United States. President's Commission on Immigrati.

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accompanying these, a large amount of pasture and other land improvement.
These projections do not take into account the more revolutionary types of
technological change that are discussed often these days."

"Although agriculture output could be increased by the amounts indicated in
the A estimate, no one expects adoption of technology at these rates. In any
production field, there is always the natural reluctance to put time and money
into practices which have been tried out only under controlled conditions.
Finally,^ full adoption assumes that the necessary materials, equipment, and
capital are available to all farmers. This is seldom if ever the case. Thus, the
B estimate is based on a projection of yield likely to come from such application
of available techniques as can reasonably be expected on the basis of past experi-
ence."

Thus we have several estimates of probable increases in agricultural
output over the next 2i4 decades as well as some indications of agriculture's
capacity to produce over a shorter period of 5 years from 1950. The land grant
coUege-BAE study of possible developments in the period 1950-55 indicates the
attainment of output 20 percent greater than 1950 by 1955, if necessary. USDA's
report to FAO indicates a projected output about 35 percent over the 1947-49
averag-e while the President's Materials Policy Commission predicts an attain-
able 33 percent increase over 1950 with a technically possible increase of 85
percent.

With the exception of the technically possible increase of 85 percent, all the
above projections were made, based upon the assumption that only presently
know and proved practices would be adopted by farmers and the rate of accept-
ance of these practices would not vary greatly from the rate which has occurred
in the past 10 or 15 years. None of the predictions gives consideration to the
further developments in the more revolutionary types of technical and scientific
discoveries which may become economically feasible within the next few decades.
These, to mention a few, are artificially induced rain — the distillation of potable
water from the sea — the continued discovery of chemicals to control weed growth
and insects. In discussing this aspect of tremendous strides which can conceiva-
bly occur. Dr. Francis Weiss in the report "Manpower, Chemistry, and Agricul-
ture," which he prepared for the Subcommittee on Labor and Labor Management
Relations, Eighty-second Congress, first session, has this to say :

"One such development might well be hydroponics or soilless agriculture, a
method of growing plants in water to which chemicals are added, rather than in
soil. This growing of crops without soil with the aid of proper plant-nutrient
formulas will in some cases increase the yield and improve the quality of crops
and in all instances keep away soil-borne diseases. Tomatoes, beans, cucumbers,
any many other plants have been grown already with success on a commercial
basis, and it is only a question of time when large 'food factories' will be
economically feasible."

"Another important development by which man could make himself partially
independent from the vagaries of nature in food production will be the commercial
production of proteins, fats, and vitamins by methods of industrial fermentation.
Food and fooder yeast are already produced on a large scale for the increase of



COMMISSION ON IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION 2001

our protein and vitamin supply, and fat will be soon available through the fer-
mentation of the fungus Oidium laetis. To what extent these harnessing of
microbiological processes for food production will change agricultural employ-
ment cannot be predicted at this moment, though it is fair to say that the
industrial manufacture of fat and prx)tein from carbohydrates will tend to decrease
the labor x-e(piired for farm work."'

"And yet we are but at the threshold of another discovery of tremendous
importance which may well be able to change not only agricultural practices but
the entii'e way of life. This discovery is the solution of the enigma of photo-
synthesis by which the green plants built their vegetable matter, the basis of all
vegetable and plant life on this planet, from water and carbon dioxide. This
synthesis is done with the help of the plant pigment chlorophyll, which has been
already isolated and the chemical composition of wiiich has been determined.
We also know by now to a certain degree how chlorophyll acts, but have not yet
been able to reproduce its action outside the plant cell. Here again it is only
a matter of time till we will be capable to imitate the most basic physiological
process, producing organic substances in factories just as plants do it in their
cells."

What does all this mean in terms of numbers of persons who could be fed and
supplied with nonfood agricultural products at the several output levels projected
to 1975.

The answer to this question depends upon the assumptions which are made
concerning the disposable income available to the future population and a
prediction of their probable consumption habits. That different conclusions are
possible is indicated by those reached in the studies previously mentioned.

USDA in the report to FAO states that the 35 percent projected increase in
output over the 1947—49 average would be sufficient to take care of the demands of
a 1975 population of 190 million. Stated another way, the results of their pro-
jections of piist trends to 1975 indicate a population increase of 2S.S percent over
the 1947-49 average of 147.5 million persons, which population will consume agri-
cultural products at a rate somewhat in excess of 6 percent over their consump-
tion babits during the 1947-49 period. The President's Materials Policy Com-



GROWTH IN POPULATION AND
TOTAL FOOD CONSUMPTION

1910-51, and Projections to 1975
% OF I947-A9




Consumption of food



1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970



♦ BUREAU OF THE CENSUS ESTIMATES ADJUSTED FOR UNDEREMUMEII ATION OF CHILDREN
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE NEC. 48754-XX BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS



2002 COMMISSION ON IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION

mission on the otber hand, using 1950 as their base period and a someWhat
different estimate of per capita disposable income as well as total expected popu-
lation in 1975, concludes that a 2S-percent increase in population over 1950 or
193.4 million persons will consume at a per capita rate 10.8 percent over the 1950
rate of consumption. Thus, their projected total consumption by 1975 is some-
what in excess of their B estimate of 33-percent increase in production.

The growth in population, total food consnmption, and changes in our eating

habits have been charted by BAE for the years from 1910 to 1950 and projected

to 1975. These charts are attached. In addition, the BAE has prepared the

following tabulation of the approximate retail weight equivalent of food consumed

per capita from 1909 through 1951.



TRENDS IN OUR EATING HABITS*

191 1-50, and Projections to 1975
% OF I909-I3



150
125
100

lb
50



Fruits €r ve<




Dairy prod. . X. ^^






poultry, fish




1910



1920 1930



1940



1950 1960



1970



5rfAR MOVING MtDAGl CfNrEHED
' P£» CAPUA CIVIIIAN CONSUMPTION, UNITED STATES



U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE



NEG 47745A-XX BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS



COMMISSION ON IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION 2003



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Online LibraryUnited States. President's Commission on ImmigratiHearings → online text (page 27 of 35)