HC Deb 05 May 1960 vol 622 cc1246-7
25. Mr. Willey

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a further statement on the Report of the Committee on Grassland Utilisation.

Mr. Hare

The House has previously been informed of decisions on individual recommendations of the Caine Committee affecting grants and subsidies for ploughing, silos, fertilisers and small farms. I have referred the Committee's recommendations on basic research to the Agricultural Research Council. I am seeking to increase the staff of the National Agricultural Advisory Service. The Agriculture Departments are following up other recommendations of the Caine Committee.

The Committee's Report covered a wide range of agricultural matters as the Committee considered that improvement of grassland production and utilisation was a part of the general management of the farm. The Government accept its recommendation that the Agricultural Improvement Councils should be the means of keeping policy on grassland production and utilisation under constant review. The Council for England and Wales has now agreed that its Agriculture Committee shall undertake this responsibility. The Grassland Committee of the Scottish Council already does so.

I am sure that this is the best way of ensuring that the fullest use is made of one of our greatest natural resources.

Mr. Willey

I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for at last giving us a statement about the Committee's Report, but does he realise that it is somewhat disappointing that, after this delay, we have the subject of research no more than referred for further consideration? This is an urgent matter which ought to be attended to. Will he endeavour to meet the target set by the Committee, to increase the advisory services by 25 per cent.?

Mr. Hare

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman says that it has taken me a long time to reply. I think he agrees that this is a valuable Report with a large number of recommendations. We are taking action which I believe will adequately put into effect those recommendations. I am glad to be able to say that this year we are recruiting a larger number for the National Agricultural Advisory Service, and we are satisfied with the quality of the intake.

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