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Texas Farmers at Odds in the half-shadows of the building, smoking and looking south. For a long while the night is silent. Nothing sounds, nothing moves. Then, quite gradually, there come from the south the first bare noises of the 10:40 train. They are subdued, toys sounds, mere hints at first, and the old Negro man doesn’t bother to look up. It is as though the night is what he is still listening to, is what is still powerful. The 10:40 train is beyond the night, its force capsuled out there on the edge of town. But the train comes on, the sounds of it swelling until finally there it is, undeniable: its light swinging and jerking along the tracks like the lone eye of some enraged minotaur bellowing into town : coming, coming on, with a great maleness, making furious deep running sounds, hollowing into the tranquil silence of the night with the sonorous monotones of its loud blunt horn. RED BARN ON THE LLANO A young man stood on the edge of a bluff overlooking the .Llano River. It was early, before breakfast, and the morning coolness gave the young man a sense of lightness and unused strength. He had on well-worn, comfortable khakis, pulled tight by his belt across a still-empty stomach. His face, just washed, was drying into a pleasant tightness in the steady river breeze. He stood gazing down at the shining Llano that ran like a mercurial. artery across the top of the land. Along its bank were strange reddish boulders that seemed to hint of prehistoric timeswhen great lizards lumbered out of the holes in the bluff to come doze in the sun. Just across the river he saw an alfalfa field, green and level and trim. It was a calendar-picture field, the kind he had seen years before in elementary school books, and that always made words like Commerce and Farmland and Labor rise majestically in his mind. Then as the young man happened to turn slightlyso that he faced the far west end of the river where it curved out of sighthe saw a huge red barn almost hidden among the trees. It was a shocking thing, wholly out of placean interloper in the greenery of the riverbank. What was it doing there, so obviously unwholesome…and so suggestive of intrigue? On a morning when the whole countryside was awakening so normally, when even the air was still somewhat casually sluggish with the night’s leftover dampness, what was this patch of brilliant, harsh, uncountrylike’ red doing half-hidden at the river’s curveso indifferent to its surroundings, so mysteriously smug and evil? The more the young man stared, the more it seemed to him that the barn was inhabited by anarchists or maybe even trollssome private and wholly alien groUp who had worked grimly all night long at a secret strategy or vice, so that the red glow of their effort now hung there like a warning among the trees: Keep Out. Austin The Texas Farm Bureau, 92,000 members, and the Texas Farmers Union, 12,000 members, squared off long-distance, Austin to Houston, this month, and what one saw was clear and obvious. The Farm Bureau is basically Republican; the Farmers Union, basically Democratic. The Farm Bureau is against compensatory farm price support programs; the Farmers Union, for them. The Farm Bureau’s demon is government; the Farmers Union’s, monopolistic forces taking over farming. Charles Shuman, national Farm Bureau president, said to Houston that farm policies had little to do with the national electionthey were “of tremendous insignificance” in the election, as he put itand that President Johnson does not have a mandate for more federal control over agriculture. “The . trouble with Humphrey and Sen. Ralph Yarborough,” Shuman said, “is :that they and other socialists do not believe the American people are smart enough to spend their own money without Washington’s help.” Jay Naman, president of T.F.U., said in Austin that Johnson, Humphrey, and Yarborough supported Farmers Union programs and found in the election”the repudiation of the Goldwater-Farm Bureau approach to farm commodity programs” 1 hat a great majority of Texas farmers do, too. Yarborough spoke to the Farmers Union, as he customarily does, and thanked the organization for its help; the senator defended the federal farm programs that sent $843 million in federal funds into Texas in fiscal 1964, and he construed the election returns as a sign that farmers will get a fairer share of the national income. National Farmers Union president James G. Patton hailed Yarborough and the national Democrats. The Texas Farm Bureau delegates voted that the U.S. soil conservation payment program be abolished and Texas landowners not get the $20 million due them under this program this year. There was a fight in Houston over rejection of the present cotton support program, but it was rejected, 267-260. The conservative tenor of other Bureau resolutions can be gathered from two of them: that the state ad valorem tax should be repealed, and that the state sales tax should exempt all puichases that are income-tax deductible. \(Food is not, and sales-taxing food is a central issue in the forthcoming legislative sesThe Farmers Union advocated continuation and expansion of farm support programs, rural electrification, and processing co-operatives. A “growing concentration of economic power in the food chains” was condemned at length with statistics and examples by George Bickel, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union officer. Patton, the N.F.U. president, quoted figures showing A&P had a net income aftertaxes of 11%, Safeway 14%, and Food Fair 11%; “Chainstores are not passing on reduced farm prices to the consumers,” he said. “The economic power of the chains has increased by leaps and bounds,” Patton said, giving Texas examples. “Texas, formerly one of the most competitive areas, is feeling the effects of the chainstore monster. Chains of four stores or more in Texas have increased their share of the market from 27% in 1948 to 40% in 1958. Single units have declined in number during the same period from 22,698 to 16,406. In 1963 in Dallas four chains accounted for 73% of all retail food sales and in Houston four chains for 45%.” The Farm Bureau does not deny the food retailer is getting more and more of the food dollar. The Bureau’s approach is indicated by a proposal being advanced as the Bureau’s “Ohio marketing proposal” to have Bureau farmers invest $200 million and raise other capital through bonds to buy the A&P supermarket chain. Meanwhile, the Bureau bitterly opposes the farm support program that. gave U.S. farmers $2 billion of their total $12 billion income in 1963. Farmers, Shuman said in Houston, “are a minority group, playing the role of beggars beseeching politicians for an annual handout in order to stay in business. . . . No self-respecting farmer wants to become a member of a permanently subsidized peasantry.” Cong. Jake Pickle, Austin, told the Farmers Union here that direct governmental payments to Texas agriculture last year were only 5% tof total agricultural receipts, but that ending federal cominodity programs “would result in an immediate 40 to 50% drop in net farm income.” Hank Brown, state AFL-CIO president, was another speaker to the Farmers Union convention. He said higher income for farmers means more buyers for products made by union men and thus higher wages for them. He said the Farm Bureau, “that captive and offshoot of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,” advocates right-to-work laws, while the Farmers Union opposes them. After quoting Al Hayes, president of the national machinists union, that “We need in more states a working alliance between organized labor and the Farmers Union. . . . It is time, perhaps, for our rank and file members to meet in jointly planned and sponsored educational conferences,” Brown concluded: “Our doors are open to you. We hope yours are open to us.”