For once a community of farmers have had their eyes opened to one of the directions in which their interests lie, and have followed that direction ; let us hope the guidance they elect to follow will lead them aright. There is no more disunited body in the colony than the farmers, whereas, if they only knew it, and acted upon the knowledge, instead of " letting things slide" as they do, they could control the whole business of the colony. Such is their numerical strength, that, were they to exert ii, in solid combination, t-hoy could easily have a largo majority in parliament; they would bo independent of the middleman in tho disposal
of their produce; they could, if theyV chose to combine to do so, rise above the influence of companies and of merchants, be their own exporters and importers, and instead of being, as many of them complain of being now, the milch cows, for all the rest of the I population, they might be the lords of the soil indeed, and the very masters of , the colony. But somehow it is veiy rarely indeed that farmers do unite, and when they do the union does not t always seem to be very well cemented. ' Whether they are suspicious of each 'other, or lack the ability to manage vthings, we cannot say, but many of their projects have had anything but happy endings. "We have one instance though in which the elements of good management have been found among .them, and the affair, handled - with tact and business acumen, has resulted in a live and profitable concern; Farming readers will at once recognise the Farmers' Co-operative Association in Christchurch as the organisation. to which we refer. But it. took a long time to screw the bucolicf courage to thfe sticking place—to arrive at the point from which the successful history of that Association started. Once in, however, the farmer usually hangs on to the clubs he joins; and not infrequently, thanks to his clinging characteristic, a project that had two or three times been on the brink of failure has been pulled through. The Flemington Factory is a case in point, and now that it is wholly in the hands of farmers it is doing very well. The Flemington farmers are standing aghast at the miserable prices they are offered for their pigs. We are aware of one case in which as much money was offered six or eight weeks ago for the young pigs in a farmer's yard as he had to accept at Addington a fortnight ago for them as porkers. In the innocence of his heart, he thought at least double the money could be obtained after they had been fattened for the market, and his disappointment was of the deepest when he faced the result. Like other communities, or sections of the community, the farmers are, however, gradually being educated up to the "Union idea, and as an evidence of the educating process, the Longbeach farmers have decided to turn their pigs into bacon on their own account, and wait for a market instead of rushing them pell-mell into Addington yards, glutting the market, giving butchers and curers a chance they are anything but loth to jump at, and coming back with a cash result the reverse of consoling. By this system of cooperative curing they open a large market for themselves that was before closed to them, for the :simple reason that, having only pigs-to sell, and no convenience for curing in large quantities, owners of fairly numerous herds of swine were at the mercy of the uncertain fluctuations of the pig market. Twopence a pound for. pork is surely over cheap for grain-fed meat, and the farmers are wise to decline to sell at that figure, seeing that they can do better by setting the factory to | work under a competent curer, and seeking a market elsewhere for the cured product. That sucli a market is not far off, the advertisement quoted by Mr Anderson at the Flemington meeting—" 22,0001bs of New Zealand bacon wanted for Sydney"—is convincing proof. " Under a competent curer," we said. This is all important and'at the very outset the management will have to be careful to select a man of tried and proved ability, or the very first step in the project may be fatal; but from the course the Directors are ' following, viz., allowing practical men like the heads of the Belfast Factory to select a curer for them—there is every likelihood that the project will not be ruined by heedless plunging; while the earnestness shown in connection with the whole project augurs well for judicious arrangements, steady work, undeterred by trifling obstacles, and ultimate complete success.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2436, 22 May 1890
BACON CURING. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2436, 22 May 1890
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