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It is true that the farmer of average qualifications knows his fields. This one yields the best wheat and responds to one kind of artificial,' that one raises the best barley; cows thrive only on such and such meadows; this field bakes, that one is soon water-logged. Such knowledge, and much more of the same kind, form a family tradition on many farms; it is not associated with any reasons that are not obvious. The weather is watched and the hay cut at the right moment, before the ripening seeds begin to drip away; the corn is harvested and threshed as soon as the tackle is available; ploughs are out over the stubbles when the poultry have gleaned. Each month brings its labour. But there is no study of market conditions that obtain at home or abroad. The farmer sells when he wants money; if his neighbours or other people's neighbours are in similar plight, prices fall. If one crop was very successful last year, he increases his acreage, with the result that, as everybody did the same, glut replaces shortage. If the corn was picked up rather wet, it is well to leave it for the March winds to dry, but it is unnecessary to build the stack on staddles, or to wire it round and bury part of the wire to keep vermin away. So the rats come and multiply and fare delicately, eating the germ of the grain and leaving the rest.

The farmer probably has the orchard his grandfather or the grandfather of a contemporary planted, and was the first and last to care for. Lichen and fungus have invaded the trunks; woolly aphis and a score of other pests have found safe harbourage on the apple-tree branches; the plums have silver-leaf; when pears grow, they crack and shrivel. Fortunately, there is a tradition in the family that the orchard never did do much good, and that there is no market for fruit; so nobody prunes the trees, or sprays them in the spring, or washes them in the autumn, or sets grease-bands to catch the wintermoths, or cuts out the plum branches that the silver-leaf disease has destroyed. A report issued in 1920 stated that upwards of fifty thousand acres of cultivable land in the west of England were under worthless orchards.

There are poultry on the farm-the house-wife's perquisite as a rule. She does not pay for the corn they eat, and they have the range of stubble and

stackyard, so that it is her honest belief that they cost nothing to keep. They have no special care bestowed on them, and in the winter months must find what shelter they can. There is no question of selection or careful breeding; laying strains are not heard of; and for half the year the egg basket is empty. Sometimes the foxes waste the poultry-yard, and compensation may be demanded and even paid; but, if the farmer hunts, he doesn't trouble about a few birds-they are his wife's. For stock-raising, the farmer of the type described is not particular. If his neighbour has a bull and the stud fee is a very few shillings, there is no need to go further afield; for his cart-horses, is there not a stallion or two to be found, bedecked with gay ribbons and marching from farm to farm in late spring? A sire is a sire; one stallion or bull or boar is probably as good as another; and much trouble is saved. It is the same with seed-corn. Why go making experiments, when your local dealer has an abundant store? He will guarantee that it is high-class.

So year succeeds to year and son to father, and the machinery of production runs at half-speed, and the good year must pay for the bad one and the work run on through a seven-day week, year in and year out, until, at last, the feeble hands can carry the burden no longer and Mother Earth welcomes her helper to his rest. He may have driven the hardest bargains; he may have been the sternest taskmaster; but, by reason of his natural ignorance of soil-chemistry, food-values, and economics, he has, though he knows it not, been beaten all the time, enriching many a merchant and middleman whom he has never seen. We have in Great Britain a quarter of a million farmers to-day, exclusive of small holders who are nearly as many; in all probability the number of those to which the foregoing description would apply runs far into six figures.

It is well, when criticising the small and backward farmer, whose name is legion, to remember his secluded life and the hard work that fills his days. He sees his friends or acquaintances when he goes to market; at other times his family and workers must suffice him. A daily paper since the war, the county weekly paper, and a trade paper provide his reading matter. He is losing, or has lost, the stimulus derived from a landlord who is

a keen agriculturist. He may belong to his Farmers' Union, but chiefly because he understands that there are two Labour Unions, and fears or knows that his workmen have joined one of them. He does not welcome either supervision or inspection; he has found small profit from either. His memory is retentive; and he knows that, under control, he was required to sell his wheat to the mills for about 187. a ton, and to pay almost as much or more for the offals of that wheat to feed his pigs with, while foreign wheat fetched 251. a ton or over. If he has had swine-fever or foot-and-mouth disease or any other notifiable ailment among his stock, he has had to face supervision and take orders, and he is at heart an autocrat. Yet, with all his faults and merits, he is the staple material of the agricultural community. He makes the mass to which thousands of modern men with skilled methods act in a way as leaven. He must be raised and educated, or, if this work is beyond the competence of any force, however wisely directed, his son must be prepared to carry on along the new lines.

Some years ago the Development Commissioners took up the question of agricultural education; and to-day this side of agriculture remains the only one which can be looked at without regret. The work has been delayed; it has been restricted; it does not deal equitably with all members of the farming community; it favours the fortunate and comes near to ignoring the helpless; but, in spite of narrow conceptions and occasional ineffective administration, agricultural education is full of the highest promise.

The Intelligence Department of the Ministry of Agriculture is charged with Education, Research, and Training, of which the last may be ignored, because training for disabled soldiers is coming, or has come, to an end in view of the limited prospects; and the experiment, though carried on capably at many centres, has always been of greater political interest than practical worth. Horticulture, Live-stock Improvement, and Animal Diseases are the other responsibilities of the Department. The Rat branch was included and then removed to another division, where it has been sacrificed to the economists. Yet it was actually paying



its way, and no other branch of the division could claim as much. On the educational side an expenditure of 2,000,000l., spread over five years (1919–24), was sanctioned by the Cabinet soon after the Armistice; and certain transfers from the Development Commission to the Ministry (then Board) of Agriculture, enabled the latter to grasp the whole of the problem. A Cabinet decision of December 1920 suspended all schemes not already in actual operation; but the financial position has been improved by the grant of a further million pounds a solatium for the repeal of Part 1 of the Agriculture Act. At the same time the inadequacy of the original grant has been demonstrated beyond doubt. It has been found impossible to provide for agricultural education over a period of five years at the cost of less than one-third of this country's daily share of world war, which, as we all remember, was between 6,000,000l. and 7,000,000l. during 1918. To quote reasons is not difficult. A Farm Institute † which cost 30,000l. before the war would cost 70,000l. to-day; the old scale of salaries, often inadequate, is now absurd; the price of food, service, books, instruments, implements, and the rest has moved steadily up. To put the problem in other words, the 2,000,000l. provided by the Treasury is worth in pre-war values less than 1,000,000Z.

Agricultural Education is conducted by Colleges, Farm Institutes, and local classes. There are nine colleges in England and two in Wales. Oxford and Cambridge Universities provide courses leading to the B.A. degree; and, as a rule, the Colleges are associated with the Universities, though this liaison does not obtain at the Harper-Adams College in Shropshire (where the important arable dairying experiments are being carried out), at the Midland Agricultural College, Reading

* 850,000l. for England and Wales; 150,000l. for Scotland.

†There are twelve Farm Institutes in the country: at Chelmsford, Newton Rigg, Madryn (Carnarvonshire), Sparsholt, Usk, Reaseheath, St Albans, Moulton Grounds, Rodbaston, Cannington Court, Lysfasi (Denbighshire), and Little Chadacre, the last a complete gift from Lord Iveagh. A Farm Institute has been defined by Sir Daniel Hall as the chief intelligence centre in each district to meet the current requirements of the agricultural industry for information and advice. It gives instruction by means of short winter-courses, generally in two terms of twelve weeks before and after Christmas.

University College, or Seale-Hayne College in Devonshire. At Cambridge the Drapers' Company assists agricultural research; and some of the Colleges grant Fellowships to teachers in the School of Agriculture; at Oxford the salary of the Professor (Dr William Somerville) is provided by the University and St John's College. At the present time two areas lack and are likely to continue to lack colleges; one is the Lancashire and Cheshire area, the other comprises the counties of Somerset, Gloucester, Worcester, and Hereford.

In all, we have the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, and Leeds, Armstrong College, the South-Eastern Agricultural College at Wye in Kent, Aberystwyth and Bangor in Wales, and the three already mentioned that are not affiliated to a University. The Agricultural Colleges look after their own special side of agricultural education, but maintain a slight association with other aspects of the problem. They seek to reach the men who have money as well as brains, the men who will decide the future trend of the industry. The course of instruction is extended over either two or three years, and it will provide for the future land-owner, manager, land-agent, teacher, expert, and even official. The first and last of these classes are perhaps the most interesting. The long-established and pleasant business of being a landlord, acting through an agent, monopolising the sporting amenities of a great estate, and maintaining a large establishment out of the proceeds of rent, is dead. Taxation has killed it. Those who cling to their estates, for sentimental or family reasons, can only hope to draw a living from them by seeing that the land is turned to fullest use; and without knowledge this is impossible. So the landlord of the rising generation is at school.

The training of the official is also valuable. In the early days of the old Board of Agriculture, men were brought in by patronage; and, once in, their motto was very reasonably, j'y suis, j'y reste. The result is that to-day, when the Board is a Ministry, spending several millions of public money annually, and charged inter alia with the realisation of our national asset in the land, it is hard to find in the palatial building that houses several hundred officials a score who know anything at all about the principles and practice of farming.

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