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7HE FARMERS' CIRCLE.

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7HE FARMERS' CIRCLE. (BY ONE WITHIN IT.) Farmers in South Lincolnshire, says a daily contemporary, who have this year a large acreage under potatoes, are selling them at J620 to L25 an acre. One farmer in the Long Sutton district has sold a crop of fifty acres as it stands for 91,000. These prices will prove very remunerative to the growers. A correspondent states that fruit is so plentiful in Lincolnshire this year that growers are experiencing the greatest diffi- culty in disposing of the produce of their orchards. The markets are so glutted, especially with apples, that the sales in many cases have not'realised sufficient to pay the expenses of sending to market Plums also have been a bad trade, and those that were damaged at all by wasps have been practically rendered unsaleable. The average price of apples is about 2d per stone. In view of the agricultural distress, Mr Thomas Goodchild, a well-known Essex farmer, has given notice that he will move the Halstead Board of Guardians at their next meeting to petition the Local Govern- ment Board to pass an Act authorising a scheme providing sufficient funds to find employment in the eastern counties next winter and spring for the large number of unemployed who will want work; to sug- gest the making of all soft lanes into hard roads and to widen the narrow ones, this being a national question and reproductive in its character to clear out rivers and to buy cheap land where practicable at JE5 per acre, and plant it with trees, thus making a good national investment." The Royal Commission on Agricultural Distress will consist of the following gentle- men:—Mr Shaw Lefevre, chairman, Vis- count Cobham, Lord Vernon, Mr Chaplin, Sir Nigel Kingscore, Mr Robert Giffen, Mr Charles J. Elton, Mr C. N. Dalton, Mr F. A. Channin, Mr John Clay of Kircheston, Mr R. L. Everett, Mr John Gilmour, Mr George Lambert, Mr H. C. Little, Mr Walter Long, Captain Thomas of Anglesey, in(I Mr Charles Whitehead, F.L.S. Mr John Clay, Mr Everett, and Mr Little are engaged in practical farming, and Mr Little and Captain Thomas are engaged in the management of land. WEATHER AND CROPS. The weather experienced last week was of the most favourable character for all kinds of farm work. Ou door operations have been pursued with singular constancy, and therefore have been ad\ arn e 1 v, t i un- usual rapidity. In m ny parts, the grun crops have been all secured n the bast possible condition, which fact, by condi ciug to the production of a fine sample, wou.d iu ordinary years to some extent assist to modify the very heavy decrease in ttip money value of these crops arising from the markedly diminished bulk. This yaar, however, prices appear to remain at such an absurdly small standard that the quality of the article seems of little account. It is impossible that farmers can make ends meet on the wheat, barley, and oat crops, with prices at present quotations, and at best-it is a doleful state of affairs-the main object is to reduce th > inevitable wrong balance to the smallest possible amount. This can only be done now by continuing a careful study of the markets, and taking advantage of any opportunity that might by chance occur in the form of a rise in prices. Threshing, an exceedingly disheartening operation this season, is being quickly over- taken. It is, perhaps, a wise course to pur- sue to have the work done by hand. But it cannot surely be a wise policy to market to any great extent at the present rate ut prices. Business can scarcely become worse than it is at present, aud. if it should nut improve the grain is undoubte lly worth more than its present market value for judicious use in feeding stock T.io second crop of hay, where by good fortune there is such, has also been carried under favourable conditions Turnips and potatoes are doing fairly well, hut pastures are burnt and miserably barren. BREAD, MEAT, AND CHEESE. The British farmer may well be tired of listening to advice given him as to how the depression may be withstood and overcome. Whatever else he lacks, it certainly is not advisers. Of them he has many. But, unfortunately, a largely-predominant pro- portion of these would-be enlighteners are notoriously weak in their suggestions and lacking in full knowledge of what they volunteer their advice upon It is this class of teacher that is chiefly responsible for the marked suspicion and indifference with which farmers at first receive really useful proposals and genuine aid?. The latest advice that is offered to aid in tiding through the protracted depression comes in the form of a small, concise treatise written by Mr Norton Tompkins, Bath, and pub- lished by Messrs Vinton & Co., 9, New Bridge-street, London, E.O., at Is. We would not be ready to recommend much of what has been written on this wearying, but ever present subject, but we would con- fidt ntly bespeak a wide circle of readers for, and a high appreciation of, this original little work. Mr Tompkins wisely devi tes from the beaten track His work is uti, from first to last, of reasonable suggest ons peculiarly his own, and set forth in c ear and forcible terms, The contents of the some forty pages are pretty accurately por- trayed in the title and sub-titles of the work—" The Great Agricultural Depression: its Causes, and How to Meet It"; Bread, Meat, and Cheese: What They Are, and What They Ought to Be, and How to Restore the Trade"; The British Loaf v. The Foreign Loaf. The author disparages the interference of Parliament. He very wisely advises his reader to look for his remedy in other directions. He is satisfied that if there is a ray of hope it will be found in the combination of every agricul- tural landowner, tenant, and labourer in the kingdom to present a bold and deter- mined front to a. formidable foe-to claim and to take that which is their birthright, the fair value of their goods as. com- pared with the value of foreign goods, and to assert their light and take their place in the market they are paying their rates and taxes to support, which the foreigner does not; to demand and take their fair share of that 100 per cent profit which is now made from the time the farmer sells to the miller his wheat, and the bread and miller's offal is sold to the consumer; to claim and to take their fair share of the 35 to 40 per cent. profit which the butchers are making from the time the beasts are bought to the time the five I quarters' are turned into cash." This starting point is not an uncommon one, and its soundness will hardly be called in question. It is the means by which he pro- poses to carry the desired into reality that Mr Tompkins iisplays his fertile originality and close study of the subject in hand. In- adequate capital he considers fatal in farm- ing. The farmer without sufficient capital is "more or less a paralysed man in his business," as he can neither afford to humour the markets nor do justice to tae land. The depression in the wheat trade he attributes to seven causes. The first of these, the recent introduction of roller mills to the dis- placement of the older system of milling, he considers one of the greatest. He explains that the new mills, by their peculiar process of extracting the germ of the wheat and every particle of bran will produce flour which makes a whiter loaf of bread and is supposed to take the fancy of the consumer in preference to the older system of French bur millstone milling which retains the germ; this of necessity gives the bread a little more tinted appearance. English wheat possessing glutinous saccharine and albuminous properties to a much greater than foreign, will clog the rollers or will only admit of a very small proportion of English wheat to be ground with it. The other causes he offers are emigration, cheap transit (i.e., of foreign articles), the large increase in the importation of American flour instead of wheat, the preference shown by bakers for the drier flour from abroad, I increased rates and taxes, and the change- able nature of the climate. All these points are sensibly touched upon in turns. NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL CO-OPERATION. In his pamphlet, referred to in the fore- going, Mr Tompkins reduces the choice for future action to the smallest possible alter- native of two courses Either to continue as we are now gliding steadily down the road of adversity to we know not where, or to establish a National Co-operative Agri- cultural Association for the mutual protec- tion and advancement of the interests equally of agricultural landowners, tenants, and labourers, and to supply the British public with genuine home-grown bread, meat, and cheese. Co-operation is ad- mittedly an ancient proposition. It is also usually found to be a popular one in theory, but in practice singularly unsuccessful. The great classes chiefly concerned are slow to put in practice the theory they uphold. At least, t is has been the experience hitherto. Possibly the suggested systems and rules of worl,in have had,-omethi,.g to do with the non success of the previous attempts at floating a universal system of co-operation. Tue lines of procjdure proposed by Mr Tompkins seem at least worthy of careful consideration. His idea is that the associa- tion should have a Council Chamber in London; members of Council to consist equally of two separate bodies—landowners, and land occupiers or tenants—(Agricultural House of Lords and Cominons)-both to sit in Council on all matters relating to the general well-being of the association; tenants or occupiers to sit alone on all matters of commercial nature, each body to have their own secretary. The tenants' secretary would be a medium of communica- tion between the supply and demand of the trade in all parts. Should the trade be too great for one centre at the Council Chamber in London, other centres could be formed, say at fit-i- tol, Birmingham, Manchester, and York, the country to be divided for representation in council into divisions peculiar for its kind of produce, whether tor grazing, breeding, cheddar cheese, Gloucester, or Cheshire, or wheat growing, s » thaf. each particular industry shall have its due share of representation. Branch-F of the association he advocates should In formed at each market or centre of popult tion in the country, to be managed by r. Board of Directors, elected by members residing within the district allotted to such market town, and to sit weekly. The Board would employ a managing secretary to superintend the sale of produce within his district. He would advise the commercial secretary at the centre in London of all produce produced in his district, for which there is no demand, and also to advise at headquarters of any demand in his district, for produce which his district did not supply. The whole plan is worked out in a corre- spondingly clear manner, but we must refer the interested to the pamphlet itself, and restrict ourselves to a short extract ind eating the system upon which the commer- cial business would be worked :—" A mem- ber, Mr Thomas Jones, has threshed 50 bags of wheat; be attends next board day, fills up a descriptive memorandum, thus: "Quantity, 25 quarters wheat; variety. Golden Drop; weight 6If lbs per bushel; when threshed, 23rd February, 1894, of which this is a fair sample taken from bulk this day, date 28th February, 1894. (Signed) Thomas Jones, Rodney Farm, Devizes." The secretary receives the sample sets his private number on it and on the memo, enters it on the register, and places the sample on the board table. This board has appointed a select committee for the wheat trade, there are probably twenty other earn pies on the table the committee will proceed tj fix the price to be paid for each sample. Then the committee will use their best judgment in selecting such samples a will blend with the best effect to produce flour of a certain brand or quality to supply certain contracts. The Board has army contracts, union contracts, trade contracts, bakeries in all parts, and all kinds of customers. Samples will be selected and the flour dressed to meet all requirements. rhis done, the secretary will divide each sample into two equal parts one is sealed up and kept at the secretary's office, the other forwarded to the mill for comparison with bulk. Mr Jones is advised by post where to deliver his fifty sacks of whet t, and on the next market day after delive y receives his cheque from the chairman."

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7HE FARMERS' CIRCLE.