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BRECONSHIRE CHAMBER OF AGRICULTURE.

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tThe following appeared in our Second Edit,ion of Saturday lc"t.J BRECONSHIRE CHAMBER OF AGRICULTURE. PAPER BY MR. DANIEL OWEN, ASH HALL. A meeting of the members of this chamber was leld on Friday afternoon at the George Hotel, Brecon. The Hon. Arthur Morgan presided, and :Iiere were also present- The Rev. Prebendary Garnons Williams, tha Rev. J. L. Da vies. Major John Morgan, Captain Travers, Capt. Miers, Dr. James Williams, Mr. Powe!-Powel, Mr. l'.iviiiel Owen, Ash Ha;); Mr. W. S. Miller. Forest Lodge Mr. Thomas Jones, Talybont Mr. iitseelles Carr. Cwrt-v-vil; Mr. Tuttou, secretary of tiia Cowbridge Farmer.<' Ctub Mr. Councillor Morgan Morgan, Cardiff; Mr. A. Smith, Buckland Mr. James Hurman, Cardiff Mr. Meredith Thomas. Tilantigan; Mr. Baker, Cardiff; Mr. Evans. Blwch; Dr. Lewis Morgan, Havod; Mr. Hall, Tynewydd; Mr. Morgan Williams, Cardiff; Mr. M'Turk. Cnwr Mr. Owen Price, Naiity-rlian Mr. ^wiltiin, Tredomen Mr. Lewis Williams, Brecon; Mr. Jani«s Hall, Penkftlly; Mr. Davies, Tymawr; Mr. Powell, Cui, &c. The C'HAIKMAN said he was glad to see so many farmers present, and lie hoped that when they went, home they would try and instil into the minds of their neighbours the usefulness of the chamber, because it brought farmers together and gave: them an opportunity of talking over matters affecting their interests in a friendly manner, and of giving each other hints which might be of very great value. The hon. gentleman then introduced Mr. DANIEL OWES, who read a very able and exbausttVt3 paper on "The -lgriccitui.ii Custom of Breconshire, as it former!}- existed, as now modified oy the Agricultural Holdings Act, and as it is capable of further improvement." He said tha until ho undertook to compile the paper his only acquaintance with the agricultural custom of Breconshire was what lie had obtained from a perusal of Dixon's Law of the Farm," but he had since addressed himself for further informa- tion to several gentlemen residing in the county who, from their position and experience, were entitled to rank as authorities upon this subject Although differing in some points, all his infor- mants agreed in describing a state of things to have existed in Breconshire which was absolutely antagonistic to a progressive scientific system of husbandry. Mr. Owen then proceeded to give a synopsis of the results of the inquiries he had instituted upon the following points 1. Date on which tenancy begins and ends. 2. Notice required, and date thereof. 3. Has a valuation of tenants' improvements been customary, and how have valuers and umpires been appointed? 4. Has outgoing tenant any iegal claim on landlord for amount of valuation if not, has he had a legal or customary claim on succeeding occupier? 5. What lias been t lie average amount of compensation paid So the outgoing tenant of an average farm of mixed arable and pasture-six, twelve, or eighteen months, or two years' rental or more ? 6. Is an outgoing tenant compelled to leave hay and straw on holding to be taken by his successor at con- suming v.ttue, and, if so. how much is the con- suming value of hay and straw under the market price? 7. Is the outgoing tenant allowed to sell farmyard manure off the holding, and, if not, what price, if any, does the incoming tenant allow for it? And lie pointed out the difference between the practice which obtained in Breconshire with regard to these various matters and that adopted in Ulainorganshire. And in the course of his remarks said it was late in the dav now to argue in favour of an equitable system of tenant right. They had all, Tories and Liberals alike, been educated up to that point long since. The Agricultural Holdings Act, 1883, amidst more modern proposals for land legislation, read almost like ancient history. He might be forgiven, how- ever, for quoting here some remarks upon this subject which had this merit, at all events, that rhey were publicly uttered long before what might fairly be described as the "Tenants' Magna 3hart<1" was passed into law in 1883. Speaking )n the subject of the Glamorganshire Custom in May, 1381, he remarkedThe object of this custom is to offer an inducement to the outgoing tenant to leave his farm in a high state of cultiva- tion.; and it is found in practice that although the amount to be paid for a highly-cultivated is much more than for exhausted or badly cultivated farms, there is much greater competition for the improved holding. The incoming tenant finds 0 11 that it pays him to give a good sum for the valua- tion, as the farm becomes immediately productive, and the outgoing tenant finds that it pays him to smploy his horses, and skill, and labour up to the last moment of his occupancy, as he is certain to De fairly remunerated for the same. He is practi- cally accumulating a capital on which to retire or inter another occupation. Meanwhile, the oroperty of the landlord is constantly bein« mproved, and the compensation due to the out" going tenant affords a substantial guarantee for the payment of all arrears of rent. The custom is often described as I landlord's right' as well as tenant's right.' Thus everyone benefits-the landlord, the incoming tenant, the outgoing tenant, and the public, who are interested in the land being made as productive as possible. There can surely be nothing revolutionary in the general application of a custom which in Glamorganshire has the sanction of noblemen and great landlords -like Lord Bute, Lord Windsor, and Mr. C. R. M. Talbot." He had described the Act of 1883 as the tenants' Magna Charta. It was necessary, however, that, to secure its advantages, there should be sotne recognised system of estimating the value of tenants' improvements. The following was a reso- lution arrived at on this subject by the Cheshire Chamber of Agriculture:- That in estimating the value of such improvements as are made by applying bones, lime, or manure, or by draining, or eradicating fences, reclaiming land, or planting new hedges, it shall be essential to consider- tirst, the relative improvement which has resulted therefrom, and to tabulate it as of first, second, or third class, and then to apply the subjoined schedule of proportions to the original outlay, or to the estimated tirst cost, to determine its value at any subsequent time:- I ::¡ I: For application of Schedule. IsJ So! 55 i'gj 1. Ground "raw bones" toReduction pasture land and not after-: of first wards ploughed or mowed,1 cost yearly to be esti- mated at. 1/10 1/8 1/6 2. Boiled bones to pasture,' land and not afterwards ploughed or mowed Ditto 1/7 1/5 1/3 3. Raw or boiled bones" onj land, afterwards mown Ditto 1/4 1/2 3/9 4. "Ground bones" or pur-; chased animal manure* to| crops on land under tillage. J Ditto 1/2 3/4 5. Lime or marl to grass or tillage crops .) Ditto 1/6 1/4 1/3 6. Draining — drain pipes,] enrtage and labour included] Ditto .1/201/16 1/12 7. Draining—landlord having1 given drain pipes Ditto .l/10i 1/8 1/6 8. Eradicating hedges, filling up pits, or railing, planting,; aridcultivatingliedgeswheni all cost is borne by tenant.I Ditto .1/201/16 1/12 9. Ditto, ditto, ditto, when' drain pipes, posts, and rail3,| and quicksets are found by landlord j Ditto .il/10i 1/8 1/6 Animal manure means the produce of live animals. Vouchers to confirm expenditure or claim should be cept and produced as evidence of outlay. In case of ixpenditure without improvement resulting, compensa- tion for outlav cannot be claimed; but should the expenditure be largely profitable as an improvement, compensation may be due on a more liberal scale than the first class. Draining (Nos. 6 and 7) are improve- ments of which notice to the landlord is required before execution, and landlord's consent must be obtained to I tht' items numbered 8 and 9 to entitle to compensation. It. is recommended also that outgoing tenants should be paid the full value of all farmyard manure upon the farm which has been properly cared for and made up I into miduens; and too- the consumption of cake or corn consumed by stock on pasture, or on growing turnips, as tar as the land is improved by the manure of such stock. In conclusion, Mr. Owen said If this society I has not already done so. I would strongly urge upon it the wisdom of framing without loss of time a similar scale suited to local requirements. It will be by the sense of security thus created that the tenant will be encouraged to cultivate his land to the highest possible degree. Without some such saieguaid it is not to be expected that he wouid invest his capital in another man's land, I subject to its forfeiture through some misunder- standing which might easily occur upon the best- managed estate. And here let me remind land- owners that this is a question that affects them far more vitally thin it does the farmer. If the farmer cannot make the land pay he will take his skill and his capital off to some other occupation. This may be a difficult courso to take, and it'.is certain to be attended with serious loss. But great is the tenant's loss may be, the greatest loss of III will fall upon the landlord. He must -o the ultimate sufferer. Land that won't let a 'armer live will not pay any rent to the landlord. for this reason, therefore, all classes—and above ill other the landlord class—should rejoice in the wtablishroent by law of a just and reasonable system of tenant right. We farmers have fallen upon evil days of late years. Agricultural dcpres- sion has reached a point that few of us remember to have existed before. Still, I am not without hope of a sppedy recovery. The foreigners whose corn and meat are flooding our markets now are at present prices selling their produce at a loss. This is a. state of things that cannot last long. Neither Yankee corn growers nor Australian sheep breeders are clover enough to know how to live by their losses. They have, just, now, a sur- plus to dispose of, and it must be sold for what- ever it will fetch. But, depend upon it, they will not knowingly raise a surpius again for the sake 3t giving it away to the Britisher. Their love for (h., old country does not extend quite so far as fhat. And when these surpluses are exhausted p'"ices in this country will again become remune- rative, and with a cycle of good seasons the far- mer will smile once more. Meantime landlords will act wisely as well as generously by exercising that forbearance which so many have displayed in times past, and by voluntarily sharing with their tenants the burdens which an enormous reduction in the prices of all agricultural produce has im- posed upon the farmer. (Applause.) The Rev. Prebendary GAKNONS-WILI.IAMS moved a vote of thanks to Mr. Owen for his most able paper. Be would not say anything himse!f upon it at least at present but he felt that they owed to Mr. Owen a debt of gratitude for the very lucid and eloquent manner in which he had explained the old customs of Breconshire. Mr. POWEL-POWEL, in seconding the motion, said the paper was one they had all listened to with very great pleasure — a paper which showed that the tenant farmer of Breconshire in years tone by had anything but a satisfactory time of I it. So far as he remembered, he had no claim when he quitted his holding except the value of his clover seed. He introduced some clauses many years a?o into his agreements which were some- what analogous to those now prevalent in Glamor- ganshire, as stated by Mr. Owen, because he con- sidered it unreasonable to expect a farmer who contemplated leaving his holding to bury money in his land unless he had something to compensate him for the capital invested. 1 The motion was then put and carried with accla- mation. Mr. DANIEL OWEN, in acknowledging the com- pliment, said he certainly considered that the Agricultural Holdings Act of 1883 was a great boon to places like Breconshire, where there was in fact no custom existing at all; but he did not regard it as any boon to them in Glamorganshire. Their custom was better than the new Act. but neither the custom nor the Act in his opinion went far enough. He thought something ought to be done with regard to the general condition of a farm. If a farmer took a farm in very poor con- dition and farmed it on the four-course system, and left that farm in one or two years, he would get his compensation according to the scale but supposing that man farmed, say, for ten or twelve years, on that principle, and fed it liberally, the farm would be like a hotbed and if he left it then his successor must derive con- siderable benefit from it for many years after. Therefore, he thought the general condition of the farm ought to be taken into consideration. (Hear, hear.) Supposing farms were classified from 1 to 4 if a man took a farm that was fourth class and brought it up to the first class, when he left it he ought to be compensated for its general condition and, on the other hand, if a man took a first class farm and it was brought to a fourth class when he left it, he ought to pay for the deterioration. (Applause.) Mr. MILLER said that a sub-committee of that chamber had proposed a scale of compensation for the county, and it was ready to be submitted to any meetiug which might be called for the purpose of receiving it. There had been considerable diffi- culty jn arriving at a schedule, because the relative manurial value of different feeding stuffs was a good deal in the dark, and unless they had clearer I data to go upon than they had at present he was afraid there would be a Jot, he would not say of I' wilful swindling, but swindling notwithstanding. The meeting closed with a hearty vote of thanks to the chairman, proposed by Dr. LEWIS MORGAN, I' seconded by Mr. OWEN PRICE, and carried with acclamation. — •'

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