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Wesleyan Methodism.I

I Brecon and Radnor Farmers


I Brecon and Radnor Farmers I Discuss Female Labour. I PIGS AND POULTRY. I MEETING AT BUILTH. Brecon and Radnor Farmers' Union Executive Committee met at the Swan Hotel, Builth Wells, on Monday. Ald. Mervyn T. Davies (chairman) presided. Others present included Messrs. David Thomas (agricultural organiser), T. Davies, J.P., C.C. (Vronolau) J. Thomas, D. W llliame (Llawrtlan), A. E. Havard, J. W. Jones, J. B. Richards, 0. W. Davies, T. E. R. Price, John Evans, Wm. Price, J. Wooding and J. P. Grif- fiths (secretary). Pigs and Poultry. I The secretary said the Board of Agriculture wished the Farmers' Union to bring to the no- tice of its members the desirability of cottagers being allowed by farmers to keep pigs and pOlI- try. The letter was from the Secretary of the National Union, and referred to cottagers em- ployed on farms. Mr David Williams Yes, that's a grand thing, but there's a limit. (Laughter.) The secretary explained that a Herefordshire branch had the matter before them the previous week, and considered it rather, a, delicate question. Some farmers could trust men to handle meal, feeding-s,tuff.s, &c.—others, of course, could not— but, a-fter all, this, perhaps, was a point for the farmers themselves. The Herefordshire branch ultimately decided not to do anything themselves, but to give the question as much publicity as pos- sible, so that farmers would know what was in the minds of the Board of Agriculture. Thus, farmers were left to do what the-y thought best. The Chairman I think we might very well do this. Farmers could then use their own discre- tion. Mr J. W. Jones pointed out that, in Brecon and Radnor, the rule already existed that farm-ser- vants, occupying houses on farms, were allowed to keep pigs and poultry. He proposed that the fact should go forth from that meeting that the farmers assembled there considered cottagers should be allowed to keep pigs, &c. Mr Nicholls seconded, adding the course was wise. Every workman should be encouraged to keep as many pigs and as much poultry as he could without injury to his employer. Food-pro- duction was very important to the nation just now. He believed they should all supplement the Union 's efforts in this direction in as generous a spirit as possible. The proposition was carried. Sulphate of Ammonia. The secretary briefly explained the Govern- ment's arrangements relative to supplies of sul- phate of ammonia. Its exportation was stopped in the interests of agriculture. Gas-Works turn- ed supplies out in the making of ingredients for national purposes, and, if farmers did not use the sulphate of ammonia sufficiently, he feared the supplies would so accumulate that exportation would have to be resorted to again. He believed the Government price of the supplies was X6 153 per ton. Female Labour. A circular letter came to hand from Mr Waiter Williams (Brecon), dealing with the question of female labour. It appealed to the Union for help and co-operation and explained that meetings would shortly be held in Brecon and Builth on the question. Mr David Thomas (county-organiser) said the Board of Agriculture understood that, in certain districts, some farms were still carrying practi- cally their ordinary staff, while in other cases lab- our had been so depleted as to render it almost impossible to effect the cultivation of the farms. Lord Selborne desired, where such con- ditions existed, that war agricultural committees aand other organisations would consider seriously the possibility of initiating and carrying out some scheme for a re-distribution of the agricul- tural labour available in such districts. It was recognised that, as any such scheme must be voluntary so far as the farmers and their em- ployees were concerned, the matter was one of considerable difficulty. If, however, farmers un- derstood that the military authorities would claim for the Army all men liable to military service who were not absolutely essential on a particular farm, they would recognise that, in their own in- terests as well as in the interests of home food production, a re-distribution of the available lab- our might be desirable. Farmers who had more' skilled men than were absolutely essential under present conditions must be prepared either to give up their surplus laibour to the Army, or to agree to its transfer to their neighbours who had insuffi- cient skilled labour to enable them to maintain the production of food on their farms. The secretary, alluding to the letter on the or- ganisation of female labour, said he had suggested that the co-operation of secretaries of the local branches of the Union should be sought. He would, of course, help as much as he could. The chairman 'thought female labour should not be allowed to interfere with male labour on the farms, and the interests ,oi' men should be safe- guarded. Mr David Thomas explained what had been. done in Radnorshire on the question of female labour, and, also, the steps that had been taken in Breconshire. Proceeding, Mr Thomas observ- ed the conditions of farming in Brecon and Rad- nor were different to those of England, where women labour could be used to greater advantage. Mr Bache, speaking a.t Knighton the previous Thursday, said that women were doing their part well in Cardiganshire already, and instanced the several jobs they were tackling. There was, added Mr Thomas, a. great deal of light work on farms, and this should certainly be done by women. They must realise they were living in times of national crisis and were called upon to do, and sacrifice more, than in times of peace. There was no wish to displace men, but to supple- ment the efforts of the skilled hands on the farm in the production of more food. Mr O. W. Davies said he had three women en- gaged on his farm, and he could say he had new. had manure better spread in his life than they had done it. He did not see why women could not do a. great deal. Mr J. W. Jones questioned whether female labour would be the great success some thought. What would they be able to do for the next three months? He admired the intentions of the com- mittees in endeavouring to help the farmer out of the labour difficulty, but he was sorry the Govern- ment had not taken in hand the proper distribu- tion of labour throughout the country. If this had been done they would have surmounted the diffi- culty more satisfactorily. Practically the whole of the work on the farms for the next three months would be ploughing, sowing, &c., and women could not do this. Only 5 per cent. 9f female labour would be any use for the manage- ment of a team. Females were not "horsy" enough. Some thought farmers were prejudiced against women labour, but that was not so— farmers were placed in a very difficult position. Personally, he did not think they would be aible to use female labour to any great advantage, and the sooner they admitted the fact the better. Again, if the tribunals were to take their skilled men, because they had ferqale labour, they would be in a much worse position. Female labour in Brecon and Radnor was practically useless, and they should make the fact known. He did not disparage the effort and admired the sense of patriotism that prompted it, but he felt the ide.% was a mis-directed one. Mr David Thomas observed that he looked upon women labour in a supplementary sense. Mr J. Evans thought if women were employed they would be bound to retain skilled labour to teach and superintend their work. Discussion now ceased—most of the members regarding women labour in the supplementary sense., Miscellaneous. I The chairman further appealed to farmers to support the Agricultural Relief of Allies' Fund. The Finance Committee was re-appointed, the new chairman taking the place of his predecessor, j Legal committees were appointed as follow :— i Builth Section, Messrs. Philip James, T. E. R. ■ Price, E. T. Lewis, W. Price, T. L. Vaughan, T. Davies, J. Evans, V. Jones, C. V. Weale, O. W. Davies and J. L. Davies; and Brecon Section, Aid. Mervyn T. Davies, and Messrs. J. W. Jones, R. T. Rogers. J. Smith, G. P. Jones, B. Jones, D. W. Price, W. E. James, W. J. Price and E. B. Williams. The secretary said their solicitor, Mr Oliver, had been remarkably successful in the cases he bad taken up on behalf of the Union.

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I Brecon and Radnor Farmers

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Notes and Notions.