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Democratic party feels that it can sacrifice a people for the purpose of trying a theory, then that is not my understanding of the Democratic platform. I believe the people's interests should be husbanded and their industries encouraged. I speak not as a theorist but as a practical grower myself, one who has been to Cuba and has seen how they grow fruit over there. We pay our laboring classes from $1.50 to $2.50 a day. We send their children to school, black and white; the public supports them—that is, the public schools they attend. I have been to Cubo, and I have seen the people who work the pineapple industry over there, living in shacks covered with palmettos, the pig tied to the doorpost, and the goats and chickens occupying the same house with the children, and their children running around half naked. Now, we can not compete with that class of labor. We desire something better for our labor.
I am not speaking for the laboring people; they are amply able to take care of themselves, and their unions are largely responsible for the high prices we have to pay. Mr. Chairman, I shall ask permission to file
my brief. Mr. HARRISON. Have you concluded, Mr. Moore? Mr. MOORE. Yes, sir; and I thank you. The growing of pineapples as an industry in the United States is confined to the southern portion of the State of Florida. It has been a business on a commercial scale for not more than 25 years, with an annual increase in proportions until 3 years ago, since which time the decline has been marked.
From 1897 until 1909 the duty was 7 cents per cubic foot in packages and $7 per thousand in bulk.
Under the act of 1909 the duty is 8 cents per cubic foot and $8 per thousand in bulk.
The standard crate in which the fruit is shipped is 104 by 12 by 36 inches-approximately 24 cubic feet.
Because of the reciprocity agreement, the Cuban exporter, Florida's principal competitor, gets the benefit of the 20 per cent discount, thus paying 16 cents per crate duty.
This tax does not quite offset the difference in transportation charges which the home grower pays in excess of his foreign competitor. The latter's products from the most remote fields can be delivered to our eastern and western markets at a transpor. tion cost plus the 16 cents duty less than that borne by our own growers.
Other advantages which the Cuban has will account for the decline and eventual extinction of the industry in our country if relief is not afforded.
The American grower has planted on land which cost him from $25 to $100 per acre to purchase, $75 to prepare for planting. The Cuban grower can get his land at a rental of $5 per acre and prepare it for planting for from $10 to $15.
The labor which costs the Cuban 80 cents and $1.25 per day costs the American $1.50 to $2.50.
The annual cost of fertilizing per acre is $75 for the American grower. The Cuban uses no fertilizer on his naturally fertile soil.
In 1908 Florida produced 690,000 crates of pineapples, and the following year the output approximated 1,000,000 crates. Since that time the decline in the industry has been rapid, and the results in formerly prosperous communities, which depended entirely on the pineapple for a livelihood, have been disastrous.
Four years ago the most accurate statistics available showed 7,000 acres planted and in process of planting and not less than 10,000 people directly or indirectly dependent on the business. The acreage and production have now fallen to twothirds of the above.
Until 1908 the annual increase in acreage approximated 25 per cent. Had it not been for the handicap made possible by cheap labor, land, and transportation, the Florida grower would now have the acreage and output of 1909 doubled and not have been driven from his own markets.
The land guitable for the growth of the pineapple in southern Florida is sufficient, if planted, to furnish the entire country at moderate prices to the consumer with a fruit far superior to that grown in Cuba.
PARAGRAPH 279–PINEAPPLES. The territory cultivated in pineapples extends from Miami northward, a distance something less than 150 miles along the east coast. Its development is but of recent years, and its developers are homeseekers from every State in the Union. Much of this land is unfit for other growth than the pineapple.
Until four years ago the thrifty and intelligent grower was making something more than a bare subsistence; since that time it is the exception if the grower's profits equal the wages he pays his employee.
The size of the average pineapple field is 10 to 15 acres, and this will represent an investment equivalent to the cost of 100 acres in Cuba or a hundred-acre farın in our Western States.
Two years are required to bring the plants into bearing and the life of the field is 8 to 12 years. The expense of marketing the crop has increased 25 per cent in the past four years, due to greater cost of fertilizer and labor, the latter being less efficient and disposed to shorten the working hours, incited by their unions.
While it is impossible to obtain accurate information as to the total quantity of pines grown and brought into this country, it is believed that 2,500,000 crates will cover it, Florida furnishing 600,000 crates, Cuba 1,400,000, the British West Indies, Porto Rico, and the Isle of Pines 500,000. The Hawaiian Islands and Nassau supply our markets with canned pineapple.
From Cuba and Porto Rico the crop begins to move in abundance the latter part March and extends throughout June and July, during which months the bulk of the Florida crop is shipped. In June and July when the Florida product is in its prime the markets are glutted with the later shipments of Cuban pines, which are inferio. to their earlier gatherings. The hot weather and perishable nature of the fruit require quick disposition at whatever price the goods will bring.. Trainloads of Florida pines have thus sold for less than cost of freight and packing.
And while the Cuban is doing no better with his late shipments, he has made his season's profit on the earlier fruit and has the satisfaction of knowing that his policy is hastening the end of his American competitor.
Four years ago data gathered from various growers in different portions of the pineapple territory showed that the cost of a crate of fruit f. o. b. at shipping point was $1. The cost will now exceed this.
In 1908 the net average to the grower per crate f. o. b. at shipping point was $1.264. This for a large portion of the entire crop, which was handled in the best possible manner by the I. R. & L. W. P. G. Association.
In 1909 the average price received per crate for 300,000 crates was 66} cents. With the diminished supply due to abandoned fields the succeeding years brought the average again to that of 1908.
An industry which has grown from 160,000 crates, in 1897, to 1,000,000 crates in 1909, with possibilities of continued increase at the rate of 25 per cent per annum, under reasonable conditions we submit should be fostered. It could and should be made one of the most important and valuable assets of a State, which, because of peculiar soil, climate, and transportation conditions, must depend largely on semitropical fruits and vegetables to support its population.
The Government has expended a large sum of money in both Florida and Porto Rico in experimental stations for the purpose of promoting the industry, but a country which can practically double its crop in a single year can in a short time force both places out of the running.
We are not in favor of poorly paid labor, and the neatness and comfort of the homes and the material progress of the working class on the east coast of Florida, where the pineapple crop of the United States is produced, is evidence of this.
We do not ask for a prohibitive tariff, but only such tax as will place us on a working parity with a competitor who has the great advantage of cheapened cost of production. A reasonable tariff will not keep his good fruit out of our markets, but it should prevent his glutting our markets with an inferior quality at a time when it is disastrous to the home-grown fruit and no advantage to the consumer.
We submit that if our Government can afford to foster or protect any industry it is the agricultural; if it can afford to give encouragement to any class it is “the man with the hoe."
We do not favor an ad valorem duty, since valuations could be so reduced as to make it inoperative.
We ask for a tariff on "Pineapples in barrels, crates, or other packages, one-half cent per pound; in bulk, $12 per thousand.” Very respectfully,
T. V. MOORE,
Pineapple Growers' Association.
BRIEF BY E. E. MILLS AND MILLS BROS., CHICAGO, ILL., ON
PINEAPPLES. The COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS,
House of Representatives, Sixty-second Congress. GENTLEMEN: Mr. E. E. Mills and Mills Bros., of Chicago, importers and wholesale dealers in Cuban pineapples, on behalf of their customers and the thousands of American consumers of this fruit, make the following statement and recommendation in reference to the tariff on fresh pineapples:
Section No. 279 of the present taríff law provides as follows:
"Pineapples, in barrels and other packages, eight cents per cubic foot of the capacity of barrels or packages; in bulk, eight dollars per thousand.”
We recommend that this duty be removed and that no duty whatsoever be imposed upon the importation of fresh pineapples into the United States.
STATEMENT OF FACTS AND REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATION. 1. History of duty on pineapples: Act of 1890,"pineapples free, no duty"; act of 1894, “twenty per centum ad valorem." Act of 1897, "pineapples, in barrels and other packages, seven cents per cubic foot of the capacity of barrels or packages; in bulk, seven dollars per thousand.” Act of 1909, section No. 279, "pineapples, in barrels and other packages, eight cents per cubic foot of the capacity of barrels or packages; in bulk, eight dollars per thousand.”
The standard pineapple crate is 104 by 12 by 36 inches and contains approximately 24 cubic feet, weighs approximately 80 pounds, and under the Payne-Aldrich Act as now enforced, after deducting 20 per cent on account of reciprocity with Cuba, these crates, when filled with pineapples, are assessed at a duty of 16 cents each.
2. The main sources of supply for pineapples consumed in the United States are the islands of Cuba and Porto Rico, the Hawaiian Islands, and the State of Florida. The only portion of the United States in which pineapples are now raised is a small section on the east coast of Florida, and here the fruit is raised under practically artificial conditions, and the climate of this portion of the State of Florida is such that the temperature is so low at times as to produce freezing, and this condition is at any time apt to ruin the entire pineapple crop, and there is no other soil or climate now known in the United States suitable to the raising of pineapples otherwise than under these same hothouse conditions as at present prevail in Florida.
Enormous quantities of fertilizer are required before the Florida land can be made to grow pineapples, and this must be renewed yearly, and, while it is possible to raise pineapples in Florida, they are raised practically under artificial and hothouse conditions and at high expense. Bananas could be raised in Florida under the same artificial conditions, and it would be just as reasonable to have a high duty on bananas, Bo that they could be raised in Florida at a profit were it not for the fact that bananas have been heretofore more widely consumed than pineapples, and to increase the cost of bananas would immediately cause a protest from the thousands of consumers all over the United States.
In the tariff hearings before the Committee on Ways and Means of the Sixtieth Congress held in November, 1908, testimony was submitted to that committee by the growers of pineapples in Florida and their different associations, advancing their reasons why the tariff on pineapples should be increased (see the tariff hearings under Schedule G at pages 4048 to 4069, inclusive, held before the Committee on Ways and Means of the Sixtieth Congress), and we are setting forth as a part of this brief certain portions of the testimony given by these gentlemen at that time. Particular attention was directed at the former hearing to the fact that nearly all of the parties asking an increased duty on pineapples were Republicans of Florida. If these parties appear again before your committee we are anxious to know whether they will advance again as one of the reasons for increasing the duty or retaining the present increased duty the fact that they are Republicans. As Republicans, they might contend consistently that they have the right to increase the cost of every pineapple consumed by the people of this country in order to support an industry not fitted to their land and climate, but will they make this argument to a Democratic Congress placed in office by an overwhelming majority of the voters who look to it to use its best endeavors to give all the people fair treatment and, if possible, to lower the cost of living?
3. In order to prove to your committee that the raising of pineapples in Florida is accomplished under the most avderse conditions and at the highest possible cost, we desire to quote certain portions of the testimony given by the Florida growers before the Ways and Means Committee of the Sixtieth Congress, as follows:
Mr. E. P. Porcher of Cocoa, Fla., representing the Florida pineapple growers, makes the following statement (see pp. 4052, 4053, hearings on Schedule G):
“The matter of pineapples is the point that I want to touch on forcibly, although I may repeat in part statements that have been made. We produced last season on the east coast 690,000 crates, while the importations from Cuba were about 840,000 crates. In addition to that we had importations from the Hawaiian Islands which have not been mentioned at all. We ha importations from Porto Rico, and we had importations irom Jamaica to contend with.
The pineapple situation with us is such on the east coast that we produce out of that 690,000 crates, 640,000 crates; in other words, all the rest of the State produces but 50,000 crates. That is produced now on the mainland because the storm of a few years ago swept away the products of the keys. It is in a section of the country where it has been necessary to go to extreme expenditures in the matters of not only preparing the land, which has been done, but in the cost of fertilization, which runs up as high as 4,000 pounds per acre per annum. In addition to that, with the increased cost of labor, the increased cost of crate material, we find that about an average of 90 cents, even running up to $1.10 according to other averages made, is the cost to produce a crate of pineapples and deliver it on board the cars. The pineapple industry is more subject to frost than oranges, and for a frost to get into an orange tree requires what we term a freeze, but a frost will get into the pineapples just as it would into a tomato plant, for it is a very tender plant.
“Now, that section of Florida has this competition with Cuba: The Cuban product starts in a little earlier, but it practically continues throughout the season, barring only severe rains, which make their fruit not carry well. When those rains pass they start picking again, and they are enabled with this present tariff to get their product in and take the markets away from us to a degree that we are not able to make reasonable profit on the result. And under those circumstances we are going to ask you gentlemen to accord us the same rate that is applied upon citrus fruits at the present time, which certainly will not be excessive.
“And, just as a wind-up, I would like to say that the question has been brought up by one of the gentlemen here, touching upon the question of the Board of Trade of Jacksonville, and I would like to say that there are two points with reference to that. Our association is three-quarters Republican, and the Board of Trade of Jacksonville is no doubt half, or possibly five-eighths or three-quarters, Republican. But let me go further, gentlemen, and say this to you--that if you will'eliminate the three clauses the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments to the Constitutionthat we object to in the South we would not have any Democratic Party."
The same gentleman, again representing the Indian River and Lake Worth Pineapple Growers' Association of Florida, on December 1, 1908, submitted a supplemental statement, in which he says (see pp. 4058, 4059, hearings on Schedule G):
"The cost of production with us is heavy; and with the price of land at $100 per acre, the cost of clearing and preparation more than equaling the original cost, with no other product possible on this land except pineapples, with fertilizers used at the rate of 4,000 pounds to an acre per annum, and with labor receiving from $1.25 to $2.50 per day, we are in need of a fair protection against the cheap lands and labor that produce the foreign pineapple.
"It is shown that the cost of producing a crate of pineapples, f. o. b. cars, is from 70 to 90 cents per crate, this cost varying with soil and weather conditions; and it should be borne in mind that after caring for these plants eight years at an annual yearly cost these fields have to be replanted, with as high or higher cost per acre for removing the old plants, preparing the land anew, and replacing some of the lost humus, as was the original cost of the land."
Mr. F. G. McMullen, of Walton, Fla., who desired an increase in the duty on pineapples in his statement (see pp. 4053, 4060, hearings on Schedule G), says as follows:
“Now, with respect to the pineapple situation, I will say that it is a little bit out of its native element as to soil in Florida. We run some chance in having our investments swept out of sight in one night by a freeze. But the industry has been established there for the past 25 or 30 years, though some 15 years ago it only amounted to about 90,000 crates. Up to that time the Cuban pineapple did not compete with us after the 20th of May; that is when the rainy season started in; the fruit would not carry, so they could not ship. They are now planting on high land, and are able to compete with us throughout the entire shipping season of Florida.
"Relative to the cost of production in Cuba, we have the statement of the Cuban Horticultural Society reports, which states that they can produce for 20 cents a crate. PARAGRAPH 279–PINEAPPLES.
We can not produce a crate of pineapples in Florida under 70 cents under the most favorable conditions, in the field, not packed, and on up to 90 cents. We strike an average of 75 or 80 cents.
“Now, we only have one advantage in Florida, and that is by fertilizing, our fruit carries up and holds up better. After their rainy season sets in their fruit does not command the price that ours does, but they have five or six weeks' advantage in the earliest market, during which time we are not competing with them. After the 20th of May or the 1st of June, and the rain starts in—it is not that the Cuban pineapples make most of the money after that time, but because of the cheap cost of production, the cheap transportation; they ship everything: I understand that from 40 to 60 per cent of the crop goes into New York after that time, showing much waste.
“Now, a 70-cent duty on pineapples would not be prohibitive. That would not put us on a parity with the cost of production in Cuba. I am not speaking of the immense amount of money that it takes to produce an acre of pineapples in Florida. If we have a duty on there, I do not believe it would be an injustice to the Cuban producer, for he keeps shipping and shipping and shipping, and is dumping and dumping and dumping, putting a cheap article on the market, which only makes a glut, so that it is almost impossible for the Florida producer to go into Chicago or New York territory.
“That land can not be applied to the growing of anything else, for it will not produce anything else. We have practically to produce our pineapples with fertilizer."
"Mr. BOUTELL. To what extent are you canning fruit in Florida? “Mr. McMULLEN. None at all. “Mr. BOUTELL. Why not? “Mr. McMULLEN. It is on account of the price of labor; and then again the supply of fruit is not sufficient to keep the canneries running. We have nothing to keep the industry going all the year round. The fruit comes in by itself, and it is in a territory by itself, and if we shipped we could not pay the local freight of 25 cents per crate. "Mr. BOUTELL. Then you can not have canned pineapples down there? “Mr. McMULLEN. No, sir. "Mr. BoUTELL. How are they eaten; are they eaten raw? “Mr. McMULLEN. Yes, sir." Mr. McMullen. representing the Indian River Pineapple Growers' League, on December 1, 1908, making a supplemental statement asking for increased tariff on pineapples (see pp. 4060, 4061, hearings on Schedule G), says:
“WASHINGTON, D. C., December 1, 1908. “COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS,
Washington, D. C. “GENTLEMEN: The Indian River Pineapple Growers' League is a voluntary association whose purpose is to secure better commercial conditions for the Florida pine. apple industry. This association during the past year endeavored, before the Interstate Commerce Commission, to have the freight rates reduced, which decision will be referred to later.
“A pineapple crate measures 10 by 12 by 36 inches and contains 21 cubic feet; weighs 80 pounds when packed.
“The cost to establishi an acre of Florida pineapple is Land.....
$100 Clearing land.
75 Plants at $5 per 1,000.
70 Setting plants, per acre.
30 Fertilizing, two years
60 Equipment, houses, wagons, etc..
500 “No allowance for interest on investment.
"After a field is established there is an annual charge as follows: For fertilizers..
$70 Labor and depreciation
145 “The Florida pineapple is somewhat out of its natural element as to soil and requires a large amount of fertilizer, and through this demand helps in a large way other American industries.