Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

11 articles on this Page


AGiUiibL lUfiAl ittffcS





CARMARTHENSHIRE AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION COMMITTEE A meeting of the Carmarthenshire Agricultural Education Committee was held at the County Council Offices on Thursday, Mr. Ben Evans, Pen- eader, presiding. The Committee discussed a report and the out- line of a scheme of agricultural education submitted by the county agricultural organiser (Mr. Daniel John, B.Sc.). The committee have already made a atart and last year spent the sum of L921 on this branch of education. Mr. Johns first of all quoted from a return from the Board of Agriculture giving the number and size of the present holdings in Carmarthenshire, showing that there are 8,746 with an acreage of 437,143. There are 5,565 holdings varying in size, but not exceeding 50 acres and tho occupiers in the aggrogate have 104,448 acres under their charge. The number of holdings of 50 acres and under com- prises about 64 per cent. of the total holdings in the county, and there are also 3,163 holdings returned as being over 50 but under 30 acres, and these embrace an area of 322,152 acres, which give an average of 102 acres per holding. Carmarthen may therefore be described as a county composed of comparatively small farms. Nearly two-thirds of the holdings were under 50 acres, and it naturally followed that there must be a considerable number of children attend- ing elementary schools whose future would be closely identified in one way or another with these numerous farms. It was also obvious that an elementary education, especially in rural schools, should provide instruction possessing a distinctly agricultural bias in order to foster a more intelli- gent interest in the rural pursuits around them. In most cases when the scholars left the rural elemen- tary schools they were urgently needed at home to assist in the work of the farm. There were many parents also who were disposed to think that further education was quite unnecessary, and any appeal to them in the interest of their children was of no avail. It was clear that some means should be devised whereby the teaching in the rural schools may be- come of real service in the training of children who will eventually become the workers of the land and 'ns a the mainstay of the rural industries. The teaching of agriculture would be quite impossible owing to lack of suitably trained teachers, but effort should be made to develop all instruction relative to rural occupations. It was also desirable to give more attention to school gardens where experiments on the .growth of plants and the elementary principles of the manuring of crops, etc., should be introduced. The development and extension of this work is a pressing necessity. A sound elementary education supplemented by school gardening, rough carpentry. and nature study would undoubtedly create a new interest in rural affairs. He hoped to be able in the near future to arrange a Saturday morning class for rural school teachers and others interested in agri- culture. He advocated the organisation of day classes in agriculture to meet the requirements of young farmer.5 or farmers' sons who could be spared from their farms some part of the week; of tutorial classes at suitable centres for the study of rural subjects with a syllabus to suit local requirements. Dealing with dairy work, be stated that the number of cows and heifers in 1914 was 55,311, which showed that the milk industry was very considerable and consequently it was desirable to provide special in- struction for this important section of farming. It was advisable to give milk-testing demonstrations and a considerable amount of useful advisory work could be done in testing milk for farmers resident in .the county. He also referred to the need of in- struction in horticulture and bee-keeping and field experimenting. The yield of all their crops in the county was below the average for England and Wales, and an effort should, be made to demonstrate by suitably conducted trials how they could be in" creased by the generous use of manures as well as producing such increase at less cost. The area of grass land in the county was also below the average. Tht improvement of such grazing land was a matter of considerable economic importance, and he was convinoed that much improvement could be effected in this direction. On consideration of the estimates which provided for an expenditure of 21,000 on agricultural education in the county, the Clerk re- ported that last year they only received a grant of £ 186 because they spent E&21. If they had spent £ 1,000 a grant of L326 would have come. The Rer. Wm. Thomas, LIanboidy, said they ought to obtain the full grant this year by spending the money. They could do a great deal for farming, which was the staple industry of the county. The report was adopted. It was decided to increase the number of short course scholars in agriculture at the University College from 14 to 30. The Chairman in the course of a discussion on the organiser's report, said that the great difference was with re.gard to getting school teachers interested in agriculture. Mr. Thomas Thomas. Llangennech, said it was far more important that children should know about the growth of plants than something of geometry, tfor instance. When he was at school farmers' sons there were made to feel ashamed that they were connected with the land. The other boys called them clod hoppers," and so on—(laughter)—and that sort of thing was not discouraged by the teachers, who felt the same. That was more or less true to-day. It ought, however, to be instilled into the minds of the children that agriculture was the most honour- able and noble of occupations. He did not think any sacrifice the -committee might make would be too great ,in order to foster among the children a greater love for nature and agriculture. The Chairman said there was a false pride in the country. Many farmers' sons and daughters were ashamed to be known as farmers, and they much preferred to be taken for teachers or shop assistants (laughter). They in that county had to change the whole atmosphere regarding the attitude to agriculture and had to start in the elementary schools. Mr. Davies, Rhyblid, said ohildren must be taught that agriculture was a respectable avocation, a science, and a good living in the bargain (laughter). A resolution was passed asking the County Educa- tion Authority to instruct the teachers in the schools to endeavour to foster a love of agriculture among the children.