HC Deb 28 March 1949 vol 463 cc837-8
52. Sir W. Smithers

asked the Minister of Agriculture who has been or is to be appointed to manage the 18 experimental farms; what is the respective acreage and cost of these farms; and by what method these appointments will be made.

Mr. T. Williams

These farms will be under the direction of the National Agricultural Advisory Service. Each will be in the charge of a member of that service as farm director, who will have the assistance of an advisory committee under the chairmanship of a leading agriculturist and including some farmers among its members. A working farm manager will normally be appointed under the farm director to take charge of farming operations. The acreages will vary widely according to the type of farm. The six farms already acquired vary from 200 to 1,070 acres. The average cost of the four that have been purchased is some £35,000. A fifth farm has been leased, and in the case of the other acquisitions the purchase price has been referred for arbitration.

Sir W. Smithers

Will the Minister try to avoid what happened in the war, when incompetent farmers who could not make their own farms pay became civil servants, and were able to give orders to men who were making their own farms pay? May I have an answer?

Mr. Williams

I think the question is so far removed from the truth that it does not call for a reply.

Sir T. Dugdale

Will the accounts of these farms be made public in due course, and, especially in view of their work, will the capital sum per acre be made public, so that farmers may compare like with like?

Mr. Williams

I suppose the accounts of the demonstration farms will be made public, but I am sure that the hon. Baronet will be aware of the fact that demonstration farms are not necessarily run on an economic basis.

Captain Crookshank

When the Minister says that he supposes that the accounts will be made public, does he not mean that it is his business to make sure?

Mr. Williams

I think the right hon. and gallant Gentleman is aware that these accounts will be made public.