Wheat is a basic source of food for the Nation, is produced throughout the United States by more than a million farmers, is sold on the country-wide market and, as wheat or flour, flows almost entirely through instrumentalities of interstate and foreign commerce from producers to consumers.
Abnormally excessive and abnormally deficient supplies of wheat on the country-wide market acutely and directly affect, burden, and obstruct interstate and foreign commerce. Abnormally excessive supplies overtax the facilities of interstate and foreign transportation, congest terminal markets and milling centers in the flow of wheat from producers to consumers, depress the price of wheat in interstate and foreign commerce, and otherwise disrupt the orderly marketing of such commodity in such commerce. Abnormally deficient supplies result in an inadequate flow of wheat and its products in interstate and foreign commerce with consequent injurious effects to the instrumentalities of such commerce and with excessive increases in the prices of wheat and its products in interstate and foreign commerce.
It is in the interest of the general welfare that interstate and foreign commerce in wheat and its products be protected from such burdensome surpluses and distressing shortages, and that a supply of wheat be maintained which is adequate to meet domestic consumption and export requirements in years of drought, flood, and other adverse conditions as well as in years of plenty, and that the soil resources of the Nation be not wasted in the production of such burdensome surpluses. Such surpluses result in disastrously low prices of wheat and other grains to wheat producers, destroy the purchasing power of grain producers for industrial products, and reduce the value of the agricultural assets supporting the national credit structure. Such shortages of wheat result in unreasonably high prices of flour and bread to consumers and loss of market outlets by wheat producers.
The conditions affecting the production and marketing of wheat are such that, without Federal assistance, farmers, individually or in cooperation, cannot effectively prevent the recurrence of such surpluses and shortages and the burdens on interstate and foreign commerce resulting therefrom, maintain normal supplies of wheat, or provide for the orderly marketing thereof in interstate and foreign commerce.
Wheat which is planted and not disposed of prior to the date prescribed by the Secretary for the disposal of excess acres of wheat is an addition to the total supply of wheat and has a direct effect on the price of wheat in interstate and foreign commerce and may also affect the supply and price of livestock and livestock products. In the circumstances, wheat not disposed of prior to such date must be considered in the same manner as mechanically harvested wheat in order to achieve the policy of the chapter.
The diversion of substantial acreages from wheat to the production of commodities which are in surplus supply or which will be in surplus supply if they are permitted to be grown on the diverted acreage would burden, obstruct, and adversely affect interstate and foreign commerce in such commodities, and would adversely affect the prices of such commodities in interstate and foreign commerce. Small changes in the supply of a commodity could create a sufficient surplus to affect seriously the price of such commodity in interstate and foreign commerce. Large changes in the supply of such commodity could have a more acute effect on the price of the commodity in interstate and foreign commerce and, also, could overtax the handling, processing, and transportation facilities through which the flow of interstate and foreign commerce in such commodity is directed. Such adverse effects caused by overproduction in one year could further result in a deficient supply of the commodity in the succeeding year, causing excessive increases in the price of the commodity in interstate and foreign commerce in such year. It is, therefore, necessary to prevent acreage diverted from the production of wheat to be used to produce commodities which are in surplus supply or which will be in surplus supply if they are permitted to be grown on the diverted acreage.
The provisions of this subpart affording a cooperative plan to wheat producers are necessary in order to minimize recurring surpluses and shortages of wheat in interstate and foreign commerce, to provide for the maintenance of adequate reserve supplies thereof, to provide for an adequate and orderly flow of wheat and its products in interstate and foreign commerce at prices which are fair and reasonable to farmers and consumers, and to prevent acreage diverted from the production of wheat from adversely affecting other commodities in interstate and foreign commerce.