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BACON CURING., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2433, 19 May 1890
,—« FLEMINGTON FACTORY TO BHGIN. Following the lead of northern and eastern districts, a public meeting was held. 1 at Flemington on Saturday night to discuss fche prospects of a Bacon Curing Company, and to consider the advisableness of forming such a company, in the Flemington district. The meeting was held in the Flemington School, and there were over a score present of the farmers' belonging to Waterton,.Ashton, Flemington, and, the rest of the Longbeach district. The night was cold and dark, and a thick wetting fog was in the air—a night'far more - disagreeable as regards weather than a good honest shower ; and doubtless the character of the weather interfered with the attendance of many' who would.have gladly been present. Some, too, elected to remain in' Ashburton arid attend the public meeting at which Bishop Julius was speaking, and so the "Pig meeting," as Mr John Small!jocularly called it, saw none of them. All present, with perhaps one or two exceptions, were shareholders in the Flemington Cheese Butter, and Bacon Factory, Company, and the Chairman of that Company —Mr J,. 0. N. Grigg—was asked to preside. All present were farmers and pig growers, so thit the meeting was thoroughly- representative of the district. The Chairman, in opening the business, said the subject they had met to discuss needed no introduction. Both in -Canterbury and Otago a perfect ring had been tinned to keep down the price of pigs, As a matter of fact, there were rings everywhere ;■ and though he was not there that night to talk socialism, he had no hesitation in saying that the farmers were the only people in the colony who did not combinerto look after their own interests. It was a well-known fact that' there was not a farm in the colony that did not support far more people than the family who . lived upon it; such was 5 the influence of ' the middleman upon the produce of the farmer. The Chairman then went on to quote the low prices ruling for pigs at recent sales in the Addington market, and | read the following from' the weekly report-for May 15, published by Messrs Wright, Stephenson, and Co., the wellknown Dunedin auctioneering firm :— Pxgs.—The market was deluged; the un-1 precedentedly large . number of 751 being penned —most of them grain-fed bacon pigs of v&ry fine quality. This enormous supply on the top of three or four very full markets created a panic in the trade, and sales were only effected with difficulty at > a reduction of from 5s ,t6 7s 6d per head on the comparatively low rates ruling last week. We do not consider that prime bacon pigs realised more than 2|d per lb yesterday, and unless supplies lessen very soon, it is questionable if even this low price will be obtained. This market can absorb between 300 and 400 per week, but only when the Southern buyers are .present in- addition to the local, civrers. Whenever this number- is exceeded'; values are bound to suffer. If the market .were kept bare Jpr two or three weeks, we daresay value's'wduM' recover a little. We sold US as follows: —Bacon pigs (heavy weights) from 37s to 41s; ordinary, 25s to 365; porkers, 20s to 24s ; stores, 7s to 225; suckers, 6s to 11s. It was a little late in the day perhaps to form a company, but as any thing like full value could not be got by the farmer for hif! pigs, it was considered advisable by many at the district to at least see bo their proper curing, and then, they could hold or'sell' the bacon as best suited themselves. There were virtually oiAy about ten weeks of the season for pigs as pigs ; and then the farmers were niet by such a state of affairs as the quotation he had read from the Dunedin market ra^oi* pourtrayed, and as many of them had themselves experienced recently <it Addington. The pigs, however, turned into bacon, would have a market that | would last nine months instead of ten weeks. When- the pigs ,were fit. for market, and the, farmers had not facilities for curing large numbers, they had to be, I rushed into the. sales, and the glut thereby caused brought about the consequent fall in prices. He was glad to see that at Leeston and Rangiora the farmers were moving in the matter, and Belfast was to go. in extensively for bacon curing this season., In answer to a question by Mr McQuilkin, the Chairman said he feared it was really too, late in the season to think of .raising a building and forming a Company to buy and cure pigs for the market. Farmers did not wish to make anything out of each other, and it was thought by himself and many others in the district, that'the most that'could be done fchis ye,ajc- was to utilise the excellent building* they had in the district— the Flemington Cheese Factory—and they oould-not build one better suited for the purpose. The Directors^thought the curing of bacon could be undertaken there at",a small cost per lb. It would perhaps bo necessary to erect a rendering vat, and imperative to procure a good curer» Some farmers would have heavy sows, and some would not; but the idea was to affix metal tags bearing the farmer's name or mark, or number, to the meat as it came in, so that it could be followed and identified all over the factory. By this means every farmer would get his own bacon, but he would have to simply take his share of the lard, and the offal. In this way no money would pass on the value of the pork, but only on cost of curing. This year there would be a good, many fitst bliss curers available, as Belfast* was ; about to iadvertise for.' one—going into the curing business extensively. When Belfast had secured its man, there would be an opening for the next best man at Flemington. Should the district not care to do Avhat the Factory Company proposed, there was again the Belfast Factory itself tliat would be prepared to cure the district's pork ; but it would be necessary to ascertain what quantity' of pork would be available td send to Belfast, and how much the district could guarantee. The Chairman could not, of course, guarantee the sale of tho meat; that would be a ques- ! tion for the farmers themselves. J; All that J really could be done was to* cure the pigs, and then they were in a condition to wait \ for the market. Mr Bell wished to know what was the use of Co-operative Societies if they were not to undertake the sale of the pigs and procure a good return. As was shown at a subsequent part of the proceedings, Mr Bell was under the impression that the meeting was one of Flemingfcon Factory shareholders, as such, and not ci public meeting. Mr A. J. Houston said there was no reason why all the bacon cured in the factory should not bo sold in one line, or two lines, if need be. A farmer who did not care to sell .at t^e best price offered need not do so. The Chairman said the bacon would all be cured to grade. Some discussion took place as to how financing was to be done on bacon put into the factory, Mr Houston .remarking that there would no doubt bo provision made for obtaining advances on bacon laid down in the factory. The Chairman hardly saw that this could be done the first year Mr Bishop saw no difficulty in the way lof the Company borrowing money to make advances on bacon put into their . hands. J The Chairman said there was a prospect r of those who did cure this year doing vezy I well. But there should be some risk run b,y all. Why should the few members of the local' Company be required to run a greater ' risk , than other farmers in the district. He urged that f6r this year! at | least only the curing should be clone ;byI the Company. j The meeting apparently having tacitly accepted the Chairman's idea, the curing capacity of the factory was discussed. Mr Harding said that when the Flemington Factory was at work on bacon, 400 pigs a fortnight were pub through, and
1200 were cured in the last season. If the factory were in the same condition now as it was then—and he had no reason to believe it was not —it could be got ready in one day to begin bacon curing. He believed that curing could be done at the factory for no more than -fd per lb. Mr R. Anderson thought those present should say how many pigs they could guarantee, and steps could then be taken to canvass the district to find out how many pigs could be obtained in addition Ito these. If 1200 were not obtainable, then it would be for the Directors to take in Wakanui or any other district. Mr Hardingthen formally moved "That this meeting accept the offer of the Flemihgton Cheese, Butter, and Bacon Factory Company to cure bacon on producers' behalf, the Company making a fixed charge per lb for curing." Mr John Small seconded, and the motion was carried unanimously. Four hundred pigs were promised in the. room, bub there were still a large number of extensive pig owners of the district to hs seen, and it was understood that a thorough canrass was to be made. A hearty vote 6i thanks was passed fco the Chairman, in the course of speaking to which Mr Anderson stated that'in one ' of the Otago papers a Sydney firm was advertising for 22,000 lbs of New Zealand bacon, a fair proof, he took it, that the article was in demand in New South Wales. i At a meeting of Directors of the Factory Company held afterwards arrangel ments were made for beginning work at , once, and for procuring an efficient curer • immediately.
BACON CURING., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2433, 19 May 1890
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