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62D CONGRESS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
ADDITIONAL STATISTICS ON TOBACCO.
August 22, 1911.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed.
Mr. HOUSTON, from the Committee on the Census, submitted the
[To accompany H. R. 13988.]
The Committee on the Census, to whom was referred H. R. 13988, having had the same under consideration, recommend that it do pass.
This bill is intended to supply some necessary data regarding the current or existing supply of leaf or manufactured tobacco. The crop reports issued by the Department of Agriculture contain information as to the condition of the growing crop, which are continued up to the maturity of the same. Likewise the amount produced and sold from the crop of the current year is tabulated and reported. However, there are no available data showing the quantity of leaf tobacco in the hands of the dealers or of the manufacturers.
Under this condition the grower of tobacco has no reliable data of the existing supply of leaf tobacco upon which he can determine the probable supply and be guided as to the acreage which he shall plant in tobacco at the beginning of the crop season. This dearth of information as to the supply of leaf tobacco is, however, most keenly realized when the grower comes to market his tobacco in the fall. It is well known that the manufacture of tobacco is controlled by a few very large combinations, and that genuine competition among purchasers of tobacco has been to a large extent eliminated.
Instances have been cited in which the buyers of tobacco, when the crop was ready for market, have stated to the growers that very large quantities of leaf tobacco had been accumulated, which, it was contended, decreased the demand and thereby depressed the market prices. The growers, having no means of verifying these statements, were placed at the mercy of the few buyers, and have frequently sold their tobacco at lower prices than conditions of trade justified. The purpose of this bill is to supply a deficiency of information and thereby give force and effect to the law of supply and demand.
The passage of this bill and the data thereby secured and furnished would tend to place the grower or seller upon an equality with the buyer, enable the former to determine for himself the supply of leaf tobacco on hand, and thereby to take advantage of the natural demand therefor. Another wholesome result from this law would be to allay dissatisfaction upon the part of the growers and friction between the sellers and the purchasers of leaf tobacco.
Your committee are advised that there is a universal demand for this law in all those sections of the country which produce this important staple crop.