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..- - - - -.._- - I Llyn-y-Van-Fach.…

Agricultural Instruction


Agricultural Instruction Is It Worth the Cost? A RADNORSHIRE DISCUSSION, I ORGANISER' USEFUL SUGGESTIONS. I Radnorshire Education sub-committees held their quarterly meetings at the County Buildings, Llandrindod Wells, on Friday morning. Mr James Hamer occupied the chair at the meeting of the Agricultural Instruction Commit- tee, at which a letter from the University College of Wales re the estimate for the ensuing financial year was the subject of a lengthy discussion. The College authorities estimated the cost of agricul- tural instruction in the county of Radnor at X458, made up as follows :—Salary of organiser (who is also in the employ of the Breconshire County Council), £ 105; expenses of organiser, £ 50; hor- ticultural, £ 45; dairy and poultry, £ 40; scholar- ships, £ 130; experiments, 120; special classes, £ 25; college farm, £ 18; and administration (in- cluding printing, etc.), X25. Replying to questions, the chairman explained that the total amount of the estimate was the same as for the last year, but then they only spent the sum of X183 out of the X450. They had had the services of the organiser for 9 months only. Although the estimate was again for X458, they would only have to find the amount of money that was actually expended! Mrs Rogers remarked that in that case it was altogether a bogus estimate, and Mr C. C. Rog- ers observed that amounts estimated for had to be found. Mr D. Davies said that if oiilv tl85 had been spent last year some of the work must have been left undone; and the chairman said, in reply, that some of the scholarships offered had not been taken advantage of. This was not the commit- tee's fault, as the scholarships were advertised, but sufficient applicants were not forthcoming. Mr C. C. Rogers said that this year there was a greater probability that the scholarships would not be taken up, and he proposed that the college authorities be asked to revise the estimate on, what he might call, a successful war basis. Both Mr and Mrs Rogers considered that the item of X25, under the head "administration," was unnecessary. Mr J. Hamer pointed out that, with Brecon- shire, they had already agreed to the scheme. They obtained a grant conditionally upon their spending a certain amount annually on agricul- tural instruction. If, therefore, they did not adopt the estimate now before them, the whole thing would fall through. Mr Moseley said this was so, and the minimum which they must spent to secure a grant under the Development Act was X458. Ald. Rogers asked what the Commissioners had to say to their only spending X183 last year, and the chairman said that they could not do more than advertise the scholarships. Mrs C. C. Rogers contended that all agreements of this character entered into before the war had now gone by the board," and she referred to the numerous appeals which were being made continu- ally in the House of Commons and elsewhere to be as economical as they possibly could in every way. There were no young men to benefit by the scholarships now, as they wanted them to be on the land, or serving their country in some other way, and not to take on scholarships. Mr T. Davies said if the estimate was reduced, they should not benefit by the development .grant. Mrs Rogers We don't want it. Ald. Rogers said that some development grants were being deducted this year. Mr W. Roberts thought the time bad come when they ought to economise in every way they could. Mr T. Davies enquired as to what would be the consequence if they did not "fall in" with the es- timate, and Mr Hamer replied, "We shall have to pay the organiser and he won't have any work to do. Mrs Rogers Will he have any work to do? Mr Hamer said they had better hear the or- ganiser's report before discussing the matter fur- ther. There would be work in connection with field-experiments, hedging, &c., for the organiser, apart altogether from the scholarships which the estimate provided for. Mr T. Davies hoped the hedging classes would be continued, as they had been a great success, and many had benefited by the instruction given. Organiser's Report. I Mr Thomas (organiser for the two counties) read his report, in the course of which he said that the time, since the last meeting, had been chiefly taken up in carrying out field experiments (manuring on meadow-hay, ditto on pasture land, seed mixtures for temporary leys, top-dress- ing on wheat, spraying on charlock and potatoes, &c.). The instructress of the dairy class at Rhay- ader had reported that the work of the pupils was highly creditable. Ten out of twelve had made the full attendances. Mr Jas. Hamer (secretary to the Fur and Feather Association) acted as sec- retary, with the result that the class turned out a success in every respect. As there were no ap- plicants for the dairy scholarships advertised, it was thought possible that some of the Rhayader pupils might proceed to the course at Aberyst- wyth College, and, as there was no time to con- vene a meeting, he consulted Councillors Jas. Hamer and R. Hughes and the clerk, with the re- sult that three of the pupils were at Aberystwyth, and would complete the four weeks' course that day. He hoped the committee would formally sanction the scholarships, and, also, that they would grant a scholarship to the best at the ex- amination for the advanced course. The butter- making class at Old Radnor would commence on the following Tuesday, local arrangements having be undertaken by Dr. R. Harding. Nature Study in Schools. I No doubt the committee's attention had been called to the report of H.M. inspector of schools, advocating the formation of school gardens in the county. Out of 52 schools, only 4 had taken this matter up, whereas, in the adjoining county of Montgomery, gardening was taught in about 50 schools. A great majority of the boys, who were eventually employed on the land, did not enter the secondary schools, and it was evident that the only way to create interest in them in agricul- tural work was by some kind of nature study, through the medium of the elementary schools. An effort was being made, in several Welsh coun- ties, to establish school gardens, and Radnorshire should not behind in this matter. Proceeding, Mr Thomas outlined his scheme of instruction for the ensuing year, and he suggest- ed that the work be carried out on similar lines to those of last year, and as suggested by his pre- decessor (Mr Jenkin). The scheme provides for tutorial classes and lectures on agriculture, cours- es of lectures and demonstrations on poultry- management, dairying, horticulture and bee-keep- ing, hedging, and, possibly, horse-shoeing, field experiments of different kinds, advice on all mat- ters relating to the agricultural industry, and four dairy and nine agricultural scholarships, with one of a degree. I Advisory Work. Relative to advisory work, the organiser report- ed that be had visited farms in the county and given advice on various matters. It should be made known to farmers that the county organiser was prepared, in conjunction with other members of the college agricultural staff, to give advice on matters relating to agriculture, to investigate, as far as possible, local problems, and, in every way, to give or obtain information likely to be helpful to farmers. Samples of seed, sold by some of the merchants in Radnorshire, had been sent to the advisory botanist at Aberystwyth, and these would be reported upon in due course. The tests were not for trade purposes, but for information as to existing conditions regarding the quality and purity of seeds in the district. He went on to state that he had attended a conference, held at Carmarthen last month, when different phases of agriculture were dealt with. Food Supplies. In view of the requests made by the Board of Education for increasing the food supplies of the country, Mr Thomas made the following obser- vations :—According to statistical returns of the Board, they found that there were 2,249 holdings in Radnorshire which, after deducting mountain and heath land, average in size about 75 acres. 'The average under wheat, in 1914, was only 1,934 acres, an average of a little over three-quarters of an acre per holding. The average under potatoes was only about one quarter of an acre per hold- ing. He thought,that the acreage under these two crops-which were important human food- could be considerably increased without making drastic changes in the general routine of farm- work. Regarding live-stock, they found that the aver- age number of pigs per holding was under two, whilst in Cardiganshire, where the holdings only averaged 45 acres, the number per holding was over three. The pig was considered the most economical meat making machine at the farmers' command. He also thought that farmers, in view of the lightness of the hay crops this season, should con- sider the advisability of sowing catch-crops in the autumn. Rye, being a hardy cereal mixed with vetches, should provide an abundance of green- stuff for feeding stock in the early spring, and the land could be sown down with swedes and turnips, afterwards. Gcorl and Bad Seed. Ald. C. C. Rogers elicited the information that the organiser obtained the sample of seeds from the merchants, and said he did not think it worth while taking such samples unless they had some system of control whereby the farmer (the buyer) could send the seed, which he purchased under a guarantee, back to be re-tested, and he proposed the committee pass a resolution that the buyer be given an opportunity of having the seed re-tested, such resolution to be forwarded to the authorities at Aberystwyth.—Mr T. Davies seconded. The chairman thought the test, referred to,by the organiser, would be a good thing, as farmers, if they knew that a seedsman sold seeds which were not up to what he professed them to be, they would give him a wide berth. Mr D. Davies and Mr C. Vaughan Weale point- ed out that farmers could now buy under a guarantee, and the chairman asked how many farmers could they get to do this? Aid. Rogers said that, if they could have their resolution adopted, they could then communicate with chairmen of parish councils, as suggested by Mr S. B. Meredith. The chairman said this question of purchasing seeds was one which callie under Mr Powell, their inspector, but all such samples had to be paid for, while those taken by Mr Thomas would be an- alysed free of cost. Mr R. Hughes presumed that farmers could tell the difference between good and bad seeds when they saw them in the shop, but Aid. Rogers and Mr D. Davies replied that this was an impossi- bility, the former stating that not one man in a million could tell. Mr Hughes differed with their opinions. Reverting to the question of the estimate, Mr D. Davies said that if they could adopt this, as submitted, and spend less than half the amount, their pockets would not be touched by the amount of such estimate, but only by the sum actually spent. Mrs Rogers enquired as to why they should not ask the college authorities to state that Radnor- shire should not be called upon to spend more than last year's amount ( £ 183) ? The chairman replied that, in that case, the scheme would fall through. Aid. Rogers said that last year they only spent that amount, and the scheme did not fall through. To this Mr Hamer replied that he did not think they were justified in breaking faith with the au- thorities at Aberystwyth and with Breconshire County Council. Mrs C. C. Rogers suggested that the estimate be drawn up so as not to exceed a total of £183. They did not want large estimates if they did not propose to carry them out. Aid. Rogers agreed to embody this in his proposition, that the esti- mate be revised, and Mr Win. Roberts seconded. The chairman said they only had their organiser nint! months out of the last year, and Mrs Rogers asked how were they to know that they should have him for more this year? Mr Hamer explained that the estimate of R458 had already appeared in the Education Commit- tee's estimate for the year, and had been adopted. The clerk said that they only receive a grant for the amount which they expended in excess of the average sum for the three years ended 1912, viz., £174, so last year they would only be en- titled to a grant of X9. The proposition seemed to be one to relieve the Board, and not the county. If the Board wished to reduce their ex- penditure, it was a wonder that they had not stopped these grants, but, if this money had been voted for agricultural instruction, some counties would, of course, get it. Mr T. Davies said that that was the danger. Mr and Mrs Rogers said they wished to save the Board's expenditure, and the former stated that he wished to save the ratepayer, and was particu- larly anxious to save the Chancellor of the Ex- chequer at this time. They bad all seen the ap- peals to practice economy, and here someone sug- gested that they should spend money so that there might be a chance of obtaining more money (a grant), but, if they did not spend it, there was no object. He went on to say that the applicants for scholarships were few and far between, and that last year the estimate of R450 was brought down to £183. Mr J. 0. Jenkins remarked that the applications were falling off, and Mr Thos. Davies said that, if they passed the proposition, they were encour- aging that mode of procedure. Mr Jas. Hamer said he, with Mr Bache was responsible for part of the scheme. They (Rad- norshire) had been held up as being backwards in these matters, and he was, in the interests of agri- culture, anxious that the scheme should go on. He thought it would be a mistake to cut down the estimate, and, if they did this, it would be better to give the scheme up. On being put to the vote, Aid. Rogers' proposi- tion was lost, and therefore, the estimate of e458 was adopted. Mr Thomas read a letter from the Agricultural Commissioner for Wales with reference to labour- saving devices for the harvest, &c., but, as the season had so far advanced, the committee took no action. A letter from tne vveisn Agricultural Council enclosed a resolution drawing farmers' attention to the fact that they might obtain the necessary labour for the harvest, &c., by applying to the Labour Exchanges, and they appealed to the women to give all the assistance they could. The chairman said it was fairly well known that extra labour could be obtained by applying to the Newtown Labour Exchange. Mrs C. C. Rogers called attention to the para- graph in the organiser's report with reference to school gardens, and remarked that some of the head-masters at rural schools should be made to take up this subject. She thought they were wasting opportunities if they did not use their headmasters to the best advantage. They were wasting money and giving big salaries to masters that were not wanted unless they gave instruction in gardening. Mr D. Jones did not think they could discuss a scheme of this kind (school-gardening) in five minutes. He was prepared to take this subject, or any other, if it was likely to be more beneficial, but he thought they should appoint a sub-commit- tee to draft up a scheme. This was agreed to, and the following were elected on the commit- tee :—Mrs Rogers, Mr J. Hamer, Mr D. Jones, Mr R. Hughes, Mr J. 0. Jenkins and the or- ganiser. -R On the motion of Mr R. Hughes, a vote of thanks was accorded Mr J. Hamer (secretary to the Rhayader Fur and Feather Association) for the excellent work he did in connection with the dairy class held there.

I Pantydwr Meetings.I


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IMilitary Hospital.I

——————. I "Winter Assizes.…


Rhayader Worthy.

How Children Help.

Lord Glanusk's Hymn.