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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide for Reeves County, Trans-Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas

The Pecos Independent and Enterprise

Jan. 11, 1962

20-mile limit waived for farms

The state ASC committee took unanimous action yesterday to waive the 20-mile limit, according to information received here last night by Bill Mattox, local ASC committee member.

Mattox had just returned yesterday from South Texas where he had conferred with the committee on this subject. Going with him were Tommy Bell, J.B. Hopkins and Bill Ramsey.

The 20-mile limit ruling would not allow farmers to move their cotton allotments from one farm to another if there was more than 20 miles in between. In Reeves county, this presented a special problem because many farmers own farms that are more than 20 miles apart.

Details of the waiver will be clarified to local farmers at a meeting which will be called in the near future, according to Mattox.

Much footwork has been done by Mattox and local committeemen from Reeves, Ward and Pecos counties in coming to terms of agreement with the state administration and the state committee.

This waiver, along with the recent skiprow decision made by the federal government, will mean millions of dollars to the West Texas area, according to Mattox and other farm leaders here.

These policies concerning the 20-mile limit which have been drawn up between the state administration and local committeemen will be used for the entire state of Texas. Any county with similar problems will be able to obtain this waiver at this time, Mattox said here today.

Below zero temperatures recorded

Reeves Countians began thawing out this afternoon as the most severe cold snap in 30 years began to lose its grip on the Trans-Pecos area.

With clear, sunny skies, the thin snow cover which blanketed the area began to thaw, but Old Man Winter isn't going to let residents off as easy as they would like.

Another severe freeze-with the temperature again dropping below zero--is predicted for Friday morning. The big thaw is expected Friday afternoon, when forecasters say the thermometer should climb to the mid-30s.

The snow cover and clear skies dropped the temperature to a minus nine degrees in downtown Pecos Thursday morning.

Ernest Thaxton of the Texas A&M Experiment Station, located 22 miles southwest of the city, reported the temperature dropped to 15 degrees below zero there.

The night was the coldest Pecos has had since the early 1930s. And it came on the heels of one of the coldest days many in the area could remember. The temperature in Pecos did not rise above 15 degrees Wednesday.

With the cold weather came a gas shortage that forced many to keep their coats on when in their homes Wednesday.

An ice-laden electrical power lines in downtown Pecos snapped this morning. Several businesses were without electricity briefly.

The Pecos Independent and Enterprise

Jan. 25, 1962

Farmers to continue fight to retain braceros

By Oscar Griffin

A decision to press forward in the fight to retain Mexican national laborers apparently was reached Tuesday at a meeting of the Trans-Pecos Cotton Association.

The meeting, attended by some 218 of the association's 322 members, was called following meetings in Washington between an association committee and national leaders.

Representatives of news media were barred from Tuesday's meeting.

Because of recent changes in the bracero program, the area served by the Trans-Pecos Cotton Association must qualify as a "hardship" case or lose braceros except for "temporary or seasonal occupations."

This means that temporary occupations and seasonal occupations are presumed to be those not furnishing employment for more than 180 days during a calendar year, a communique to users of Mexican nationals from the U.S. Department of Labor stated.

The Trans-Pecos area must qualify as a hardship area by February 1 or it will come under the "temporary or seasonal occupations" ruling.

Officials of the cotton association have been bargaining with labor leaders since the amendments to Public Law 78, the bill dealing with the Mexican national program, went into effect.

The group at Tuesday's meeting decided to send J.B. Kirklin, president of the association, and a delegation to Washington, D.C. again to talk to the Department of Labor officials. Many of the prior sessions have been held with Jerry Holloman, assistant secretary of the Department of Labor.

The immediate problem facing farmers in this area is retaining the braceros for tractor driving.

Section 504 of PL 78 says, "No workers recruited under this title shall be made available to any employer or permitted to remain in the employ of any employer...for employment to operate or maintain power-driven self-propelled harvesting, planting, or cultivating machinery, except in specific cases when found by the Secretary of Labor necessary for a temporary period to avoid undue hardship."

Upon his return from Washington early this week, Kirklin said there is no relief in sight on the problem of being able to use bracero labor for driving tractors.

At an earlier meeting of members of the cotton association, the farmers voted to attempt to recruit domestic labor to drive tractors through the Texas Employment Commission.

Farmers agreed to furnish houses for the laborers and pay a maximum of $40 per week, or 70 cents an hour.

Few workers have been recruited into this area through the Texas Employment Commission.

Several farmers, however, are continuing in their efforts to recruit labor.

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Pecos Enterprise
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