-alcohol prod notion 8334 

Legislative project 8333, 8334 

Products of 8334 


Effect of farm subsidies on 833 1 

Effect of migration on 8331,8252-8253, 8255-8256 

Position in national life of 8332, 8333 

Problems in rural areas 8329-8330,8331 

Shortage of ministers 8328-8329, 833 1, 8332 

Civil-service employment: 

Notification criticized 8268 

Clay County: 

Crop and livestock valuations 8260 

Labor supply 8260 

Population declines 8299, 83 1 5 

Custer County, population declines 8299 

Dawson County, irrigation 8227, 8237 

Defense contracts: 

Attitude of small business toward 8297 

Bidding difficulties of small business 8269- 

8272, 8277-8278, 8285, 8293, 8295-8296 

Economic rehabilitation anticipated from 8317, 8318, 8320 

Governmental survey of facilities for 8320 

Spread of civilian employment by 8282-8283 

Time restrictions 8270,8277,8295 

Total awards 8350 

Defense conversion, .effect of Government surve3 r s for 828 1 

Defense plants: 

Location of 8246, 8301, 8310 

Sites suggested for 8239-8244, 8246, 8318 

Defense program: 

Conflicting Government regulations 8262 

Effect on small business 8275, 8276-8278 


Causes 8227,8265 

Effect of 8252, 8259, 8273, 8275, 8312, 8340 

Drought area, extent of 8299 

Dutton-Lainson Co 8231, 8246, 8258, 8272, 8278, 8341 

Economic changes in Nebraska 8316 


Aircraft-school trainees 8339 

Cause of resignations 8269 

Labor available for defense work 8242, 8289, 833 9 

Losses 8259,8274-8275 

Recruitment 8275,8278 

Shifting of skilled labor 8283 

Skilled labor 8259-8260, 8266, 8271 

Sources 8267 

index 8355 

Employment Service: Page 

Labor available through 8337 

Placement by. 8337 

Pooled-interview method S338 

Farm Security Administration: 

Farm aid by 8313-8314 

Flying schools: 

Conditions favoring location of 8253, 8256-8257, 8310 

Restrictions governing location of 832 1 

Food Centers, Inc 8258,8278-8280 

Franklin County: 

Crop and livestock valuations 8260 

Labor supply 8260 

Freight-rate discrimination 8269-8270 

Glenn L. Martin Co 8246 

Gosper County: 

Irrigation in_._ 8227, 8237 

Population declines 8299 

Population, farm statistics, and principal crops. 8222-8223, 8224 

Great Plains Region: 

Crop conditions 8226 

Rainfall and waters 8233-8234 

Topography 8226 

Grid system, distribution of power 8244-8246 

Hall County: 

Irrigation 8227, 8237 

Population declines 8299, 8308 

Hastings {see also Adams County): 

Automobile sales 8347-8349 

Effect of defense program 8264 

Financial condition 8220 

Manufacturers in 8263 

Municipal power plant 822 1 

Population trends 8259 

Precipitation variations 8260 

Projects sponsored by 8221 

Hastings Air Conditioning Co 823 1 

Hastings Chamber of Commerce, Survey by 8259-8263 

Hastings Equity Grain Bin Co 8258, 8268-8272 


Benefits of irrigation 8344-8347 

Dependence on agriculture 8344-8345 

Labor migration 8346 

Population increases 8345 

Population trends 8223 


New construction 8345 

Surpluses 8264 

Howard County, population declines 8299 

Hydroelectric power: 

Available for defense contracts 8247-824S 

Development 823 1 

Distribution 8245-8246 

Kilowatt capacity of plants 824 1-8242 

60396—42— pt. 21 10 

8356 index 


Industrial opportunities in State 8231-8232 


Areas to be benefited 8227, 8250 

Criticism of program answered 8232-8235 

Economic benefits, 1941 8235-8238 

Effect of 8231-8235, 8278-8279, 8308, 8317 

Excessive- costs 8312 

Land values increased by 8251 

Necessity for 8227-8228, 8265 

Profits from 8245 

Program for 8232, 8250 

Pump irrigation 8292, 8300, 8309, 8312, 8315, 8317, 8320 

Restoration of population through 8260-8261 

Scotts Bluff County 8228-8229 

Tricounty project 8228, 8232, 8244, 8252, 8292, 8317, 8320 

Water available 8235, 83 17 

Jaden Manufacturing Co _._ _ 8231, 8274 

Kearney (see also Buffalo County): 

Pooling attempts in 8293, 8295 

School enrollments 8342, 8343 

Student transiency 8343-8344 

Kearney County (see also Great Plains Region): 

Data on location proposed for defense plant 8239-8244, 8293 

Irrigation of 8227, 8237, 8292 

Labor supply 8260, 8292, 8294 

Population, farm statistics, and principal crops 8291-8293 

Keith County (see also Kingsley Reservoir): 

Acreage covered by reservoir 8234-8235 

Kilowatt power, measurement of 8248 

Kingsley Reservoir (see also Keith County): 

Economic benefits from 8237-8238 

Land taken out of use by 8234-8235 

Power available at 8231-8232 

Labor. (See Employment; Nebraska State Federation of Labor.) 

Lincoln County, Irrigation 8227, 8237 

Material shortages, effect of 8263, 8266, 8268, 8272, 8273, 8274 

Medical care. (See Physicians.) 


Drought 8265, 8316, 8321, 8349 

Living conditions on farms 8223 

Location of defense plants 8300, 83 15 

Material shortages 8263 

M echanization 8223 

Unfavorable farm commodity prices 8349 

AY age scale 8340 

Destin ation 8248, 83 1 1 

Effect of defense program on 8259-8263, 8275, 8318 

Effect on small business of 8317 

Failure-type of 8253-8254 

Geographic origins • 83 11 

Interstate 8250 

index 8357 

Migration — Continued. Page 

Of college-age youth 8252-8254, 8259 

Out of Hastings 8221-8222 

Potential labor supply 8284, 8288, 8299, 8321, 8349 

Threefold damage from 8252 

Volume of 8336 

Minden (see also Kearney County): 

Population trends 8223 

Nebraska Public Power System: 

Extent of operations 8239 

Federal aid to 8249 

Kilowatt energy available 8241-8242 

Nebraska School of Agriculture: 

Organization 8323 

Vocational training 8324 

Nebraska State Federation of Labor: 

Unionization 834 1 

Employee intimidation charged by 834 1 

Norfolk: Population trends 8223 

Nuckolls County: 

Crop and livestock valuations 8260 

Labor supply 8260 

Office of Production Management: 

Midwest Defense Clinic 8293-8295 

Phelps County: 

Irrigation 8227, 8237 

Population, farm statistics, and principal crops. 8222-8223, 8225 

Physicians, scarcity of, in State 8328 

Plastics. (See Chemurgy.) 

Population trends: 

Declines 8247, 8252, 8259, 8292, 8298, 8299, 8303, 8304, 8307 

Farm-urban movements 8222-8226, 8298, 8302 

Shifts in age groups 8349 

Post-war economy, place of chemurgy in 8332 

Precipitation records 8274 

Price fixing 8280 

Price rises 8286 

Priorities (see also Allocations): 

Agricultural implements 828 1 

Effect of ratings 8266, 827 1-8272, 8273, 8276 

Effect on municipal relief pro j ects . _ 8221 

Losses anticipated from 8276, 8350-8351 

Public Works Administration: 

Power plants financed by 8241, 8249 

Relief, report from Adams County 8220-8222 

Recommendations to committee: 

Defense industries 8232 

Farm-program extension 8232 

Irrigation , 8232 

Of Hastings businessmen 8263 

Promotion of industry 8232 

8358 INI,KX 

Recommendations to committee- — Continued. J'uge 

Repopulation of farms 8322-8323,8325 

Rural electrification extension 8232 

Rose Manufacturing Co __._ 8231,8274 

Rural Electrification Administration: 

Extension recommended ._• 8232 

Farm aid by 8228 

Rural youth: 

Need for guidance by church and school 8330, 8331, 8333 

Program of aid for 8327,8333 

Reasons for choice of nonfarm occupations 8322, 8325 

Schools (set also Flying schools; Vocation training): 

Bonded indebtedness of, at Hastings 8220 

Declines in rural enrollments 8325 

Enrollments 8342-8343 

St udent transiency 8343-8344 

Scotts Bluff County: 

Economic benefits from irrigation 8228-8229, 8238 

Estimates of value of irrigation in 8229 

Population, farm statistics, and principal crops 8230 

Scottsbluff. (See Scotts Bluff County.) 

Small business: 

Defense contract bidding by 8270-8271, 8277, 8293, 8296 

Effect of automobile curt ailment on 8347-8349 

Effect of defense program on 8261, 8263, 8269, 8275-8278 

Effect of migration on 8317 

Hastings industries 8231 

Loss of skilled labor by 8283, 8318 

Material distribution to 8287 

Plants and factories in Nebraska 8317, 8320 

Pooling attempts 8295 

Rehabilitating effect of defense contracts 8318 

Soil conservation. (See Irrigation.) 

Stranded communities 8288 

Supplemental irrigation. (See Irrigation.) 

Tricounty project (see also under Irrigation): 

Organization of 8244 


Effect of discontinuance of rail service 8300, 8305, 8306 

Farm-to-market 8305, 8306 

Truck competition 8305 

United States Geological Survey: 

Water level measurement by 8233-8234 

Vocational training (see also Schools) : 

Nebraska School of Agriculture 8325 

University of Nebraska 8232 

Defense training agreements 8339 

Types of courses and number of trainees 8339 

Water (see also Irrigation) : 

Available for defense industries 8239 

Effect of adequate supply of 823 1 



Water levels in Great Plains region 8232-8233 

Webster County: 

Crop and livestock valuations. __ _ _ ___ 8260 

+ Lab< > r suPPjy- — - "."""'". 8260 

Western Land Roller Co 8231, 8257, 8258, 8265, 8266 

Work Projects Administration: 

Load, Adams County 8220 8259 

Projects, Hastings ~ " ~_"_~ 822o| 8221 


3 9999 05706 1408