The Ashburton Guardian. COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2, 1880.
Next Saturday evening, at half-past seven in the Town Hall, has been-fixed for the usual monthly meeting of the Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and on that occasion Mr. D. Oliver will read a paper on “ sheep-breeding.” The Society possesses an a,ble and energetic secretary, and, an enthusiastic and painstaking Committee, and up'to the present really excellent papers haye been read at these monthly meetings.'. But the great ; want has j'l?eenj bona fide farmers . to 'hear . themread. Two dozen or so, , of an audience is not much encouragement to a gentleman for preparing an elaborate essay on any subject he may take in hand, especially when that audience is mostly composed of Ashburton merchants, newspaper reporters, and only a small leaven of the right stamp of farmer members, who are never absent from these meetings, and often, we know, at some trouble to themselves. To those farmers who attend and take part in the discussion great credit is due, but we would be glad to see those other farmers in the district making some little sacrifice of time to grace the meetings with their attendance and countenance the efforts of the writers of papers with their presence. We grant that one evening in the month may be a terribly severe tax on the time of many farmers in the district, but they, on the other hand, must grant, in common civility to the gentlemen who read, that the sacrifice ought to be made, as well for the farmers’ own good in hearing, and for their fellows’ good in the aid, however little even that may be or however much, that might be given in the discussion. For there are few farmers that have nothing to say and no questions to ask on farming subjects, and_ every effort to give or to obtain information is something done to aid the Society and farming generally. We have hitherto given full reports of the papers read, with the scope. of the discussions that followed. Seeing the small attendances at these meetings in comparison with the number of farmers that reside in. the district, we begin to think that farmers, knowing they can read in our journal what has been read and said at these meetings, do not cafe to attend, but would rather sit cosily by their firesides and read' the papers and the discussions than come to town and take part in the work. We fancy this is not how the reports ought to be taken, for, however pleasing it may be to lie back in one’s arm chair and enjoy a pipe while the doings of a meeting are read, the publication of these reports is not intended to relieve the farmer of the duty of helping on the
cause of agriculture. These are not times for the easy chair, but tor active work. The Society’s claims upon the individual farmer are strong, and its advancement is his'own, if he could only be persuaded to: look at it that way. Every step of progress made by the Agricultural and Pastoral Association is a step made by the individual farmer himself, for he benefits indirectly by that progress, and he ought to give one ; push : per month of ■ his strudy shouldei? to the wheels of his Association’s waggon. Member or nonmember, the Society would be glad to see him at those monthly meetings, ‘We can assure him they are worth his time, and he -will- not regret in the end coming into town and taking part in them. It is all very well to pray “ God speed the plough.” It’s a pretty prayer, and may it be abundantly answered, but God does not speed the plough that is carelessly guided, nor does he do the work for one that is’ always lying at rest, in the furrow. So with the Assdciation’s work. . At present it .is . in. the hands of energetic men,'but they' ought;, to have more, ■countenance than they receive from the stalwart yeomen in whose interests they meet, and for whose benefit they work ; and we do hope the farmers will no longer allow the anomaly to remain of agricultural essayists reading their work to East street merchants arid newspaper men instead of the bona fide cultivators who ought to rally up,,at these interesting agricultural meetings; Let: an effort be made next Saturday if possible to have a full muster of as many of the farmers as can sacrifice an evening to aid a good'work, to enjoy an instructive paper and an interesting discussion, and. to remove the reproach that lies at their door, of being apathetic in their own cause. •