HC Deb 25 May 1954 vol 528 cc194-5
24. Mr. Grimond

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now establish a demonstration and experimental croft in Shetland.

Mr. J. Stuart

Two pilot farm projects have recently been established in Shetland which I hope will prove useful. I think that these are more appropriate to the needs of Shetland farmers and crofters than the type of demonstration croft that the hon. Member may have in mind.

Mr. Grimond

How far are these experiments on a par with ordinary crofting conditions in Shetland?

Mr. Stuart

They are more on a par than the suggested demonstration croft, because these pilot croft farms are worked by practical farmers, carrying out suggestions and advice rendered to them, with certain assistance. I think they are useful examples of practical work.

Mr. Woodburn

Will the right hon. Gentleman keep in mind the desirability in these experimental farms of having demonstrations of the value of dairy farming in many of the crofter counties, which have to import their milk from outside?

Mr. Stuart

Yes, Sir; I will certainly bear that in mind.

Mr. Manuel

Is the Secretary of State aware that these pilot schemes for farms are really not what many of us want so far as Highland crofting experimental pilot schemes are concerned? Would the right hon. Gentleman not again consider having a demonstration and experimental croft of such an acreage that a real pilot scheme could be experimented with which would be of an economic size and would provide good data for the future?

Mr. Stuart

We have considered the point and I think that these practical examples of farming, carried out by men who are farmers themselves, probably carry more conviction with the farming community.