A WORD TO THE FARMERS.
TO THE EDITOR.
Sib, —Allow’ mo to warmly congratulate you upon the production to the public of your first Farmers’ Supplement; it is per so a most praiseworthy edition. The particulars given by you with respect to the productions of wheat and meat in . America cannot fail to be a treasury of knowledge to our New Zealand farmers, who are as a rule not apt scholars in learn- ; ing anything having for its object a progressive tendency. Force of circumstances , is a grand teacher. From the latter lam inclined to conclude that the agriculturists of New Zealand have in store a lesson that will be pretty well impressed on their minds, and one that Seems to be close at hand, namely,—low prices for all kinds of corn, and keener competition. At present one of the primary drawbacks that our farmers have to contend with, and which it is in their hands to control, is the unprecedentedly high railway rates, storage, and shipping charges, which their corn is subject to before it finds its way on board ship ; but, farmer-like, this most vital question scarcely gives the “tillers of the soil” a* second’s thought, although it . has been publicly avowed that under the railway rates hero of the last financial year, it cost. ... as much to carry one ton of ,produce ja, ,vi distance of 58 miles as it did one ton in an adjoining colony 150 miles, yet her railroads, for all that, cost her as much to • construct as ours did ! The question here arises, What have our aspirants to statesmanship, who are, as a rule, so ambitious for distinction and power, been about ? and how calmly our over-burdened farmers carry the gross imposition. This and all such State-bungling must sooner or later have an end. The New Zealand agriculturist endures the payment of taxes to keep going this governmental mismanagement with complacency of the most charming nature—all. he does is to pay and grumble. America might be instanced as another striking example upon this very point of railway management. The distance from Chicago to the New Fork is estimated at 912 miles, and one ton of grain has been carried for 18s. Bd., or about, one-fifth of a penny per ton mile ! Comparisons are, according to some people’s measure, invidious, but are, nevertheless, wholesome, and if acted upon with a firm hand, have cleansing effects. It will be well, for the information of our easy-going farmer, to introduce to his notice the most outrageously high tariff rate, which he has been subject to—viz., paying 15s. 2d. for one ton a distance of 58 miles to Christchurch ; or for 18s. Bd. he has had the great privilege of having one ton carried miles f.o.b. at Port Lyttelton ; while our cousin across the deep sea can have one ton carried for the same money a ; distance of 912 miles, or over eleven times that our New Zealand corn-grower can.
I noted, Sir, by your last issue that your Agricultural and Pastoral Association Society is to be “ opened next Tues- r; day by an introductory address, and. that 0 monthly meetings are to be JBp-for the purpose of reading matters of farming good or bad government affects the interests of the - farmers in the way I have suggested, it is to be hoped .the members will keep the ball rolling, and not rest until economy is the inherent policy of the Government. Unless some such action is taken the order of the day will be taxes of an inter- . minable nature, and nothing to show for them.—l am, &c., ' William.
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