The Agricultural and Pastoral Association’s meeting on Tuesday was a most satisfactory one, not only because of the large number of farmers that attended, giving token of more interest taken in the Association’s work, but also because of the nature and extent of the business done. We were glad to note this increased attendance, as while a Society of the character of the Agricultural and Pastoral exists in such a district as Ashburton, and is well nourished by those for whose special benefit it is formed, a clear indication is given that tire fanners understand their own interests, and know in what direction they can best serve them. But when we find the Society’s meetings thin, and its members apathetic, we must come to the conclusion that either the charge of the Society is in bad hands or its rank and file arc so doltish as not to know what is good for them. We know, and the farmers know, that the care of the Agricultural and Pastoral Association of Ashburton could not well be in the bands of a better or more enthusiastic team of officers, and the manner in ■which the subjects that were brought up were intelligently discussed was sufficient proof that the membership of the Society is not wanting in clear headedness. We must congratulate the Association on having at last settled the vexed question of which side of the river is in future to have the honor of affording the show ground, and wo think with the majority (and that was a largo one) that the best side has been chosen. Though perhaps the Tinwald show ground was the most satiable for the large number of stock exhibitors that undeniably are south of the river, still there are many advantages to be urged for the Ashburton side. The chief of these is unquestionably the increased attendance of the public and the large addition of gate money that must inevitably accrue, for there can be no question that very many of the townspeople, with their families, will visit a show held just outside the town belt, who do not care to face a journey across the river, and along the dusty road to Tinwald. The Society, too, having now fixed the site,have actedpromptly and in a businesslike manner in at once setting about the preparation of plans for show yards that may also bo utilised for sale yards, and the proximity of these to the town, being on the reserve near Saunders’ mill, cannot faff to make them remunerative. But not the least important part of the business done was the passing of a resolution to institute more frequent meetings with the object of disseminating among the members practical information on agricultural matters, and also to form a library of standard works on agricul'ure. The resolution was the joint production of Mr. W. J. Silcock and Mr. F. Guinness, and to them the members are, we should say, indebted for initiating the movement. We may safely prophesy from this movement, if it is energetically carried on, huge benefit to the farming interest in the county. While the Society simply existed, and limited its work to arrangements for an annual ploughing match and a cattle show, it did no more for the farmers than what on a smaller scale our Gaines Committee or Racing Club do every year for the townspeople —that is, supplied a little entertainment, and gave an opportunity for an outing. Certainly we do not for a moment mean to place the results of a cattle show for one moment on a level with a race meeting or an athletic competition—but so far as the work of preparation is concerned the one is just as arduous as the other, and when the Association stopped at its shows, it was net fulfilling all the mission it came into existence to accomplish, Now, however, we may look for
some real benefit to How from the meetings suggested in Mr. Silcock’s resolution, and we hope that no effort will :be spared <ni the part of the Committee to make these meetings eminently useful. Not many days ago we had enquiries from a gentleman in Christchurch, who takes an interest in this district, as to whether a Farmers’ Club existed hero, as he would be willing to read an interesting paper before such a club. We were forced reluctantly to tell him that no such club mot in Ashburton, but now it will be with much pleasure that we will communicate to him the fact that a Farmers’ Club has been instituted, who may perhaps accept his offer.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 87, 15 April 1880
Ashburton Guardian Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 87, 15 April 1880
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