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A meeting of farmers was held in the A. and P. Rooms yesterday afternoon to consider the position that had arisen in regard to the disposal of this season's wheat. Mr J. Cow presided, and there was a large attendance.

The chairman stated that the meeting had been called at the instigation ,of several local gentlemen to see if something could be done to relieve the ■ position. The wheat was threshed in the paddocks and, could not be delivered. The delivery was the most important aspect and also that of payment. He was inclined to think that the Government had not looked far enough ahead and made provision for this state of affairs. Millers had sent to Ashburton and intimated if they had any good samples of milling wheat at 6s per bushel, they would consider dealing. Mr Cow thought the millers should be compelled to pay the Government price, as anything under was unsatisfactory to the farmer. »_ They could also not expect the financial institutions to go on .advancing money on wheat which, should have been taken delivery, of. „;,He thought the Government should be approached in a reasonable spirit and they would probably get relief. What was wanted was advances for farmers who were likely to be handicapped through the present position. Mr R. Forsyth, on behalf of the Government buyers, said the latter had met last Thursday to discuss the Question. It was estimated that there were from 50,000 to 60,000 sacks threshed in the County. The brokers had not had orders from millers for Tuscan for several weeks. The brokers had made representation to the Minister to get relief. The Minister advised that farmers should make arrangements for storage in towns as published in the "Guardian" of Monday. Mr 'Forsyth said the question of finance was what was worrying them at present more than getting the wheat delivered. Last year it was easy to finance, through the • brokers as the crops were short, but this year they had to deal ,with a large yield, which made financing more difficult. Then again the position was aggravated by the buying of 3,000,000 bushels of Australian wheat. He thought the Government should be asked to advance against the wheat held by farmers and this would meet the case. Mr A. Drummond said the best thing the farmer could do was to form themselves into one big strong union and take over the whole of their produce and fix the price. Mr Cow said this was a big scheme, and could not be done this year. What they- wanted was immediate relief. Mr T. J. Hunter said the Government, when appointing brokers in this district asked how much wheat they could store and had obtained this information. There was still a good deal

of storage room that could be utilised. The farmers could store their wheat and the Government pay out on the storage certificate. Mr G. W." Leadley wanted to know if the position, was as bad in other places. Mr Cow said it was in some other localities. There were millers, not in Ashburton, who were not playing the game, as he had already indicated. Some of the millers evidently had not taken in as much wheat as they could. Mr Forsyth said the millers would receive a bounty on wheat bought at the fixed price in order to keep, down the price of flour. The bounty would not be paid to millers who bought under price . This would no doubt stop buying under the fixed price. Mr Leadley said the matter was of great interest to farmers in this County. He moved: "That, the Government be asked to take over the wheat offered at the fixed price agreed upon and provide for the storage.'/ Mr W. T. Lill said there were plenty of stores to hold the wheat in and the Government should be asked to take the wheat, and pay for it. The, Government could then hold it if necessary for three months and get the rise on it. The farmers 3Td not want the wheat lying in the paddock and wanted the money as well. If they sent their wheat to the miller the latter would take the Hunters ana Pearl and reject the remainder. A voice: Send the Tuscan first. Mr Lill went on to say that he was fool 'enough to send his best wheat first and got left with iihe other. (Laughter.) The Government had promised to pay the faimer a certain price and should now take the wheat at that price, and do what it liked after. Mr G. Millar said lie hardly thought it was necessary in Mr Leadley's motion to mention storage to the Government. It should look.after that matter. He then seconded the motion. Mr Cow suggested that a deputation might go to Wellington and interview the Minister. The position was really serious with some of the small farmers.

Sir J. Cairns asked to what extent the bank would advance money to farmers as in the early days against wheat in store? He could not see why the farmers., wanted so much money. They could do without 25 per cent of it at any rate until after Thursday next. (Laughter). The motion was then carried unanimously. Mr Cow stated he would be in Wellington next week and would see the Minister and explain where the shoe was pinching. • •Mr Hunter said Mr Cow should get a few , f armeis to go with him and back him up. Mr Forsyth said it would be preferable to have farmers on the deputy tion than brokers. ' • ' < '' Mr Cow said ><the farmers were not so good on finance as brokers. •Mr Forsyth replied that they were not bad. (Laughter).- .. , ; 1 Mr Hunter said the brokers would find .the stores if the Government would

buy the wheat and tRe rise' would pay the interest. Mr Cairns then moved that Mr Lill be asked to go to Wellington. This was agreed to unanimously.

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Bibliographic details

WHEAT SHORTAGE, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9582, 9 April 1919

Word Count

WHEAT SHORTAGE Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9582, 9 April 1919

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