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THE PERVADING TOPIC.I

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THE PERVADING TOPIC. I Whilst the al.1 pervading topic of an increased home grown food supply occupies everyone's at- tention, not sufficient regard is being had, in our opinion, to the important retention of labour on the farms. At the Radnorshire War Agricultural Committee on Saturday ia serious compla.int was made by several of the County's leading fanners of the heavy drain made by the recruiting authorit- ies on farm labour. It was pointed out that the promises of increaisied cultivation of grain and roots were made on condition that fanners were allowed to keep the labour which they then had. Since then, however, it was stated, more men had been taken off the land, and that some farmers were actually left without a single man. An instance was cited where horses were in the stables with no man available to take them out ilbr urgent work. The sea.son owing to tihle jn. clement weather is a kite one, and the spring ploughing land sowing is already behindhand. We agree with Mr Thomas Davies that if this drain continues and the land is consequently left un- cultivated it is-certainly not in the national inter- est. Is it not time .that some very definite measures were taken ? There has been, it ap- pears, aJI along, a regrettable lack of co-ordination between the War Office and the Board of Agricul- ture in this particular matter, and why the same powers have not been conferred oft the latter Board for "badging" men as have been given to other departments passes comprehension. As Mr Bache pointed out, Mr Prothero had made suggestions, which were veTy good, but he lacked the necessary power to enforce them. There is a very sensible suggestion made, and we think it is likely to be accepted, that the military will release some prac- t-icail men if only for the seeding season. This ap- pears more practicable than depending upon the doubtful success of the substitution scheme or women labour. The fanner must know where he stands, and a definite and authoritative statement in regard to labour is necessary in order to give him that feeling of security and certainty which is absolutely essential. We are, glad that meet- ings are being held at various centres in the county. lit is well that farmers should thoroughly understand the .situation and what their duty at this crisis in the nation's history really is. Mr MKler at Glasbury said it was difficult to ima-ke the people realise the danger we were in,- and iui- less every ounce of energy farmers possessed were put into the work of the cultivation of cereal food stufl's, we shall find ourselves in "Queer Street" by the end of the year. This being so, we hope there wiill be a. full Attendance of farmers at Bre- con Town Hall next Friday, when amongst others I the County Member will speak. As we said last week, it would be well if they did, in order that they may know what is expected of them in these trying days. The Prime Minister lias stated that the plough is our hope, and in order to encourage more corn growing, which is a matter of urgent importance, the Government has guaranteed mini- mum prices for cereals for five years. The meet- ing is held undea- the auspices of the Executive. Committee of the Breconshire War Agricultural Committee, which is the body appointed to carry out. the wishes of the Government in the matter of tillage. It has tremendous powers, but rather than exercising them immediately, meetings arc arranged in the oounty to enable farmers to obtain full iiiformation as to its constitution and powers. We have every rea.son to think, provided, as we have said, that the labour question is immediately and definitely dealt with by the authorities, that Breconshire will rise to the occasion in this vital work. That the county is capable of doing GO there can be no doubt. A century ago, the his- torian tolls us, "the progress of the science of ag- riculture has advaneed further in Breconshire than in the neighbouring counties of the Principality." Ever tbus in the van let us not be found elsewhere in these days, when the did country is passing through its hardest amd darkest trial.

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